Imagine walking into a coffee shop to buy something that you tasted maybe a week back in a different outlet but not remembering what you tasted. You have an idea of its flavour and its thought lingers at the back of your mind. Seeing you confused and frustrated, the barista politely offers to blend you a coffee which he assumes is the one on your mind. Handing over your coffee in the biggest cup size, you sip onto it and a smile forms on your face as you confirm that it is exactly what you had on your mind. Happy and content, you pull out your wallet to make a payment, to which the barista very casually refuses and says it is on the house! How would you feel? You would feel like the most deserving person to receive this perfect blended coffee. This is what I experienced in Starbucks, one of the few brands who know how to give their customers the best experience, even if it is by giving them a coffee free for their birthday or even by simply letting them use their free Wi-Fi for the entire day on buying a single cup of any beverage.
This is nothing but Experiential Marketing or Engagement Marketing where a brand tries to create a closer bond with the consumers by giving them an experience to remember, something that they can value and always associate with the brand. This also creates an emotional connection with the product or service in the minds of the consumers. A lot of brands have started experiential marketing not just so they can market their brand or product but to leave a lasting impression behind that is both memorable and highly impactful for the end consumer.
Taking you back to such experiences were the brands that have been highly successful in creating memorable miracles for their users. 5 years after the engagement marketing campaign of WestJet, we still remember the miracle campaign during every Christmas. You may or may not have experienced it yourself, but the viral video itself is enough to embed those feelings in your mind. In 2013, WestJet chose to give back to their consumers by making them experience Christmas in a completely new way. This experiential marketing was no less than a miracle by itself, where people received presents from WestJet which were completely unimaginable and least expected. I am definitely taking WestJet journeys around Christmas after watching people live this experience.
Coco-Cola is one other brand, who has always tried and managed successfully to make their consumers happy. They challenge their technological abilities to give the best to their happiness seekers. Coca-cola installed phone booths in UAE to spread happiness through phone calls. These machines accepted bottle caps instead of coins and the users could speak to their loved ones who were far away from them. On the other hand, they also managed to get people from India and Pakistan who have never met each other, face to face by just installing machines, with which you could wave, spread love and share a coke.
Consumers no longer pay for products or services, but rather for experiences. There is a demand for attention and customisations in every field. Every customer wants something to be offered to him/her that has never been offered before to anyone else. Experiential marketing has the power to achieve this by transforming and elevating the connections a brand builds with its consumers. With Marketing changing on a daily basis and new means and methods entering the picture, it won’t be long before every brand across various industries experiences the need to catch up!