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Trends in Experiential Marketing 2017


The constant evolution in the development & availability of technology has put marketers into fix. Deciding on what trends need to be leveraged to maximise brand engagement today have become the biggest challenge in conducting successful experiential marketing. This week’s blog post will explore some popular trends in experiential marketing that were realised across the year 2017.

Meeting People Where They Are

Instead of limiting a campaign to a specific time & venue, brands are meeting people where they are. For e.g. when MasterCard built a campaign around the Rugby Cup Finals, the brand met fans at the London Tube Station where they had asked them to sing their team’s anthem & win tickets to the matches. This is a clear example of how brands can execute experiential marketing without hosting a specific event.

Bringing Internet to Life

Creating experiences that bring the latest internet trends to life. It could be a Youtube video, a meme, or any online event that created virality. Imbedding these into the brand’s experiential campaign where consumers can touch, see & engage with these trends through the brand. This helps creating an immersive memory in relation to the brand.

Extending a campaign beyond the event

Marketers have begun focusing on how an event can live beyond it’s end-time and venue. Instead of using an event as a tool, brands are focusing on surrounding and basing their marketing campaigns on the event itself. The progress and acceleration of the digital platform has vastly improved the opportunity for brands to continue engagement with their consumers through sharing memories digitally and essentially extending the life of their event.

Live Streaming

The facility of streaming an event live on social media has proven to help increase consumer engagement and foster excitement for future events. Utilizing creative means of engaging with the attendees at the event becomes mandatory to help communicate the buzz and hence, convince people to attend them in the future.

The relationship between the Consumer’s digital & physical experience

Let consumers direct their own experience within the constructed event campaign. It has been seen that they prefer to choose the way they’d like to engage with the event space. The brand should provide the consumers with ways that can help them navigate through the experience efficiently to translate the same through their digital & physical landscape.

Increase in Budgets

Higher quality activations. With the growth in technology & social engagement in the market, having to integrate them into activations has had a direct effect on the money spent in the activation industry. The increase in popularity of experiential marketing has also derived an exponential increase permit costs.

Combining PR with Experiential Marketing

A fitting example for this is Red Bull, where the brand itself writes its own engagement story. Creating a partnership between PR & Experiential Marketing will help each tool complement & benefit each other.







Why marketers are focusing on Experiential Marketing

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Traditional marketing practices such as television, radio and print advertising are known to be a form of communication that deliver the brand’s message either verbally or visually. Experiential marketing on the other hand helps the brand engage with the consumer by interacting with them through as many senses possible. Instead of merely receiving information on the brand and its products, experiential marketing aims to create a series of events where consumers are provided with the opportunity, to taste, touch, learn and experience the product prior to making the purchasing decision.

More often than not, experiential marketing was known to be used by brands to supplement traditional marketing campaigns. However, over time brands have started to understand how independent experiential marketing programs can also strongly influence their consumers.

The primary reasons for this can be identified as the following:

  • Statistics from Blackjack Promotions state that 89% of consumers want to try a product before they buy it.
  • Brands are starting to sense how difficult it is to connect with consumers through traditional marketing methods, as they grow more and more likely to block and ignore ads.

As stated by the CMO of Mastercard, Raja Rajamannar, with the amount of clutter the consumers have to cut through on a daily basis, their attention span has reduced to 6 seconds. In order to inspire the consumer in that amount of time, it is imperative for a brand to develop customer relationships by allowing them to co-create the brand’s marketing program. This in-turn will imbed a memorable and emotional link in the consumer’s mind about the brand.

An article on AdWeek identifies how several brands such as, Jaguar, Absolut, Mastercard and more have started investing in experiential marketing to work on creating a substantial relationship with the consumer in order to induce customer loyalty. This is primarily because through experiential marketing brands can have a conversation with the consumers where there is dialogue going back & forth hence allowing them to listen and understand their needs, wants or concerns.

Having said all of the above, in today’s day & age the importance of social media has slightly altered the KPIs for experiential marketing. Brands have noted that if the experience isn’t being documented and amplified on social platforms the exercise becomes worthless.


Augmented Reality Salons

In partnership with the Warren Tricomi hair salon chain, Saks Fifth Avenue is unveiling a futuristic salon concept called The Salon Project, which relies heavily on augmented reality technology.

