When Integrating Experiential into an Influencer Marketing Strategy Works

Content Strategy

Think we’ve reached ‘peak influencer’? Think again. Influencer marketing continues to evolve, far beyond paid brand endorsement, and far beyond ‘influencer’ being a dirty word.

True ‘Influencers’ have made their mark by forging their own organic communities.

By responding to – or creating their own – culture, broadcasting pertinent thoughts and entertaining others on social media, these true influencers unite pockets of society like we’ve never seen before. This digital ‘community opportunity’ is a new phenomenon, unique to the 21st Century.

As we get more and more attuned to social media, and advertising delivered as ‘content’, it’s only fitting that brands create more authentic and more entertaining content to engage these new ‘digital communities’.

GIVING INFLUENCERS CREATIVE FREEDOM THROUGH EXPERIENTIAL

Running experiential marketing campaigns with influencers can be a smart strategy to engage new audiences. The focus is no longer a brand’s product, but something far more engaging: an influencer’s experience, facilitated by a brand. And the quirkier and more Instagrammable the experience, the better.

Crucially, the influencer is creating their own content from the experience. Instead of stale, scripted posts (see Scott Disick’s Instagram fail), a brand is able to capitalize on the influencer’s authenticity. And it’s this authenticity that gives way to true engagement, leading to true influence.

 

CLINIQUE ID – A BESPOKE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

The beauty industry was quick to onboard influencers, so have been quick to expand to bigger experiential campaigns too. In 2018 Clinique launched a new range of customisable moisturisers: Clinique iD. To tease the release, they invited 48 influencers to join them across 5 international, back to back trips – creating the ultimate content relay race in one campaign: #FindMyID.

Led by the different moisturiser colours, each trip tied back to the product, and influencers enjoyed Instagrammable activities, meals, outfits, accessories and settings. Influencers shared Instagram grid posts and Stories, all in real time, along with official postings on Clinique’s global feed. Instagram was flooded with #FindMyID content for 14 days, with influencers raving about the products and their experiences on the trips. The total campaign generated over 80 million impressions.

By combining beauty with travel, Clinique created completely one-off experiential content to launch their new range, the scale of which the beauty industry had never seen before.

KING – AN EXPERIENCE IN A BOX

To launch a new mobile game centered around fire and ice, gaming giant King selected key gaming influencers and sent them a gift package that just had to be put on YouTube.

Capitalizing on the well established ‘Haul’ and ‘Unboxing’ trends, King sent gamers a treasure chest containing two mysterious items that summed up the elemental themes of the new game:

  1. A bespoke bottle of hot sauce
  2. A block of ice with a phone inside

Influencers had fun showcasing their gift on YouTube: trying to chip away the ice in creative ways (nail gun, anyone?), and challenging themselves to taste the chilli sauce. The relevance? The hot sauce was branded with the game, and the phone in the ice block had the game pre-loaded.

By picking out key game features and tying them to engaging bespoke items – seemingly unrelated to the product – to entertain influencers, King got YouTube to pay attention to their new game, and genuinely enjoy the process to boot, in this award-winning campaign.

 

LULULEMON – A CLUB OF AMBASSADORS

Yoga-focused fitness brand Lululemon uses a longer-term approach when it comes to leveraging influencers.

Instead of shallow influencer endorsements, Lululemon has crafted an ambassador program. By approaching inspiring athletes and yoga instructors for feedback on Lululemon products, and asking them to partner with the brand on social impact programs, Lululemon has honed their own prestigious ‘club’ of local brand advocates.

This club of people has a wide range of interests, with diverse social media followings. A LuluLemon ambassador doesn’t need to have a certain amount of followers, just the right synergy with the brand. Through this strategy, being a LuluLemon ambassador becomes a part of that person’s identify. And this absolute buy-in to a brand is very powerful.

LuluLemon capitalises on their ambassador program through various ways. For experiential marketing, the brand hosts festivals with ambassadors leading events such as yoga classes and talks. Tapping into a more motivational type of content, these experiences allow ambassadors and festival goers alike to post ‘feel good’ and inspirational LuluLemon content on their social media feeds.

This approach, while it can’t always be linked to instantly selling a pair of LuluLemon leggings, helps grow and cement awareness of the brand – and what the brand stands for. Key things which brands can struggle to achieve in an engaging way.

 

Final thoughts

Whether it’s creating an incredible real-world experience, sending out engaging gifts that just have to be shared with the world, or forging a deeper relationship with influencers through community building, we’ll be seeing plenty more experiential marketing campaigns with influencers to come.

 

By Shona O’Leary – Senior Account Manager at Studio Black Tomato