USING EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING AS A TOOL TO BUILD BRANDS, TRANSFORM CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND GROW BUSINESS
Nowadays many companies has realized that experiential marketing is good for advertising a brand with the view that customers wants to be enthused, entertained, educated and challenged by the product they purchase (Schmitt, 2013). Businesses have also acquired new assets, new tools, and new information to expand and advance in experiential marketing activities. similarly, information which has been created by revolution has also provided opportunities for organization to expand and advance in experiential marketing (Schmitt, 2013) in this digital world, smart companies are discovering a new way of marketing which is the experiential marketing that connect customers to real experience, Unlike traditional marketing that based on only the customers impression of the brand.
Many authors has define experimental marketing and according to Lawler (2013) states that experiential marketing is about engaging customers and making them feel connected with the brand, which helps customers to feel the brand value. Experiences are seen to be the main concept in marketing of brand today and act as a component in understanding consumer behaviour and marketing management that serve as a basis for the whole economy (Pine and Gilmore, 1999) However, experiential marketing can be defined as a new method by which goals of marketing are looked at. Schultz et al (2009) proposed that experiential marketing is seen as a live event marketing experience whereby opportunities are provided for consumer to interact with the brand face to face (Schultz, 2009) in this regards, many organizations have embraced experiential marketing methods to produce new varieties of products to communicate with their customers, improve customer relationship, select and maintain good relationship with business partners. The importance of experiential marketing method is that it helps and gives customers opportunities of becoming active participants in a marketing effort. Similarly, Lawler (2013) maintained that companies that adopt the idea of using experiential marketing do not only gets more genuine connection between consumers and the brand, But also ripe return on investment. Therefore, investing in experiential marketing where customers can genuinely experience product or services is better and important because it provides more impact and effect on consumers rather than exposure which traditional media/ communication do. However, the objective of this report work is to examine and analysis the extent of which experiential marketing can be used as a tool to build brand, transform customer experience and grow business, reviewing theoretical basis and literature about experiential marketing in order to understand experiential marketing through the use of experiential marketing case study examples.
The report work is also divided into three themes, the first theme analyse the importance of experiential marketing and various strategies marketer’s and organizations could implement to spend quality time with their target customers at the lowest price. In order to achieve real time engagement with the brand that could trigger their action and lead to purchase. The second theme examines the roles experiential marketing plays in product branding laying more emphasis on brand reputation, brand equity, customers and employees relationship. The second theme also analyses the way customers get engaged through two –way- communications which help to create everlasting emotional connection between customers and the brand. While the third theme which is the final theme examines the difference between experiential marketing and mass media, as well as the effectiveness and benefit of experiential marketing as a new tool for fast moving consumer goods (FMGC) and lastly, a conclusion and suggested recommendations was made for an effective and efficient implementation of experiential marketing activities as a marketing tool to engage and connect to consumers in order to grow business and increase sales.
The aim of this work is to examine the use of experiential marketing as a tool to build brands, transform customer experience and grow business, while the objectives are:
• To do a literature review on experiential marketing.
• To do a case study on experiential marketing initiatives of Coca cola and Nestle Company, using the two companies as a case study example
• To examine advantages and benefits of experiential marketing, comparing it with traditional marketing.
• To examine the degree to which experiential marketing strategies can have a great impact in consumers decision making.
2.1 LITERATURE REVIEW
In today’s economy, many organizations are beginning to create experiences around their offerings to better sell their products. There is need to adopt to customer experience management (CEM- Total Quality Management) strategies in which emotions, feelings, thoughts, passion and experience plays the roles in the brands- relationship of the customers. (Cantone and Risitano, 2011) The attention given to experience can be seen as a huge trend and has presented the idea that experiences plays the role as an individual sources of information for the stories people tell about their personal life, which is important for self-perception. This however indicates the important of people’s satisfaction with their experience with a product. (Mehmetoglu, & Engen, 2011) However, according to Pine and Gilmore first, Schmitt (1999) describe experiential marketing as a process by which experience is created for customers. Smilansky (2009) maintained that experiential marketing is a method by which customer’s needs are identified and satisfied, connecting and engaging them in a two way communication which eventually creates brand personalities to life and provide a significant value to the target customers. Hauser (2011) have a similar idea about experiential marketing with that of Smilansky (2009) which states that experiential marketing is an authentic experience the customer have with the brand, products or services which increases sales through brand image and awareness.
In addition, International experiential marketing association (IEMA) states that experiential marketing provide opportunities for customers to engage and interact face to face with brands, products and services in a physical way. On the other hand, Snakers and Zajdman (2010) sees experiential marketing as an innovative way customers are made to live in the brand through their emotional experience. Thus, experiential marketing has the potential and the ability of creating emotions to the customer which leads the customer to enjoy the brand. Other author like You-Ming (2010) also views experiential marketing as marketing strategies where customers are interacted through face to face communication that help increase customer’s physical and emotional stimulus, thereby making customers feel enthusiastic. Yuan and Wu, (2008) describe experiential marketing is a marketing strategy which is design for customers experience in a physical environment. However, in a book called “Understanding Experience Marketing: Conceptual Insights and Differences from Experiential Marketing” written by Siiri (2001) Same added that experiential marketing is more general and tend to understand the general world of customer experiences, helping brands to enhance communication with customers to create relationships that will result to customer loyalty, co- creation of value and the development for the brand.
The concept of Gilmore and Pine (1999) model of experience economy further our understanding about experience market, which is of the perception that experience economy is the final stage of economic progress. And Experience occurs when a company utilize services as the stage and goods as props to get customers engaged in a memorable way. However, with these definitions and ideas of experiential marketing, most authors have similar view about experiential marketing; and with this, one could say that experiential marketing is all about feelings, emotions and senses.
