Creating Experiential That Stands Out in a Crowded Industry

Thousands of popups occurred last year, and many likely failed

Leaders from Glossier, Shopify, Mastercard and more will take the stage at Brandweek to share what strategies set them apart and how they incorporate the most valued emerging trends. Register to join us this September 23–26 in Phoenix, Arizona.

From the Museum of Ice Cream to the Rosé Mansion, selfie factories were one of the biggest trends in creative marketing in 2018, and they aren’t going away. But that’s not the only or even the best way to capture the crucial audience when it comes to experiential marketing.

The pull of the pop-up experience is real. Every brand would love to have hundreds of thousands of consumer Instagram posts like 29Rooms, but the investment in a well-done pop-up experience is massive, and the risk is even greater. There were thousands of pop-up experiences held across the country in 2018, and chances are more than half of them failed.

Is it worth the risk? Maybe, there are other less risky approaches, too. Digital has turned nearly everything into an inexpensive experiential opportunity. From the back of a taxi to a hotel lobby, agencies need to evolve and look outside of the obvious channels to reach consumers with interactive experiences.

So how can agencies reach the experiential audience in 2019?

Be where millennials are

From the back of a taxi to a hotel lobby, agencies need to evolve and look outside of the obvious channels to reach consumers with interactive experiences.

Experiential activations are geared primarily to millennials. Reports show that this generation is more likely to travel than buy a home, so look for opportunities to join them on their travels. When millennials travel, they often plan in a relatively ad hoc fashion with the exception of their hotel plans, which are typically booked in advance.

Since hotels are increasingly integrating digital solutions for their guests, agencies can leverage these cost-effective opportunities to be where the consumers are. Whether you connect your fitness client to the hotel’s gym and serve up customizable workouts or become part of a hotel’s digital concierge network, agencies have the ability to connect their clients with guests in an experiential way without a giant investment.

Send them on an adventure

Instead of investing in one pop-up experience, send consumers on their own experiences that connect to your client’s brand. Millennials thrive on exclusive opportunities that they can show off via social media. Look for digital touchpoints with consumers and turn those into experiential activations. For example, tap into digital screens at bus stops in NYC, digital concierges at hotels around the country or kiosks at airports, and surprise consumers with something unexpected, such as a VIP experience at your restaurant, tickets to a local event or a personalized message from a celebrity spokesperson.

Turning what could be a transaction into an experiential touchpoint can not only build connections with consumers but can also turn consumers into your advocates in the same way as a pop-up experience with a quarter of the investment.

Give them content

Content is the main driver of Instagram-worthy experiences for consumers. The average millennial checks their phone 43 times and spends five hours on social media per day. This audience is churning out content at an unimaginable rate, and brands who can help them produce content that will drive likes, shares or video views are winning. In 2019, agencies should create opportunities for consumers to create their own content that will drive engagement. For example, help capture a selfie at a pivotal moment as guests kick-off their travel adventure.

Bottom line: Winning on the experiential front in 2019 doesn’t mean you have to invest in the next Color Factory. Think about where consumers will be, and find ways to integrate into the digital solutions that are already popping up everywhere.