Guest Column: "Experiential mktg engages TG at a more emotional level"

Experiential marketing is a growing area. As our lives continue to evolve, brands are always looking at innovative ways to remain relevant, says Dialogue Factory's Dalveer Singh

e4m by Dalveer Singh
Published: Apr 17, 2014 9:45 AM  | 5 min read
Guest Column: "Experiential mktg engages TG at a more emotional level"

With growing advertising and messaging clutter, marketeers today look at innovative and interesting brand engagement exercises. Loosely defined as messaging that can be felt, touched or viewed in physical space, experiential marketing is now a vital component of any marketing manager’s mix. It acts as a direct and creative engagement tool that facilitates the interaction between brands and consumers.

A great innovative example that was much talked about - Lifebuoy had researched and found out that 1.1 billion children die due to diarrhoea yearly. The brand thought that washing hands regularly and following a healthy regime could prevent the epidemic. Hence, they leveraged the opportunity of Kumbh Mela to convey the message. They used roti as the medium of message, as the only way to have roti is by hand they used heat stamp on rote which read ‘lifebuoy se haath dhoye kya?’ and over 30 days, a team of 100 people, stood in 100 kitchens and stamped around 2.5 million rotis. The campaign was highly successful and it even reached the masses outside the festival with the help of social media, it gained huge amount of discussion and coverage across India and thus social media along with experiential marketing helped spread the message of washing hand before eating across India. A fantastic example of marrying the messaging with an innovative medium.

Another noteworthy campaign was ‘Back Tagging’ by BMC, in association with NACO and MDACS, to raise awareness about condom usage amongst migrant workers to fight HIV/AIDS on world AIDS day. Unsuspecting travellers in all local modes of transport were tagged with stickers that said ‘HIV can catch you any time use Condom!’ The passengers were clueless about what happened as they walked away with everyone else reading the message on their backs. The idea surprised people and got them talking by catching them unaware- just like the virus. The result of this unique campaign was over 1, 00,000 travellers carried the message to even more people and got them talking.

Experiental marketing has tremendous benefits:

Ø It enhances brand image by supporting brand positioning by creating presence and maximising awareness.

Ø Opportunity to meet customers face-to-face and allow them the experience to interact with the company and its products

Ø Leaves consumers with impressions they will never forget

Ø Drives customer brand loyalty to targeted demographics

Ø Allows brands to do things that can’t be done on TV, radio, print, or online

Ø Differentiates product from competition

Experiential marketing in rural India is also growing rapidly. The sheer size of the Indian hinterland itself speaks of its potential. Many FMCG, telecom and local players are using the power of experiental marketing to create effective and meaningful brand messaging.

Abundance of attention:

Although there are limited media vehicles to reach the rural audience once they are reached, rural consumers are more receptive to advertising than their urban counterparts.

Commercially profitable and socially acceptable:

Rural consumers are seen by the non-commercial world as being more gullible and therefore in need of protection. So building the rural marketing thrust around a social platform helps make it more acceptable to governments, NGOs and other stakeholders.

Higher receptivity with lower persuasion:

Rural consumers are more readily persuaded by marketing that touches them directly, such as personal experience, seeing others using it, or live demonstrations of the brand in action. It is important for mass media to be complemented by BTL activities aimed at real life demonstrations of the brand in action.

A campaign that had been executed for Nokia could be cited in this regard: to reach out to the next billion consumers Nokia India targeted youth from semi-rural markets through the Nokia range of internet phones. Nokia had created two split campaigns:

1.   On ground experiential- to identify key influencers and make them local ambassadors through ‘Nokia Net ka Guru’ program.

2.   On Mobile- A WAP platform was created for the Nokia Net ka Gurus to share, engage and spread information about Nokia to others The Guru could also invite his friends and family to join as fans and connect with other youth with similar tastes and interests. Special games and contests were regularly uploaded for engagement and the participants could with prize from Nokia.

The outcome of this campaign was:

1.   The pilot was carried out across 4 cities and 11 colleges of western UP.

2.   Nokia directly engaged with 5000 students in 4 weeks to get ‘16 Nokia Net ka Gurus’

3.   Currently the ‘16 Nokia Net ka Gurus’ have over 20,000 fans with 5,60,000 referrals and growing

Overall, experiential marketing will be a growing area. It usually doesn’t involve millions of eyeballs of a large scale television or print campaign, but it does engage with target consumers at a much deeper, more personal and more emotional level, creating positive buzz.

As our lives continue to evolve, brands are always looking at innovative ways to remain relevant and engage potential consumers and in the right hands, experiential marketing delivers on all of these points and more!

The author is Head - Experiential Marketing, Asia Pacific at Dialogue Factory. 

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