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What it is, why it works – and how you can do it now…
In the six months since our last experiential marketing feature, enthusiasm for the discipline has continued to grow around the world. So much so that in March a group of experiential marketing agencies in the UK formed a breakaway industry body called the Brand Experience Association. The group includes agencies Proximity, iD, Arc Field Marketing and Cunning, and says it will develop research and measurement tools to help marketers judge the effectiveness of their experiential programs. Back in New Zealand, some of our more progressive companies have given experiential a go (more on one of those later) while others have hung back to see what happens. In planning this feature we decided to help those ‘wait-and-see’ marketers to stop sitting on the fence, and get into some experiential marketing of their own. Once again we approached Marketing Engineering firm Chisel with a concise brief – tell us what experiential marketing is and isn’t – and more importantly, tell us how to do it. Chisel’s team of Jake Pearce, Mike Pepper and Roger Slater were up for the challenge, and in the following pages present a comprehensive ‘how to’ guide for experiential marketing – applying their techniques to Sir Edmund Hillary and The All Blacks – and then two kiwi icon brands – The Warehouse and Air New Zealand. Marketing has also come to the experiential party, presenting a 10 minute do-it-yourself experiential marketing challenge on page XX with prizes sure to motivate any marketer with an intact ego. What it is, and what it is not A quick recap. Experiential marketing is about taking a brand’s essence and amplifying that into a set of tangible, physical, interactive experiences which reinforce the brand. Rather than ‘seeing’ your brand through traditional communications like TVC’s, print and billboards etc, your consumers ‘feel’ it by being in it. Experiential marketing differs from traditional brand communication because it’s about a brand creating its own media as a way of expressing itself. But just as television did not replace radio, experiential marketing will not replace other media – it will merely alter the way they are used. In the UK the Chartered Institute of Marketing predicts that the key issue in the future for marketing is an impending war – a war between consumers and marketers over intrusion into their lives (the war is set to start in 2008 – please diarise). The ultimate winners of this war will be the companies that understand how to offer brand experiences that pull, rather than push – as we’re all drawn towards things we want to do, or phrased a little differently, experiences that we want to have. These brands will be in the business of creating completely original consumer entertainment and experiences – and they’ll use traditional media to support that. Some quick examples. From its launch Red Bull has worked hard to develop innovative ways to communicate its ‘energy’ essence. All Red Bull marketing is built around amplifying 'enhanced ability'. The company has founded numerous ongoing events related to extreme sports like rock climbing, para-flying and aerobatics. It also recruits ‘mobile energy teams’ to seek out people in need of energy at sports events, night clubs, offices and bars – and takes Red Bull to them, thus making the drink highly relevant to its consumers wherever they shop, work or play. In fact, Red Bull is so synonymous with excess energy that when US presidential hopeful Howard Dean gave an overly exhilarated concession speech recently (that ultimately lost him the nomination), Late Show host David Letterman said it was time Dean “laid off the Red Bulls”. Staying with the beverage market, although Coca Cola have been huge spenders in traditional media for decades, a recent statement by their COO Steve Heyer says that "the days of mass, homogenous marketing are behind us" which indicates the company is heading in a new direction. One part of that direction are ‘Coca-Cola Red Lounges’, an interesting experience-based innovation that targets teens in shopping malls. The lounges offer music,
games and movie programming and Coke hope the kids will settle in and chill with their friends on custom built Coke furniture – essentially choosing to be immersed in Coke, rather than being intruded on (pushed) by traditional brand advertising. What experiential marketing is not, is one-off events, sponsorships, product sampling, bar or night club promotions or street merchandising teams. It is often misunderstood as some kind of related ‘quick fix’ tactic – but as the science of marketing evolves, experiential marketing will become the dominant marketing tool in the future – and the role of other media will increasingly be simply to support it. Experientialism applied To further aid understanding, let’s apply experiential marketing to a couple of New Zealand icons – Sir Edmund Hillary and the All Blacks. In the case of Sir Ed, his brand essence is like that of the Wright Brothers or Nelson Mandela – redefining human potential – and his personal life has been closely identified with a never-give-up attitude and a search for excellence. If he was a brand or product, one way to amplify this essence experientially would be to create a ‘Hillary Centre’. A place where any New Zealander could go to find the thing within them that they’re truly exceptional at. The centre would be staffed with experts from a range of different fields – sports people, academics, spiritual leaders and rich business people that wanted to give something back. It would give attendees the opportunity to find the thing they were ‘born for’ – and enable them to realise their full potential. There could also be Hillary Scouts – sent out around the country in search of exceptional potential in a range of fields. Plucked from their workaday lives, these budding talents could be placed at the Hillary Centre and given the opportunity to fast track their gifts, for the benefit of all New Zealand. And now the All Blacks. Where the South Africans have always been ‘Brutal’ and the French ‘Unexpected’, the brand essence of the All Blacks has evolved over the century. At times it has been ‘Invincibility’, but