Why Consumers Crave Real Connections

Connecting Digital to ExperientialImagine a tool so powerful that it could yield results faster than any other traditional marketing tactic. Not only would you be able to cut through the clutter and reach out to your audience, but also engage and get a reaction from them.

Enter the world of experiential marketing.

In today’s overly connected world, the amount of messaging we receive on every digital channel is staggering. Studies show that consumers see about 4,000 ads every day. On top of that, brands also have to compete with their audience’s social networks, friends, emails, text messages, and so on. With this amount of noise, there’s no wonder that consumers have raised the bar and become selective about the content they engage with.

Creating a Bond with Your Audience

Digital marketing has made it easier for brands to reach out to and engage a wide audience. However, most of the messages received through these channels don’t stick in the consumer’s mind. Just think about it: you can probably remember the content of a billboard you saw a few days ago on your way to work, but you can’t tell what the ad on the website you visited ten minutes ago was about.

Although we live most of our lives in the digital world, we still crave real connections. That’s why we go to concerts, attend events or watch sports competitions. The emotion and excitement of these experiences make us feel closer to our peers and, by extension, to the brands that happen to initiate them. Even when it comes to simple things, such as watching a horror movie, studies show that consumers feel a great attachment to the brands nearest to them when they’re scared or along (interesting, huh?).

The beauty of experiential marketing is that it allows you to spark powerful emotions and build a lasting connection with your audience that could transform into brand loyalty. And, it makes sense if you think about it: prospects are more likely to engage with your brand and mention it to their friends and family if you provide a unique and immersive experience than if you were to reach out to them with a standard online ad or sponsored post. We’re not talking about PR stunts here, but experiences that engage your audience and make them excited to share it with their network. Think about IKEA’s slumber party, Refinery29’s 29Rooms events or Red Bull’s jump from space.

Blending Digital & Experiential

You don’t have to burn a hole through your marketing budget to offer engaging brand experiences. Today’s technology has made it easier for brands to augment their digital marketing efforts and increase brand loyalty. With a VR headset, for example, you can enable prospects to see how it would be if they would use your products or services. If you’re a travel agency, you could use virtual reality technology to show prospects how the hotel room would look like or what they can expect to see when they reach their destination. These experiences engage all five senses, empower the consumer, and make them more excited about your offer than traditional tactics.

In Conclusion

You could have advanced tools that measure every possible metric, from impressions to click-through rates – and, that’s all good and necessary. But, the smile you manage to put on a prospect’s face is priceless. And, that’s where experiential marketing can make the difference and help you build a powerful bond.

We Recycled Super Bowl LII. Here’s the Replay.

As part of PepsiCo’s Zero Waste initiative, we were brought in to drive the message home at this year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Along with the PepsiCo Recycling team, we created Rush2Recycle, a high-energy activation featuring several immersive experiences, allowing fans to drop themselves into fun football action to see how many bottles they can recycle throughout Super Bowl Week. See all the action below in our Rush2Recycle highlight video.

Running parallel to the physical activation, we launched a website to drive awareness, while capturing the excitement through social media. Rush2Recycle.com will serve as an ongoing tool to further the movement through online engagement.
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This innovative project aimed to set a new standard for waste diversion at one of the nation’s premier events and inspire action across the country. The long-term goal is to recover more than 90% – more than 40 tons – of stadium waste by recycling bottles and cans, composting organic materials like food waste and service ware, and repurposing items through local community organizations.

For more information on this activation, visit Rush2Recycle.com or shoot us a note at info@canopybrandgroup.com.

Why Marketers Should Experiment More, and Worry Less

 

Worry-Less-CanopyThere is no room for failure – it’s an idea that gets thrown around a lot in marketing meetings. And it makes sense to think that way, right? Since so much planning goes into even the smallest detail of a campaign, it’s only natural to want to maximize your success. But, in their attempt to make everything go perfect, marketers and brands alike have become afraid of taking risks.
As a result, most marketing campaigns seem like they’ve been copied and pasted from the same guidebook. There’s little deviation from the common approach marketers use to promote a brand. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with focusing on crafting great content, using social media strategically, and getting people to talk about you. But where’s the creativity?

Finding Comfort in Failing
It’s not just advisable for marketers and brands to take risks; it’s almost imperative they do so. When everyone is singing the same tune, it can be rather difficult for consumers to identify an individual voice. That’s not an ideal scenario.

Industries like digital marketing, advertising, or product innovation are growing fast, and the rules keep changing. Your job isn’t just to follow the guidelines, but also anticipate what will happen next and stay ahead of the game.

Being groundbreaking is almost impossible when the fear of taking risks doesn’t allow you to move forward. Here’s the thing: failing isn’t a show stopper, but an opportunity to learn. It’s impossible to assess whether something will work or not unless it’s put to the test.

Marketers and advertising agencies have a lot of resources at their disposal to test the water before going public with new and ingenious campaigns, but often they don’t. And, that’s a shame considering that it can help you figure out what consumers want, especially now when they have learned how to tune out aggressive marketing messages and are looking for genuine communication with brands.

