In a world where products and services look more similar than ever before, how are brands creating meaningful value to win the hearts and minds of consumers? For retailers and ecommerce brands alike consumer experience has never been more important. That’s why some of the most iconic brands are answering the call and creating experiential marketing campaigns that not only move the bottom line, but also generate loyalty and fuel a robust content marketing strategy. In fact, 77% of marketers use experiential marketing as a vital part of a brand’s advertising strategy.
Creating unique experiences is more than setting-up a pop-up shop. Brands must think holistically about the near- and longer-term impact of their event marketing initiatives. For example, Oscar Mayer harnessed the power of its Wienermobile to fuel social content and communicate with its consumers. Crayola used a nation-wide contest to replace and rename a staple color from its iconic yellow box, leading to massive social engagement. Hershey’s partnered with NBC for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games for their “taste the gold” campaign, introducing a new “gold” chocolate bar promoted by U.S. Olympic athletes.
Why are brands investing so much in experiential marketing? Sixty-five percent of marketers feel it’s directly correlated to sales and 65% of consumers say it helps them better understand a product, far surpassing both TV and digital efforts.
Jun Group, in partnership with the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), sat down with marketers from five formidable brands -- The Hershey Company, Crayola, Hertz, Oscar Mayer and Lowes Foods -- at the recent Brand Activations Conference in Chicago. In the following interview excerpts they discuss experiential and content marketing and their plans for transforming their organizations with an eye towards consumer experiences.
Mary Pochobradsky, Senior Director, Brand Strategy & Integrated Marketing, The Hershey Company
“At the Olympics we had a unique partnership with USOC and NBC. We offered the U.S. Olympic athletes the opportunity to opt-in to our program, and if they won a gold medal NBC would create some custom content for us, celebrating the win and creating a product tie-in. At the same time, we had a consumer promotion going on: With every U.S. Olympic athlete that won a gold, we gave away 10,000 free Hershey bars.”
Christy Rittberger, Director, Brand Experience, The Hertz Corp
“We just won, six years in a row, the Women’s Choice Award. We had an event at our corporate headquarters that was far-reaching. We had a full panel of women that succeeded in their own right and in various industries, but it was far-reaching from a social perspective, from a local perspective and digital, as well. And there is more to come.”
Tim Lowe, President, Lowes Foods
“Consumers don’t really get brand experiences in grocery stores. There are very few stores that actually do that. They’re primarily focused on putting cans on shelves and selling them. For us, it's really about doing something special, something different. So, you might have a glass of beer or wine when you’re hanging out in the store ... or just come in and you might see a chicken dance every now and then.”
Josh Kroo, Director of Marketing Communications, Crayola
“When you are a brand that is as big in stature as we are, but not necessarily spending millions and millions, earned media is hugely valuable. We strategically leverage experiential at key moments to help drive the conversation about Crayola. Earned media is one of the ways we get to keep our brand top of mind for consumers year-round.”
Greg Guidotti, Head of Marketing, Kraft (Oscar Mayer)
“We have the best tools and ambassadors that you could ever possibly have with the Wienermobile program. We have six Wienermobiles and twelve hot doggers that cross the nation all year round. They are on a mission to drive miles of smiles, and they drive equity for our business and brand. Each one is essentially a mini PR firm.”
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