The reinvented salon experience will have those who visit The Salon Project within select Saks Fifth Avenue stores begin by checking in with a concierges equipped with an iPad. After being directed to the appropriate spot for their service, guests will be able to use AR tech to try on products in the salon’s inventory, such as lipsticks. As well as receiving recommendations from hairdressers, guests will have the opportunity to make purchases from the iPad based on the augmented reality previews that appear before their eyes.

The Salon Project is aptly being described as a crossover of a high-end salon, an Apple store and a Sephora. The Salon Project will first launch at Saks Fifth Avenue’s Huntington, Long Island location before the concept is introduced to other stores.

Transformed Trailer Sneaker Stores



In order to spread the story of Run Signature, a campaign that celebrates individual athletic needs, Brooks Running created a mobile store that allows consumers from all over to get a look at its various sneaker styles, and even take part in physical tests to determine which is best for them.

The pop-up was able to be easily transported throughout the United States as it was built within a trailer, which was covered in Brooks Running’s branding, as well as a series of vivid colors to attract attention to it. As Run Signature’s intention is to match consumers with their perfect Brooks Running shoes, all of the models were clearly marked within the pop-up to designate the type of support they would offer.

In addition to the useful tests and the expansive range of shoes to choose from, the pop-up featured interactive games and giveaways to increase consumer engagement.


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Furnished City Campaigns

  • IKEA launched an initiative that involved dressing up the streets with its vibrant decor. IKEA set up 11 activations across the city, which included making public benches more comfortable with the addition of pillows and using a FIKA cart to share complimentary hot drinks and freshly baked cinnamon buns. As part of the campaign, IKEA also had an artist construct an entire installation from Allen keys and gave some local forms of transportation more comfortable makeovers.



Multi-Sensory Beverage Pop-Ups

While most beverage pop-ups put a premium on spotlighting the taste of a product, the Perrier Flavor Studios pop-up in New York City aims to engage all of a visitor’s five senses.

The limited-time pop-up boasts a mocktail bar, live music, an interactive art stations and even a ball pit to dive into. In partnership with artist AKACorleone, Perrier is giving fans the chance to print pieces of custom art straight onto tote bags. At the pop-up, those in attendance are invited to sample the newest sparkling water flavors from Perrier, including Perrier Strawberry and Perrier Watermelon.

Multi-sensory pop-ups have become staples for brands across multiple industries that are interested in captivating a consumer’s senses and creating long-lasting memories via scent, sight, touch, sound and taste.



Gaming App Pop-Up Cafes

Hosted over a two-day period in London’s Soho neighborhood during June 2017, the Candy Crush Cafe is a clever interactive brand activation where guests were able to play a board game version of the popular gaming app. In addition to playing the board game version of Candy Crush, the pop-up cafe also served a variety of game-themed food and drinks and was accessible to individuals 18 years of age and older.

The Candy Crush Cafe in London served up game-themed cocktails, wines, beers and soft drinks, while sweets were available from London bakery Mary Lou’s Bakehouse in the form of rainbow cakes and cupcakes topped with giant lollipops, striped candy and popping candy. The pop-up also featured a roaming DJ and offered over five floors of adult-sized games.





Region’s first talent-booking app launched in Dubai

FLC Production & Model Management, part of FLC Group – a Dubai-based Marketing Services Agency, launched the region’s first Model and Talent booking app. Available for both IOS and android users, this free application offers clients a revolutionary way to select talent for their upcoming campaigns.
“At FLC, we are constantly looking for ways to enrich our clients’ experiences, and having identified a void in the current talent management market, our decision to launch this first-of-its-kind app in the region was the next strategic step towards strengthening our position as a solutions-driven agency,” says Adriana Usvat – Managing Partner, FLC Group.
The FLC Model booking app is a fast and easy way to scout & select models, hostesses and talent for your upcoming campaigns, fashions shows, shoots and events, simply at the touch of a button and three easy steps. Once users download the app, they can select their desired candidates from a wide range of international and regional male and female models database. Having shortlisted the models, the user is required to then complete a contact details form and submit the request for a booking agent. The app also features the Agency’s key campaigns & projects.
“With convenience at the heart of everything we do today, mobile technology continues to play an ever increasing role in the way we live, and the way businesses are conducted. Our belief that the competitive edge lies in continuously evolving and adapting to this changing landscape, spurred the decision to introduce this application. This is a clear demonstration of the Group’s commitment to offer seamless, effective and efficient services and solutions to clients across our four divisions,” commented Ganesh Iyer, FLC Group’s Managing Partner.
The FLC Production & Model Management division is a full-service agency providing quality representation of models, cast, and print & television production services for fashion and commercial clients across the GCC region.
The team has organized fashions shoots, runway shows for many haute couture brands, as well as brand videos and print campaign productions for several multinational power brands across the Gulf region.



