Swine and Dine (Weekly Roundup: August 18)

Posted by Samantha Stallard on August 18, 2017
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Every Friday, the P2Blog will feature five industry articles that are trending, relevant, shocking, hilarious, or rediscovered. The Weekly Roundup is a curated list of what Pop2Life is sharing around the office - complete with our thoughts and on-point opinions (IMNSHO).

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1. Are Authentic Stories the Key to Experience Marketing?

authentic stories.jpgPhoto courtesy: Skyword

Found in Skyword, written by Lauren McMenemy
Traditional marketing scholars teach the 4 Ps: product, price, place, and promotion. It’s not about experience marketing. Just combine these ingredients, they say, and you’ll reach your unique selling points. You’ll create community engagement. You’ll go far.

And yet . . . “The rise of the ‘experience economy’ is currently one of the most important global trends in marketing,” writes Zoe Lazarus in Campaign. “Now, more than ever, consumers desire unique, spontaneous and immersive entertainment wherever they are. They want multisensory experiences, beyond sight and sound. However, they don’t want to be restricted to specific venues or times for their entertainment, and crave experiences that say something unique about them, which they can share with their friends and followers.”

Lazarus was writing about the rise of experiential marketing, that discipline that teaches brands to create a unique experience to increase sales of their product. The Event Marketing Institute found 77 percent of brands view experience marketing as a vital piece of their marketing strategy, and roughly two-thirds of brand marketers see increased sales because of experience marketing campaigns.

It’s an enticing statistic, for sure, but all of those experiences ultimately lead back to a tangible product. What if your product is intangible? What if the product itself is an experience? How do you use traditional marketing techniques for something you can’t touch and feel?

Our take:
The very nature of an experience hits at the emotional core of the consumer. It’s something they want to share—before, during, and after the event. Your story, told well, will engage that emotion and inspire the consumer to contribute to your marketing, too. The entire experiential marketing industry is centered around creativity and the options of what we can create are virtually limitless. While that’s incredibly exciting, it’s also pressure-fueled.

Think back to high school English… When the teacher instructed your class to write a response to The Crucible or evaluate a theme in To Kill a Mockingbird, you knew exactly what you were going to write about, because there was direction in the instructions. If that same teacher said that you could write about any topic, where do you begin? Suddenly, a feeling of fear kicks in.

Marketers face the same challenges. We’re constantly trying to outdo ourselves, because we’re only as good as our last project. Every event or activation we manage starts with an amazing idea. So, how do we discover those amazing ideas over and over again for our clients? You cannot be afraid to look stupid in front of coworkers or your team. Every idea has to be put out there because it’s the only way you’re going to get to the good ideas. 

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2. Experiential Travel: 40+ Travel Experts Weigh In On the Biggest Travel Trend

local-communities-benefit-1-1.pngPhoto courtesy: Giving Way

Found in Giving Way, written by Aviv Hochbaum

Experiential travel is easily the most exciting (and biggest) trend taking the travel scene by storm. For those searching their minds for a clue as to what this trend actually encompasses, we’re talking about a substantive and expressive shift away from the beaten-familiar-path towards a travel experience that allows us to truly grasp the history, culture, and people of the local community we are visiting. This means steering past heavily visited tourist locations and diving deep into the heart and soul of a new travel destination. It means, amongst other opportunities, opting for a home stay rather than a hotel, eating in a local restaurant rather than a well-known food chain, responsibly volunteering with a local nonprofit, and much more. In many ways, it is a more mindful travel experience.

For some time now, travelers worldwide have been giving more attention to the rise of experiential travel in individuals’ travel plans. It can be seen that more are choosing to travel in a more ‘authentic’ spirit, with possibly a clear understanding that this will lead, surely in a personal sense, to a more meaningful travel experience.

But, extending this view further from us (the travelers) – what are the varying effects of this trend? Are we witnessing a positive change taking over the travel scene? Will local communities benefit from such a shift? We obviously couldn’t answer such questions alone, and so we have turned to the industry’s leading travel experts for some much needed insights.

Our take:

Travel is one of the most fulfilling experiences money can buy. With travel brings freedom, exposure to unseen people and places, perspective, and… planning. Beyond leisure travel, more and more companies are creating experiential incentive travel plans to reward employees. It may sound expensive, but if done right, a incentive travel plan can end up being much cheaper than monetary bonsues for employees. $5,000 can easily get overlooked in an employee's pay stub, but giving an employee a $5,000 vacation, establishes positive feelings and may even increased employee performance.

As your top employees relax together, they'll network, create relationships, and may even strategize new business ideas (margaritas only make a brainstorm session more interesting!).

Beyond tropical drinks and sunsets over the ocean, incentive travel programs have a strong impact on individual motivation, retention and performance, as well as on organizational culture and business results. Although many companies have provided benefits and travel opportunitues, even more want to implement similar management tools, but are unsure how to conquer such a time-consuming task. 

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3. What Happened to Back to School Shopping?

back to school 2017.jpegPhoto courtesy: Pexels

Found in P2Blog, written by Samantha Stallard

A recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, a trade association that tracks retail sales, estimated combined spending during the back-to-school and back-to-college season would reach $83.6 billion, a more than 10 percent increase from last year’s $75.8 billion. Around $29.5 billion of those sales are expected to come from back-to-school shopping for high school students and younger, while back-to-college spending was estimated to be approximately $54.1 billion. The shopping season generally begins a month before school starts and is the second most popular shopping period after the holidays — encompassing a variety of products ranging from clothing to electronics and writing tools. 