2.2 MODEL/ THEORIES OF EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING
Individual experience make people get connected and committed to a brand to make purchase decisions. The relationship and communication between the company, brand, service and the customer is an important experience and a form of the customer’s life situation (Clow and Baack 2007). Experience can lead to changes in attitude and behaviour, which comprises of three different types of components this includes cognitive, affective and conative. In a simpler term, these three components consist of mental images, understanding, as well as object or person interpretation (Affective) individual positive feelings towards the brand (Cognitive) and the individual action taken toward the brand (Conative) (Clow and Baack 2007). An effective marketing communications has an impact in consumer’s behaviour and their decision making, which could be pinpointed using Lippmann and Same (2011) theory of Pyramid, which proposed that individual experience can be a pathway to personal change and attitude (Tarssanen and Kylänen, 2007) Thus, a good consumer experience can help to develop strong relationship and commitment that will ensure the brand long time growth.
However, Schmitt (1999) also proposed five stages of experiential marketing strategy, called “Sense” the strategy/model emphasis on five senses which comprises of vision, hearing, smelling, taste and touch (Schmitt, 1999) Schmitt aim of this approach is to create experience for customers. The benefit of sense marketing strategy creates the perception of sense experience and help customers to differentiate one brand from another, inspiring customers’ sense experiences and providing values to customers. However, the most important component of appealing to customer’s attitude, association and response is through a visual identity of a brand which is known as “Sensation transfer” according to Cheskin (1972) Sensory experience appeal to customer and pushes them to choose a brand. In this regards, there should be a continuous positive impression about a brand, and to do this. there are five experience or strategic experiential modules (SEMs) that could be implemented for customers, these strategic modules includes; Sense, feel, Think, Act and Relate and are implemented through communication, visual and verb, electronic media etc. (Schmitt, 1999) in addtion, The SEMs are framework that could be used by marketers to provide customers experience. And they are briefly explained below;
• Sense: This marketing strategy comprises of sensory experience.
• Feel: This is the implementation of attachment of feeling to the brand. Positive or negative feeling tend to affect the consumed product or services.
• Think: This type of strategy is used to arouse customer’s creative thinking about a product or brand. Its aim is to inspire customers to involve in elaborative and innovative thinking that could lead to re assessment of a company’s products and service.
• ACT : this type of strategy is created for customers experience that is associated with physical body, behaviour, lifestyles and communication between people(Schmitt, 1999)
• RELATE: Relate strategy occur as a result of relationship with different people or culture. Relate marketing involves sense, feel, think and act marketing. It evades individual personalities, personal emotions and experiences which connect people, emotions and personal experience or culture. But it only demands self-improvement which is the reason why implementation of the five marketing strategies modules need experience provider (ExPros) which includes communication, Visual and Verbal identity, electronic media (Schmitt ,1999).
Fig: FIVE STRATEGIC EXPERIECENTIAL MODULES
Source: SCHMIT (1999)
2.3. AIDA Model
In 1906, Elmo Lewis proposed a model called AIDA which stands for Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action. The model relies on the fact that marketing works on consumers and take them to hierarchy beginning with awareness, interest, desire and action (Gharibi et al, 2012) in summary, Awareness means creating awareness to the customers for a product to be known. Interest is about demonstrating or showing benefit of the product in order to arouse consumer’s interest. While Desire is the process where customers are convince that the product they desire will satisfy their personal needs. And Action; is made based on the other three stages which lead customers towards buying the products. (Gharibi et al, 2012) However, this model is constructed on a strategy that brings people to communicate and interact with the brand and make customer to make purchase decision. In This model, there is need to interact with many customers to convince them to change their mind by creating real opportunity to actually interact with the brand (experiential marketing) which could create a positive experience of the brand. However, it is also important to use a form of experiential communication or event to create excitement, innovation and creativity about a product.
Figure 2: AIDA Model
Source: Lewis (1906)
2.3. Two ways Communication Theory
The idea of one to one marketing has changed the way companies communicate with customers. For many years, companies have known the value and importance of communication (Radhaswamy & Zia, 2011) communication theory recognizes social interaction and relationship. The focus of two way communication is important because customers want to interact and engage with the brand. Customers experience need to go far one marketing or messaging. and instead of taking consumers as a passive receiver, consumers should be enthusiastically involved and get them connected to the brand through the use of two way communication process instead of one way communication process which is not a good form of engagement for consumers to interact with a product.
2.4. ADVANTAGES OF EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING AS A LONG TERM INVESTMENT
The increase of experiential marketing in the last year (Pine and Gilmore, 1999; Schmitt, 1999, 2003) has made the concept of experience a recognized topic for marketing researchers (Caru and Cova, 2008) experiential marketing has become the basis of many improvement in retail, branding and event marketing. thus it is necessary to understand the consumers experience which has become the main goal of marketers today especially with the increase of experiential marketing methods that is design to capture customers attention to make them take positive action (Caru and Cova, 2008) The purpose of experiential marketing is to make people have positive and real experience of the product that will make them have a good experience they could remember than a TV advert. For example, consumers will likely to purchase products or talk about it if they have associated with the brand. For example, having a sample of a product or attending a fun event sponsored by a brand. People are likely to talk about the products to their friends and the products gains a positive word of mouth (Beaver, 2010)
In addition Afuwale (2014) maintained that experiential marketing attracts consumer’s emotional cords and help them raise awareness and loyalty towards a product. It also helps company to save more money on their marketing activities. Experiential marketing engage consumers face to face with the brand, which could be done through exhibitions, free products samples, in- store activities, road shows and other form of activities that engages consumers. (Afuwale, 2014) Unlike in the days of print and electronic advert where companies or marketers show or tell consumers the features and benefits of their products which are seen as a one way communication process. Although, traditional marketing still create brand awareness but experiential marketing make companies genuinely create their consumers experience (Afuwale , 2014) Again, traditional marketing see consumers as a cogent decision marker that is only interested in features and benefits of the products, but experiential marketing look at consumers as an emotional beings who need a genuine experience and something exceptional. (Afuwale, 2014)
However, the introduction of new products into the market with different unique benefits and features makes it difficult for brands to gain customer’s loyalty. (Dowling and Uncles, 1997) This however increases the cost of advertisement to win customer. Experiential marketing make it easier for consumers to differentiate a product from another through their personal experience and help companies create brand awareness and help the product stand out among its competitors. Experiential marketing is cost effective in the sense that it helps companies to reduce the cost of spending in advertisement, positioning the product to consumer’s to experience the product. It also help and provide companies with good learning experience as it give them the opportunity to speak , communicate and interact with the customers face to face in order to know their expectations and the level of their satisfaction from the product (Beard, 2013). Schmitt (1999) also stated that experiential marketing create new thoughts and enhance people’s lives and make them happy. When companies needs its consumers to live in the brand and touch it with all five sense, there is need to create experiential marketing strategies that provide a unique experience that could lead to a memorable and emotional connection between customers and the brand. Schmitt (1999) further suggests that companies should provide right experience from product packaging to point-of-sale and all communications must genuinely motivate customers so as to create happy customers. (Afuwale, 2014) Therefore, if companies invest in good experiential/ engagement marketing and create the right, unique and memorable experience for its customers, it will create customers loyalty and repeat purchase thereby gaining a long term benefit of return on investment.
