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Experiential Marketing in times of COVID-19

In the last few years, experiential marketing has been gaining momentum due to the changing digital landscape. Consumers are no longer satisfied with just hearing a slogan, in order for brands to survive, they have to make their customers feel something. Brands have been leveraging this innovative marketing approach as a way to connect with their customers on a deeper level, gain visibility and increase brand loyalty. After all, brand experiences help companies distinguish themselves from the masses in today’s competitive landscape. 

However, since the advent of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, there has been a lot of talk about the future of experiential marketing. As any other industry that’s been affected, event marketing has been adapting and finding innovative solutions to face the current challenges. 

Innovative event marketing solutions amid COVID-19

Contactless Product Sampling

With the current limitations surrounding COVID-19 and the importance of social distancing, brands have to adjust their marketing strategies in order to reach their target market and potential customers. There is no doubt that product sampling is a great marketing tactic for brand awareness and to obtain feedback on new products but how can companies use this strategy during the pandemic? 

Here are 2 ways your company can leverage product sampling in a safe and effective manner:

1. Social Distance Product Sampling

As cities slowly deconfine, customers are gradually getting back outside. It’s summer time so people are going to the park and to the beach and some are commuting to work. You can take advantage of this by activating a product sampling campaign that follows strict hygiene measures in high foot traffic areas. With enough preparation and planning, you will be able to provide unique experiences while promoting a safe environment.

2. Sampling Delivery

Your brand can package and deliver samples by mail (depending on the type of product). Your team should focus its efforts on the packaging and communication to enhance the consumer experience and reach the campaign objectives. Your customers will be happy to receive a gift in the mail and there are many ways you can keep the dialogue going. For example, you can leverage social media to engage with your customers and get feedback or you can even organize an online contest.

Events that respect social distancing

Amid everything that is going on, people still want to be active and stimulated. A great way to do this is to organize safe events that respect social distancing measures and the current health and hygiene regulations. In fact, one great way to do this is to organize drive-through experiences with live music, lighting, entertainment, movies, etc. One event that especially blew our mind was the North Forest Lights installation from Moment factory!

Virtual Events

In wake of the coronavirus outbreak, many events (music festivals, trade shows, conferences, etc.) are being canceled or postponed so it comes to no surprise that virtual events are now all the rage. With the majority of the population working from home, there is now a larger market and audience for virtual events. This is a great strategic opportunity for brands. 

In order to create successful virtual events, companies have to focus on content. They can’t focus on the location or on the atmosphere anymore so they have to provide fresh and exciting content to connect their audience and leave their viewers satisfied. Brands should also leverage social media (live-streaming!) for engagement and establish key metrics to evaluate the success of their live events. Some artists and brands are also promoting virtual reality streaming options to organize concerts and events!

#Stayhome creative campaigns

Commercial brands are promoting self-isolation in live events and in social media campaigns in order to connect with their customers and showcase their social consciousness. Whether it be by changing their logos or organizing live-streaming information sessions, we’ve seen a lot of businesses collaborate with creative marketing agencies in order to boost engagement and strengthen brand awareness and loyalty

In the current context surrounding the pandemic, it’s important for brands to showcase their empathy and support in the communication channels they use. Companies should let their customers know how they are helping the community in times of crisis and encourage people to join their efforts. This shows customers that they can trust your brand and that their wellbeing matters to you.

Here is some key information that companies have been sharing in their live-streaming and communication channels:

  • Support for workers and communities 
  • Volunteering efforts 
  • Social initiatives 
  • Donations 
  • Collaborations with charitable organizations
  • Useful tips (hygiene measures, ways to help, etc.)

COVID-19 is forcing companies to adapt and rethink the way they do business. Marketing agencies are shifting their attention to virtual experiences and using this time to adapt their long-term strategy and improve areas that need it. However, once the pandemic is behind us, there is no doubt that in-person events will maintain the popularity they had before the crisis. After all, nothing can replace the value of human interaction and live experiences.