This year, retail experts are grouping shoppers into three categories:

  1. Shoppers who want to experiment by buying new brands for the first time
  2. Shoppers who want to save money at discount retailers like Marshalls or TJ Maxx
  3. Shoppers who want the ease and convenience of online shopping

As always, Amazon is projected to be the most popular retailer for group #3, selling everything from school supplies and electronics to clothes and home goods — which are categorized as a school supply as incoming college freshmen furnish their dorm rooms. Amazon also allows kids to control purchases in place of parents by accessing the family account and choosing their items themselves, eliminating the need to fight traffic and other shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores.

Beyond the selection of Amazon, more specialized online stores attempt to jump on the back to school marketing train as well. From Zappos' shoe collection to EBags bags and backpacks, these retailers market themselves as the unique alternative to the options sold at traditional, mass market discount stores.

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4. Vice Partners with Airbnb to Offer Travel Packages

vice and airbnb.jpgPhoto courtesy: The Wall Street Journal

Found in The Wall Street Journal, written by Lukas I. Alpert

Vice Media has always tried to show what living on the edge looks like, but it’s inviting people to experience it for themselves. The youth-focused digital media company is partnering with Airbnb Inc. to offer custom-made travel packages in keeping with the Vice’s “punk ‘zine” ethos. “Vice has long gone all over the world to find the most unique stories with reporters on the ground, but we have never given our audience a chance to experience it,” said Spencer Baim, Vice’s chief strategy officer.

The partnership will kick off with a contest in which 100 people will receive one of four customized tours in South Africa, Paris, New York and Tokyo free of charge. A fee will be charged for future tours. Going forward, profits from tour fees will be kept by Airbnb, while Vice will receive advertising spending from Airbnb to market its “Experiences” offerings and other products.

The pilot offerings include a look at the electronic music scene in Cape Town led by DJs Spoek Mathambo and Yolanda Fyrus, a tour of Tokyo’s LGBTQ nightlife culture and an inside look at the Voguing dance world in Harlem. In Paris, the tour will focus on cabaret and burlesque events. The tours will be part of Airbnb’s “Experiences” packages, which it launched last year to offer travelers the opportunity to take part in aspects of a destination’s culture – for example drum lessons in Cuba or glitter face-painting workshops in London. In all, Airbnb offers 2,500 experience packages in 35 cities.

Our take:

This is the perfect example of the Pop2Life theory that the best partner isn't always a similar brand with similar goals. When Pop2Life executes branded music events for our clients, our most common partners are radio stationsInstead of splitting responsibilities down the media, the radio station, or another type of media partner, have a very specific role to play. Once the event’s location, artist, and experience are secured, the radio station's job is to amplify the event by promoting a sweepstakes to their audience to attend the event, usually along with complimentary airfare, hotel accommodations, and other VIP perks managed by our Event Concierge Services team.

Once they are armed with sweepstakes details that tells radio listeners when to tune in for a chance to win and how to register on their website (like written copy, recorded promos, and web banners) the sweepstakes runs like a well oiled machine until the winners are chosen and contacted. Promoting on air sweepstakes allows radio stations to engage and nurture their audiences with exclusive and valuable opportunities. 

Sweepstakes provide value to fans by granting them unique access to a once in a lifetime experiences. They also provide value to media partners, who leverage the contest in exchange for media promotions. Typical radio sweepstakes require listeners to tune into the station to win tickets to the event, plus extras such as airline tickets, hotel accommodations, artist meet and greets or private performances. By ensuring each radio station involved in the partnership follows the same promotional model over the same time period with the same registration process, brands can create a huge swell of promotion across the country.

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5. Nissan Just Got a Pig to Design a Racecar Circuit (Yes, Really)

Screen Shot 2017-08-15 at 2.43.53 PM.pngPhoto courtesy: Creativity Online

Found Creativity Online, written by Alexandra Jardine

How do you promote a car whose design features the first motion transmission from steering wheel to the car wheels through electrical signals? TBWA/Hakuhodo came up with an off-the-wall idea for the Nissan Skyline: it got a pig to design a race circuit.

Pigcasso is a South African pig who has recently made a name for herself through her abstract paintings, famous for their complex line formations. So Nissan enlisted the pig to "design" a circuit for racing driver Michael Krumm.

The film sees Krumm, who is unaware of the complexity of the track design at first -- and the fact it was designed by a pig -- complete the circuit using the Skyline's Direct Adaptive Steering (DAS) technology. It's worth watching just for his face when the designer of the track is revealed -- and of course, for Pigcasso, if you weren't familiar with her "work."

Our take:

This is a great example of how the best marketing stunts do more than surprise us, they tell a story. Capturing mindshare is no longer effective. Not only are we really good at tuning out unwanted noise (i.e. marketing), but our brains are wired to ignore, discard or forget information that lacks context and emotion. You know what we do remember really well? Stories.

Humans have been telling, sharing, and loving stories for centuries. We do it all day long — in person, on Facebook, over the phone, etc. We love stories, because by nature, they deliver the context and the emotion that creates a lasting memory; a real connection between people, places, and things (including brands).

Technology, the internet, and social media specifically, have given us the ability to amplify our experiences (and brand preferences) faster and with more authenticity. In the past few years, we’ve seen more brands roll the dice in an effort to benefit from our proclivity to share online. Some have been incredibly successful and entertaining. 

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Topics: pop culture, news, experiential marketing, events

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