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  • Make it an Experience Use Experiential Marketing to Reach Gen Z on

    Make it an Experience: Use Experiential Marketing to Reach Gen Z

    Connect with Generation Z in a memorable and tangible way

    Teenagers can be challenging, and Generation Z has proven to be difficult when it comes to marketing. The teen and tween demographic that follows in the footsteps of millennials are savvy digital natives who are unimpressed with the traditional glossy advertising tactics of the past.

    These “screenagers” use Adblock, fast forward through television commercials, and are wary of obvious sales tactics. They’re also unique as consumers – valuing memories over materials and interaction over influence. They live their lives publicly on social media, but value personal connections. They want to share their thoughts and experiences with their peers and expect a genuine connection before offering brand loyalty. Experiential marketing continues to evolve to meet their needs and has been very effective in doing so.

    Influence through engagement

    Brick and mortar retail stores have long lamented the rise of digital brands, finding it hard to compete with the convenience of shopping from the comfort of home. However, if they’re willing to reinvent the traditional shopping environment, they actually have quite an advantage, particularly when it comes to younger shoppers.

    In a world where Gen Z lives a good portion of their lives online, real-life brand experiences:

    • Pique interest
    • Provide an innovative experience
    • Gives them something to share with their friends
    • Cultivates an appreciation for the company who offered it

    Due to their disconnect with traditional advertising, younger generations value experiences more than products. Finding a way to combine the two, and supporting that effort with a digital component, is the recipe for lasting brand loyalty.

    According to an article in the American Marketing Association’s Journals of Marketing:

    “Brand experience is conceptualized as sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments.”

    Experiential marketing can take place at music festivals, sporting competitions, fashion events, or anywhere else your target market may be and has the ability to amplify the impact of your message by providing a tangible, immersive experience.

    Effort of experience

    Admittedly, experiential marketing generally requires a bigger investment of time, creativity, and funds. However, the payoff is worth it. Generation Z will make up 40 percent of the global consumer landscape by the year 2020, and learning to understand their motivations while cultivating brand loyalty, will benefit your company for years to come.

    Reaching Generation Z may require a little work, but the end result is invaluable: a consumer who wants to interact with the brand and share that experience with their friends—in real life and on social media. Experiential marketing allows your brand to join the conversation in a relevant, organic way and creates a shared memory between consumer and company.

    And the numbers back these theories up, according to stats collected by Pop2Life:

    • 74 percent of attendees report having a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted.
    • 65 percent of consumers said live events help them understand a product or service better.
    • 70 percent of participants become regular customers after an experiential marketing event.
    • 80 percent of attendees report that live demonstrations and free samples significantly encourage their purchasing decision.

    Effective immersive examples

    Sometimes, inspiration is the best motivation for brainstorming creative ideas of your own. Here are three examples of brands that took experiential marketing to the next level:

    • Air Jordan Launch: Attendees who wanted to try out a pair of the new AJXX8 sneakers went through a digital registration system that assigned them an RFID chip-encoded Jordan branded bracelet.

      After trying on their sneakers, participants were tested in a series of playful skill challenges, including dribbling, jumping, and dunking in a LED-lit atmosphere. Once all levels were passed, users were ushered into the exclusive Air Jordan pop-up museum and lounge.

    • Zappos’ Google Cupcake Ambush: In an effort to promote its new photo app, Google teamed up with a cupcake truck and set out on the streets of Austin. Instead of a traditional exchange of money to buy cupcakes, the currency was a photo taken with the new app.

      Zappos joined in on the fun by strategically placing a box-on-feet nearby, which would dispense a free watch or pair of shoes when fed a cupcake. This creative collaboration led to an onslaught of hashtagged photos, app downloads, happy participants, and brand awareness.

    • Refinery29’s 29Rooms: The online brand Refinery29 entered a non-virtual space for the past three years at New York Fashion Week by creating an interactive event comprised of 29 individually branded and curated rooms.

      Attendees were able to experience something unique in each space of this larger-than-life playhouse, with each room designed and created by brand partners ranging from personalities like artists and musicians to big brands including Dunkin’ Donuts, Dyson, and Cadillac.

    Generation Z wants experiences they can enjoy and share; they want brands to have a voice and a face and they want to feel understood. Experiential marketing is fresh, fun, easy to complement with a digital component and a great catalyst for word-of-mouth marketing and social media traction. If you want to think outside the box when it comes to advertising work with us to create a sense of adventure for your audience.

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