Q: What is the difference between events, brand experience and experience marketing?
For me, in truth, there is no difference. All events should be a brand experience, all brand experience is experience marketing. Experience marketing for me is the catch-all that includes all of the techniques and tools that we use. Brand experience is the way we exploit those tools to create that emotional link between the brand and its most important audiences.
Q: Why do experiential marketing events work best?
They work best because brand experiences and experimental marketing events have to portray the truth of the brand. Brands are just like people, they have beliefs and purpose, traits and behaviours and experiential marketing lifts the lid off the brand and brings the audience into those beliefs, behaviours and personalities. You get a true sense of what the brand is through this. That’s where the emotional linkage is and that’s what brings people into the story of the brand.
Q: What kind of results can experiential marketing bring in comparison to other marketing activity?
The results you achieve are a deeper connection with the brand and the audience and it doesn’t matter which audience, customers, clients or consumers. Research shows that more people feel closer to the brand and they are more likely to purchase as a result of going through a brand experience. They’re more likely to recommend that brand to friends and family and they are more likely to have an ongoing relationship with that brand.
Q: What are the latest trends in experiential marketing?
As we are always talking about the behaviour of the brand, the trends are the same. What’s changed is how we get there. Because of the growth in social media and social influencers, the new amplification and outreach models are often based on influencer groups. There are any number of brand experiences happening in homes across countries where small groups are brought together by micro-influences to experience a brand or a brand’s products and service. Around a dinner table or at a party, to do with vacuum cleaners, frozen foods or cleaning products for example – those experiences are happening right now.
Q: What experiential marketing campaigns have inspired you in the past year?
Again, it’s those micro-experiences that I’m really in love with – Dyson working in homes, Birdseye fish fingers holding fish finger parties, cheese brands holding cheese parties in houses. Those experiences that are true to the brand, true to the audience and true to the person who’s putting them on are really powerful and really inspiring.
Q: What’s been your favourite project to work on so far and why?
I’ve been lucky to work on lots and lots of projects and I admire Cisco Live massively. I admire creating a true brand experience as they do for 15,000 people. I admire the way they use social media to boost their application and reach. I admire the way they’ve build their partner relationships. I’m inspired by the way they bring their brand to life through a true brand experience created by George P Johnson.
Q: What is the best book you’ve read on experiential marketing or marketing in general?
I want to use this opportunity to plug The Event Professionals Handbook I created last year, which is on Amazon as a free download. It talks about all aspects of event marketing, experience marketing and brand experience – how to create it, how to think about it, how to plan it and how to deliver it. It’s worth downloading.