Can experiential marketing build trust and advocacy?

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

What brand wouldn’t want to have a relationship built on trust with their consumers? Trust isn’t easily won and can be very easily lost, and as such brands should be considering ways they can not only create positive emotional connections with their consumers, but also ways they can maintain these relationships and drive long-term advocacy.

Although trust isn’t something exclusive to younger consumers, Gen Z and Millennial audiences are looking more closely than ever at brands’ credentials and values, and with so many brands targeting their marketing spend at these audiences, understanding their beliefs and values is of paramount importance.

As we know, these audiences are increasingly becoming more cynical of big brands and are seeking brands that celebrate not appropriate their culture, as well as demonstrate purpose, authenticity and transparency. Also, the value they place on experiences over material wealth continues to be a key theme for both Millennials and Gen Z audiences alike.

Couple this with the continued power of advocacy and the significance placed on peer to peer recommendations and promotion of products and services by influencers, it’s clear that there is an undisputable need to create genuine connections with consumers, which are based on trust, transparency, authenticity and experience.

Experience the best

Experiential marketing is a brilliant tool that brands can strategically build into their marketing plans and will give them the opportunity to get their product/services into the hands of consumers in a meaningful way, engage on a deeper emotional level, and encourage the creation of personalised content which can be shared among peers and communities online.

There are a number of key things to consider when designing a live experience that will enable a brand to build trust and drive advocacy:

You need a creative concept with a narrative: Simply sampling or demonstrating a product or service won’t create emotional connections or have real impact on consumers. Immerse them in your brand world and provide them a storytelling framework to explore, personalise and share.

Allow for co-creation: Living in a social world you need to cater for the Instagram generation who have high standards on how brands show up in physical spaces and also want to be able to moderate the world around them using their phones to capture content and share with their networks.

Build in broadcasting: Considering how you are going to amplify your brand experience early on is key; this shouldn’t just be posting photos or videos of the event as this isn’t particularly engaging for consumers who can’t be there. Consider the role influencers, social and PR play, but be inventive in how you use these channels in the pre, during and post phases.

Continue the conversation: Once the experience is over, it shouldn’t mark the end of this connection you’ve created. Consider ways of tracking - data and technology can be creatively used to create a continued conversation post your event.

Frankie Speakman is managing director of Seen Presents

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