Insights from The Experiential Marketing Summit of #wowAsia2017

Business Events | July 12, 2017 | News

WOW Convention Asia WOW Convention Asia 2017 Experiential Marketing Summit Pullman Hotel

The Experiential Marketing Summit took place on July 7, 2017 at the Pullman Hotel New Delhi Aerocity, as part of the WOW Awards and Convention Asia 2017. With three invigorating sessions, the Summit highlighted how the Experiential Marketing industry is evolving through innovation, highlighting opportunities for growth and development.

So if you missed it, here’s what transpired at the Summit.

5 Experiential Marketing Innovations That Inspired Me

The format for this session was deliberately wide-ranging, allowing speakers to share what truly inspires them to produce amazing events and experiences. Speakers ranging from experiential marketing agency heads to brand custodians were free to explore ideas, technologies, campaigns, experiences and events, whether their own work or not, that could inspire the audience to be more innovative and produce great work. The session was curated by Pramod Gaikwad, Founder and Director, Ice Global.

The session began with Alexis Dijksterhuis, VP of Strategy and New Business, Flash Entertainment presenting on five technologies and innovations that are set to revolutionize experiential marketing, including Blockchain technology, Virtual Reality, Wearable Technology, Sensors, Data Personalization (Big Data and Beacon technology) and Artificial Intelligence. Before elaborating on these, he listed twelve sources of meaningful experiences: accomplishment, beauty, community, creation, duty, security, freedom, enlightenment, harmony, oneness, validation and wonder.

He observed, “Event experiences should be based on knowledge of how guests participate and become involved. Technology is a tool to enhance experiences or create experience. Event Planners should think in terms of when the experience should occur; factors that influence participation and shape outcomes; the inner/psychic needs that give rise to the need or desire to participate in an experience; the role of the participant and other people involvement; and the role and relationship of the Event Planner ability and willingness to customize, control and coordinate aspects of the experience.”

Dijsterhuis was followed by Abhinav Sharma, Brand Manager, Adidas Running, India, who presented five of Adidas Running’s own campaigns, events and experiences that were exemplary and inspiring. These examples were presented in the order of: the invite, the build-up to the event, before the actual event, and the actual running events. He remarked, “In putting together an experience, I believe that the idea is fundamental. A lot of us are putting together events where we say we want a certain number of views, impressions, or shares. What we struggle with at the beginning of the ideation process is to tread the fine line between Marketing KPI’s and context for the event. Often these are at loggerheads. In sport especially, there is a gap between those who would enjoy experiences we wish to put together and those who can actually put our message out there. Transcending this gap involves some hard decisions.”

Next, Satish Upadhyay, Head – Seller Marketing, Amazon spoke about what experiential marketing means to him and why it works so well. Global campaigns and experiences that are memorable for him include 3M’s $3million Bullet Proof Challenge; the Coca Cola Small World Machines; The Social Swipe campaign; TNT’s campaign in Belgium; and Red Bull’s Stratos Freefall.

He said, “I think the core of experiential marketing is if there can be an exclamation mark at the end of whatever you did, that’s experiential marketing delivered right on target. It’s about creating an interactive experience to get customers talking about your product. It works much better than traditional marketing. Creativity is a non-negotiable factor with experiential marketing – it has to be a new experience. And you need to have your product tied in really well to it, so it leads to sales.”

Niousha Ehsan, Chief Energy Officer of Dubai-based Linkviva, explicated on examples of experiences from around the world that inspires her company to pay attention to every aspect of what goes into creating an experience. These included ‘The Museum of Feelings’ by glade; ‘Global Beer Fridge’; and ‘The Pancake Selfie Express’.  She observed, “At the end of the day technology is great. But we’re all human and how we experience the world around us is through our five senses. This is what enables us to experience anything.”


10 Hacks for Digital + Events to Deliver Truly Integrated Activations

The second session of the Experiential Marketing Summit was again curated by Pramod Gaikwad, and saw both brands and agencies dissect strategies for digital to be used conjointly with experiential for truly impactful activations.

Rajiv Dhingra, Founder & CEO, WATConsult, showcased the power of digital to leverage experiential, using examples of different kinds of experiences including an installation at a mall, a sampling event and more.  A 13-foot-high installation of Godzilla at High Street Phoenix, Mumbai was promoted through social media; a real experience was made virtual with HDFC’s Diner’s card; and Only’s free denim activation was amplified on social media, reaching far more people than those who actually got free denims.

“If you’re looking to do an event, even if it’s to provide sampling, you can use digital to make it way more interesting and make a simple idea seem much bigger. Digital needs to be a part of an event from the beginning to the end. When you conceptualise an event, you should have digital assets across: a website, social media that starts the buzz,etc.” remarked Dhingra.