2.4 EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING AS AN IMPORTANT TOOL AND INFLUENCE ON CONSUMER PURCHASING BEHAVIOUR
Recently, the increase in building and maintaining customers experience has been a thing of interest to many researcher and marketing practitioners. Companies are moving away from quality prices to “memorable experience” for developing an emotional connection with consumers. A unique product experience creates a memorable customer experience where emotion plays “a significant impact on organization performance in terms of customer satisfaction, retention and loyalty”. (Kotler and Koller, 2011). Consumer buying behaviour is seen as inseparable part of marketing; it is a process of studying the way of buying and positioning goods, services, and ideas which is done by consumers to satisfy their desire. (Kotler and Keller, 2011) Solomon, et al. (2006) states that consumer behaviour is the process of studying, buying and dispose of products, ideas or experience of consumers in order to satisfy their needs and wants. Similarly, Schiffman and Kanuk (2007) sees consumer’s behaviour as an attitude consumer’s display in searching or buying products or services that is supposed to satisfy consumer’s desire. Similarly, consumers buying decision making behaviour is viewed as the process of motivating consumers so as to influence their purchase decision.
Pine and Gilmore (1999) maintained that the development of economy has created a new way of experience, which becomes a threat and a great challenge to traditional marketing strategies that rely on brand sales and services offerings. However, the use of experiential marketing as a communication method is growing fast and companies believe it can provide them competitive advantages compare to that of traditional marketing/communication. Schiffman and Kanuk (2007,) Zinkhan (1992) added that the choices of consumers depend on the predicated outcomes of their decisions. This is the fact that consumers buying behaviour is heavily influenced on their personal experience and from opinion of others (e.g. friends and family) Therefore, it is necessary to improve consumer’s relationship with the brand especially in a high FMCs competitive market arena. Companies must try to create a unique and a memorable experience that will appeal to consumers both physically and psychologically (Pine and Gilmore, 1999) using the following methods; Sponsorship, Brand communities, Product placement, Events, Brand scape. (Bollen and Emes ,2008) these methods assist in changing the mind and perception of consumers about a brand in a positive way, which may even lead to a positive word of mouth and motivate purchasing behaviour to create customer loyalty. However, a positive word of mouth can create a different competitive advantage which is more effective in converting a negative attitude into positive attitudes when it is compare to that of traditional communication. (Liba et al, 2009) This means that brands are not only seen as selling the product, but sharing information in a more useful way.
Furthermore, Siu, et al (2013) maintained that the use of experiential marketing methods creates experience and emotional bond and also serves as a purpose of enhancing consumer’s relationship with the brand. consumers are exposed to the product by giving them opportunity to try new products, which make it easier for them to choose the product they want (Gentil et al, 2007) the opportunity of exposing consumers to test or first try a product help customers to avoid going through the five steps of consumer decision making process which includes Need recognition, information search, evaluation of alternative, purchase decision and purchase evaluation. (Karaatli, Jun, & Suntornpithug, 2010).
Fig 3. Consumer decision making process
In addition, many researchers have also discovered that experience is an essential factor on consumer’s present lives. (Carú; Cova, 2003) Therefore, consumers want to be motivated, entertained, educated and challenged by brands that can become part of their life. Making consumers feel emotional connected with the brand which could be done through experiential marketing by providing them with the opportunity to engage with the brand in a genuine way, will help achieve the goal of experiential marketing campaign (Carú and Cova, 2003). The goal of activities of experimental marketing is to create buzz and attract customers to engage in a shopping experience in other to motivate them and make them change their behaviour (Masterman and Wood, 2008) However, Companies that engage its consumers in experience alone without thinking of the impact these experience will create on participants and creating the experiences without a desirable and memorable way to create change will not yield the predicated return on investment (Pine and Gilmore, 1999).Therefore, companies must make good effort to manage the emotional factor of the customers focusing on customer’s services aspect which can create a fun and pleasant shopping experience, serving as a very important elements that ensure customers decision to make a choice or repeat purchase (Pine and Gilmore, 1999).
3.0. THE ROLES EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING PLAYS IN PRODUCT BRANDING
As stated above, Brands has successfully used experiential marketing in the past year to get connected to their customers to drive sales and profit, appealing to a variety of sense. (Brakus et al, 2009) The aim of experiential marketing is to create the connection in a way that consumers will respond to the offering of the products based on emotional and rational stages. However, brands are all about reputations which are the thinking, hearing and feeling of a brand. Organizations care about what people say about their products or services or the way they rate a brand, this gives customers the opportunity to access the information and people’s experience about the brand before they could make discussion. In addition, experiential marketing is a recognized way of driving brand value, an accomplishment which is made to change perception and convert consumers to purchase (Wood, 2009) However, Company can comprehend this value by gathering consumer’s details, contact them and track their behavioural change. This could help brands understand their customers better. (Wood, 2009) in addition it is also important to bear in mind that when incorporating experiential activity with an extensive marketing plan , there is need to ensure that every channels plays an effective roles in motivating consumers to take buying decision. LaMotte, (2012) states that experiential marketing is a high and important channel that focuses on getting the right customers in the appropriate way and it should be the forefront of any companies ‘creative idea. Because it’s strongly resonates customers more, helping them enjoy the experiences it offers. LaMotte (2012) further maintains that the delivering value of experiential marketing and its return of investment for brands together with the work of warriors and brand ambassadors will ensure companies that people who know about the brand are representing the companies. This help companies to have confident that experiential marketing serve as an effective tool for marketing their products or services.
