As experiential marketing now represents a bigger piece of the marketing puzzle, brands have a new challenge before them: How do I leverage experiential to enhance my relationship with consumers? While banner ads and commercials can be blocked, muted, or skipped, participating in a brand experience is a conscious choice for consumers. Despite the choice involved, brands can still come off as annoying. So, how do you avoid that result?
One way for a brand to provide value for consumers – and create a genuine, authentic connection with them as a result – is by solving a problem they are facing. Let’s take a look at some examples of brands that have done so to perfection.
Rather than coming to New York Comic Con with a 10’ x 10’ tent filled with insurance pamphlets, Progressive worked with the event sponsorship team to identify two major pain points for Con attendees. By building its plan around the pain points, the brand ensured that it would be everyone’s favorite superhero by event’s end.
What are consumers doing while they’re at New York Comic Con? They are buying tons of swag and memorabilia from their favorite vendors. They’re also waiting in lines. Whether they’re lines to take a picture with their favorite actor from that new Sci-Fi film or lines to get into a panel on the new season of The Walking Dead, all these lines have something in common. They are LONG.
Pain point: Long lines to panels, vendors, or autographs that take up hours of a consumer's day
Solution: Professional line-standers dressed as unicorns – also known as “Line Insurance." Consumers that tweeted Progressive with the designated hashtag and their location were met by the “Line Insurance Unicorn,” which would come and save their place in line while they went to the bathroom or roamed the show floor. In doing so, Progressive gave consumers the opportunity to enjoy New York Comic Con to the fullest extent.
Pain point: Having too much merchandise to carry throughout the day – with nowhere to put it
Solution: Lockers. Progressive ensured that consumers’ merchandise and personal belongings were safe throughout the event, and allowed them to comfortably roam the show floor without carrying around bags.
Picture yourself in New York City. You’re walking down the sidewalk, taking in the city lights, and listening to the hustle and bustle all around you. That’s when it hits you; you have to use the bathroom. You have no idea where to go to find one, and when you do think you’ve found a place that would offer up their bathroom, you’re denied use unless you are a paying customer. Heck, even if you decide to become a paying customer, the available bathroom is not in the best of conditions, and you leave feeling disgusted. Charmin realized consumers were not getting quality restroom experiences in NYC and decided to change it.
Pain Point: Lack of accessible public bathrooms in NYC. Most available options are either sketchy, dirty, or generally sub-par.
Solution: Providing 14 clean, immersive, private stalls, to the public in Times Square – with no strings attached. These restrooms are easy to find and signage makes it clear that they’re open to anyone. In order to extend the engagement, Charmin created an app called SitorSquat, which is akin to Yelp for public restrooms. Clean locations have a green “Sit” rating, while less desirable ones are denoted by a red “Squat.” In addition, consumers are able to rate and review bathrooms once they experience them.
In reality, nothing about these activations from Progressive or Charmin involved breakthrough ideas or technologies. Instead, these brands thought through the perspective of the consumer in the most practical way: “How can we improve their experience and tie it back to our brand?” By looking at experiences through the eyes of a consumer and finding those pain points, you can do the same.