The experts on experiential marketing from We’re Magnetic didn’t just tell the crowd at Advertising Week what they know about experiential marketing, they put it into action. Executive Creative Director Phil Koutsis and Global Director of Consumer Research and Insights Rachel Saunders walked the walk during their session on creating interactive brand environments.
Pulling examples from Star Wars and The Godfather, Koutsis and Saunders explained why first impressions of an experience, interactive or not, are so critical. If the first thing someone notices about your experience is negative, that’s going to be a lasting impression of your brand, according to the We’re Magnetic team, but a positive first impression can be even more powerful.
“Our opening moments with our guests are critical,” Koutsis said, “Get guests into the mindspace. Bring them into the experience.”
And once they’re inside the experience? Ignite all five senses. Experiential marketing gives the audience the unique opportunity to not only see and hear the message of a brand, but smell, feel and taste it as well. At this point in the presentation, a sweet aroma began filling the theater. If anyone in the room didn’t believe in the power of smell, they most likely did after this.
The head-turning only ceased when members of the We’re Magnetic team filled the aisles to distribute chocolate chip cookies to members of the audience. “We’re not above bribery,” Koutsis joked, and in his opinion there will always be time and place for it in experiential marketing.
Shifting the focus to the physical environments of the experiences, the team put an emphasis on the idea of “Storygiving”. Referencing the recent trend of “Instagram Museums” that provide colorful backdrops for people to capture the perfect Instagram picture to share, Koutsis said that companies should be worried about more than just the number of shares their experience gets online. In addition to the number of shares, it’s critical that a favorable brand message is being conveyed through those shares.
To make sure those interacting with the experience are actually coming out of it with the intended message, it’s important to create a dialogue rather than a monologue, according to the team.
“People want to be actively engaged, not passively watching,” Saunders said.
Nike’s “Unlimited Stadium” exemplifies this idea perfectly, according to Koutsis. They created a running path integrated with technology that let runners pace themselves with LED versions of themselves or Nike athletes, which expressed Nike’s message that every runner is unique, so they create shoes to accommodate all of them.
Experiential marketing, when done right, can convey a brand’s message in a more impactful way than traditional 2D advertisements, according to the We’re Magnetic team, and it can also be a place for marketers to collect real-time feedback from the masses. The session concluded with the presenters allowing the audience to decide between Q&A or networking time, continuing with the theme of showing rather than telling.