3.1 CONNECTING EMPLOYEES TO CUSTOMERS TO BUILD EMPLOYER BRAND EQUITY
Employees being at the heart of the consumers brand marketing can have an optimistic impact on the organizational culture. (Haqparwar, 2012) Companies need to consider the way they build equity, through involving employees in consumer marketing activities to educate people about the products, in order to bring the products to life. However, employees and consumers having knowledge about the brand is important because according to Keller (1998) maintained that brand knowledge comprises of a brand node in the memory with a variety of connotation connected to it. The way these brands nodes are structured in ones’ memory has an important impact in the way individual recalls information about a brand-products and services, which eventually influence their consumption habits, as well their brand decision making. However, when Keller (1993, 1998) relates brand knowledge to the consumers, it is equally important to employees.
The ability of employees to deliver the brand promise is brand knowledge, employees are seen as an element of the brand when they communicate and interact with customers. However, many researchers focus this as a Touch points” (DuBois et al, 2014) which is the key to developing a strong brand. Customer experiences brands in many ways among them is through employees or sales representatives, this touch points gives the customer impression about the brand, (Glatstein, 2014) which is seen to be the driving force or the basic for creating brand equality. On a general note, Touch points is the interaction or communication between a brand and its customers, employees, stakeholders etc. (Davis & Longoria, 2003; Jenkinson, 2007) Companies have started to understand that in order to deliver an excellent customer experience, they must create engaging employees experience. The principle of a highly unique customer service experience lies in the emotional connection made with the customers. However, a research found out that companies that create emotional and functional bond with its customers will have higher retention ratio compare to their competitors. (Akter, 2011).
4. 1 COMPARING EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING VERSUS MASS MEDIA MARKETING
Nowadays, consumers need products “interaction and marketing campaigns that reflect their senses, touch their hearts and stimulate their minds” (Lenderman, 2006 p. 19) Experiential marketing and Mass media marketing are still seen as effective marketing techniques that get companies name and mission to the public. Lenderman (2006) further suggests that experiential marketing campaigns should create an important value to consumers. However, in comparing experiential marketing and Mass media., Icon, (2011) states that experiential marketing targets at customers using reliable voices and sensual experiences which shows to be very important to customers, while Mass media marketing consists of those advertisements and promotions that are associated with marketing, which includes Billboards, flyers, and television commercials, radio advert and print advert; (Icon, 2011) mass media marketing does not focus on customer involvement but continue to send thousands of messages to them. But experiential marketing has the tendency of getting personally to consumers focusing on their experiences and examining the situation of their consumption. (Schmitt, 1999) in experiential marketing, customers are viewed as rational and emotional individuals and the techniques and tactics used also differs from that of mass media marketing (Schmitt, 1999) in addition, experiential marketing also focuses on the experience and the feelings of the customers, allowing customers to take control of a product’s marketing, because there is an emotional investment in the product, For examples, product demonstrations and taste test that bring customers closer to the product and give them genuine reason to remember the brand which could generate to a positive feedback from customers. Experiential marketing is about creating experience and connecting customers so that they could understand the brand, and works in a way that it can change consumers view and buying habit through connecting them in various engaging activities (Healy et al, 2007). Again, experiential marketing appeals straight to the senses through touch, sound, smell, taste and sight. Customers have an emotional reaction to the message, which leads to an immediate purchase (Manenti, 2013). For example, if a company offer an interactive store window where people can operate the images by moving all parts of it, this will help create an interest in the images they operate and move them to come into the store to see more interactive displays the company also offer. Thus, their feeling of having fun with the brand can transform into purchasing something to remember their experience.
However, mass media marketing emphases on functional structures and benefits, as well as the category of products. Customers are seen as rational decision markers, and the approaches and tools are logical, qualitative and verba (Schmitt, 1999). The buying decision in traditional /mass media marketing are different. Information is placed in a traditional advert and customers are expected to think over what they have been told and make their purchasing decision. Consumers need to go through thinking process to be convenience by the message. However, brands can convince customer to make a purchase by putting incentive in the advert if they buy immediately. In addition, Mass media marketing offers one way communication processes where customers are expected to read, listen or only view the message (Paxton, 2010). An example of this is a banner placed on the website, telling people about new line of products or offerings. While experiential marketing offers two way communication process, by allowing customers to make use of their sense while interacting with products and services. Experiential marketing make use of innovative method to marketing, which consist of two- way interaction (Smilansky, 2009). The two – way interaction process is a live brand experience that give customers the opportunity to interact with the brand, developing a relationship with the brand, thereby inspiring brand loyalty and creating brand advocacy (Smilansky, 2009)
However, experiential marketing has a high personal level of marketing over traditional marketing, in the sense that, it is effective in getting customers and maintaining their loyalty. Also, the opportunities provided by internet are one good reason why this type of marketing tool has become very effective. Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have contributed successfully, by allowing consumers to share event experiences and participate in events remotely (Smilansky, 2009).