How Fashion & Beauty brands can enhance consumer engagement

There are but a few industries that require companies to stay as agile as the fashion and beauty industry. While ‘setting trends’ remains the primary reason for fashion and beauty brands to stay ahead of the game, the rules of shopping have completely changed when compared to a few years ago. Consumer habits, needs and demands are constantly evolving. Today’s consumers not only want a unique product, but also expect a unique shopping experience.

Developing a meaningful and long-lasting relationship with consumers is more important for fashion and beauty brands than for other retail brands, because clients of such brands are always first in line when it comes to trends and living high profile experiences.

These consumers are extremely savvy and expect exciting, innovative engagement strategies as well as personalized experiences across all touch points.

So how do brands enhance the shopping experience for their consumers? Fashion brands should first focus on value creation for the customer.

They should also think and act digital, mapping a customer journey that connects mobile presence with the retail store.

While at it, build a sense of exclusivity throughout the entire experience.

As is the case across many industries, shoppers want brands to speak to them with the same level of relevance, whether they are browsing online or in store.

Seamlessly interacting with the customer, regardless of the platform or location is the key.

Let us try to understand what can be done at different touch points to better engage with consumers and enhance their brand experience, so that they keep coming back for more.


At the retail store the focus should be on personalized interactions, understanding consumer needs and their unique challenges, delighting the audience and making them feel special.

It is not only about needing this product anymore as there are several other brands selling similar products, but more about ‘what is in it for me as a customer’ or how ‘special that product makes me feel’.

There is a need to transform the store’s physical space into an experience that evokes sensation, feelings and behavioral responses generated by brand stimuli.

The store must shift from a place where consumers just ‘buy’ products, to a place where they ‘feel’ the essence of that particular brand.

It is therefore becoming essential for brands to start demonstrating their products, to have an engagement at the store level.

For example, NEO – the fast fashion label of Adidas, has equipped several of its European stores with interactive mirrors. These enable customers to take a picture when trying on a new outfit and posting the images on social platforms like Facebook for instant feedback from friends prior to purchasing.

Also, for example in fashion stores, having something as simple as a stylist that would be able to guide customers on how to combine different pieces or even as simple as advising on the color that best fits a person would make a difference.

Similarly for beauty brands, having a specialist who is able to demonstrate or give simple tips becomes important.

By enhancing consumer experience at the store level, brand owners have an opportunity to increase customer satisfaction, and generate brand loyalty and advocacy.

Having said this, we also should bear in mind that there are lots of consumers who know exactly what they want when they walk into the store, and have less time and disposition to spend trying different other products.

It is therefore that brands need to engage with the customer through outdoor activities in other locations where target audience are more receptive and available for engagement.


An example is Nestlé’s metro link campaign at Mall of the Emirates, which was an innovative way to increase engagement and generate high brand recall.

Welcoming metro users with a steaming cup of coffee, early in the morning as they walked towards the mall, was a great way to bring a moment of happiness and positivity into people’s lives, and connect with them.

Needless to say people did share their experiences on social media channels, and remembered the brand.

The Dove beauty brand is another very good example of excellent customer engagement both on-ground and online.

The brand is renowned for its controversial and out of box conversations about beauty. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches is the most viral ad of all times, and, therefore, needs no further explanation as to why it is the perfect example of ‘meaningful’ engagement that gave the brand ‘top-of-mind recall and made it worth sharing for consumers.

Few other examples of engaging with customers would be creation of clubs for likeminded people, private events for the VIP guests and private viewings of the latest collections.


Fashion and beauty consumers spend more time with those brands that provide them with engaging and valuable content.

