As few governments are slowly reopening economies and easing up on lockdowns, the action is still being met with a combination of fear and excitement. Some are hopeful that the pandemic will end, and we can all return to normal, while others are worried that there might be a second wave that will be even worse than the first.
Many people in the events and hospitality industries have been hit hard with job loss and events being canceled or delayed, and they hope that things will get back to normal.
However, industries will have to be creative in the ways they allow customers to share their experiences. Companies and marketing agencies that build brand experiences will have to consider safety precautions since restrictions like social distancing and unlikelihood of large gatherings may still be in play. With that in mind, here are experiential marketing ideas you can employ as a brand as people break out of lockdowns and quarantine.
Many retail shops and stores have been closed due to regulations like social distancing. We probably won’t see large festivals again until next year. Sporting events have slowly returned, but minus the large crowd of fans and gatherings. These are prohibited until public health officials can clear the world of the virus or get it under control. That rules out trade shows and music concerts, too.
However, retail shopping may eventually return. People have been cooped up at home online shopping on sites like Amazon, and it’s a great way to buy products online, but people still want the in-person shopping experience once in a while. This is where brands can capitalize on the opportunity and set up mobile retail trailers to meet their consumers. If your customers are wary of large crowds in malls, brick and mortar stores, or grocery stores, bringing your brand to them in a mobile venue will work for them.
CPG brands, which stand for Consumer Packaged Goods, are found everywhere. Now that there are restrictions on large crowds gathering in one place, the CPG brands don’t have the luxury of sampling their products to people like they were used to. However, they can still use the food truck model to grab their consumers’ attention in a meaningful way.
Instead of how they used to give out samples to consumers previously, they can use their products and create a dish that won’t only attract customers but will build a connection. For example, if you’re a drinks company, you may create cocktails with alcohol, and offer customers to test them out in a food truck. If you’re a potato chip brand, you can be creative by coming up with exciting ways to eat the chips, and then offer to customers.
A food truck or trailer will also keep your staff safe and at a safe distance away from consumers. With the social distancing rules in place, you can have spots where consumers in line can stand on, so that you can also put your customers at ease.
You can use various options to optimize this idea and come up with something that works with your products. This will create a lasting and thoughtful experience for your consumers by grabbing their attention, than merely handing them out a bag of chips.
Create a special local event.
Large-scale events have been put on hold for an unknown period, but that doesn’t mean you can’t come up with a personalized small local event. An event with a small number of people, especially at this time, will be an excellent opportunity to create experiences with your consumers.
You can choose to keep the number of people at the event to a maximum of 50 or less, which will help keep consumers’ fears about being in contact with crowds at bay.
The small event’s unique nature gives the consumers the feel of exclusivity after spending months locked up in their homes. This creates a personal connection between your brand and your consumers by making them feel important. You can also use the local event to create digital content that lives long after the event is over. The content will reach more people than those who were in attendance.
Consumers at the event will share their experiences with your brand on social media or other online platforms and with friends, which will help market your brand. It will also create and maintain brand loyalty with your consumers while gaining new ones.
This may not apply to every brand, but those that can offer goodwill play an essential role in helping some people get back to their feet. Could your brand offer gloves, facemasks, or sanitizers to people in need? For example, some alcohol-making companies in some countries have been using some of their alcohol to make sanitizers and distributing them to the public. This is a show of goodwill where consumers will appreciate the effort.
Some companies are offering products and sending food to healthcare workers or others on the pandemic’s frontlines. Other companies like Nestle and Meal Kit Friendly donated funds to Meals on Wheels America that helped feed families struggling during these hard times.
As long as you’re doing it for the right reasons to help and serve the community during these uncertain times, rather than a public relations stunt, it will help create brand affinity.
Most of these ideas utilize the use of trailers, and these will help maintain social distancing for mobile retail, food sampling, local events, and goodwill activations. In the event, the trailer can serve as your command center or logistics hub, or a center where you can attend to your consumers and allow your brand to control the setting.