Experiential PR – The Best of Both Worlds
What is Experiential PR?
Experiential PR is the building of a bond that has always been central to PR, but experiential has moved the goalposts from simply telling a consumer about a product or feature to letting them experience it firsthand. We use many different terms: Brand Activation, Event Activation, Store Activation, and Experiential Activation. Successful PR Agencies build storytelling strategies that provide the online and face-to-face interactions that consumers crave.
Experiential Agencies are now leading the change and PR Agencies transforming their capability to include Experiential Marketing or they have created partnerships with Experiential Marketing Agencies, like Evolve Activation.
What are the typical responsibilities of a PR Agency?
PR Agencies have a lot on their plate. Onclusive outlines “The 22 Responsibilities of PR and What they Entail.” With so much included in the PR role, it only makes sense to pull in an experiential activation agency to handle the logistics of the face-to-face engagement.
It would be absurd to try and claim that using events as part of PR campaigns was anything new. Additionally, interactive brand engagement events are hardly fresh concepts either. Oftentimes, anything quirky or different was initially labeled guerrilla marketing or a PR stunt. While our agency is glad to use these terms they can be a bit crude for a PR Agency to use as a title for their strategy.
Why add Experiential Marketing to your PR Strategy?
Experiential PR Generates Unique Content
Content is an essential component of any marketing strategy. As the online world becomes more saturated, it’s growing increasingly difficult for today’s brands to create experiences that resonate with their customers online. Fortunately, an experiential campaign gives firms countless ways to generate interesting and unique content to share on all their channels.
For instance, companies can launch live videos of their events on social media channels like Facebook Live, or post podcasts on Apple’s iTunes. Attendees and PR teams can even write up interesting press releases about what happens during the campaign, leading to additional marketing materials. The more content a company can create due to its experiential marketing events, the easier it will be for that brand to supplement its existing SEO and digital advertising campaigns.
Experiential PR Creates Authentic Interactions With Customers
Another great thing about experiential marketing is that it leads to a more robust consumer experience for a brand’s target audience. Putting a product into a customer’s hands will always be one of the best ways to demonstrate the credibility and performance of an item. Experiential campaigns often include opportunities for clients to try products before they buy them – reducing the risk involved with investing in a new company.
When used correctly, an experiential campaign can also help build an emotional connection between a brand and its target audience before the company launches a new product – improving the chances that the business will get customers the moment they go to market.
Experiential PR Gets People Talking
Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of experiential marketing is that it helps to get people talking about a company. For instance, if a company was to create a unique experiential marketing event, then tie that campaign to a branded hashtag or social media sharing strategy, they could even create viral content that takes their brand reach to the next level. While social media can be a powerful tool on its own, it becomes particularly valuable when combined with experiential marketing.
Consumers love to be part of the next big thing – whether it’s participating in a competition or taking a picture of themselves with a celebrity or trending product.
Experiential PR Develops A Stronger Relationship With An Audience
These days, consumers often interact with companies through digital media like social channels, websites, or email. While digital connections are often more convenient, they take something away from the customer experience, leaving customers craving a more personal connection.
With experiential marketing, brands have the opportunity to tap into face-to-face experiences with their target audience, giving them experiences that they’re not likely to forget. These experiential events ensure that customers have the chance to interact with their favorite brands directly and get to know the brand’s persona.
If companies use their experiential campaigns to convey their mission and values to their customers, they can even transform standard customers into brand ambassadors. Research frequently shows that customers are more likely to feel loyal to a brand that shares their value. A company that shows they also care about the planet, or value equality through their experiential campaigns, can connect with their clients on a deeper level.
Experiential PR Attracts Earned Media
The right marketing effort can quickly earn the attention of press companies, influencers, and more. When an experiential marketing campaign is interesting enough, it automatically grabs people’s attention.
The more creative a company is with its experiential strategies – like Red Bull was when they sent a man hurtling through space, the more likely they are to get the attention of earned media groups. Companies might even attract the attention of organizations that would have ignored them had they tried to launch a press conference or simple product demonstration.
Experiential PR Can Lead To Useful Analytics
Because experiential marketing allows companies to interact with their consumers during live events – it’s relatively easy for them to track the number of meaningful analytics. For instance, a business could look at attendance and participation to find out how engaged their customers are. On the other hand, they could look at the results of their campaigns in the form of new social media followers, sales leads, or conversions.
Data not only keeps company leaders happy – but it also provides brands with the raw information they need to make their future marketing campaigns and experiential events more compelling. Over time, the information companies get from their experiential marketing campaigns can improve everything from their digital marketing strategy to their social media efforts.
What kinds of Experiential Programs are Public Relations professionals using?
To best facilitate this kind of emotional connection, PR Agencies are getting creative with experiential. Check out our case studies to get an idea of what we bring to a brand activation experience. We are especially proud of our work on The Aeronauts Movie Premier for Amazon and our multiple brand activations for Youtheory.
Best Versus Next Practice. Continually thinking about the best methods of event marketing keeps agencies sharp and interactive. Thinking about what is going to work next means that you need people familiar with the industry trends. Contact us to find out some of the ideas we have to help you reach the public.
What resources are available to Public Relations professionals?
The American Marketing Association publishes an Annual “The Future of Marketing Report” which has helpful insights. PRs also can do well working with experiential agencies to help facilitate activations. Contact us at any stage of your planning to see how we can step in and help you to make the most of your experiential marketing efforts.