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How to get the best from experiential marketing

How to get the best from experiential marketing

Marketers don’t want us to simply buy their brands, but buy into them, experience them, live and breathe them.

It’s a fun means to communicate your brand values and engage with consumers. Get it right and consumers will be left with a long lasting good feeling about your products that will ensure longevity in brand loyalty.

In the current health obsessed market, smoothie brand Innocent Drinks has risen to become the leader in its sector. Today it controls a 73 per cent share of the UK smoothie market, up from 63 per cent in 2006.

Its success has been driven in part by its ATL activity, particularly TV and press. However, communication messages are reinforced in the marketing mix by the brand’s promotions and event activity.

The Innocent Village Fete is considered the flagship of the brand’s events programme. Held in London’s Regent’s Park over two days, the 2007 spectacle was attended by 60,000 visitors enjoying the best in music and entertainment.

“It grew out of smaller parties we were organising to thank trade and consumers,” Head of Communications, Charlotte Rawlins (pictured), revealed. “The founders had an association with music events in the past and so building on that seemed the next natural step.

The result was Fruitstock, a primarily music event held in the central London park for four years.

Innocent has evolved as a brand over the years from being a favourite of hard partying twenty-something urbanites to a more family proposition. As a result, it was felt that Fruitstock needed to be developed to accommodate the wider consumer base.

“We needed to think of staging a bigger event but one that still had synergy with our brand associations – low-tech, outdoors, nature and wholesome. But it also had to be eclectic.”

The Innocent Village Fete was seen as the answer. The 2007 mini-festival included four music stages and typical countryside activities.

These included, welly wanging, Morris dancing, duck herding, dog agility, bicycle gymkhana, fruit and veg competition, ferret racing, cream teas, maypole dancing, coconut shy, barn dancing, tug o'war, homemade cakes, tombola and funfair rides.

Other attractions included a big farmers' market, tons of kids activities, real ale and cider tent, arts and crafts, picnic area, lots of smoothies, a big reading area, a knitting tent, open air yoga, massages and a feelgood area

Some £150,000 was raised from the £5 per person ticket sales and donated to charity.

Innocent’s brand presence included sampling and visible impacts throughout the site. One of the brand’s most eye-catching tools was an ice-cream van covered in fake grass. As well as being used as a sampling post, the Dancing Grass Van (DGV) appears to jump about on it hydraulics creating talkability and a branded photo opportunity.

“We had a discussion after the event that perhaps we hadn’t branded it up enough,” said Rawlins. “But all the experiences and activities were relevant to the brand.

“In a way we felt that perhaps we had let ourselves down by sticking ourselves in a corner of the site and maybe we should have increased accessibility to our products."

One of the greatest assets to the company is its staff. At the event all 270 employees from across the UK and Europe wore branded T-shirts carrying the message, “fancy a chat.”

On a one-to-one interactive level it worked incredibly well in engaging with an educating the public and played a role in developing brand loyalty

The Innocent Village Fete scheme was not exclusive to London. It included a mini-tour taking the experience to Birmingham, Reading, Manchester, Glasgow, Newcastle and Leeds.

The success of the programme? The fact its being repeated this year speaks volumes. Plans for the London Fete are already in place and booked in for August 2 and 3 at Regents Park.

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