How 5 Tech Companies Use Experiential Marketing
Image: The Times Leader
One of the biggest opportunities for experiential marketing agencies is breaking into a new industry. Of course, we know that companies and organizations of all shapes, sizes, and specialties can benefit from creating experiential events, but it’s getting them to understand that that’s the exciting part. Once a company realizes the long-term, exponential value of experiential events, the possibilities are endless.
Tech companies are constantly innovating. They are leaders and trendsetters in experiences and they take that same approach to events, creatively partnering with agencies that can help them respond to their unique engagement challenges.
Tech can be… tech-y. And complex to consumers at first. Most users have tech products but may not fully understand them or be using them to the fullest. Social media, on the flip side, is easy to connect with, but communicating the value of a software product presents a unique challenge from a company and event perspective.
Through the use of branded experiential events, tech companies can reach and communicate with their customer base on an entirely new level. Not only will an event like this be an excellent opportunity for those online-only brands to finally get the chance to connect with their customers in person (and customers get to meet each other), but they will also be able to use it as a form of humanizing their brand.
Events take a human-centric approach that allows audiences to better understand tech brands on a more meaningful level, all the while creating opportunities for consumers to relate the brand to their own lives. When we are able to touch, feel, and otherwise interact with a brand in real life we are able to form a more lasting connection to that organization— meaning experiential events have the power to make or break your customer engagement goals.
Creating unique brand experiences continues to be a larger percentage of marketing budgets (in 2019, marketers reported spending more than a quarter of their budget on experiences) as digital advertising as we know it is rapidly changing and declining. Therefore, the ability for brands to deploy methods of impressionability among consumers is becoming increasingly difficult. With such crowded playing fields flooding every industry, brands need to leverage high-impact methods of connecting with their audiences in order to deliver memorable experiences that build a true connection for years to come. Enter: experiential marketing.
Benefits of Experiential Marketing for Tech Companies
When tech companies power their growth with experiential events, they unlock potential that they didn’t have before, both with their employees and their customers. Here’s how:
- Experiential activations have the power to humanize brands and connect more personally with their customers— a trait that is very valuable for tech companies.
- Tech companies use experiential marketing and events to humanize their products and provide an interactive, engaging opportunity to get to know their brand.
- When customers are able to interact with your brand in real life they develop a better understanding of them and can more easily relate them to their own lives.
- Allowing customers to touch and feel the brand, and most importantly, interact with the products is a great step toward building a sustainable brand community.
- Experiential marketing creates buzzworthy, shareable moments, both for the audience to share on social media (never underestimate the power of user-generated content), but also for press and media buzz.
- Tech companies are oftentimes the global leaders of innovation, what is a more innovative way to connect with your audience than experiential marketing?
How 5 Tech Companies Used Experiential Marketing to Connect with their Audiences
What better way to find inspiration for your next experiential marketing strategy than by peeking behind the curtain at how others are doing it? Here’s how five tech companies are embracing experiential marketing in order to create longer-lasting, more meaningful relationships with their audiences.
Instagram Presents: The Fashion & Beauty Edition
Source: @evachen212 on Instagram
In an effort to engage their users offline, Instagram hosted an exclusive hybrid event with Eva Chen to launch its debut digital fashion magazine. There were many sessions during the gathering, including one where Chen chatted with some of the platform’s top fashion and beauty creators and another where attendees got an inside look at Instagram’s best practices.
This experiential event was effective for two primary reasons: first, it allowed users of the brand to engage with Instagram in a unique way and second, due to the virtual nature of the event, it was highly accessible. For brands looking to break ground with experiential marketing practices, having increased engagement and accessibility at the forefront of your mind is best practice.
Seamless and The Infatuation’s “Presto! Resto!”
Source: Event Marketer
As a fun and memorable way to support New York City’s restaurant industry during the pandemic, third-party food delivery service, Seamless, and restaurant recommendation site, The Infatuation, paired up to launch a COVID-safe restaurant on wheels. During each week of April, the truck's interior was transformed into a different local restaurant— complete with menu items and a replica of the eatery's decor— which then traveled to contest winners’ front doors around the city.
This innovative reverse-activation marketing strategy was lauded as a huge success and particularly succeeded in introducing consumers to Seamless in an unexpected and super memorable way. Additionally, with the use of eco-friendly takeaway boxes and reusable cups, and the initiative’s dedication to doing good for their local community, this marketing moment was also able to connect with audiences on an emotional level. Creating emotional connections helps build brand communities and lifetime followers.
After all, the average consumer is 4-6 times more likely to buy from, trust, champion, and defend companies with a strong purpose. To really connect with your audience, show them what your brand stands for.
Twitter’s Cannes Lions Beach Takeover
Every summer, the biggest and brightest brands from around the world flock to southern France for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity where advertisers and marketing creatives rub elbows while participating in some of the most innovative brand activations ever experienced. In 2019, Twitter just about stole the show with their dual activations. First, there was Twitter Beach, which featured a wide variety of interactive stations, activations, and photo ops. Then, Twitter unveiled their invite-only terrace designed as a next-level meeting space for key advertisers, marketers, and content partners to hold meetings.
Due to the range of events, Twitter was able to maximize the audience they reached with their activations. According to Helen Stoddard, head of global events for Twitter, these brand activations were its largest build ever and designed to provide a physical presence that matched the spirit of Twitter and the pace of its growth.
Google’s “The Ride” at CES
Source: The Times Leader
The best experiential marketing moments feel like riding a branded rollercoaster. And as Google displayed at the 2019 CES convention, sometimes it pays to take things literally. At the convention, people could ride “The Ride”— a 3-minute amusement park ride that resembled Disney’s “It’s a Small World”— during which time the riders experienced the story of how a person could use the Google Assistant throughout the day. From the moment they heard, “Okay Google, start the ride” riders were whisked away to experience one of the most immersive experiential marketing creations out there.
As the host of over 5.4 billion internet searches each day, it would be very difficult to find a person alive today who isn’t familiar with Google. This experience was not only a success because of how immersive it used brand storytelling, but it also showcased the new features of its voice-enabled digital assistant in a way that allowed riders to relate the product to their daily life.
Bumble’s Empowering Connections at SXSW
Each year, the latest innovations in technology, film, music, and art can all be found in Austin, Texas at the South by Southwest festival. In 2018, Bumble was the talk of the city thanks to their massive activation composed of three sections, each one replicating a different facet of the popular dating app’s services. The sections included a pop-up miniature golf set for five-minute dates, a station where users could have a professional photo taken for them to be used on their dating profile, and a shop that offered inspirational merch and healthy snacks to visitors.
It’s always a hurdle for apps to come to life in ways like these, but through these activations, Bumble showed that the key to creating experiential events that really connect with audiences is to stay true to what those audiences already love so much about your brand.
The key to experiential marketing is taking the angle to humanize the brand and its products, in order to make them more easily understood, tangible and relatable. When it comes to experiential marketing for tech companies, the secret is to make things playful and unique in order to create a contrast to the tech itself and make the branded experience stand out from the crowd.
Here at DPEM, we understand what it takes to create truly memorable and innovative experiential events. We’re here to help you navigate what the future holds and create meaningful experiences with communities of all types. Learn more about transforming spaces in destinations using placemaking in experiential events.