Earlier this month, beer brand San Miguel launched an experiential stunt in support of their much-lauded #FindYourRich campaign. However, the consumer “experiment” has been accused of being overpriced and ill-favoured – given that ticket prices started at a fairly expensive £17.

However, experiences are arguably more important to brand marketing than ever before. As Keith Ferrazzi’s so-called ‘relationship age’ comes to maturity, consumers are wanting more experiences and wanting to build deeper relationships with brands.

As the information age cements its place at the centre of culture, audiences are no longer waiting to have messages broadcast to them; they want to be involved. 50% of Brits say that they feel the need to satisfy their need for new experiences (Foresight Factory) and nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the commercial success of Secret Cinema. Their latest sell-out Romeo + Juliet screening demonstrated that experiential events have a shelf-life beyond fly-by-night, short term experiences.

Back in 1946, Edgar Dale presented “The Cone of Experience” – a model that for marketers effectively breaks down different communication strategies. The model suggests that people will remember 90% of what they do – a recall rate three times bigger than seeing, and nearly five times more than hearing.

The alcohol sector has been responsible for a number of brilliant brand storytelling experiences. Recent examples would include Carlsberg’s Cabin with Airbnb, Lagranitas’s Beer Circus and Guiness’s Guiness Class airline – all of which demonstrate that commercial cues can be translated into credible marketing experiences when aligned with brand identity.

As Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Officer at The Content Advisory of the Content & Education Group of the Content Marketing Institute, eloquently puts it, “Marketing can no longer be the department (or person) that just describes the value of the product and services. Marketing must create value, independent of the product or service, through the experiences that it has the opportunity to create for customers. And, this responsibility now extends across the entirety of the customer’s journey.”

Clients and marketers alike must future-proof brands by placing them at the centre of the consumer cultural existence – whether in-store, online or in real life. But these experiences only really hit home when fully integrated into a brand’s identity.

Importantly, providing consumer-led experiences delivers significant ROI. The numbers speak for themselves: 70% of consumers become returning customers after experiencing a marketing event; 65% of brands attribute live experiences converting to sale; and 98% of consumers feel more inclined to purchase after attending an activation.
Experiential should be the go-to for any brand looking to truly engage consumers.