What is Experiential Marketing?
Experiential Marketing is a growing trend that directly engages consumers with brands through the creation of experiences. Brands use this technique to market their products and services by creating an emotional response for the consumer. As traditional marketing methods such as TV advertising are becoming less effective, it’s easy to see why brands are turning towards experiential marketing to create more direct relationships with consumers.
Experiential Marketing at Coachella
Each year, brands of all different types utilize Coachella for experiential marketing purposes. The annual music and arts festival is the perfect place for this type of marketing, not only because it’s such a highly publicized event, but because it’s a great opportunity for brands to interact with a coveted group of influential millennials. Bloggers, influencers and celebrities who attend the festival tend to document the entire experience on their social media pages, which then reaches millennials all over the world.
Here are some examples of experiential marketing from Coachella 2018 weekend one:
This year, Marriott International offered their loyalty members a chance to stay in their luxurious yurts at Coachella. The yurts were decked out with a private restroom and shower, a stocked mini-fridge, 24-hour security and WiFi – amenities that regular festival-goers could only dream of. Experiential marketing is a brilliant strategy for hotel chains, especially when marketing towards younger consumers because they are more likely to spend money on experiences over products.
For Coachella this year, Levi’s set up a temporary headquarters at a nearby hotel. During the three-day experiential marketing extravaganza, they hosted a brunch, dressed influencers in their latest styles and even set up a tailor shop complete with on-site seamstresses and customization stations. It was here where guests could add letters, glow-in-the-dark studding, airbrushing and logos to their denim jackets. Levi’s executive VP and president of global brands, James Curleigh, said: “So much of our product was already here, so we might as well be here, too.” Makes sense to us!
HP, the official technology sponsor of Coachella, tried out two different experiential marketing strategies this year. One was an 11,000-square-foot dome, called “The Antarctic” where guests could experience a 360-degree show, a reimagining of the 19th novella Flatland: A Romance in Many Dimensions. HP also set up a smaller lounge where festival-goers could immerse themselves in innovative experiences using HP computers. Renata Gaspar, director-product marketing for consumer personal systems at HP, said: “We know that 78 percent of millennials are more inclined to become part of a brand if they have face-to-face interaction with it, and that 65 percent enjoy creating and sharing content while they are on social media,”. They definitely ticked both of these boxes with their Coachella experiential marketing.
Sephora, one of the official sponsors of this year’s Coachella Festival, set up the world’s first experiential beauty tent this year. Similar to Levi’s customization stations, Sephora offered hair braiding, temporary hair colors, hair stenciling, holographic makeup, and more. They also provided a “selfie playground” where guests were encouraged to upload pictures of their fresh new style and tag it with #SephoraCoachella for the chance to win free goodies. Social media millennial marketing at its finest.
This e-retailer is known for investing heavily in experiential marketing and partnerships with social media influencers. They hire people with online followers that surpass six figures, dress them in Revolve clothes, immerse them in a Revolve experience, and then pay them to post about it on their social platforms. Revolve’s co-founder described Coachella as “authentic, experiential; an environment where everyone is expected to have fun and push the envelope with their fashion choices. So for us, it’s actually become something that’s much more interesting, and gives us more opportunities to showcase our brand”.
“It’s about communicating our brand message through real-life events and experiences.”
– Revolve’s co-founder on experiential marketing.