If you’ve been recently listening to iTunes Radio you must have chanced upon some unexpected lyrics. "You are a lean, clean, wiping machine" or "You are my Number One, when I go Number Two."
Rather curious but set to surprisingly upbeat foot-tapping music. Courtesy, Procter & Gamble’s loo roll Charmin. This recent campaign might not be to everyone’s taste, but it makes one point clear - brands are trying to behave just as consumers would expect them to.
Post the financial crash, people are reappraising what matters most. Cash is scarce and so material wants and desires are decreasing and the cynical consumer is looking for something else - yearning for personal experiences; seeking moments and curating stories; constantly searching for our next status update or tweet; wanting to discover. Not always for that ditty involving toilet humour from our loo roll brand. But trailing true experience marketing for the customers.
This new approach is set to replace the traditional experiential model, which mainly centred on product trial. This thinking sought to reach the highest audience volume at the lowest possible contact cost.
If we want consumer loyalty and people to love our brands, then we need to develop experiences that deliver against human needs and wants.
Experience marketing turns this on its head and looks at reaching smaller volumes of key opinion formers and social leaders, delivering incredible, immersive moments that educate, inform and most importantly entertain. These moments tend to explode across social platforms, and sow the seed for a larger, broadcast approach.
Red Bull is often touted as the innovator in this area and you can’t argue. The brand’s approach at putting experience, moments and content at the very centre of its story is hugely successful. So successful in fact, that other brands are following.
Mountain Dew’s Roadtrip campaign beautifully embraced the less is more approach and delivered an incredible, considered and exciting experience to a select, key group of their target. The Dew Road Tour – a custom built trailer fitted out with Xbox 360 consoles and big screens travelled around several weeks stopping at sponsored events and key retail outlets.The result was a human slingshot viewed over 3.5m times and reappraisal amongst one of the most demanding, and fickle consumer segments.
Experience marketing is not just about creating branded content though. It’s about brands realising that its behaviour needs to match up with the expectation of their consumer.
Our work with Kenco to reinvent the way consumers considered vending machine coffee is such a case. We created a unique interactive sampling experience, which allowed consumers to experience this new coffee in a fun and exciting way, has not only seen a ground breaking approach to an essentially business-to-business challenge, but delivered entertaining content seen, loved and shared by tens of thousands of coffee loving fans.
If we want consumer loyalty and people to love our brands, then we need to develop experiences that deliver against human needs and wants. Brand experiences that entertain, that educate, that inform. Brand experiences that are brave and that make people smile, laugh, discuss, debate and share.
Simply put, it’s a basic human truth that people will always respond more positively to a memorable experience than a flat, one-dimensional branded message. I won’t advise catchy tunes about the human body and its functions, though.