Consumers use many digital platforms to get the latest information on trends, product/brand reviews, exchange experiences or compare prices. Within these customer journeys, social media plays a key role.

Instagram, particularly has become one of the most influential online tools for fashion and beauty brands. Carousel ads are becoming popular with brands like ASOS, Maybelline New York and Louis Vuitton using Instagram stories to create brand awareness around its products.

To be a successful brand on social media, you do not need to be a big beauty/fashion brand. In fact, some of the smaller brands might have an advantage over bigger brands as they have lesser guidelines to follow and they take decisions faster.

Here are few ideas when it comes to digital content strategy and how to better engage:

– Partnering with influencers

It is still highly effective to partner with content creators on influencer campaigns. Today viewers trust influencers more than they trust brands. It is however essential to choose the right influencer, the one that is authentic and credible when delivering the brand message.

The influencer should also match the personality and image of the brand. When the message comes from someone consumers follow and engage with on social media, they perceive it as receiving advise from a friend or an expert who has genuine interest in sharing something valuable.

– Creating engaging product tutorials

‘How to’ beauty videos earn higher audience engagement numbers and drive more page views on YouTube than 30 seconds commercials. In fact, around 45% of all YouTube videos are beauty tutorials.

If properly done, embracing the online tutorial trend means more engagement for the brand. Building the brand channel as a consistent source of beauty and lifestyle tips from beauty experts and vloggers, will always keep fans coming back.

– Involve your social media followers with your brand

Make your fans / followers feel that they have a word to say in developing new products, coming up with different names or packaging designs. The easiest way this can be done is by launching different contests where fans can participate and engage (for e.g. come up with the name of the latest limited edition lipstick, or with the tagline for a campaign).

– Repost on your social media channels

Reposting and sharing user-generated content shows customers they are valuable members of your online community who play an active role in your brand story.

– Listen to your customers

Listen and respond to customer complaints.

Technology plays a very important role for fashion and beauty brands. Be it at the store level or online, brands can use technology to build a sense of exclusivity and personalized experience that consumers look for.

In a perfect world, the customer should be able to describe the perfect dress and find the closest match, in a matter of seconds. Thanks to technology, this scenario will become a reality in the near future.

Artificial Intelligence-powered search engines will be able to track down the closest match for customers. This way designers, merchandisers and buyers could all work alongside AI, to predict what customers want to wear. There are a few areas that brands should consider improving:

– Mobile applications development

A digital showroom in 3D, applications that can show a customer how he would look in a certain attire, could be examples of choices that might help improve the fashion experience and engage emotionally with customers.

– Content that is context aware

This is a great opportunity that is rarely used. With the new generation of smartphones and the mobile connectivity, the Beacon solutions, geo fencing and localization can help in providing ‘right time, personalization’.

This helps in delivering content that is truly targeted and context based. Customers located 150 meters from a fashion store can receive customized messages with regards to a certain offer/new launch available in the store.

– Consumer behavior analysis

The toughest challenge when dealing with customers is identifying their behavior patterns and routines, so that brands can better understand their needs and wants. These customers want to be considered in their own singularity and refuse to accept readymade solutions.

Fashion brands, therefore, have just one way to avoid blind navigation, and that is using the power of data. There is no doubt that most fashion and beauty brands are compiling more and more customer data at all kinds of touch points – from user accounts to social networks to store level.

Connected devices produce all the information you need to know about your customers and the evolution of business, a crucial point in developing strategies.

However very few brands manage to process all volumes of data in real time, and even fewer use the data / knowledge generated effectively.

Customer behavior analysis plays a crucial role, as it is the interface through which human insight becomes actionable business intelligence.

This can act as the differentiator that adds a human element to a customer engagement strategy and make the relationship more than just a transaction.

Using the power of data, brands would be able to understand how often a certain customer is buying certain items for example, or personalize customer communication, be it auto generated happy birthday message, personal recommendations, a fitting tip and so on.

Amazon is at the forefront when it comes to recommendation engine. As consumers become digital consumers, brands need to adapt as fast as they can.

The industry has an opportunity in terms of innovating itself digitally, to create a convenient experience for the consumer.

Furthermore, building loyalty with a personalized experience by leveraging customer data should be key.





Author: Adriana Usvat, Managing Partner of FLC Group

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