4 Steps to Success: The Journey of a Winning Experiential Marketing Campaign

The buzz of advertising is constant. Wherever we are watching our favorite shows or scrolling for the latest news, ads are often attached. These traditional brand-centric, one-way messages are easy to tune out, which has led advertisers to a better way: live events and brand experiences. They give consumers a firsthand, interactive encounter to explore products and brands for themselves by showing rather than telling the story.

In less than a year, the consumer experience is expected to overcome product and price as a critical differentiator for brands, according to a Walker study. And 77% of marketers now use experiential marketing as an essential component of their brand’s advertising strategy.

Experiential marketing helps bridge the gap between brands and consumers, but even the best event activations can get lost in the shuffle. To create a strong brand experience strategy, you need to embrace the "4 Points of Empowerment."

The 4 Points of Empowerment is a methodology developed by Department Zero that lays out the consumer journey through a branded experience that is designed from the participant's perspective. It includes attracting consumers' attention, drawing them in by sparking curiosity, showing them how the brand or product is personally relevant, and encouraging them to do something with the new information.

But a consumer-first approach in the digital age isn’t easy. Check out our 4 Points of Empowerment to see how to make the most of your experiential event, along with the ways we brought these to life for one brand:

1. Discover

Discovery is all about how to get attention. You must be able to articulate the attraction for an audience encountering your activation for the first time. Where does it take place? What do they see and hear? How does it affect them? And why would they get excited?

For example, a fitness clothing brand serving as a sponsor for the CrossFit Games competition wanted to attract the attention of athletes. To stand out in a sea of fitness brand tents at the events, we needed a large-scale footprint with strong visual branding and attention-grabbing assets. We recommended a powerful truck to sit alongside a fold-out trailer, with military netting for shade, that provided a can’t-miss, multilevel presence

2. Engage

To gain the interest of today’s smart consumers, it’s essential to draw them in. What is the hook that builds intrigue or involves the audience in more than an initial observation? Attendees should be able to see, identify, and understand the brand activity within seconds.

Using our fitness clothing brand example from above, athlete attendees saw a spacious and busy workout floor, CrossFit equipment, racks of apparel, and a trailer with fitting rooms. An emcee and signage invited them to share their bumps, scrapes, and bruises in exchange for free products.

3. Experience

The next step is earning consumer participation. Translate the brand message into an action, activity, or sensory experience that benefits the consumer. How is the brand communicating information about the company, product, or position in a way that is relevant and personalized to the consumer?

Once the athletes were engaged, the clothing company invited them to make a comparison. It asked attendees to perform a simple CrossFit activity in their own gear, change into the brand’s apparel in private dressing rooms, and then perform the exercise again in the new clothing. This firsthand experience gave attendees a strong appreciation for how well the product would work in their day-to-day workouts. 

Other consumer participation activities included mini fitness competitions and a scavenger hunt in which participants won gift cards.

4. Activate

As with any marketing activity, you need customers to take the next step by rewarding and empowering them. Define what desired, measurable actions you would like them to take after the event. How can consumers use the knowledge gained? How are you empowering them to share their experience, find out more, or purchase the product?

Consider what motivates their actions and how you would track results. Customer empowerment in the digital age means you can (and should) engage via social media post-event. The fitness clothing brand encouraged attendees to share their experiences via social media for additional rewards and incentives.

With so many brand experiences to compete with, you have to stand out. And the only way to do that is by crafting organic opportunities rather than pushing the brand agenda to the consumer. Using the 4 Points of Empowerment, you’ll be able to help consumers have a great experience with your brand.

To learn how Department Zero can bring our award-winning strategies to help your campaign, contact us today.