3 Ways to Socialize Experiential Advertising

Experiential advertising is one way for brands to use offline engagements to spur online conversations.

As marketers, we’re always looking for ways to extend the conversation between brand and consumer. That’s what we’re paid to do. Too often though, we think in narrow terms about how to generate brand advocacy online.

Capitalizing on a current event with a clever tweet may get you included in a “best of” roundup or two, but it’s not necessarily a sustainable practice when it comes to building online chatter and mobilizing your community to take action. For brands to make a true impact with social media, there first needs to be an offline interaction that resonates loudly with people … and one that ideally gets shared online.

Experiential advertising is one way for brands to use offline engagements to spur online conversations. Here are three ways your brand can leverage these types of real-world activations to make a social media splash:

1. Bridge the Digital/Physical Divide

The 2015 MLS Cup was hosted in Columbus, Ohio. Since that decision was determined just one week before the big game, the Columbus Crew – the local MLS club – had limited time to generate awareness and build excitement around Central Ohio. The solution? Leverage an existing digital asset – the popular #MLScup hashtag – to spur real-world interaction.

The campaign centered on bringing the hashtag into a physical space where people could interact with it. Specifically, we (this is a project my company executed) created a larger-than-life, 6-foot tall 3D installation spelling out #MLSCUP, and then placed it strategically in a dozen different city hotspots throughout the week leading up to the final match. People naturally started taking photos with the giant hashtag and posting them online.

Rather than simply relying on one or the other, use online marketing tactics to amplify and extend offline ones, and vice versa. This integrated approach will drive better results and maximize your investment.

2. Give Your Fans Something To Do

Remember when Jay-Z used scavenger hunt marketing to promote the release of his book “Decoded?” Produced by ad agency Droga5, the interactive campaign sent fans on a hunt to find pages of the book that were “hidden” in various locations, each of which somehow related to the text on that page.

Coldplay took a similar approach to promoting “Ghost Stories” a few years ago, hiding lyric sheets handwritten by Chris Martin inside ghost story books in libraries around the world, then tweeting clues to help fans find them.

More than just generating buzz, both of these activations deepened the connection between the artists and their fans – a concept that all brands, not just celebrities, can replicate. To move an audience from passive to active, give them the opportunity to actively participate in your marketing efforts, not just watch them unfold.

3. Use Video To Your Advantage

Video is becoming increasingly relevant as a marketing tool, plus it’s proven to drive results. Fail to consider video in your interactive campaigns and you’re doing yourself a major disservice.

First things first: There needs to be an understanding of what kind of video works on each social network, as not all messages perform the same on each platform. However, whether through Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or any other platform, video needs to be created with the same care that goes into crafting a well-worded tweet and/or Facebook post.

In other words, brands shouldn’t pump out video content just because the option is there. Is there a narrative? Is there a consistent theme? Is it going to resonate with your intended audience? Figure out the story that needs to be told and work from there.

Jacob Taylor is the director of client services at CivitasNow, an experiential advertising agency specializing in creating unique campaigns and media installations. He responsible for planning and executing challenging but innovative campaigns that captivate the physical and digital worlds.

Top image courtesy of CivitasNow.