Busting experiential marketing myths
“For me, there’s nothing that quite beats the face-to-face interaction,” says Nick Lee-Rogers, our latest PR Profiles guest. It should come as no surprise then that Nick is the Head of Events at Leeds-based PR agency, Hatch. Nick joined Hatch in January 2022 with a mission to champion the agency’s experiential offering as people transitioned into the post-pandemic world.
Despite the economic downturn that seems to be looming, Nick encourages brands to invest in experiential marketing today. “Now is the time to be brave and be bold,” says Nick. “Get out there face-to-face, because these are the times where you are really going to be standing out and making a difference. So, when it comes to the good times again, you are going to be the ones that are ahead of your competitors.”
Experiential marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or time intensive, which are common misconceptions that can keep brands from investing. “You can make it complicated; you can make it expensive; you can spend lots of money and time on it,” says Nick. “But you can also do it cleverly and you can do it well without having to spend the earth. You can make your assets sweat. You can make it interesting.”
Part of the way that Nick makes it interesting, not only to the consumer but to the company who is investing in experiential marketing, is to bring in the PR angle early. “We think about what those PR angles are, how we can weave a bit of a story into the event, what that messaging is that we can do to make it interesting for press,” says Nick. “Being able to get people knowing about it, so even if they’re not at the event itself, still being able to see it. From a client perspective, this kind of amplification is going to be a lot more powerful for your brand.”
Of course, there are some potential downsides to live events that no amount of contingency planning will account for. “Even with the best laid plans, we know that things can happen,” says Nick. “It’s making sure you respond to them in a positive way. I personally believe that a good degree of transparency and honesty with clients is key. Building up that trust and that rapport so that you can keep them involved and work with them to find a solution.” That trust extends beyond troubleshooting into the measurement side of experiential marketing as well. “We’re dealing with real-time events, which need live-time measurement, reporting and feedback. So, it’s important to build these into campaigns, and have open and honest chats with the client, so that you can do any fine-tuning—or even make wholesale changes—to make sure you’re delivering precisely on the brief that you’ve been given and maximize the return on the campaign that’s been invested in.”
For those wanting to build a career in experiential marketing, Nick’s advice is to get out and about: “Go to events and when you are there, enjoy it. Look at what brands are doing, get inspiration from that because loads of people will be doing things differently and you’ll be able to find interesting things: new technologies, new ways of building and producing things, angles on sustainability.” But as you observe, Nick says don’t forget about having fun. Afterall, “This is the idea about experiential; it is about bringing the fun of our brands to people.”