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Experiential alcohol marketing – how to get your alcohol brand noticed in a crowded market

In a busy industry, alcohol brands need to run effective marketing campaigns to stand out in a crowded market. Experiential marketing can help your brand stand out as it physically reaches customers in unique and interactive ways. In 2018, the UK alcohol market was valued at £32.5 billion, and it is estimated to reach £39.8 billion by 2025. The following suggests what to consider when planning your next experiential marketing campaign.

Why is experiential marketing so powerful?

The power of experience is what makes your brand stand out. Your customers must be in the right setting and mindset to engage with your brand, so by creating an experiential campaign in an environment that encourages engagement is the key to success.

Your experiential marketing campaign should be the perfect balance of fun, interaction, and purpose to fully engage your target audience and create long-lasting connections. Check out our top 5, experiential marketing techniques blog to find out how your brand can get the most out of your campaigns.

Experiential marketing allows your brand to build long-lasting relationships with the customer as it humanizes your brand with face-to-face connections. These connections will be long-lasting, and you will be able to reach a new audience through word of mouth, as customers will share the brand experience with their friends and family. You should consider how shareable your campaign is as word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools. By making the most out of your experiential marketing campaigns your brand could soon be the talk of the town or WhatsApp group.

GottaBe!’s Top Tips to get your alcohol brand noticed 

Immersive experience 

An immersive experience provokes emotions by evoking the 5 senses. Immersive experiences go above and beyond what is expected and the customer leaves feeling they have had a positive brand experience. By evoking the senses there is a potential for better brand recall. The consumer may make a subconscious association between a sound, smell, touch, taste, or sight and the experience becomes memorable meaning that when it comes to a purchase decision, your product will stand out.  

A good example of an immersive experience is the beer brand Beck’s who ran a ‘Beck’speriment’. The live brand experience challenged men to keep their partner in the same clothes shop for a whole hour for the chance to win a van full of beer. The campaign needed the consumers to get physically involved with the campaign to benefit from the prize. Not only does the consumer look forward to the reward at the end but they are also drawn in by the game, the combination of both creates a fully immersive experience that is unforgettable.

Social media 

Creating buzz-worthy events that are sharable will increase brand awareness. With all experiential marketing, the experience must be shareable to reach maximum effectiveness. Run social media campaigns alongside your events to allow those who were unable to attend in person, to experience the activation digitally. Your social media campaigns can be brand-run or include influencers. 

By getting influencers to do takeovers on your stories your brand is reaching a higher audience. Not only does the influencer bring attention to your stories and posts but they will also advertise the takeover on their own Instagram bringing new customers to your platforms. When selecting influencers, you must consider if their audience is reflective of your own. In being selective of your influencers you will enable your brand to reach more of the right people.

Another way your brand can build awareness of your live activations is to post behind-the-scenes videos or sneak peek images in the run-up to the event; these are very popular with the younger generation who prefer authenticity. Following the need for authenticity, instead of focusing on the alcohol or a person drinking alcohol in your social media campaigns, consider the lifestyle you want to sell to the customer. This lifestyle can then be transferable from digital to physical. This is important in a crowded market such as alcohol as consumers are looking for what makes you different and are keen to make a connection with the brand.

Once your live activation has run its course you are then able to take it digital by running competitions. A competition also gives your brand a chance to capture data which can then be used to retarget customers. By going digital the overall length of the campaign is extended and becomes more valuable as a wider reach is created. A longer campaign also increase the frequency of which it is seen by one person, research shows that averagely between 3 – 5 touchpoints are required with a customer before that brand becomes front of mind. Encouraging followers to create content such as memes with your products makes the content personal whilst adding the ability to go viral. A good social media campaign includes organic content that consumers wish they could be a part of.

Events 

Events are a good option when considering where to hold your brands’ experiential campaigns because of the guaranteed crowds. However, your brand should carefully consider the events that you are attending and ensure that your target audience will be present. 

For alcohol brands music performances, sports and live events are a good place to start. The content of your campaign must convey your brand’s message as it will be visible to all. Consider how your brand can add value to the event. Attend those events and be the reason people have a good time.