more recently it’s become ‘Effective Pioneers’. Although rugby wasn’t invented here, there’s no denying that New Zealand is now the game’s spiritual home. And as such, New Zealand (and the All Blacks) should lead rugby in terms of how it’s played. So imagine the following (as far fetched as it might sound – as the goal here is to get you thinking). A three center (Chch/Akl/Well) NASA style headquarters for rugby, famous around the world, and as large and imposing as Te Papa. These centres would be the New Zealand Think Tank for rugby, staffed by All Black greats young and old. Using the suggestions of any New Zealander with a bright idea, they’d work at filtering out the best ones, to find pioneering approaches to winning rugby games in the areas of game analysis, physical training, body shape combinations, psychology and tactics. These new approaches would then be adopted and trialled in national show case games – with a clear remit – to test them thoroughly and find the ones that work. They would be All Black research and development games – but not played by the All Blacks. Once workable new approaches to rugby were found, they would be fed through to the All Blacks to hone and perfect. To own this essence the All Blacks would play the rugby that the whole country had contributed to. Simply put, it would no longer be the All Blacks on a pinnacle and everyone else below – as we could all be involved in the experience of creating the All Blacks brand. Now read on to learn how to develop an experiential marketing program
Fig 1.0 Developing A Plan (THIS SHOULD BE IN A BOX OR TABLE)
A step by step guide to experiential marketing
•Step 1 : Have absolute clarity about your essence – as it needs to be timeless from the
point you commit to it. Some examples are; Coca Cola = refreshment, Swatch = fun, Harley Davidson = power.
•Step 2 : Ascertain the key emotional brand Touchpoints for your brand
•Step 3: Identify missing Touchpoints for your brand or create new ones •Step 4: Generate a series of experiential concepts that will amplify your essence •Step 5: Filter those concepts around the following; •Relevance to delivering essence/Touchpoints – conceptual relevance •Resource/deliverability – pragmatic deliverability •Step 6: Identify the concepts which pass through the filters (if none do, go back to Stage 4) •Step 7: Double check the concepts deliver on your essence – do a reality check through
formal/informal research if unsure
•Step 8: Find the best way to deliver on the experiential marketing program. If you don’t
have the resource internally, find a partner with the right experience to deliver on your concept. Evaluate them on the following;
•They understand your essence •They’re passionate •They’re a pioneer/early adopter •They’re not media biased (ie they won’t try to persuade you to spend money where
you don’t want to) Plan into action; Air New Zealand and The Warehouse
Using the template from Fig 1.0, we can now apply our steps to Air New Zealand and The Warehouse AIR NEW ZEALAND
•Step 1: What is Air New Zealand’s essence?
Our team have experience of airlines – KLM’s global strategy and Mike Pepper was once a senior marketer at Air New Zealand, so we’re confident in saying that our national airline needs to clarify its brand. Its essence was once a kind of down-home ‘genuine hospitality’ (can you imagine a hostess recruiting kids to pass out boiled lollies on a United Airlines flight for example?), but today its essence is not as clear. We’d put forward a strong case that Air New Zealand’s essence now is ‘relaxed efficiency’ since that can be applied anywhere in the world, is reflective of New Zealand culture and is relevant on both international and local flights
•Step 2: Ascertain key emotional Touchpoints: •Step 3:
Not difficult in this case – airport check-in and the in-flight experience Identify missing Touchpoints or create new ones: From the customer’s perspective there are some great opportunities for Air New Zealand here. Examples include;
•The potential need to feel cared for before I get on the flight: •Do I have accommodation sorted? •Do I have currency? •Can I pre-check my bags in to make my life easier? •The potential need to feel cared for after I’ve got off the flight? •Is there someone who will help me in an emergency? •Do I have transport?
•Step 4: Create a series of experiential concepts that will amplify Air New Zealand’s
essence. Some ideas would be;
•Call and check passenger requirements for transport, accommodation and
•Offer transport on an Air NZ minibus and provide currency services at the airport •Luggage check-in arrangements – offer hotel check-in or develop town centre
check in facilities, so passengers can check their bags conveniently before traveling to the airport (as is done in Hong Kong).
•Provide ‘fresh New Zealand bottled water’ from airport vending machines at no
charge. Labels could tell the Air New Zealand story and show route maps. Water would be available to passengers from any airline – New Zealanders are a generous people after all.
•Ascertain the in-flight experience required: Ie: does someone want to work on the
flight, or chat with people, be entertained or simply be pampered? them at the airport and placed on the plane In-Flight
•Duty free. Offer a service at check-in, where passenger’s duty free is purchase for •Passengers are assigned seating according to their desired in-flight experience
•If passengers want to continue their ‘relaxed efficiency’ experience they can stay at
a hotel chain established by Air New Zealand which deliver relaxed efficiency
•Travel bureau. Arranges an experience – ie route/itinerary and hotels in countries •Brand New Zealand/Air NZ global windows. In Mega Cities create a ‘Brand New
Zealand Experience’. A showcase of all that’s great about NZ (think Te Papa’s NZ Experience exhibit on a larger scale) Staffed by ‘real kiwis’ with real stories from different parts of NZ Physically spaced out according to geography so you can ‘visit’ different parts of the country and get a flavour with visual and aural stimuli (and perhaps even smells from the area). Once people have ‘experienced’ New Zealand, they will be in a better position to understand Air New Zealand and how it relates to the country.
