Experiential Marketing in the Times of Social Distancing
For the longest time, experiential marketing has been in the business of drawing a crowd. And more than anything, we almost thought of events and experiences as a medium rather than a tactic. In the wake of current circumstances, it’s time to take a long hard look at our services, both internally and externally.
Social distancing is the new normal, which means unless there’s an absolute necessity, there won’t be gatherings in the immediate future. Even after the world gets back on its feet, which it will eventually, the fear of community spread will be on top of our mind. Which is why, we have to go back to the drawing board and bring in all our experience to turn things around, literally.
Our clients are going to demand different solutions to their existing and newly minted problems. They are going to be in the throes of financial difficulties for at least another 6 months to a year. Fresh perspectives, creative approaches and pivoting are the order of the day.
As a first step, an agency need to collaborate closely with cross functional client team to understand the problem at a deeper level and know things first-hand. When an agency is genuinely trying to help the client in the times of need and not just being a fair weather friend, the relationship will grow stronger.
Within the agency, the most important thing is to sustain the energy, find ways to enhance creativity and boost the morale of the team through interesting interactions, pep talks and engagements.
The idea is to plant the seeds of pivoting – trying out new formats and media which can mimic or bring to the attendee or customer/potential customer experiences closer to on-ground events. A great example for this would be World Tour Reimagined, a Salesforce roadshow on the global scale, which went online.
Pivoting in our context means a new approach to broadcast design, mixing real and scripted content, interactive live events on popular social media like Instagram. A great example would be the recent The Online Literary Fest hosted by Manjul Publishing House which allowed Instagram users to interact directly with world renowned authors and literary royalty. The topics and content were on point with Corona virus, social distancing and the new normal spilling over to other relevant themes and ideas under discussion.
Having said all this, the job of experiential marketing is to excite, create intrigue and awareness, share knowledge and provide opportunities for networking. Ultimately the brand we are working for should find its way into the mind of the customer, knowingly or unknowingly through the experiences we provide. That’s when the customer will think of and consider the brand when a need arises. And that’s when the client are at their happiest. The silver lining is, all this doesn’t have anything to do with media at our disposal in the current scenario!