In a few short weeks, we’ll be announcing the full program for the Experiential Marketing Summit, our annual conference where event marketers immerse themselves in winning strategies, trends and technologies for their marketing teams. And while experiential has become something of a buzzword over the past few years, in the last two decades, event profs have watched events evolve from marketing tactic to marketing requirement.

In fact, marketers increasingly describe events as part of their respective brands’ “DNA.” In our discussions with a variety of event professionals over the last year, we’ve found that brands aren’t just creating memorable moments for their target audiences; they’re building relationships and creating brand evangelists along the way. Here, 10 brand marketing executives offer insights on why experiential marketing is critical to their strategies, and the impact the discipline has had on their customers, careers and bottom lines.


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bravocon-2019_4.jpg“We realize that experiential is having a moment right now… and this is something that we know consumers are seeking. They want to come together. They want to be with their people. They want to touch and feel and experience the brands. And it’s becoming more and more important. It gives us an opportunity to continue to engage them in the overall brand, and get them to understand what’s currently happening, what’s upcoming.”

Maria Deluca, svp-marketing at Bravo


visible_phonetopia-2019_8“The reason that we’ve been doing experiential on top of relationship-building activities like community engagement and artist engagement and influencer activities, is as a digital brand we do not exist in your physical life because the product we’re selling is a phone service that is invisible. Our store front is visible.com and the app experience. So we wanted to make sure that we also show up in people’s lives in a way that looks physical and tactile. We’re ultimately trying to get to the point where there is an emotional connection to how you think about our brand.”

Minjae Ormes, cmo at Visible


Street Culture and Storytelling Boost adidas Sponsorship“In a lot of ways, experiential is what’s expected by consumers nowadays. Brands need to be focusing on delivering value beyond just commerce. A big one for me is what are we adding to the conversation? Is what we’re doing bringing value? Is it meaningful to the culture and giving back in some way?… It doesn’t cost a lot of money to deliver something of value, particularly when it comes to education.”

Cullen Poythress, Senior Communications Manager at adidas Skateboarding


fiskars-house-2019_4“For us, it’s really being able to get out there and meet our consumers face-to-face. And it’s been really fun to interact and hear all of their great stories about their memories of the brand and how important it is for them to be creative. I think that just inspires all of us to keep doing what we do in bringing the brand to life.”

Theresa Mc Ardle, senior brand marketing manager at Fiskars Group


Bones Love Milk Engages Active Youth with a 'Shredquarters' Pop-up Skate Park“Marketers all over the world and in all sorts of categories have realized that just push messaging just doesn’t have the impact that it used to have. People are looking for an authentic experience. And there’s no more authentic experience we could think of for Bones Love Milk than setting up that a half pipe and a skate park right across the street from the pier in Huntington Beach where all this activity was going on already. Experiential is the name of the game.”

Steve James, executive director at the California Milk Processor Board


Weedmaps Educates Consumers and Boosts its Brand with the Museum of Weed“Experiential is the way for people to immerse themselves in a topic. It’s a way for them to experience it from all sides, whether it’s visually or through sound or scents or things that you can touch. You can read so many things but until you’re in a space and really immersed in it, I don’t think you get the same emotional response as you do when you come to this museum… There have been moments where I’ve seen tears in people’s eyes when they’re hearing people’s stories. Emotional connection, I think, really is what changes people’s perception.”

Julie Stein, executive producer of the Weedmaps Museum of Weed


NBCUniversal’s ‘Share Your Voice’ Activations Inspire VidCon Attendees to Speak up“I think experiential is the ultimate direct-to-consumer play. Getting to see how the consumers are engaging with our brands and our talent is invaluable… We are able to create a second life from these events with the social content and the relationships that we’re creating with these kinds of Gen Z influencers.”

Jen Brown, svp-strategic integration and portfolio marketing, digital enterprises division, at NBCUniversal


charles-smith-wines_pride-2019_14“Live events, for us, really are a unique part of our marketing mix and they’re an opportunity for our brands to bring themselves to life in front of consumers. It’s all about telling our story and getting consumers to interact with us in a moment that’s authentic, that’s real. If we do our job right, it gives consumers a deeper understanding of what we’re all about. If we do that and we achieve that, consumers recall it next time they’re looking to make a wine choice. It translates to purchase intent, which translates to sales, whether that’s making a choice at a bar, a restaurant, a grocery store. And if we’re consistent with our messaging and authentic to it, it will drive consumers down the funnel and we truly believe that—that we can ultimately create brand fans out of experiential marketing if we do it the right way.”

Rene Ramos, vp-field marketing/lifestyle & experiential marketing at Charles Smith Wines


bacardi-lime-launch-2019_3“We believe that live, immersive experiences are really part of our DNA. Right now, it’s about story-making, not storytelling, which was in the past. Consumers are willing to make the stories; they want to live them. So we’re trying to integrate this into our marketing mix because the best way for people to really understand the brand is having an experience where they can try it, but also where they can do it in a context where they’re having fun.”

Roberto Ramirez Laverde, vp- Bacardi North America


AR Case Study: Mountain Hardwear Brings Augmented Reality to Outdoor Retailer“Visibility in the industry to us is really, really important. There’s face-to-face interaction with retailers, with the media. It’s invaluable… One thing I’ve learned over the years is that you can only go so far in digital, but a face-to-face interaction or opportunity is really valuable as a brand and as a team. We always come out of these events on a really big high because we’ve actually laid eyes on people and gotten a really good emotional read on how they feel and what they need.”

Snow Burns, vp-marketing at Mountain Hardwear

The post The Power of Experiential—10 Brand Executives Weigh in appeared first on Event Marketer.

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