From advertising to engagement, brands connect with loyalists
Speakers at the ninth Africa’s biggest Experiential Marketing Summit with the theme ‘The University of Brand Experiences’ have said that for marketing efforts to make impact in the market place it must be unique, engaging and embellished with local knowledge.
Founder and Editor, Event Marketer, Dan Handover stated that experiential marketing is the next chapter of marketing because this is an era companies are moving away from advertising to engagement. “Brands are noticing that consumers are no longer watching their TV advert, may no longer see their outdoor billboard, hear the radio advert, open their emails but the last channel that marketers can use to connect with consumers is live event and experience, it is face to face marketing. It is the last frontal of brand interaction. You cannot ignore a live interaction.”
Handover stated that experiential marketing can be used to build relationships, raise awareness, increase loyalty, establish relevance, encourage interaction and product trial, create memories, stimulate positive word of mouth, change the mind of dissatisfied customers, create product desire, verify the target audience and increase return on marketing investment.
He noted that consumers on the continent have progressed over the last five years and are becoming digital natives using all the forces put in place to evolve quickly over the next couple of years not only to a population super power but a brand super power. He however enjoined marketers to take social media as channel and not marketing strategy.
CEO, Exp Group, Carol Abade said “Experiential marketing is about enabling personal connections between brands and consumers by creating real life experience worth sharing. These experiences combine digital and real world connections to create stronger memories and emotional bonds between brand and consumers.’
Carol also felt that marketing need to shift boundaries. “We can’t develop the right brand strategies without real consumer insights. We must bring back agencies into a collaborative process that focuses on the target.”
Also Nnena Onyewuchi said the most powerful experience are those that are shared reason experiential marketing is not about PR stunts but about connected experiences that put the user at the centre to not only connect with the brands but also share their experiences through their own social networks.
Marketing Manager, Yellowwood Brand Strategy Company, Nokuthular Radebe, said companies, especially multinationals must understand that there is no such thing as an African consumer. For her, this is a product of not understanding the consumers on the continent who are diverse.
“We need to take a look at the people we are speaking to and how we speak to them. There notion is that Africa is one place but we need to understand the people, culture. There are over 2000 languages that are spoken on the continent that show how diverse the cultures are on the continent,” Radebe noted
She stated that though it would be a big task communicating with the diverse consumers on the continent but it is necessary because Africa requires much attention like the rest of the world. “Marketing is about the emotional connection between the brand and consumers. It is understanding the people and telling them the unique stories that are true to the cultures and market and not a blanket approach. They need to look beyond the numbers and speaking to the people and their lifestyle.”
According to Radebe “In order to stand out and earn a coveted place in consumers’ hearts and minds, brands and agencies need to create viral and lasting impressions through connected, impactful experiential marketing activations.”
The African Experiential Marketing Summit is a brainchild of EXP Marketing, an Experiential Marketing Agency with operations in 15 countries across Africa. It is a forum organised to learn, share and discuss experiential marketing trends and strategies in the African market.
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