Failing Is Not the End
When the Gap changed its logo back in 2010, it wasn’t just that people didn’t like it – it sprung outrage. The logo itself wasn’t the catalyst for public discontent (though people had a blast criticizing it on social media), but how they handled it. The company asked people to send in their logo suggestions, which in turn sparked a lot of criticism, with some even saying the entire thing was just a marketing scheme to get a rebrand for free.

As you might already know, the Gap is still going strong. The failure didn’t push the brand into oblivion, but it made it more aware of one simple fact: if your audience feels you’re dishonest, they will reprimand you for it. The same things happened with the Tropicana repackaging or Pepsi rebranding. All three brands were suddenly confronted with the clear possibility of failure, and yet all three managed to overcome these stepping stones and continue to thrive.

If there’s any take away from this text, it’s this: failure isn’t as deadly as you’d think, as long as you learn your lessons from it.

 

How to Make it Go “Viral”

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How to Make It Go “Viral”
Search for “how to go viral” on Google, and you will get over 15 million results and a seemingly endless list of blog posts, articles, or studies presenting with great precision the steps you need to take to reach a massive audience. It seems that everyone and their mother wants to learn how to create viral content.

Marketers know this scenario all too well: a client, at one point, will express their desire to make their brand viral. Even those who don’t bother with the intricacies of marketing know that once you have a piece of content disseminated on a large scale by people, you’ve made it big. But is viral content something that you can control or, better yet, craft at wish?

How to Make Something Viral
At least, in theory, marketing agencies know how to make a video, post, ad, or any form of content go viral. It’s not exactly a secret recipe – a short analysis of previous viral materials can result in a lot of useful information on how to make a particular brand famous.

So, how do they do it?

Well, they’ll most likely carve out a strategy that will contain everything from what words to use in the headline, what Social Media platform to use, and when to publish the content or launch the campaign to get the biggest impact. They’ll look at popular trends online and try to integrate them without making it look forced.

While all these tactics can certainly boost up the visibility of your campaign, there’s no guarantee it will take the internet by storm. Celebrities or big brands that already have a generous following have a better chance of creating content that will spread like wildfire. Those with a modest follower count, however, have to rely on luck.

Here’s the thing: there are an average 6000 tweets posted per second, totaling up to roughly 500 million tweets per day. And, don’t let us get started on other social media platforms. The amount of content posted every day is insane. One truth that you must accept is that the internet is unpredictable.

So, Should You Try It?
There’s nothing wrong with contacting a marketing agency and hiring them to plan a campaign for your brand, obviously. But going into the meeting with the sole intent of becoming viral can bring to light some disappointing outcomes.

Marketers know the odds of a smaller brand going viral. It’s not great – let us tell you just that. Unless you’re Beyonce or Pepsi, you can’t make something go viral.

What You Can Do
Instead of focusing on quick ways to get viral, talk to an agency or marketers about a campaign that can generate some buzz around your brand the old-fashioned way: by going directly to the people interested in what you’re offering.

Sure, you won’t be taking over the internet, but you can still gain some visibility and status. So, try to think long-term and focus on tactics that although don’t bring impressive results quickly can help scale your business.

Are Millennials Still Hot Stuff? Understanding Emerging Consumer Audiences

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Marketing companies have been competing for the minds of millennials fiercely over the last few years – and for good reason.

Millennials represent about a quarter of the entire US population, and have over $200 billion in annual buying power. Though they have less discretionary income than Baby Boomers and older generations, they have a lot of influence – and are hard to reach with traditional marketing methods.

But are millennials still the hottest consumers out there? Or should we be focusing our efforts on a new generation of consumers? Here’s the scoop.

Millennials Are Still The Most Important Consumer Generation – For Now

Millennials are defined as individuals who were between 18-34 in 2015 by the Pew Research Center. They are just now entering the prime of their lives as consumers.

As millennials age, their income continues to grow as a generation. Most millennials are now out of college and working in professional careers, and millennials are the most educated generation to date.

This means that the buying power of millennials is only going to grow in future years, as they begin to start families and earn more discretionary income.

However, millennials will not stay at the top of the heap forever. As time goes on, Generation Z continues to grow – and a new generation of consumer is born.

Gen Z – The Largest Consumer Generation In History

Generation Z is defined as the “post-millennial” generation. While most definitions vary, it’s agreed that most Gen Z individuals were born around the year 2000 or later. This generation already makes up 25% of the population, and is forecasted to continue to grow.

As Gen Z becomes older, and younger people begin to enter the consumer market, they are likely to become the most highly sought-after consumer generation, just as millennials were before them.

Focus On Millennials In Marketing Efforts – But Don’t Forget About Gen Z!

How should brands market their products? Luckily, millennials and Gen Z both share a few common attributes. Consumers from both generations are tech-savvy and have quite a bit of influence on the market – and both Gen Z and millennial consumers do not respond well to traditional advertising methods.

While millennials should be the focus on most marketing efforts, Gen Z should not be overlooked. Brands should be using social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter to reach a younger audience, and should always be on the lookout for hot trends that could appeal to Gen Z consumers.

Conclusion

As time goes on, millennials will become less important as a consumer audience, and the importance of Gen Z will grow. So focus on millennials for now, but don’t forget about the younger generation.