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How to Increase Brand Awareness with Experiential Marketing

As inflation and supply chain disruptions continue to loom over the U.S. economy, healthcare marketers are looking to maximize budgets to reach marketing goals at a lower price point. Experiential marketing is one cost-effective way to boost your practice's brand awareness and connect with your community.

What is Experiential Marketing?

Experiential marketing, also known as engagement marketing, is a marketing strategy that encourages people to participate in a branded experience. This strategy gives your brand an opportunity to engage with audiences directly in a way that allows them to gain a better understanding of your services or product, personality, and what your brand can offer them.

Experiential marketing has the greatest impact when audiences are fully immersed. The popular Van Gogh, Monet and Frida Kahlo exhibits currently touring the country plunge viewers into the art and creative worlds of the artists. This immersion allows them to become part of the canvas, feeling more connected to the art and its artists.

Though grand virtual reality productions may not make sense for your business, marketers can leverage customer stories and personalized connections to create memorable branded experiences for existing and potential customers.

Experiential Marketing Allows for Two-way Communication

Social media and other forms of online communication allow audiences to interact with brands in a direct way not previously possible with traditional forms of marketing. Audiences are no longer content to only watch or listen to brands - they want in on the conversation.

Experiential marketing like this interactive healthcare billboard encourages audiences to share an in-person experience with their online and social media networks. In fact, around 96% of millennials that participate in some form of experiential marketing will share pictures of it online. That means marketers can easily take traditional outdoor marketing and turn it into a UGC (user-generated content) powered social media campaign for little to no extra cost.

Investing in an experiential marketing strategy can have a positive ripple effect. User-generated content not only boosts your brand's visibility, but it can also boost brand trust. Studies show that people who see images shared by family, friends, and their favorite influencers are much more likely to review the brand since they trust the source. As a result, 93% of brands say experiential marketing is more effective for ROI than traditional media like broadcast TV commercials.

How to get the Conversation Started

Most brands have an awareness campaign they push out for a specific time like the Christmas holiday season. Instead of traditional tactics, consider communicating through experiential tactics such as a pop-up shop or interactive game. These exhibits allow audiences to associate your brand with the positive and memorable feelings they experienced thanks to your brand.

Authentic "wow" moments happen organically with such experiences. A healthcare brand could capture the wonderment of a child—or adult—surrounded by a simulated beating heart for a social post that extends the conversation about heart health. Don't overlook public relations opportunities–invite reporters for preview experiences before the activation opens to the public.

Entertain while Informing to Increase Brand Awareness

Experiential marketing allows us to inform and entertain audiences simultaneously. It helps overcome the challenge of trying to educate consumers without boring them while also increasing brand awareness.

Consider the goals of these experiential marketing campaigns:

  • Entertain—Toothpaste brand Sensodyne hosted an event where guests could play games and experiment with new products before meeting with dentists for private consultations. People had fun while learning about their oral health.

  • Optimize social media presence—In United Healthcare's "We Dare You" campaign, they dared consumers to make one small everyday change that could help them lead healthier lives and to share photos of the dare on social media with the hashtag #WeDareYou.

  • Increase brand trust and loyalty—Chipotle's award-winning, short film, "A Future Begins," showcases the brand's initiative to support sustainable farming practices. It combines entertaining animation, Kacey Musgrave's cover of a Coldplay song, an educational story and call-to-action for donations to the National Young Farmers Coalition. The viewer doesn't see Chipotle's logo until the last few seconds.

Increase awareness without interrupting

Creating content and experiences that engage audiences rather than interrupting them can drive results. Branded experiences that endear a brand to its audiences can be as simple as handing out coffee to doctors and nurses as they enter the hospital in the morning as a "thank you" gesture.

Other experiential marketing tactics to increase brand awareness might be:

  • Art installation of pink bras calling attention to breast cancer awareness month.

  • Buckets of sidewalk chalk spread around campus with a "How you doin?" message encouraging visitors to draw how they're feeling.

  • Sidewalk clings around town with health-related memes for Instagram moments.

  • Mobile health vans or buses going to local golf courses on Saturday mornings during prostate cancer awareness month for PSA tests.

A popular Austin, Texas restaurant hands out postcards with its checks and encourages diners to address a message to someone. The restaurant nails it. Ask participants after a Making Strides walk to stop by a booth and decorate greeting cards or write postcard messages to someone undergoing breast cancer. Deliver those afterward to patients at the cancer center.

More than just an experiential marketing tactic, it becomes a personal, heartfelt way of expressing care between two people.

TotalCom is a full-service marketing agency helping brands like yours tell their story to the right audiences. Email Lori Moore or call TotalCom Marketing Communications at 205.345.7363 to see how TotalCom may be the right fit for you.

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