Of all the many factors considered when planning an event, there’s none more fundamental, more human-centric than designing an experience that is sensorial, satisfying… sensational. Designed with intention, much goes into making an affair to remember. It marks the collaborative talents, skills, and creative conceptualization of great minds tasked to answer the question “What’s it all about?” Together arriving at the notion that it is form, function, and feeling that collectively weave a narrative of a brand or business’s purpose; resulting in a final display of the harmonious balance of mixing business with pleasure through experiential marketing.
Such a deep understanding of these components is essential in cultivating a successful event, albeit virtual or in-person, and for Kitty Hart, Vice President of Client Brand Experience at Heroic, it’s all of these things and so much more.
In a recent discussion, the subject matter expert shares her fresh, illuminating views and insights on experiential marketing, what works, and what sets Heroic apart from the rest.
In your own words, what is experiential marketing?
Fundamentally, you are tapping into as many of the senses as possible within an experience. When designing events for human beings, we must focus not to show and tell but to surround one in an all-encompassing environment purposed to engage and enliven our feelings. We as humans see, hear, smell, touch, and taste, and it’s these special, significant wonders that can be infused altogether into a unique experience individually, and enjoyed by all.
How did experiential marketing begin?
If you think about it, consider way, way back to the early 1800s, there are traceable roots of experiential marketing. For example, at the Chicago World’s Fair, many of the industry legends whom we know today were present. These vendors took their products, food and otherwise, and placed them into the hands of patrons with the idea to have them touch, smell, taste, and purchase. But, far more than sales, the idea was to introduce an experience and something to remember into a person’s world.
What do you deem essential to creating a successful experiential marketing event?
It’s imperative for a brand to establish its objectives and define what the goal is. Posing questions like “Are we selling a product?,” “Are we educating?,” or “Are we celebrating?” All help to define the reasons behind an event and will then inform and aid in shaping the creative and design. This leads me to revisit my prior statement about employing ALL the senses. Not every event will require a total sensory scenario. A speaker’s words may be touching but in a completely different manner than in hand. Yes?
When it comes to planning an event, what do you feel needs to be in place?
Just as we have the five senses, we have the “who” and the “what.”
Who is it for? What’s most important to them? What creative ideations should we explore? Most importantly, how can we make this different and, most importantly, memorable?
What are some of the trends in experiential marketing, and of the many, is there one that may seem gimmicky versus actual marketing?
Remember when flash mobs became really big? You don’t see those popping up anymore. Yes, they were really fun and cool, but they became overdone very quickly. I feel that fundamentally, showing up in a place that you’re not expected to is a showstopping component that elicits surprise while evoking delight.
As trends go, influencers are super hot right now. They are reimagining the modern experience. Let’s take a step back. People worldwide would tune in to the Superbowl just for the commercials, curious as to how great they were going to be. For the last 10 years or so, all the chatter afterward would be words of amazement. However, now the digital landscape has changed, and this new influx of social influencers is wreaking havoc on the traditional world of advertising. The advertising world is dying, and brands are tapping into the influencer markets more, and I think it’s really something to watch out for.
How would you decipher whether or not an event was successful?
Great question! I feel there are a few different ways that you can measure the success of an event. As marketers, we’re all about collecting data, wherever possible. Most marketers employ post-event surveys. The only challenge there is getting people to fill them out. The most tangible way to measure success is based on what sort of chatter commences on social channels. We gauge how many impressions are created, and what people are talking about. What are they sharing from the event? We collect this information and report back to effectively measure results from an experiential marketing experience.
What’s Heroic’s edge in experiential marketing? What sets your events apart; ranking Heroic as the expert and go-to source for events and experiential marketing?
Heroic is one of the few production companies that has speakers and entertainment built into our full-service offering. We talk a lot about how infusing the right talent into any experience allows you to truly transform the event from just a normal everyday experience into something truly unique. It’s our secret sauce and our power to get the job done. Do you want Pitbull at your event? Done. It’s not a normal thing to hear when you’re talking to your agency partner. But, we can do it!
A Heroic production has momentum, a crescendo, and an escalation of mood and impact – always ending on a high note. At Heroic we illuminate the possibilities to amplify the excellent.
As for what sets us apart from others? To put it simply, we aren’t just a vendor to our clients. They view us as a true partner because we only focus on what works for our client and their specific event. That’s our style and it’s one our clients appreciate and value.
Need ideas, inspirations or help planning your next event? Schedule time to talk with Kitty to learn more about how Heroic can help make it memorable.