Did you know that around 12 million people live in the 70-mile-wide path of totality of the recent solar eclipse? And, up to another seven million outside of the path were expected to travel to witness the phenomenon? Due to widespread coverage of the much-anticipated event, it’s likely you heard these statistics. But, you may not fully grasp the interest this event drew everywhere. Viewing parties took place in areas well outside the path. Cities included some as far north as NYC and as far south as Fort Worth, TX, and even beyond. Yet, this fact didn’t go unnoticed by smart brands. Several realized the impact the total solar eclipse would make nationwide. And, they took this powerful opportunity to build brand awareness.
Some, like Chiquita, the leading banana company, utilized the Internet to reach Americans in the weeks leading up to the event. The brand released two teaser videos which garnered about 1.8 and 1.6 million views, respectively. Yet, interest waned with its official announcement. It only caught 44,000 views. And, its next four videos have received less than 6,000 views – combined – to date.
On the other hand, many brands sought to make a lasting connection with consumers. To do so, they lured eclipse enthusiasts to their locations with a can’t-refuse offer or better yet, a memorable experience. It’s those brands that pulled out all the stops with event and experiential marketing that weren’t overshadowed by the competition.
Why Event and Experiential Marketing Make the Biggest Bang
One company that sought to instill a big experience for consumers was Casper. The mattress brand set up camp in a hotspot for eclipse watching. That city, ironically enough, was Casper, WY. People who bought tickets to Casper Camp got a tent with a Casper mattress, as well as meals and activities, such as yoga and a film screening. When it came time for the eclipse, attendees received safe glasses and listened to a special soundtrack to enhance the experience. The event sold out.
Yet, this isn’t a first for Casper. In fact, the brand is known for its experiential marketing efforts. It has lent mattresses to help SXSW attendees catch some sleep. And, its “Nap Tour” has given people in 15 cities the chance to get in a power nap. The experience it delivers has reinvented the mattress industry. It has also propelled them to a $100 million company in less than two years.
That’s because experience is key to winning consumers in this day and age. In truth, almost 75% of millennials would rather buy an experience versus a product or good. Doing so gives them greater satisfaction. They are happier longer. And, they are able to connect with other like-minded individuals and their loved ones. These results build brand awareness and help secure brand loyalty. In short, delivering a great experience gives brands staying power.
5 Ways to Build Brand Awareness with Event and Experiential Marketing
The following experiential marketing initiatives are proven to build brand awareness. They offer variety to allow any brand to fulfill its goal, while staying in budget.
1. Street teams.
Activation of a street team is a cost-effective way to build brand awareness in targeted areas. Brand ambassadors approach consumers in pinpoint locations to share key messages. They can also distribute samples or coupons or direct people to your store or website. This can be done in conjunction with a community happening or on a normal day. But, know that you’re most likely to reach your goal when traffic is high. So, plan your street team during events or high-traffic times when possible.
2. Guerrilla marketing.
For larger budgets, forms of guerrilla marketing can leave a lasting impression without breaking the bank. Efforts such as flash mobs or PR stunts can grab attention and drive consumers to event staff. Or, small upgrades to street teams, such as those on segways or the host of contests, can easily jump-start conversations.
3. A pop-up shop.
The concept of a temporary retail location, known as a pop-up shop, started as a trend but is showing stamina. That’s because a trip to a pop-up shop is an experience within itself. Consumers know such a shop is temporary and that creates fear of missing out (FOMO). Brands can offer greater value for greater FOMO when hosting influencers or letting event staff give product demos.
Pop-up shops are ideal during high-traffic shopping seasons, such as back-to-school, Halloween, Black Friday, or Christmas. They’re also great at community events, such as festivals or even eclipse viewing parties.
4. Mobile marketing tours.
Like street teams, mobile marketing tours reach consumers right where they live, work and play. This enables a high level of comfort for relaxed interaction, as well as ease of access, which is paramount in today’s society. Mobile marketing tours allow brands to reach people in multiple locations. And since a small team of market managers travel with the tour, these on-the-go events streamline inventory transport while keeping messaging and event staff management consistent.
5. Private events.
A private event can hitch itself to a larger scale happening, such as an eclipse. It can fall in the same timeframe or build upon its theme. But, it can also standalone. Either way, private events let brands offer a level of exclusivity to make consumers feel special. It doesn’t matter if event staff build brand awareness with new people or loyalty among existing clients. These happenings provide the opportunity to establish or strengthen consumer connections. And, they give brands the freedom to create any environment they desire. This can include entertainment such as live music or activities like giveaways and demos. The sky’s the limit when brands work to build brand awareness and obscure competing brands with event and experiential marketing.
EPS delivers superior event staff that allow companies to build brand awareness and make connections. We have almost 18 years’ experience in staffing street teams, guerrilla marketing efforts, mobile marketing tours, private events and more. Contact us to discuss your needs and learn how we can help you eclipse the competition.