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Experiential Marketing Engagement in a Low-Contact World

The Million Dollar Question

Is experiential marketing going to die? We’ve heard this question since the start of this pandemic. From suppliers, vendors, and even clients. Admittedly, it’s a fair question. There are no events and people need to stay at least six feet away from each other, so why would they want to be in a crowded public space, let alone get close to strangers. Is this truly the end of experiential marketing?

The Need for Human Interaction

The answer is a resounding NO! The truth is we have a natural chemical—Oxytocin—hard-wired into our DNA, which makes us crave social contact on many levels. It’s released in our brain during social interaction and contact, increasing happiness and reducing stress. So on a very base level, we need social engagement and, when we’re deprived of it, we begin to crave it. In fact, YouGov data insights show that when the warmer weather appears there are opportunities for marketers with 44% of consumers indicating they will attend an outdoor event, with

Nearly a quarter of millennials saying they’re likely to attend a brand-organized event in the next 12-months.

This is what we call the “roar effect”, it will be like letting lions out of a cage. Now, the challenge is that COVID-19 has made mass attendance at places like malls and music festivals impossible. However, the same reason that makes these venues no longer viable makes new ones immensely more attractive. We can pop up in parks, parking lots, and on city streets to deliver a message, and, with a proper strategy, we can see similar if not greater levels of engagement from consumers in need of interaction.

But being there isn’t enough; we’ll need to provide customers with a sense of security and assure them there’s no incremental risk in engaging with us. So, how do we do that?

Experience Required

As foot traffic picks up again, streets and public spaces will not be flooded all at once, so digital channels will be a fundamental way to drive awareness and consideration for outdoor activations. Extending our reach through mobile push notifications, social media and influencers is now a best practice. Physical appearance (size, lights, sounds or visuals to engage the senses) will be paramount. But the visual appeal needs to take the “new now” considerations and communicate new levels of confidence to consumers.

But what happens when we have consumers in our activation spaces?

Low-Contact XM + A More Safety-Conscious Activation

The new hyper-awareness of health must be at the forefront of everything we do; this means we’ll need to be much more mindful about sanitation. There are obvious things like suiting up brand ambassadors in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and minimal, low-touch environments. We have been working closely with vendors to build out turnkey intuitive solutions to this challenge through technology. These involve technologies that already exist in the marketplace, like RFID tags, scannable barcodes, and adaptations of mechanical elements like contactless vending machines. However, these solutions still require a custom activation plan, as the spaces we operate need to be capable of social distancing and crowd control. This will help create a sense of comfort for our consumers and showcase our attention to detail in caring for their safety.

At MOUSE, we have 18-years of experience connecting brands with consumers in meaningful ways through integrated marketing campaigns, digital content, and experiential marketing. We have helped develop and grow brands for various industries including; Johnson & Johnson, Mark Anthony Group, RE/MAX, Hudson’s Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart, Cronos Group, FGF Brands,  Molson-Coors, and Pepsi to name a few.  Feel free to reach out and tell us about your marketing challenge.

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