Tenderly Kiss your Customer

Everyday you wake up to brands holding you by the scruff of your neck. Right from Victoria Secret who’s beans you spilled, to the toothpaste tube that promised you a set of arctic ice white teeth. But of course, at breakfast you’re accompanied by the pompous cereals who promised you 45 essential nutrients and the organic banana perfect for your training session at the gym. It goes without saying that this sweaty gym is famous, all over your party circuit. Somewhere amongst this madness is the sensitivity shown by the popular jingle ”Har ek friend zaroori hota hai”, except that in the real world at this very instant, you’re  necking your best friend’s B.

It’s a blitzkrieg of attention whores (read brands) gnawing at your mind space.  Somehow after a point of time your mind goes numb to anything that rhymes. It doesn’t even register, doesn’t matter the “horny friend”.

It’s this very shutdown of senses, your neighborhood marketing professionals fear. When selling you the same old shtick doesn’t work, it’s time for an ivy league type to justify his 7 figure salary (in $ terms mind you) and coin a new term in the forever increasing stash of Marketing Porn.

Experiential Marketing for dummies ”- by an ivy league dummy.

By Definition:–“ Experiential marketing allows customers to engage and interact with brands, products, and services in sensory ways because personal experiences help people connect to a brand and make intelligent and informed purchasing decisions..” – International Experiential marketing forum (we weren’t there to protest)

What it means:- Brand realizing that it has to get down from its own frequent flier miles experience, and quit assuming that the consumer is hollow. Acknowledging that the current pieces of mediocre advertising tunes aren’t garnering enough ear time. Understanding that it is time to put experience where it belongs, amongst prospects. The irony is that it seems like a no brainer that “Experiential Marketing” should be at the core of any marketing endeavor right from the word “Ready”.

One look at the VW campaign sets the ball rolling for “How the best do it”-

Why it works: Is there a better way to sell a car than letting the TG experience in real time(especially in the time they need it the most)?

This is no test drive pal, if you need a ride on a night out we’ll do it for you. Plus we’ll make it fun along with a little goodies thrown in while you are subtly introduced to the features of your ride. The only downer being, the consumer not getting to drive the same for a first hand experience.

Lesson For Indian Market Selling in arguably the world’s fastest growing automobile market does not mean putting a snooze button on innovation because everything’s going to sell anyway. And hey, we can do without those free floor mats you promise me if I buy your car.

Why just car companies, even service companies like Mega/Meru/Easy Cabs can take hints from this campaign to up the ante on competition. Surely a bunch of girl friends wouldn’t mind a pick and drop for their girly clubbing get away in a newly launched hatchback.

No touching, only feeling.

Whoever said you can only use experiential marketing on products and services with real experience value. Not a big fan of drinks with secret formula of caramelized sugar laden soda, but got to give credit it where its due.

Where this works:- when your product is of no real utility/ value like colas and soft beverages or in certain restricted segments where surrogate advertising is a norm, like  tobacco & alcohol industries in India and the middle east. Such a campaign is a brilliant way to get the consumer connect to your brand.

Brilliantly executed experience zone with seamless integration &real time uploads to social media. Its like killing several birds with one stone. In one single sweep they have covered Experiential , Social  and viral briefs. Sure shot way to generate  BrandBuzz.

Learning for Indian Markets: Compare this, to a similar effort in India with Miller High Life Coolest Job campaign 

While extremely popular among youth, with 1,46,000+ likes on facebook on last count. The entire effort is mishing a roadies style tv show and mashing it into a social marketing initiative. Though it still works, the concern is you don’t really see any on ground action. Where’s the live feed from the coolest job, what about these folks actually letting their hair down in say Ibiza? That’s what Miller should be able to do for them.

The Online Vs Offline war just became a bloody experience

With stiff competition from online retail, conventional retail is evolving rapidly in the west, effort is to make the physical shopping experience more engaging and fun. Respect the consumer, anticipating need of your customer is better than addressing it.  Nike gets it right with giving customer the right to choose.

So does Selfridges actually:

Why these work:-It is an obvious sign of conventional retail coming of age and picking up cudgels to counter the online onslaught. The endeavor is to engage as many sensory perceptions of a consumer as possible. Make it as real for them as you can, and then let them choose. Empowerment is half experience.

Learning for Indian market:-Walking through endless row of brands in a mall anywhere in India has often made me wonder is visual merchandizing or a big 30% off board is good enough for a consumer to walk in and buy. When addressing the “Call of the Mall” the consumer often aimlessly wanders in an out of stores. Often find it rather callous of brands to assume that they can rack up products and expect them to sell. With retail competition in India  heating up brands & Large format retailers have to compete for footfalls. A popular argument to this debate is

“We will cross the bridge when we get there” ,the only problem being there will be too many of you doing it at the same time, so some are bound to fall and be swept off by the river of mediocrity.

In essence

There is a grey area when it comes to Indian experiential marketing endeavor. Activation or standard issue BTL activities should not be confused as experiential marketing. Often on ground activations are being addressed as Experiential Marketing endeavors. A Planet Sports store in Delhi  has a nicely laid  out Hoop Ring / a pool table and couple of play stations on the shop floor. Nice!, but It is only a baby step in enhancing consumer experience. I mean what stops Planet sports from hosting a little free throw competition? Gamify the experience.

too many gluttons vie for a pie

the one who first smell will eat and tell,

iz ability to see the writing on the wall before it’s written

and the apples going into the kitchen 😉

It maybe a vision of the future, but its being invented as you read. So experience it.



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