Why Branded Experiences Are Marketing Workhorses

Talyn Riedesel

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Copywriter

Agency Life, Branding, Community, Events

I could tell you how awesome my product is, or I could drop it from a helicopter.

That’s just what Doritos did in Duluth, MN, to rah-rahs and excited chatter. Not only did it help them introduce its new flavor, “HeatWave,” it also captured the attention of our newsfeeds and friends.

“It was cool to witness. A helicopter flew across the harbor to the center of Bayfield Festival Park while suspending a pallet of Doritos from a 100+ foot rope,” Swim’s project manager, Max Hutchens, said.

This is often referred to as a “branded experience” or “experiential marketing.” Besides being buzzworthy, the benefits of experiences like this multiple quickly.

Branded Experience > News Stories > People Share on Social > Water Cooler Discussion

But, wait! There’s more. If you’re smart, you’ve sent a camera crew to capture the moment and established a hashtag. Now, you’ve boatloads of footage and photos to use for future marketing.

> Footage > Videos > TV Commercial > Print Ads > Endless Uses

You’ve built an entire campaign just from one day. (Note: The event is one day, but it may require months and months of planning.)

Another brand to do this locally was Lululemon. Working with local fitness studio, Evolve Duluth, the athletic gear company brought a truck with a see-through trailer holding a top-of-the-line treadmill.

People were invited to try on a Lululemon product and take it for a literal test run. After a few minutes, the product testers gave their feedback and ended up walking away with free Lululemon gear. People interacted with the brand, shared on social media and willingly helped the brand collect data. Wins all-around.

Our senior copywriter, Gia Bellamy, said of the experience, “It was a really smart way for Lululemon to introduce the brand to a broader runner market. They’ve traditionally been thought of as a yoga company, so bringing their product into the community to be tested out by actual runners makes a lot of sense.”

Maybe it’s time to add branded experiences to your marketing arsenal.

Plan it right, and you can build moments that stick with people long after the initial event. Moments you can share again and again. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Just remember to make sure your branded experience is actually on-brand. If you’re selling a veggie burger, don’t invite people to a pig roast.

What’s the coolest branded experience you’ve seen?

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