4.2. THE EFFECTIVENESS AND BENEFIT OF EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING AS A NEW TOOL FOR FAST MOVING CONSUMER GOODS. (FMCG)
“Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand” This was however, stated by Lenderman, (2006) who states that the saying has been meant for something other than experiential marketing. But cuts to the heart of experiential marketing which engages people in a remarkable ways. Nowadays, marketing is continuously changing especially with new definitions and approaches. Consumer’s desire to experience products or services regarding how they would use the products in their daily activities. (Gronlund, 2014) However, one could ask weather experiential marketing can be of any benefit to FMCG, the answer is yes! Experiential marketing is an effective and great platform for FMCG, which can improve the promotional activities. It is also a wonderful method for bringing a brand personality to life. It can bring to life the personality of an FMCG brand and a good way to set apart from competitors. In addition, product trail and brand images usually bring a direct result of a personal recommendation or word of mouth to a brand, thus Word of mouth is an effective tool which increases sales more efficiently than mass media advertising do (Keller and Fay, 2012) it can develop a new brand advocates, and loyal customers are also rewarded. In addition, through creating brand personality to life, an experiential marketing delivers refined messages that traditional methods are unable to achieve, and it is also effective at delivering a complex brand personalities and values, which can link with the desire lifestyle of customers. The flexibility of experiential means that brands with a convincing story, personality or advantage can develop a real engagement and connections with the consumers. The benefit of this is that it strengthens brand relationships, increase customer loyalty and therefore help to develop a long- term strategic approach in order to gain and maintain market share.
Kotler (1991) maintained that when there is high degree of customer satisfaction from brands, it will lead to customer purchase intention, a positive praise from the public, bigger competitive advantages and a greater market profits. Furthermore, through experiential marketing strategies, if customers genuinely experience products their commitment to truly buy the exhibited products is commonly increased, therefore, if FMCG sell or market their products via experiential marketing campaign. It will not only enhance customers to “understand “products on demonstration, “but also sustains a good value for the products and provide a good sales performance” (Kotler, 1991, 18-19). Furthermore, Gronlund (2014) maintained that the communication of emotions like brand trust, comfort and trustworthiness are very important in creating customer experience. It is more meaningful, memorable and indeed useful enough to share with people online. Associated with this, “experiential marketing “is all about developing and motivating sensory communications with the customer that include feelings, which influences their preference emotionally, shape brand perception and have an impact in their satisfaction and loyalty (Gronlund, 2014) Therefore, Experiential marketing is an effective tool and also useful to interact in FMCG markets , it also differentiate a brand from its competitors because of its in –depth action, memorisation and formation of an emotional connection between the brand and its consumers which last for a long time. Furthermore, Elodie (2009) stated that experiential marketing leads more easily to buying than advertising , although it is crucial to consider it as an efficient and effective communication tool, but not a replacement to advertising.
5. 1 CASE STUDY EXAMPLE 1- COCA COLA EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING INITIATIVES
The progression from traditional marketing to experiential marketing can be best explained with coca cola and Nestle Company. The coca cola company is among the world’s biggest beverage company, serving consumers with the word’s top five soft drinks brand, including Coca cola, Diet coke, Fanta, sprite, Coca-Cola Zero. (www.Coca cola.com) From the world’s largest beverage distribution system, Consumers from different countries consume coca cola drinks and with regards to this, the company distribute its products using a more sophisticated technology and any available distribution network to get them across to its suppliers and consumers. It also supports it brand with a refined marketing activities, which aim to guarantee that the company products are available to consumers anywhere they need refreshment .Coca cola company success is based on different factors: which includes its recognition, brand quality, its sophisticated marketing activities, Global availability and its continuous innovation.
However, Coca cola Company aim is to build its brands, transform customer experience and grow their business, therefore, they embarked on a unique experiential activities to deliver a creative and innovative marketing tactics and techniques using different experiential marketing campaign to create awareness and deliver a unique memorable and a more positive beverage consumption experience of the brand in order to enhance the brand image. Its long time history of diversity is mainly around the idea of sharing and spreading happiness, from Coca-Cola security camera to the happiness machines. The theme of happiness has been integral part of Coca cola‘s marketing approach with different marketing activities continuously inviting consumers to open happiness. Similarly, experiential and sampling activity is a vital part of Coca cola marketing strategy, taking the brand to the door of consumers in a new and exciting ways to drive brand engagement and products trails through different experiential marketing activities in order to strengthen its brand positioning (The Drum, 2014)
However, Coca cola embarks on a marketing campaign. Called “The happiness machines” its experiential marketing campaign activities of using vending machines was set up in a college university with “Huge me” written on it. When a person physically huge the machine, they got a free coke drink, the vending machines could bring out free coca cola. Students were also offered gifts and rewards such as pizzas, balloons animal/ Toys. The campaign created a buzz, and participant were pleased by the experience that created joy when they least expected it. However, not only did it get the attention of existing customers of coca cola, but it also encouraged Pepsi consumers to hug the machine to get a free drink. The campaign created awareness for coca cola and also connected participates emotionally. Thus, reflecting to the brand’s mission of “Inspiring moment of optimism and happiness”.(www.Coca cola.com) However, the campaign initiatives was supported with twitter and Facebook pages as well as you tube video that try to rack over three million viewers in the space of ten months (Broad, 2014) in addition, In the last year during Valentine’s Day, The Company also set up a vending machine in the shopping mall; the specially set up coca cola vending machines was remotely functioned and would only pass out drink if couples prove their love. (For example, when couple sneak a kiss) this campaign was successful because it allowed coca cola in capturing video of couples expressing their love to each other, thereby helping the company reinforce their brand position and “Love mark” Similarly, another experiential marketing campaign that was done by Coca cola was the “Share a coke” which allow everyone to have a customized bottle with their name printed on it. The “Share a coke” initiatives offer customers on site printing services through Kiosks and vending machines offering a free customized bottle of coke, zero coke or diet coke. And was held in about 70 locations, which includes Theme parks, Cinemas, Tesco stores etc. (Marketing week, 2014) in addition, in 2013, Coca cola vending machine was updated with cameras and web technology to create “Live chat” opportunity among the fractured people of India and Pakistan. The aim of the initiative is to reinforce the ties between India and Pakistan, bringing them closer together, and positioning Coca-Cola as an organizer of good times and unity. (Rajput et al, 2013) The “small world machine” was set up is to allow shoppers in the two countries to communicate with their counterparts via a 3D touch screens which enable people to attract peace signs, join hands, weave to one another, as well as sing, dance and have fun together. A Coca-Cola drink was thereafter distributed to everyone through the machine. The experience was emotional enjoyed by both shoppers of the countries. (Rajput et al, 2013) and this could create a positive emotional link with consumers and Coca cola.
5.2 CASE STUDY EXAMPLE 2- NESTLE EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING INITIATIVES
The fast growing globalisation is not only creating huge business organizations to a present day business firms, but is also creating various and different challenges for them (Bhagwati, 2007) However, in today’s business arena , the FMCG industry has become more competitive which need a continuous and visible effort on marketing activities to sustain and retain customers. Nestle is among the world leading health, nutrition and wellness company (Nestle, 2014) the company mission is to provide the consumers with verities of good taste and nutritious beverages and food categories all over the world. Nestle has various brands which includes mineral water, coffee, beverages like tea and health drinks , dairy products, chocolates and confectionery, ice cream, frozen food, gastronomic products, breakfast cereals, infant food, pet care, pharmaceutical products and cosmetics, which is produced in more than 36 countries with a distribution network in over 130 countries globally. Its competitive advantage is on the basis of a supreme geographic presence globally (Nestle water, 2014) However, it is expected that Nestle create a marketing strategy for its target customers, which consist of the establishment of the marketing mix that includes the following four components; products, price, place and the way the brand will promote its products, which aim to satisfy targeted consumers’ desires, as well as the brands marketing objectives. In addition, Nestle marketing strategies is based on various vital principles among them is; the existence of it products growth through a reliable creative, innovative and renovation marketing activities in order to build value that can sustain its consumers and other stakeholders.
In the past year, Nestle was many times criticized by health agencies globally for its marketing of baby food in developing countries, through communicating the message that infant food was better than breast milk. The company was also stuck in an argument for allegedly selling food in some Asian nations without labelling them clearly. Similarly, Nestle was condemned for placing a high price for the “Pure life” mineral water brand that was launched in some Asian countries. However, the company understand that its consumer has interest in their behaviour and need their trust. Nestle felt a need to create unforgettable experience to grab the attention of the customers engage them, transform their experience and build emotional connection with the brand in order to regain their trust and grow their business. Therefore, Nestle embarked on experiential marketing approach to connect emotionally with its consumers, through execution of a sampling campaign distributing 500,000 Aqua pods to children between the ages of 6-12 and their parents. The aim of Nestle efforts is to create a genuine experience to its consumers, so as to generate a consumer database for future contact and coupon distribution to communicate Nestle “Hydration mission” for children to understand more about the importance of drinking water. However, the initiative created an appealing and kids-friendly promotion at a high attendance, family friend’s events and retail locations including fairs, festivals, retail locations, libraries and grocery shops. In a bid to distribute and share ice-cold Aqua pod samples to targeted consumers, children and their parents. The brand also distributed Aqua pod squad membership cards and coupons to parents and children and directs them to Aqua pod website where they can find educational material and interactive games. Children were also incorporated with local Aqua pod squad talent to help demonstrate and engage children with fun and athletic activities. Nestle also used a simple presence approach to encourage a healthy, well balanced diet by promoting Nestle Carnation breakfast essentials, a suitable drink for breakfast that offers the important of vitamins and nutrients in a selection of three different flavours. This reflect to “Good food, Good life” of Nestle mission statement (Nestle, 2014) in the initiatives, a promotional programme was developed to directly communicate to the parents of dynamic children, while creating an opportunity for sampling among targeted consumers. Brand and product–educated staff were available to educate and inspire families to exercise frequently, eat a healthy and well balanced diet. The experiential marketing campaign was carried out in an important environment that freely promoted health and nutrition through various sport activities, including soccer, baseball and football.
However, in the campaign, parents were provided with information by staff members educating and engaging them on the convenience and good nutritional value that Nestle carination breakfast essentials offer. Shared value was also demonstrated and samples were shared to both children and parents, letting the product talk for itself. The three different flavours were provided for testing; demonstrating its brand promise. However, product coupons were also available for parents and Nestle carnation breakfast essential branded Frisbees for the children were also available for testing. And with the encouragement of interested parents, children could trial the product, showing the ease in which they could provide essential nutrients in a drink that children liked. However this sampling campaign demonstrates Nestle business strategies objectives, which is to “become the leader in Nutrition Health and Wellness” (www.Nestle.com).
ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
The detailed examination of secondary research has led to some interesting findings with important implications for the adoptation and implementation of experiential marketing by FMGC, with specific regards to the role of experiential marketing in brand’s communication. The analysis and the recommendations of this report work are provided below. This has been provided in line with the objectives of the report work in the preliminary part. However, the study of different sources of secondary information on the role of experiential marketing in branding reveal that such marketing tool is important for consumer loyalty and retention. It is evident that experiential marketing is a tool that connects people personally to the brand in a memorable way (Pine and Gilmore 1999) Schmitt also” sums up an experience as “creating sensory, emotional, cognitive, behavioural and rational values that substitute functional values”(Schmitt 1999). This Serve to offer consumers with a unique and real lived experiences and could be performed by companies as a way of building and creating brand equality. Similarly, as illustrated by Pine and Hudson (1999) in their book, “The Experience Economy” states that companies must start to provide consumers with a memorable event and engagement that make them stand out from their competitors. In addition, Alvey (2006) further explained that brands facing the same competitors’ can also create brand loyalty through focusing on the emotional connection. Bennett et al (2005) said that “emotion” is an element which is more vital than pervious recognition to commercial purchasing behaviour, that leads to consistent in buying behaviour to customers’ brand loyalty. However, from the review of literature and the case study illustrated above, the case study of Coca cola and Nestle Company can be pinpointed using experiential marketing models.
The five models presented by Schmitt (1999) which is sense, Feel, Think, Act and Relate are describe using coca cola experiential marketing initiatives. Marketing activities of Coca cola are those that perhaps influence the way brands are seen and one of the method uses by Coca cola and Nestle is experiential marketing which form a part of brand’s personalization. Coca cola and Nestle do not only offer drinks and food respectively, but also offer experience and feelings of attachment to the entire buying process. However, due to changing demand of business, Coca cola and Nestle had to adapt these experiences so as to sustain its market position. The first experience is sense. Coca cola certainly knows how to affect these sensual and Physical features through the various campaign initiatives done in various busy locations, for example its “Happiness machines” which was set up in the university and busy shopping mall that attracted people to notice the vending machines and other activities that could engage consumers to make a purchase. In addition, Coca cola and Nestle is good at providing moods and emotions, which is called FEEL. In the campaign, “The Happiness machine” Coca cola encouraged consumers to physically huge the vending machine in order to get a free drink and other rewards, similarly, the brand also encourage couples to prove their love to one another and the vending machine would pass out drink for the couple, this activities form and creates a positive emotional connection between the participants and the brand. Coca cola and Nestle inspires its customers through involving them in elaborative and innovative thinking, by offering activities that arouse them. for example, the development of Nestle programme that was carried out in an important environment to communicate and educate parents face to face in order to engage and inspire them to exercise always and eat healthy, this however help to arouse them. Similarly the sport activities (Soccer, baseball and football) which Nestle used to engage customers during the marketing campaign also make consumers THINK about the brand. On the other hand, Coca cola engaged and aroused university students by encouraging them to huge the vending machines to get a free coke drink. This makes them think about Coca cola idea as a brand that share and spread happiness. Again, the coca cola initiatives of bringing people of India and Pakistan closer together through various activities, which includes communicating through 3D touch screen, dancing and singing together make people think about Coca cola as a brand of organizer of good times and unity. However, another strategy is ACT strategy which could be pinpointed using Nestle activities of encouraging consumers to eat a healthy balance diet. The marketing campaign is dynamic and action oriented, which urge parents to change their inappropriate way of feeding their children to a convenience, healthy and well balanced nutritional food that Nestle offer. In addition, Coca cola and Nestle marketing RELATES and gives their consumers a strong sense of belonging through the experience they got from the brand activities that made them engaged with the brands, Thereby creating an emotional attachment between the consumers and the brand.
However, in an old form of media, a classic and effective message should grab the attention of the customer, increase interest by showing advantages and benefits of the brand, Convince customers that they desire the products and lastly leading consumers towards taking actions. (Clemmow, 2010) This is called AIDA model. However, “experiences of brand is not only demonstrating to customers, but engaging them “(Pine and Gilmore 1999) therefore, it could be argued that experiential marketing changes ADIA model, turning the order to attention, action, interest and desire-AAID, simply trying to directly change behaviour and thus enlightening the audience through dynamic participation (Pine and Gilmore 1999) in this regards, Coca cola set up a “ happiness machine” to get attention of customers, making them to take action by encouraging them to huge the vending machines for a coke drink. The customers develop interest in the activities of having fun with the brand, which will eventually make them to desire to make a purchase. While Nestle used its sport activities in its marketing campaigns to get the attention of customers through the distribution of Aqua pods for children and their parents. Nestle made its customers take action by incorporating children with local Aqua pod squad to help demonstrate and engage children to have fun. However, through communication and educational programme, Nestle offers advice to parents about the Nestle carination breakfast. The company also shared samples for tasting in order to demonstrate the brand promise. This help to encourage parents to have interest in the products, and desire to let their children try the sample of the products that could provide vital nutrients in their children’s food.
Furthermore, experiential marketing programme do not constantly implement communications in same method traditional media do. “Electronic and print media reaches mass audience with recurrence of a message to raise the chances of campaign recall” (Madden and Fisher, 2011) the engaging experiences brand offers proves that even if experiential campaign cannot reach a mass audience, they also do not communicate one way message. But the channel strive to provide a two way conversation and a more close engagement between the brand and the consumers (Madden and Fisher, 2011) Coca cola and Nestle have used this channel to intimately engage their consumers through the experiential marketing campaign activities carried out, for example, Nestle engaged and interacted with parents face to face to educate them about the benefit of healthy eating, this help Nestle engage in two way communication and a face to face interaction with customers. And at the same time, helps consumers crave genuine experiences, which serve as a great opportunity for real engagement, “rather than engaging in old form of communication that are only one-way” (Marketing Week. 2010) Furthermore, with the global increase of the digital age, unlike traditional media - one way communication, where people just listen, watch and read, has been change to something new (Clemmow. 2010) the interaction and engagement of consumers with campaign is a powerful tool that help consumers avoid going through the five consumer decision making namely , Need recognition, Information search, evaluation of alternative, purchase decision and purchase evaluation. Although, experimental campaign cannot compete with old media for communicating with a mass audience, but sensory marketing creates a unique experience to consumers, and can also reach mass audience through social community like Facebook. For example, “Coca- Cola became a master of owned media through a live stunt campaign carried out called Happiness Truck”, (Bigham, 2011). “Where Coca cola delivery truck was transformed into a happiness machine on wheel distributing free coke and continuous happiness to unsuspecting consumers. The experience reached only a few consumers live , but the video of the event got to millions of their social fans through online which lead to mass viral sharing” (Bigham, 2011).
Experiential marketing as it is explained in this report work is beyond providing consumption experiences to consumers as a means to giving them message they need in order to make purchase decision. However, consumers are always inundated with continuous old advertising messages, bombarding their lives and interfering with their TV shows. Consumers do not feel any genuine emotional connection with these brands. This form of old system of marketing communications is rapidly fading away. Current campaigns are more communicating and as a result, often deliver excellent results. Brands like Coca cola and Nestle are beginning to understand that to secure a long term value of their customers by gaining true customer loyalty; they must give something in return. The communications between brands and their target audiences are being transformed. Experiential marketing focus on the new experiential marketing period which emphasis on offering target audience a great brand-significant customer experience that add great value to their lives (Smilansky, 2009).
