It’s difficult to get people off the couch and capture their attention these days. But it’s not impossible. When done right, experiential marketing motivates people to get out of the house, helping your company get on key audiences’ radars and stay top-of-mind. Here are eight experiential marketing examples that show how brands are activating in real life and engaging consumers, leveraging wide-ranging tactics that need not be expensive.
Bridge Mobile and Real-Life Experiences through Apps
1. Nike mixes up an omnichannel cocktail in-store. The brains behind the iconic swoosh know that people are glued to their phones, even when shopping in their stores. So they let shoppers check out on their phones, request clothing be delivered to their dressing rooms, and schedule appointments with in-house stylists, all through the Nike app. This merged experiential marketing tactic has proven effective for driving sales: app users who shopped at Nike’s LA store spent 30% more online than those who didn’t.
2. Glenfiddich will show you your drink personality. Look in the mirror—do you see a single-malt whiskey drinker? However you answered, Glenfiddich showed with an activation in London that there’s a whiskey drink for everyone. In an effort to widen its appeal, the brand hosted a swanky event to help people find a drink just for them via an app with a personality quiz.
Step into the world of AR/VR
3. Verizon takes a page from Pokémon Go. As Pokémon Go proved, nothing gets people out of the house and their usual orbits like a scavenger hunt. To promote the then-new iPhone 8, Verizon partnered with Snapchat to create an AR treasure hunt, using geolocation services and real-time data with a creative user experience design. The result? Two hundred fifty-six happy Snapchat users in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Dallas, and Atlanta received free iPhone 8s.
4. CoverGirl merges the virtual with the real. CoverGirl launched its first brick-and-mortar store in Times Square to bring its brand to life, sell its full range of more than 1,000 products, and meet its biggest fans—not a common occurrence for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies. The store was filled with new futuristic experiences: augmented reality stations that created videos and GIFs for social-sharing, a machine-learning-powered virtual greeter named Olivia, and booths to create personalized makeup bags or lipstick packaging. Look for this experiential marketing trend to continue from CPGs, as it allows them to learn more about their audiences first-hand.
Have Fun with In-Store Experiences
5. Nordstrom incubates next-generation customer service. Nordstrom’s 47,000-square-foot men’s store in Manhattan is proving to be the perfect testing ground for its 300,000 square-foot flagship store, set to open across the street this fall. The brand is serving up personalized offerings on-site like custom embroidery, 24/7 pickup for online orders, and mobile check-outs. The ideas that stick will be carried over to the new flagship—a smart way for the legacy brand to make minor experiential marketing investments in what may define its customer experience for a new generation.
6. Canadian Goose creates a chilling experience for shoppers. It’s hard to envision how an expensive piece of performance wear will do in the environment its intended for. Canada Goose solved this problem by turning down the heat —way down—in its Montreal store to simulate the subzero temperatures shoppers will be donning their new jackets in. If you’re in Canada but closer to Vancouver, never fear. Ketel One has this experience covered at the Bearfoot Bistro, enticing people with not just the jackets but also drinks!
Flex for the gram
7. L’Occitane transports customers sans passport. L’Occitane is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget its Provençal roots. The brand brings shoppers back to its origins at its social media-ready store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where they can bike through Provence or float above it in a hot air balloon through the magic of AR and VR. If that’s not enough, shoppers receive a free hand massage with L’Occitane products from an in-store masseuse.
8. Google pops up with donuts, devices, and confetti. Google decided it was “time to make the donuts” and get its Google Home Mini virtual assistant (about the size of a donut) in the hands of its all-important Millennial and Gen Z audiences. Visitors to its pop-ups received a small box containing either real donuts or a Home Mini after asking the voice assistant a question like “what’s the hipster song with whistling?” There is also a “sprinkle shower” with confetti and, of course, plenty of signage encouraging patrons to share on social.
These experiential marketing examples provide just a snapshot of the infinite ways in which brands can create memorable, interactive experiences for people. There’s a way to start small—you don’t have to throw a music festival or spend a fortune developing complex technologies to do experiential marketing right. With a little inspiration, you can turn in-store experiences or simply downloading an app into the highlight of people’s days.
Want to learn more about experiential marketing? Watch “Experiential Marketing at Scale,” a RampUp San Francisco 2019 presentation by Clive Downie, CMO at Unity: