Bruce’s Blog #1
We live in anxious times. Recession, coupled with the breakdown in trust in institutions, business and banks, means consumer confidence is at an all-time low. Marketeers are feeling the pressure, and many brands have struggled to effectively respond to the new reality. Too often the initial reaction was to batten down the hatches, slash budgets, invest in cutting prices or do nothing and hope that things would improve. All this has done is to reduce exposure to consumers and damage brand value and equity.
Successful brands will be those that continue to invest in actively engaging their consumers with relevant and motivating messages that are more direct, more personal and more tailored. Consumers are more likely to invest in products and services that offer the best combination of rational and emotional benefits, but also those that take the time to talk to them more intimately and make them feel personally valued.
The old methodology of blunt communication through mass media consumers is not working; consumers today respond more effectively to more permissive messages that are triggered by key moments within their lives. The economic climate means brands need to build trust, and offering a personal, face to face communication and a no risk trial or free sample is highly desirable and can be highly effective if combined with a greater depth of experiential engagement. This approach can increase spontaneous brand awareness by over 90% and the likelihood to purchase by 91%, as demonstrated by a recent BDRC study.
Modern experiential campaigns should be developed across integrated multiple touch-points: engaging live consumer interaction; in store activation; motivational promotions; and digital support. Digital in particular is integral to current experiential thinking; a recent Nielsen survey found that recommendations from friends posted online are the most trusted forms of advertising.
In a world of instant communications, we record our thoughts, feelings and interactions in real-time. Experiential campaigns can amplify and inspire these conversations. Our recent “Eggstra Hunt” campaign with Haribo used brand theatre on the street to leverage activity on social network sites, growing awareness and talkability around Haribo’s Easter line.
Times are certainly tough, but there are significant opportunities for future growth for those brands bold enough to commit to maintaining a depth of personal engagement with their consumers and who deliver against their brand promises.
It is for this reason that I believe there has never been a better time to invest in experiential marketing.