Volume and quantity are the wrong measurements for experiential, says Fran Elliott, UK director of experiential and events at Momentum Worldwide.
"We often hear the phrase ‘less is more’ used in marketing to suggest by offering less activity can have a bigger impact. But can this approach ring true for brands and all their activations they do?
Historically, experiential has struggled to justify its existence as a viable marketing channel because of its cost and huge effort to reach the masses. However, volume and quantity are the wrong measurements for experiential. Resonance and quality are far more applicable and a good brand experience isn’t about shouting loudest, it’s about getting close enough to whisper.
We are now seeing brands embrace the notion that less is more and it’s an exciting place to be. The masses are no longer a target and offering meaningful, bespoke experiences is now showing authentic ROI. Getting it right in the first place is paramount to its success by offering evocative experiences. The formula for this is Visibility + Share-ability + Desirability = brand love and maximum impact for both the brand and customer.
This isn’t just about making things look good but giving customers something interesting to see, and a reason to remember. By using emotive language that resonates with people’s emotions, in a time and at a place that’s right, it elicits more happiness and excitement in a person that will eventually associate this experience with the brand.
This could be in the form of content, or in the form of actual product-in-hand but it cannot be meaningful to people on its own. The distribution channels for sharable content needs to be in place otherwise the product is more likely to be forgotten. Research continues to demonstrate the power of shareable content and the positive correlation between sharing branded content and buying branded goods.
This lies in the strength of message, the look and feel of the brand and all those tangible assets. Creating an ‘I want that’ moment is the most powerful tool of all. By communicating to customers that they can’t necessarily have something they will want it even more. However, if it is perceived as impossible they will be turned off.
We launched Hoegaarden’s Floating Gaarden earlier this month that captures these elements. The boat itself deliberately could accommodate 12 people at any one time per voyage (desirability). As the boat sailed along the waterways (visibility) the bespoke, hand-crafted design was seen not just by those on it, but all who were by the river (share-ability). All these elements were all a great indication of a successful activation – rather than calculating the footfall or direct engagement.
Ultimately, the industry is shifting from how many to who. It’s not who goes to an activation but who knows about it that counts. You will always get clients who just work with quantity, they will want to count the ticket sales and analyse the social reach data but they must remember that just because a person has seen something, doesn’t mean they will remember it."