Generation Media explores how brands are innovating in the experiential marketing space of today

With festivals and national sporting events cancelled at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a need to innovate new forms of experiential marketing. Generation Media’s director of entertainment, Greta Bisetto Donelan explores how the likes of TikTok and other social platforms have been put to use by the industry’s creatives.

The very phrase ‘experiential marketing’ implies a physical event, in which a brand’s target consumers are invited to immerse themselves in a memorable activity that increases brand loyalty, drives a call to action, or achieves some other marketing KPI. But with everything from iconic festivals to national sporting events cancelled, what hope does this area of the industry have for survival, or relevance, in the new normal?

It would have been all too easy for brands to simply write off the idea of running any experiential marketing during Covid, but in common with so many other parts of the media landscape, creative thinkers have responded to the fact that hard times call for innovation, pivoting and rethinking ways to deepen the relationship with their customers.

Parents in particular have been calling out for opportunities for their children to connectwith the outside world now traditional
interaction has been curtailed, and the kids and youth markets have risen to the challenge.

TikTok was one of the first out of the gates with a major new initiative, partnering with LiveXLive to host a 48-hour music festival featuring over 35 artists who performed live from locations ranging from private studios to backyards and bedrooms. Meanwhile, Mark Ronson took the immersive experience one step further by creating a music video for the track ‘Pieces of Us’ on Instagram Stories using AR effects, stickers, and video clips provided by the fans themselves.

At Generation Media, we adapted a planned cinema-led experience for the launch of the video game Fast and Furious Crosswords by pivoting to a drivein cinema experience, fulfilling our client’s original objectives whilst complying with local lockdown restrictions.

Virtual events such as these have of course increased greatly in number since March. However, they’ve been a part of the media mix on digital platforms for a while; they are a scalable offering with huge reach that can be amplified on social and they offer that audience an opportunity to interact and gain a deeper level of connection with brands in a way that other methods can’t. Physical live events are starting to slowly return, and they too will continue to deliver on everything from PR and marketing objectives, to clear measurables such as footfall and sales.

For brands seeking to amplify messaging via non-traditional advertising, experiential marketing remains an opportunity worth serious consideration. Crucially, and contrary to some assumptions, it’s measurable. The key is to set out with clear KPIs at the beginning of any experiential event so you know what success looks like and you have the relevant measurement in place. Live events enable brands to sell or sample products to fans, while their virtual equivalents can include tagging to ecommerce sites and create a huge wave of social engagement, from which re-targeting campaigns can be built, and bespoke research sits perfectly alongside.

Generation Media knows the market intimately. Experiential remains a strategically important platform for brands that are looking to engage their audience and tell their story in new, immersive ways, wherever that experience has to take place. Get in touch with our Generation Entertainment team today for a virtual coffee and to see how your brand can benefit from experiential marketing

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent some six years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@bizmedia.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobHutchins3 if ranting is your thing...

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