Article Let's Have Words


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Article Let's Have Words

  1. 1. This article hosted at this address: Let’s Have Words Let the Facts Speak for Themselves 10th July 2007 by Zane Van Rooyen For some the ability to call a spade a spade seems to come naturally, and because of this, these people seem to possess a freedom of being in control that many admire and aspire to. A sense of leadership, of being in control of ones destiny, whatever that may be. However, it is important to also consider that arrogance has never won its seat alongside confidence, in the courts of Kings. And so it is with this in mind and an unabated confidence that I feel the need to impart this collected information in a straight forward, factual and un- peppered manner, in the hopes that you can decide for yourself. Much has been written about what at first was considered merely the next catchphrase, as experiential marketing (XM) began making a name for itself as the last drops of marketing were being squeezed out of what was left of the last Millennium. And as every marketer would hope for their brand; as XM officially got its name and identity, it was eagerly grasped with both hands by many opportunistic industry members thinking they knew enough about its complex ideology, and ran for the penthouse suites still with experiential entrails dragging behind. And so, over the past half decade we have seen the introduction of many interpretations of what experiential marketing is, rightly and wrongly, creating the haze of misunderstanding and double views that we are now faced with. Some companies simply chiselled the word “experiential” into their existing name, some began burning incense as you entered reception, while others dangled twinkling crystals from the ceiling and put pyramid effigies and quotes from the Egyptian God Isis all round the place in an attempt to look like they are in the know of what it is all about. The truth is, XM in some form or another has been here all the time; it just has never before been given an identity, and explored to its full potential as it is at present. Through the decades there have been examples of entrepreneurial greats who have exceeded way above that of their peers in making breakthroughs in talking brand message directly with consumers, with responses that have been recorded as case study material for all of us to learn from. The biographies abound, one only has to read up on people from Rembrandt to Ogilvy to Disney and more recently the likes of Scot Bedbury and Sir Richard Branson himself. One thing these and others have in common, and this is very apparent, is an unstoppable passionate desire to immerse themselves into the lives of their ultimate customers, and then to seek ways of getting it right in terms of how their brands speak to these customers respectfully and unintrusively. And as we reach the latter part of this decade, more and more of the modern marketing leaders are beginning to say the same thing. Erik Hauser, creative director and founder of San Francisco based firm Swivel Media has penned “ The one essential truth that shines through every strategy is that for a product or service to be successful it must start with a good experience at the first (and every) customer touch point. That experience can be with the actual product or service, or it can be a great experience with the marketing initiatives themselves. Either way, it’s the initial interaction/experience with a brand that helps the customers begin to define it as they see it and bond with it or not. “ Similarly, Max Lenderman, creative director of GMR Marketing based in Chicago writes “Campaigns should clearly deliver a meaningful benefit to the consumer.”
  2. 2. “Today, customers take product quality and a positive brand image as a given,” writes Columbia Business School guru Bernd H. Schmitt in his book Experiential Marketing. “What they want is products, communications, and marketing campaigns that dazzle their senses, touch their hearts, and stimulate their minds – that deliver an experience.” Wikipedia encyclopedia explains that “XM uses brand relevant experiences to engage audiences while creating a forum where these audiences interact with a brand. It involves high levels of interactivity and sensory impact and seeks to elicit an emotional response among the target through a more personal level of engagement than other methods of consumer communication” Why do we think that this is new? Isn’t word of mouth (commonly known as the world’s strongest form of marketing) exactly that? A good experience being shared; because of it being a good experience, and nothing else. We only share information with others because of the experiences had whether good or bad. So no emotional link – you don’t get a mention. Deliver a great experience and people will talk. So, no rocket science required. Correctly engaging a consumer will ignite advocacy. This advocacy (the stronger the better) will entice word of mouth communication. Consumers believe each other far more than an ad campaign ever did, and so your brand ambassador legion is born. Provided you get it right. Good luck. Zane Van Rooyen – National Strategic Director – JIGSAW Experiential SA – creator of Unlocking the Power of XM workshop.