Aperol spritz held a pop-up event in London in celebration of their 100th birthday. The event saw an Aperol 1919 lido, a flowing orange waterfall, a Vespa carousel, Fiat 500 hot tubs, and an actual ball bit – plus DJs. The promise of a fun evening and the exclusivity of needing an entry ticket made this event a hit! The extravagant settings pulled in millennials wanting to share their experience all over social media. This event used buzzworthy social media before, during, and after the activation. 

Aperol Spritz 100th birthday experiential marketing
Aperol Big Birthday Social, London, 2019

Timing 

Timing is key with any marketing materials but with alcohol especially. There are certain times of year to advertise your alcohol depending on the flavours. Summer is an especially good time to market fruity drinks which encourage time with friends. Then winter is known for being a great time for whiskey and deeper flavours. 

As well as the season’s something to consider when planning for your experiential campaigns is the age of the target audience you are trying to reach. The younger generation wants to attend fun and sharable activities that are exclusive so they can show off their lives on social media. Whereas the older generation prefers activations that activate the senses. Immersive events work equally for both age ranges, but the stand must be different for each. Making experiential campaigns feel personal will see better ROI as customers who can engage positively are more likely to make a purchase post activation.

Sampling 

Whilst your brand is taking the opportunity to physically connect with customers it is a perfect time to get honest feedback by offering samples. However, handing out samples isn’t enough to provide a brand experience. Sampling is a good marketing tool for collecting data, but by combining your sampling with an experience you can create more of a personal touch. Mass sampling is good, but it doesn’t always lead to sales, your brand needs to sell the lifestyle that goes along with the product. Including sampling as a part of the experience allows the customer to fully immerse themselves into the lifestyle you are trying to sell, product in hand.

Heineken took to Coachella, one of the biggest music festivals in the USA. The beer brand created the Heineken House, which provides a space for festival-goers to enjoy a cold pint, sit in their beer garden and enjoy the Heineken House line up within the 4 walls. “Heineken is turning up the heat in the desert with an incredible line-up, new location, and new structure featuring a first-of-its-kind beer garden that allows you to catch the music up close while enjoying a cold brew!” The house also saw ‘gram’ worthy installations, phone charging stations, and alcohol-free beers. The activation catered for everyone so was able to maximise the reach to new customers at the festival. By combining the product with an experience Heineken created a buzz worthy activation that had its own value at the busy festival.

Sustainability is a big thing with customers and sampling provides the perfect opportunity to show your audience through your face-to-face activations your brands’ message. Instead of using small plastic cups think of innovative ways to sustainably deliver your sampling with minimal waste.

Heineken House Coachella Experiential marketing
Heineken House Coachella

Personal touch 

Every brand has a story to tell. So, make sure your marketing is consistent. Brand purpose is extremely important, consumers will make purchases if they feel their morals align with a brand. It is what makes them come back to you repeatedly. The brand image reflects that of how they want to be perceived – people buy brands that reflect a lifestyle they aspire to be like. When you think about the message your brand wants to put out there then you can think of ways to reach your target audience. 

GottaBe! supported Rekorderlig at the Summer Fete in Chichester Marina. Our brand ambassadors handed out samples of Rekorderlig, as they aimed to drive footfall to the unique pitch location, The Rekorderlig Citroen Van. Along with this, we were tasked with capturing data of prospective customers for future Rekorderlig campaigns.

The campaign saw our Brand Ambassadors blind testing samples of Strawberry & Lime and Passion Fruit flavoured Rekorderlig at the Summer Fete a key. Samplers were then asked to guess the flavour of Rekorderlig they had tried, if they got it correct, they would be entered into a prize draw at the end of the day to win a crate of Rekorderlig Cider. 

The campaign with Rekorderlig saw us hand out over 300 samples and of those 300 samples, 103 people guessed correctly and were entered into our prize draw. 

From the day of activity Rekorderlig also saw a 109% increase in sales of their cider from the Rekorderlig Citroen Van. The campaign used a mixture of sampling, location, timing (a hot sunny day is when people most want a fruity drink), and a competition. These factors all contributed to the activation being a success.

If you’re ready to take the next step with your experiential marketing campaigns but are not sure where to start, contact the GottaBe! team to see how we can help your alcohol brand stand out. Our experts offer creative and engaging campaigns, we also have over 4500 talented brand ambassadors on hand to staff your events. GottaBe! can assist your campaign or run it all, whatever you need we will be there, call the team today +44 238 0634283.