What a year of PR experiences and events we’ve had so far…from Greggs Valentine’s Day “fine dining” and McDonald’s posh restaurant to launch the Signature Collection, to Deliveroo recreating the iconic ‘Lunch atop a Skyscraper’ and human charging points courtesy of Cadbury.
We all know the term “experience seekers” and “experience collectors” by now, referring to the millennial audience looking to be part of something they can physically engage with and share with their friends, in the real world and via digital.
Experiential is an important part of reaching your audience and helping to cement their buy in, as well as obviously inviting liquid-on-lips and try-before-you-buy.
But all too often experiential is only approached from the angle of simply getting product or branding in front of consumers who attend and sometimes with the PR agency brought in last minute to secure listings coverage. But it has to be strategically right and with a creative hook that will deeply engage and travel, and that’s where PR expertise comes in.
An experience has to be more than simply engaging the relatively small number of consumers luckily enough to go, or those who happen to walk past. Otherwise how are you going to see true return on investment and value?
It’s not hard to make an experience entertaining for the consumers who are there, but does it have an interesting enough story to inspire those people to capture their own content and post it all over social for their friends to see? And what about those who can’t attend in person? That hook has to be compelling enough for media to want to write about it (favourably of course) and for those non-attendees to want to read and feel positively about it, and even share it with their friends.
And it’s all very well entertaining and exiting people in the moment, but have they learnt something about your brand; what is stands for; why it resonates with them; its place in their brand-heavy lives?
If budgets are tight, the value of partnering with an existing brand e.g. our recent partnership for Gentleman Jack and Barber Barber provided a strong ROI and tapped into a like-minded, already engaged audience. And equally, being part of a bigger event where your audience will be e.g. Taste of London or a festival also works well, although you won’t get the standalone PR coverage. However, consider engaging influencers – we recently worked with food blogger Kym Grimshaw from On The Plate, to attend Lost Village and experience The Botanist Gin’s amazing Greenhouse installation, including a foraging masterclass.
Influencer-only events are a great way of telling your story to your target audience without the standalone event price tag. But be creative. Even if you’re paying influencers to attend and post, they a) must authentically fit with your brand values/ideally be an existing brand fan and b) must be inspired to capture strong, beautiful content to share with their fans and followers. We recently organised a Bear Nibbles event for parenting bloggers and their children to cook the fruit snack from scratch themselves and to discuss the challenges around children’s snackingwith a nutritionist. This created content that’s not only interesting, but genuinely helpful, shareable and emotive.
Interactivity is key to help consumers feel part of the experience and brand world. And again, this doesn’t necessarily have to be a costly event. Hendrick’s Gin, for the second year running, invited consumers to pay for a G&T at participating bars with a cucumber for World Cucumber Day – an activity that has been activated in multiple countries.
People gather information from multiple touch points, so experiential should ideally be part of the rich tapestry of activity that helps stir emotion amongst the audience. Another step to helping brands resonate with the consumers on a deeper level.