Suveer Bajaj, Co-Founder, FoxyMoron followed Dhingra, sharing examples of how digital allows for the amplification of messaging at events, providing great content. Snapchat spectacles, audio beacons, virtual reality, and interactive installations, all allow for amazing content to be generated and amplified. Bajaj also emphasized the role that video content plays in this scheme of things where by 2020 it is predicted that 80% of content consumed over the internet would be video content.

“Every event or interaction that you have, whether it’s on-ground or online, essentially is one avenue to consume content. Now while events manage to cater content to a small school of people, digital can amplify messaging and build a certain amount of reach. Digital allows you to take that impact to a wider network of audiences, as remotely, distinctly and quickly as possible. So what an event agency is essentially doing is becoming someone who’s able to dictate the content consumption process of audiences and therefore influence their mindsets and the way they perceive a brand or an experience," said Bajaj.

Finally, Maneesha Khanna, Associate Director – Head Media and Digital Marketing, PepsiCo brought in the very different perspective of a brand or corporate, that approaches experiential marketing with clear objectives. Providing a list of principles, she emphasized how agencies need to always bear in mind what the client wants out of a given event or campaign.

Talking aboutthe example of The Dew Arena, Khanna showed what can be achieved when a sizable community or target group (in this case, gamers) is engaged through an event that ties in with the product. Campaigns need to be centered on a product, have a great idea, build extreme love for a brand, be effective from an ROI lens, and stay the course.

“A lot of agencies come at us with great velocity on the kinds of ideas, technologies, and innovations. So we simplify things. Technology and experiences are a great partner and how you build them together is an extremely magical combination. And where you can take it depends on the imagination. Technology and experiences, lent to scale to relevant audiences is an unbeatable combination that we should all really think about, rather than just experiences standing by themselves,” said Khanna.


Should Experiential be 50% of the Marketing Budget?

Curated by Mandeep Malhotra, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Social Street, this session looked at what it would take for experiential marketing to command a larger chunk of marketing budgets. With all the speakers representing brands with experiential marketing budgets between 10 and 40%, the session was ripe with insights into what experiential marketing accomplishes for brands and the extent to which companies would be willing to increase spends on events and experiences. The speakers began by sharing a favourite experiential campaign from their brand, then went on to talk about limitations that may prevent an increase in budgets, and finally, the extent to which digital is likely to eat into experiential budgets in the future.

Debosmita Majumder, Head of Marketing and Communication, PUMA spoke about how the DoYou campaign and Thierry Henry’s India visit both created experiences that were extremely gratifying for the brand and audiences. “At Puma, experiential is about giving consumers a money-can’t-buy experience. We always try and think of something a consumer can’t go out and buy. We also always need to ask ourselves how we’re amplifying the event, if we’re carrying on the conversation and what we’re doing with the database generated from an event.”

Aashish Rai, General Manager & Head, National Brand Properties, OOH Media & Activations, Idea shared how Idea has built its experiential marketing strategy on three pillars: music, sports and entertainment. Idea Rocks India being one of the prominent initiatives by Idea, is also one of the biggest live music properties led by a corporate. He said, “Experiential marketing can create an emotional connect with your consumers. I see challenges with measuring the impact of an event and the ROI. One of the things that needs to be addressed is measurability and scalability of events before experiential marketing budgets can be increased.”

Avinash Oza, Head – Rural Activation, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.’s Farm Division – Mahindra Tractors revealed how all consumer engagements by Mahindra Tractors has as at its heart its promise of ‘technology se taraf.’ For instance, farmers who want to buy tractors come to a dealership where a console helps provide a solution that’s appropriate to the size of his field. “For us at Mahindra, experiential for farmers is about what is the new take-home. Is he going home with new information? We use a sniper approach to be more impactful, rather than just having mass campaigns,” said Oza.

Chaitanya Rele, VP – Head of Marketing, Havmor Ice Cream Ltd. spoke about how Havmor’s ‘Chief Tasting Officer’ campaign worked so well because it had at its heart a business challenge that it actually needed its consumers to solve – that of coming up with new flavours.

Rele takes a broader view of experiential, so that while around 20% of Havmor’s marketing budget is spent on experiential, in reality a far greater investment goes into aspects of marketing that also create experiences, right from setting up parlours to packaging products attractively. He said, “Experiential is largely about impact. It’s about driving an opportunity to get someone to try something. For us, our product is our hero. We’re not going to be able to convince someone to try our product just through advertising. For me, the idea of experiential is not taking some part of the marketing budget and putting it into an event; for me, experiential transcends many things. Whether it’s a campaign led by digital which has a physical manifestation, or if it’s a special product sold in parlours for a short period, that’s an experiential investment as well.”

Part of the WOW Convention Asia 2017, the Experiential Marketing Summit took place on July 7, with three high octane sessions that brought home the power of experiential.

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