In addition, experiential marketing consist of a live brand experience, that is two way communications between consumers and the brands, which aim to provide brand personalities to life, Creating an experience for the purpose of engaging consumers and building their interest and desire. However, “There is a belief that experiential marketing captures the imagination of marketers and brands across nation. In this regards, effective brand can reach and engage consumers based on emotional and rational level in a way old media methods never could” (Nathans, 2011) furthermore, effective “live” experiential marketing is about engagement. Coca cola and Nestle Company make use of experiential marketing through creating the greatest of sensory methods, real emotions, virtual experiences and brand personalities to increase their bottom lines. In addition, Coca cola and Nestle Company need to continue to implement effective and efficient experiential marketing as a marketing communication tool to stay above aggressive competitors, because experiential marketing remains the key in FMCG industry.
Experiential marketing is most possibly to make a lasting impression as it creates connection with one individual at a time, and the experimental experience make use of the influence of peer to peer recommendations. However, as explained earlier, customers are not interested in hearing a list of product features any more, but need the chance to personally experience the benefits, in order to create a personal connection with the brand, helping to invest in the brands success. By placing control in the consumer’s hands, brands will generate a whole new brand fans. Therefore, companies should plan, approve and implement experiential marketing and place more importance on its potential to develop relationship, provide interaction, verify the target audience, raise awareness and increase profit. However, there are different expectations of result from those that implements experiential marketing and those that evaluates it. In this regards, companies or marketing professionals need to mount a learning curve, including taking part in experiential marketing, so as to personally feel, understand and gain the importance of engagement results which can deliver.
In addition, a way to create happiness to consumers is to create and leverage happiness in the company focusing on customers and employees, the role employee’s play should be taken notice of because great customer service build brand experience which serve as a foundation for brand loyalty and career interest. Therefore, positioning employees at the heart of consumer brand marketing can create a positive impact on company culture and this could be done by training employees. For example, Virgin group plays a great role in building brand equity; they believe ‘value for money, quality, innovation, fun and sense of competitive advantage challenges’ they tend to achieve it, through investing in their employees to continually create and deliver supreme customer experience. Similarly, Heineken places their employees in the front line of consumers at the Heineken experience; employees are highly engaged with the brand providing the experience of Heineken brand, getting consumers into action. Thereby getting consumers to have a great experience and employees develop great experience through delivering an emotional connection to the Heineken brand. However, connecting consumer to a brand requires the involvement of a celebrity or employee brand ambassadors, but the impact and the risk of using them should not be ignored, because building brand equity take a long time and hard work to build and can also be quickly damaged .For example, the Tiger wood scandal . Therefore brands needs to carefully choose celebrity and brand ambassadors, in order to avoid damage of brand reputation. Again, there should also be a careful selection of Venue where experiential marketing event should take place. Most times outside a super market might be a good place for mass visibility which can help to create an instant sale uplift if the product is already on sale there, unlike on the high street or stations where people are always in a hurry. Furthermore, engaging consumers through various channels and technology is the key, therefore, there is need to utilize Twitter and other method to increase social media profile during the event.
A Study of the Effect of Experiential Marketing on Customer Purchase Intention: Case Study of the Taipei International Sports Cycle Show' 2014, Sport Journal, p. 1, SPORTDiscus with Full Text, EBSCOhost, viewed 30 July 2014.
Afuwale, P. M (2014) Marketing Career Feature; Switch to Experiential Marketing for Long-term Benefits Avaliable on (http://www.marketingcrossing.com/article/220751/Switch-to-Experiential-Marketing-for-Long-term-Benefits/) Accessed on 08/07/2014.
Beard .R (2013) customer satisfaction, customer service. The complete guide for customer expectations Available on (http://blog.clientheartbeat.com/customer-expectations/) Access on 6/08/2014
Bollen.A and Emes. C ,(2008) Understanding Customer Relationships How important is the personal touch?Avalaible on (http://www.ipsosmori.com/DownloadPublication/1216_loyalty_customer_loyalty_understanding_customer_relationships_052008.pdf) Asscessed on 8/8/2014
Bramwell, K. (2012) A two-way dialogue is crucial for customer engagement, to stay ahead of the game. London: Sage.
Brakus, J. Schmitt, B, & Zarantonello, L 2009, 'Brand Experience: What Is It? How Is It Measured? Does It Affect Loyalty?', Journal Of Marketing, 73, 3, pp. 52-68, Business Source Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 10 August 2014.
Caru, A., Cova, B. (2008). Small versus Big Stories in Framing Consumption Experiences Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, 11(2), 166-176.
Carù A. and Cova, B. (2003), “Revisiting Consumption Experience”, Marketing Theory, 3 (2), 267-286.
Cantone, Luigi and Marcello Risitano (2011), “Building consumer-brand relationships for the Customer experience management”, in the proceedings of 10th International Marketing Trend Conference, ed. Jean-Claude Andreani, ESCP-EAP, Paris-Venice, 1-33.
Carú, a., and b. Cova (2003) a Critical Approach to Experiential Consumption: Fighting Against the Disappearance of the Contemplative Time, 3rd International Critical Management Studies Conference. Lancaster.
Cheskin (1972) Marketing success: How to achieve it Boston MA: chaners books in Spence .C (2011) Managing sensory expectations concerning products and brands: Capitalizing on the potential of sound and shape sy
The graph shows how relevant this story is on social networks real-time.
|User Type:||Tutor Verified|
|Uploaded Date:||Sep 27,2015|
About The Author
I am an experienced tutor and mentor and currently tutoring both undergraduate and postgraduate students to improve their grades. I have the knack for аcаdemic learning, I have being а study buddy, where I oversee, student`s work and recommend аreаs for improvement.
I have .... Read More