Experiential marketing was hot before the COVID-19 pandemic. Though the industry has had to make intentional pivots to adjust to the realities of the pandemic, experiential marketing is well-positioned to gain even more traction in 2021.
As vaccination rates increase and consumers have become more comfortable returning to a relative “normal,” they’ve returned with a deeper appreciation for connection. Coming out of months with minimal interaction with people outside of their homes, consumers cherish making memories and genuine connections with loved ones, strangers, and brands in a new way.
Savvy experiential marketers and brands looking to dip their toes into the experiential waters are doing so at a perfect time. With more technology at our fingertips than ever before, now is the perfect time to prioritize creating memorable experiences for your consumers. Read on to learn about 5 experiential marketing trends to consider leveraging for your marketing strategy.
What is Experiential Marketing?
Experiential marketing is the practice of creating and facilitating unique in-person or online experiences for consumers to interact with brands. Experiential marketing is also sometimes called event marketing or live marketing. Typically, experiential marketing events have higher-level strategic goals around generating brand awareness or cultivating brand loyalty.
This type of marketing is a great tool to have in your marketing tool belt and in your overall marketing strategy. Unlike some other marketing tactics, experiential marketing has the potential to help consumers build a memorable connection with a brand that isn’t directly connected to purchasing anything. Experiential marketing allows them to build a relationship with a brand in a similar way that they’d build a relationship with a person — by making memories.
Here are 5 experiential marketing trends worth trying in 2021.
5 Experiential Marketing Trends in 2021
After the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 has spurred the reemergence of experiential marketing and brought new, fresh trends such as outdoor experiences and virtual conferences to the forefront.
Outdoor experiences are all the rage in 2021. Many people can’t wait to spend time outdoors, especially after spending months at home in 2020. Outdoor experiences have also emerged as one of the top experiential marketing trends in 2021 since many people feel more safe engaging in large, open, outdoor spaces, than in enclosed, indoor spaces.
Experiential marketing examples of this trend include sponsored outdoor concerts, food truck festivals, and unique activations like Vans’ “House of Vans” campaign. The shoe brand hosted pop-ups at local skate parks in large cities like New York City. At the pop-ups, the brand created a space for skateboarders to connect and promoted the launch of a new shoe line honoring David Bowie.
Virtual conferences and events are a great way to incorporate experiential marketing into your strategy, even as COVID-19 continues to be relevant and hang in the air. In-person conference experiences can be transformed into engaging, digital experiences with a few adjustments to the structure and tools that specifically support virtual events.
Digital conferences also give you the opportunity to expand your reach. With in-person conferences, attendance is limited to those who are able to be there in person. But, with digital conferences, you can have attendees from around the country and possibly even the world.
Use of Technology
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, technology played a role in experiential marketing, but it wasn’t necessarily a leading role. Today, technology is central to experiential events, allowing brands to reach even more people in a safe manner.
Video conferencing and streaming technology is widely used for many experiential events, especially virtual conferences and digital events. Social media platforms can also be leveraged for experiential marketing events.
Technology has also made people and experiences more accessible. Some brands use technology to connect consumers with celebrity performances they may not otherwise have access to.
Social Cause Advocacy
The events of 2020 sparked an increase in national and global conversations around social justice issues, and brands have been getting involved. Many brands have expressed support for different communities on social media, and many have launched larger initiatives to promote change. This activism has influenced experiential marketing trends as well, with some companies incorporating philanthropic or social justice causes into their events.
For example, the beloved ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s created an art installation called “Art for Justice” at its factory in Waterbury, Vermont. The artists featured in the installation have first-hand experience with incarceration, and the exhibit highlights the need for prison reform.
Virtual and Augmented Reality
Ten years ago, virtual and augmented reality seemed like something from an episode of “Back to the Future.” But today, virtual and augmented reality are very much a reality, and not just for gamers. These technologies can create unique experiential marketing events and draw consumers in due to pure curiosity.
One company that successfully executed this experiential marketing trend is Kentucky Fried Chicken. They launched a virtual reality escape room game to train consumers to make their infamous chicken, celebrating their employees in the process.
Tips To Prepare for Experiential Marketing Events
With these tips, you can successfully prepare for and execute all types of experiential marketing events.
Boost Your Branding
To host successful events, such as the experiential marketing examples shared in this article, you’ll need to have a strong brand. Having a reputation as a great brand for consumers and employees reaps endless returns. BestCompaniesAZ can help. The BestCompaniesAZ team of experts can help increase your brand awareness and improve your branding by featuring career openings and providing prominent logo placement on their site.
Invest in SEO
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the art and practice of optimizing content to be easily found online. Investing in SEO can help your website rank for relevant search terms, generating organic, or unpaid, traffic to your site. SEO takes time, though, so it’s important to take the time to focus and prioritize your SEO strategy.
Elevate Your Brand With BestCompaniesAZ
BestCompaniesAZ offers resources to help you elevate your brand and get in front of potential fans, customers, and employees. Our employer branding and public relations services can help raise awareness for your company, positioning you well for successful experiential marketing events and activations. Explore the BestCompaniesAZ website today and take your first step toward better branding.