•Experiential ‘Brand New Zealand’ touch-screens could cost effectively extend the
concept to smaller centres.
•Step 5/6: – Filter •This is the reality check (NEED TO INSERT THE GRAPH JAKE PRESENTED TO
ME HERE – PROFILE WILL NEED TO CREATE) where Air New Zealand marketers should focus on their core current business, and decide what is actually do-able.
•Pre-flight, check-in and in-flight experiences would be priorities. •Beyond this, however, the bolder ‘Brand New Zealand Experience’ booths and •Step 7: Double check the concepts deliver on the ‘relaxed efficiency’ essence •Focus on the specific concepts and do a reality check through formal/informal •Step 8: Delivery • Pull together the best internal/external team to deliver the new initiatives.
research. screens could be prioritised, as they’re better able to amplify the essence in a compelling, distinctive way (and could be structured to create sales leads).
•Step 1: What is The Warehouse’s essence?:
Perhaps surprisingly, we’d argue that the essence of The Warehouse is ‘smart’. People shop there for a wide range of items at value-for-money prices. Warehouse shoppers like to feel they’re ‘getting a bargain’ – ie are smart shoppers – thus the brand has to provide ‘information’ to make people feel empowered to choose.
•Step 2: Ascertain key emotional Touchpoints:
Easy enough – the entire ‘in-store’ experience.
Identify missing Touchpoints or create new ones: As with Air New Zealand, there are some excellent opportunities here for The Warehouse. Examples include; •Pre-shopping assistance •In-store fast track shopping •Warehouse kiosks •Championing and or reviewing new consumer products as they hit the New Zealand market
•A Warehouse in-home advisory service.
•Step 4: Create a series of experiential concepts that will amplify The Warehouse’s
essence. Some ideas would be;
•Pre-shopping assistance. Provide a more comprehensive web site so customers
that wanted to better prepare for their shopping experience could do so easily. Greet customers at the door and offer help/directions. It might seem an out there idea, but hardware retailers Bunnings do this to great effect in their new Christchurch superstore •Fast track shopping – making selecting a bargain easier: Safeway in the UK have self scanning electronic devices where customers scan their own purchases so all they have to do is pay at the check out. Research has found customers have not abused the service to shoplift anymore than they would normally. The Warehouse could provide hand-held devices or kiosks (like those at the library) to help shoppers find the product they’re after faster. These devices could also provide relevant comparative product information (to enhance the sense of smart buying).
•Championing and reviewing new consumer products as they hit the NZ market –
The Warehouse could publish a Consumer-style magazine devoted to comparing products and establishing product value. The chain could also develop a TV program dedicated to finding the best bargains in any category.
•In-home advisory service – Like ANZ mobile managers, Warehouse staff could •Step 5/6: – Filter •Prioritise In-store fast-track shopping and pre-shopping assistance because they’re •Step 7: •Step 8:
closest to the core business. Double check the concepts deliver on the ‘smart shopping’ essence Delivery Pull together the best team to deliver the new initiatives. come to your home, consult with you and establish the relevant products for your needs – and plan the purchases over a year to ease the financial burden
The Marketing Magazine / Chisel Experiential Marketing Challenge
Ok, so now you know how to market experientially, why not give it a try? Our challenge to you is to take two classic New Zealand brands, Weetbix and Steinlager, and in under twenty minutes, using 600 words or less, apply steps one to seven from the experiential marketing plan to them. To start you off we’ll tell you we think Weetbix’s essence is ‘Healthy Growth’ and Steinlager’s is ‘Rugged Sophistication’. But don’t take our word for it, if you disagree, then come up with your own. Meanwhile we’ll pull together a team of esteemed judges, and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, ? winners will all receive XXXX XXXX XXXXX Feel the burn, live the dream, be the mullet – and get experiential. Sidebar
Being There To help launch a new version of their Home Buyer’s and Seller’s Guide, Westpac recently remodelled a Ponsonby bus stop to resemble a suburban living room. The bank says the objective was to ‘bring the Westpac experience to the public – taking it out of the bank and on to the streets.’ So where does this rate on the experiential marketing scale of excellence? “Full marks to Westpac for having a go,” says Chisel’s Jake Pearce, “but this is really just a launch tactic and not a prolonged experience of the brand. After the launch is over they’ll remove it all and move on to something else – so it’s far from true experiential marketing.”
You can read up more on Jake Pearce at http://www.jakepearce.com
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