The statistics related to great brand activations and experiential marketing continue to turn heads.

According to the yearly experiential survey and report, Event Track, not only are brands spending more on brand activation year-over-year, the ROI they are expecting is staggering. When surveyed, “Forty-eight percent of brands realize a ROI of between 3:1 to 5:1, and 29% indicated their return is over 10:1. Twelve percent say their ROI is 20:1 or higher.”

Engaging face-to-face with consumers continues to be one of the most powerful ways to build brands and generate revenue. This week, A Little Bird Presents a roundup of some of the best news in experiential. Our feature article illustrates why speaker company Sonos’ David Bowie-Themed pop-up is brand experience at its finest. We’re also excited about insightful posts on 360 video, influencer marketing, and old-school branding techniques that are still cool today.

Key takeaways

  • Great brand activations give consumers something they can’t resist – or get anywhere else.
  • AI, VR, and other technologies can accomplish more than you realize.
  • Personalization continues to be a missed opportunity for all marketers.

 

Great brand activations featuring David Bowie

Sonos’ David Bowie-themed events blow traditional marketing out of the water

Experiential marketing provides consumers with an opportunity to get to know a brand in a way that traditional advertising simply can’t. Face-to-face marketing humanizes a brand, allowing consumers to build a meaningful relationship with a company. This goes a long way in terms of brand trust, loyalty, and driving sales.

Quite a few great brand activations will capitalize on an existing event – sports games, festivals, or concerts. However, great experiential IS the event, and attracts attendees upon its own merits. This is exactly what Sonos has done with a recent pop-up event in New York City. The brand gathered music legends like Mötley Crüe’s Nikki Sixx, as well as MTV News anchor Meredith Graves, to tell stories about the life of David Bowie. Sonos skillfully transformed a brand experience into a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for attendees, making for a memorable, can’t miss brand activation.

 

How 360 video revolutionizes the attendee experience

One of the most exciting aspects of being in the brand experience industry is the tech. Every time we turn around, it seems there is something else that we can’t wait to share with our clients. Consumer engagement, message amplification, attribution tracking, and more – all aspects of brand activation are seeing tools that can execute better campaigns.

One of the new ways that we have to offer attendees a richer, memorable visual experience is through virtual reality and 360 video. The article points out the main benefit of this technology – an experience within an experience – but goes further in its example with Renault. According to the article, Renault “recently used VR to provide first-class airline guests with a look into the future.” Time travel? Very cool. Read on to learn more about these technologies and the innovative ways you can use them to craft a memorable experience.

 

Great brand activations for influencers

How influencer marketing can become a powerful weapon for brands

The idea of tying a marketing campaign to a celebrity is certainly nothing new. From Peyton Manning and Nationwide Insurance, to Paris Hilton and Carls Jr., many celebrity endorsements are successful in tying the persona to the product. What has changed is the way that we can use these people to spread a brand message and make an impact on awareness and sales.

Social media has acted as a tremendous catalyst for change in our culture, one significant element being the opening of “celebrity” to people outside of the traditional Hollywood sphere. Every niche has its influencers– those people to whom others look to for cues on what to buy, what to try, and what to like (both literally and via a platform). As a result, influencer marketing, which focuses on wooing influencers rather than the target market as a whole, is taking hold in every industry imaginable. Entrepreneur offers 3 key pieces of advice for brands in managing their influencer marketing campaigns. 

 

Why personalization is the great missed opportunity for marketers

The idea of incorporating personalization into product and service marketing is nothing new. Technology has allowed us to cater to the consumer in more intimate ways, from using a first name in mass email communication to tailoring content to the individual’s preferences. It has shown to make an impact in how brands are perceived, as “75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand when they’re recognized, remembered or served with relevant recommendations.”

However, as this article points out, there is a disconnect. Overall, bands are not providing consumers with the level of personal attention that they expect. In fact, from the article, “four out of 10 consumers switched companies in 2017 because of poor personalization, according to Accenture’s recent study on hyper-relevant customer experiences. This, in turn, cost companies an estimated $756 billion last year.” Clearly there is staggering opportunity here. AdWeek lists four key considerations when planning your personalization strategy this year.

 

Artificial intelligence is suddenly booming – this is why

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been around for a while. Even back in the days of AOL chat rooms, bots were circulating, engaging with users and posing as real people. Fast forward to 2018, and over the past decade AI has gone from a movie title to the friendly “Alexa” that many of us interact with daily.

So why has this technology seen such sudden mass adoption? This article by Creative Pool lists 6 key reasons why AI is so hot right now. From Google search to Burberry’s personal shopping assistants, AI is fully mainstream. And while this article keeps the concept of AI high-level, the ALB team is enamored with the impact that AI has and will have on brand activation. As these technologies continue to evolve, the opportunities for consumer engagement, efficiencies, data tracking, and more improve in tandem.

 

The innovative way that Snapchat is showing ad ROI

Social media, since its adoption, has always been a moving target. Marketers see its potential to reach highly-targeted audiences, capitalize on word-of-mouth, and to amplify marketing messages exponentially. But proving social media marketing ROI as it translates to revenue has been challenging. As the article points out, “all those Likes and hearts are great, but what you really need to demonstrate is how they translate to actual dollars, how your social efforts are impacting on actual sales.”

Now Snapchat has unveiled its plan to show advertisers the revenue benefits of Snap Ads through its “Snap to Store” measurement methodology. Learn about how they use location trackingas a part of their strategy, as well as details on its benefits and limitations.

 

Retro branding tactics to keep in your arsenal

Nostalgia is (fittingly) making a comeback in consumer culture. As Gen Xers and the generations surrounding them age, the desire to harken back to the old days has grown even among the youngsters. Popular Netflix original series “Stranger Things” brings back acid wash jeans, “boat” cars, and bad perms. Adobe used Bob Ross’ enduring popularity in an ad campaign for Photoshop Sketch. All around, brands are capitalizing on what once was.

Yet, outside of the emotional appeal of old-school, some things should be kept simply because they work. In this article, Entrepreneur argues that certain branding tactics have stood the test of time. From public speaking to business cards, the article lists “eight aged but still workable branding and marketing strategies that are as effective in 2018 as they were back in the day.”

 

Shutterstock’s creative trends picks for 2018

With almost 50% market share, Shutterstock reins as the leading stock images provider. In holding that position, each year they see “billions of searches for images, footage, and music.” Their perspective as it relates to the visuals that marketers and creative teams are using to reach consumers is a unique one.

Based on user searches, here the company lists what it sees as the top 11 creative trends for 2018. The article includes everything from “major trends that will dominate popular culture to trends to watch that will burst onto the design scene.” While some of these seem “out there” (both figuratively and literally – “space” is included), you can’t argue with the data. People are searching – and loving – these topics. From “a global march” to “cactus”, here is your 2018 marketing images moment of zen.