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Experiential marketing is an increasingly popular promotional strategy that enables businesses to create unique and unforgettable experiences for their consumers.
Whether you’re launching a brand, introducing a new product, or seeking to strengthen your existing brand marketing efforts, it’s potentially a game-changer. Why?
It’s exciting. It’s tangible. And when it’s supported by a community-focused media relations strategy, it can help your business make a positive difference.
Let’s back up a bit, though. For your brand to harness its power, you’ll need to understand the key elements of good experiential event planning. By taking a look at the top experiential events of 2022, we can identify the most effective strategies and techniques for engaging consumers and building brand loyalty.
Keep reading to learn more!
FIRST THINGS FIRST, WHAT’S AN EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING EVENT?
Experiential events come in all shapes and sizes. Ranging from pop-up shops and brand activation parties to other-worldly promotional art installations and beyond, the possibilities are pretty much endless.
One defining characteristic links all of these different tactics together, though—the experience itself.
In today’s increasingly competitive marketplace, brands have realized that traditional channels of communication like television and press advertising are no longer enough to build lasting relationships with customers. To truly connect with their audiences, brands must offer “two-way” channels that allow customers to engage with them in a sensory way.
That’s the key to understanding experiential marketing. Instead of saying or showing your message, you bring it to life—in the real world—and invite your audiences to experience it for themselves.
AMAZING EXPERIENTIAL EVENTS FROM ACROSS THE GLOBE
STRANGER THINGS – SEASON 4 PROMO DISPLAYS
As season 4 of the hit show “Stranger Things” inched toward its release date last year, Netflix and its various agency partners went out of their way to promote it, opening “portals” to hellish landscapes across the globe.
The campaigns (ranging from digital skyscraper projections to ground-splitting public art installations) brought the “Upside Down” to cities like New York City, Bondi Beach, Milan, Kuala Lumpur, and Mumbai, just to name a few.
They were a massive hit, and it’s easy to see why.
As Shelly Elkins, Global Chief Creative Officer at Jack Morton said, “Fans want to do more than watch the show—they want to live it. These immersive brand experiences did just that.”
KIND – SECRET FARMERS MARKET
When snack buyers went to grab KIND bars from a vending machine in NYC’s Greenwich Village last February, they encountered something out of the ordinary—a doorway to a hidden farmers market stocked with all sorts of fresh produce.
KIND wasn’t selling anything in this pop-up shop, however. They were giving it all away.
Their promotional efforts on social media attracted quite a crowd. Some 8,000 people stepped through KIND’s viral “vending machine” while it was open, taking home roughly 30,000 pieces of free fruit, vegetables, and nuts in the process.
CHICAGO CHILDREN’S MUSEUM – NEW ART STUDIO
Last year, the Chicago Children’s Museum teamed up with Chicago-based artist Hebru Brantley to reimagine its Art Studio as an accessibility and creativity-focused space for young and young-at-heart artists.
Featuring bright scenery, three-dimensional clouds, toys, and plenty of art supplies, the new treehouse-style studio is as visually inspiring as it is successful. Children, families, and field trips have been flocking to it since it opened in May of 2022.
The narrative-driven experience is designed to keep evolving over time, a sort of living art display that houses visiting children’s stories, artwork, and creative energy—the perfect addition to a place that’s all about youthful exploration.
MACLYN’S OWN EXPERIENTIAL EVENTS
Experts in larger-than-life advertising, MACLYN has quite the repertoire as an experiential marketing agency. Here are some events that we brought to life recently.
DUNKIN’ – LOLLAPALOOZA
Festivalgoers ran on Dunkin’ at Lollapalooza 2022, thanks in part to MACLYN’s experiential marketing work. We organized and executed a handful of pop-up experiences, from chic product sampling stations to Dunkin’-sponsored private concerts put on by Måneskin, JORDY, and iann dior.
The results were incredible.
MACLYN and Dunkin’ gave away more than 2,000 iced coffee samples, 5,000 gift cards, and 25,000 Munchkins® to hungry and thirsty guests over the course of the four-day festival!
IOWA FINANCE AUTHORITY- 2022 HOUSINGIOWA CONFERENCE
MACLYN helps brings the Iowa Finance Authority’s HousingIowa Conference to life each year. In 2022, we reimagined the event as a Main Street parade, celebrating how “Housing Leads the Way” regarding Iowa’s economic growth.
The MACLYN team developed the entire look and feel of the conference, designing and building its website, signage, décor, digital promotions, and other experiential materials.
PROGRAM PRODUCTIONS/PROCREWZ/XLT – EXPERIENTIAL CONFERENCE BOOTH
The NAB Show is one of the largest broadcasting tradeshows in existence. When Program Productions, ProCrewz®, and XLT Management Services asked the MACLYN team to make them a shared booth for the conference, we knew it needed to be nothing short of amazing.
MACLYN built the entire experience from the ground up, from the layout of the booth to the large-scale graphics and video content featured on its interactive digital displays.
CENTERING COMMUNITY IN YOUR EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS
Though standing out is important, experiential event marketing is about more than just getting attention. It’s about connection—forging meaningful relationships with your audiences. Community relations is an integral part of this approach, often overlooked in searching for the biggest and boldest campaign ideas.
But what is it?
Simply put, community relations is the act of getting involved with and supporting (you guessed it) the communities in which your business operates. This usually happens via donations, volunteer events, etc.
Make no mistake, though, community relations and experiential marketing are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they should go together whenever possible.
A strong community relations strategy, paired with effective public relations outreach, can elevate your experiential marketing campaigns. By creating a meaningful buzz that generates positive news coverage, you can build a favorable image in the eyes of local consumers—driving more traffic to your business.
Take MACLYN’s Dunkin’ Iced Coffee Day influencer party, for example. In addition to being a fun, picturesque get-together for Chicagoland social media stars, this event helped make a positive impact. As our influencer marketing partners posted about the event (bringing in 148K impressions and 7.9K engagements), they helped raise awareness for Dunkin’s Iced Coffee Day initiative—which donated $1 from every iced coffee sold to the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation.
There aren’t many “rules” when it comes to experiential marketing, which is why it’s such an intriguing advertising strategy. That being said, you’ll need to keep the following in mind if you want to succeed.
Be big and bold. Explore new possibilities. But don’t lose sight of the “why” when planning the “what”, “where”, “when”, and “how” of your experiential marketing events. Center your community’s well-being in any way you can. Do this and good things will happen—for everyone.
EVENT MARKETING NEAR ME
If you’re a business in Iowa, Illinois, or pretty much anywhere else in the country (we’re remote work pros) searching for an event marketing strategy agency that really knows how to wow consumers, you’d be wise to partner with MACLYN.
Having executed numerous experiential marketing campaigns for important clients in a wide range of industries, MACLYN is one of the top marketing and branding agencies Naperville and Des Moines have to offer.
We do what works, because what works is what wins.
Ready to get started? Contact us now.