We all had to drastically change our marketing strategies in a short amount of time when lockdown was first announced in March last year.

As stores had to close or had limited opening times, companies were restricted to interacting with customers through digital marketing channels – online chat, email newsletters and social media.

Now that retail outlets and stores are opening up again (and with Christmas only 16 weeks away!), now is the perfect time to indulge in a little experiential marketing.

What is experiential marketing?

Experiential marketing is all about face-to-face interaction with customers in a physical environment.

As the name suggests, it’s all about creating an experience that grabs people’s attention, raises awareness of your product, and encourages prospective customers to buy.

Experiential marketing covers a wide range of things from events and shows, store openings, in-store kiosks and pop-up shops.

Ways brands have utilised experiential marketing post-pandemic

Experiential marketing can be an extremely powerful marketing channel if used correctly.

In fact, 85% of customers say they are more likely to buy from a brand after attending an experiential marketing event.

Here are some of our favourite examples of experiential marketing from this year.

The Nutella van on tour

Everyone’s favourite chocolate spread recently completed a tour of the UK, giving away free breakfasts in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Chester Zoo.

Ferrero UK gave away over 5,000 fruity granola dishes and pancake skewers, in exchange for a big smile!

This is clever experiential marketing on the brand’s part. People will associate smiles and happy memories with the chocolate and hazelnut spread, making them more likely to buy it in-store.

Nutella offering free breakfasts around the UK

Kia inspires festival-goers

Many of us have awaited the return of festivals in the UK, and car manufacturer Kia took advantage of this by sponsoring the Boardmasters Festival in Cornwall.

Kia managed the ‘Inspiration Zone’ within the festival grounds, providing a programme of yoga and pilates in the morning, and ambient beats in the evening. Revellers could also check out the brand new Kia car while they were there.

Sometimes the best experiential marketing is subtle in nature. Kia encouraged visitors in with free experiences, with their latest product quietly on display in the background.

Kia – the official automotive partner of Boardmasters 2021

Patagonia encourages people to volunteer for local causes

People want to work with brands that have corporate social responsibility at their heart, and outdoor clothing brand Patagonia is combining sustainability with experiential marketing.

Patagonia has launched Patagonia Action Works, where it funds environmental work and coordinates a volunteer programme. Fans of the brand can sign up and volunteer to help causes local to them, from supporting peaceful protests to assisting charities with their social media.

Organising volunteer work in the name of marketing can be tricky, but it can be a great example of experiential marketing if done right. Not only do charities get support from people who may not have otherwise been aware of them, but it is all done under the Patagonia brand.

Get involved in Patagonia Action Works