Goodbye sampling, hello experiential!

Goodbye sampling, hello experiential!

12th July, 2018 by Hannah Pemberton

I love a freebie. What can I say – is it my millennial status, the drain of a London lifestyle or intrinsic to my character? Regardless, I’ll unashamedly be the first to make a beeline towards a sampling station. Or, should I say, an experiential event!

There are many benefits to experiential stands. Not only are you able to target key demographics – including the notorious Instagram obsessed Gen Z, but you are also able to spread brand awareness.

Likewise, it displays a brand’s generosity and that they are trusting consumers to judge the product for themselves. Include a hashtag or the brand’s social handles on the packaging, and it’s likely you’ll tally up a lot of engagement.

Done badly, however, the risks of experiential can be great.  If they aren’t planned and organised properly, they can be a brutal, immediate and a painfully public #FAIL for the brand.

I was recently traipsing through Victoria Station, and noticed a brand (that will hereby remain nameless) handing out their new flavoured product. There was nothing eye-catching about the set up and the product was being pulled from big unbranded silver bins, straight into the hands of unenthused passers-by, who were racing by on their commutes home.

Sadly, the first thing I actually observed wasn’t their snazzy new product, but the multitude of left over product lying about the station, deserted along ledges and strewn across the ticket hall – and the contents all over the floor.   I was immediately turned off by seeing people reject a product so blatantly.

I understand why brands look to execute activity at high traffic spots, but train stations at peak times are full of commuters, desperate to get home or to work without interruption.  Likewise, Covent Garden and South Bank are perfect, but your audience is mainly tourists.  As consumers, we want an experience, but we need it to be relevant to us.

On that note, R&T recently headed to Balance Festival with California Walnuts to showcase the naturally nutritious nut.  Balance festival is ‘THE destination for individuals embracing a healthy lifestyle’. By going directly to the source our key demographic we were able to be at the forefront of our target consumers.  Attendees had travelled from near and far and were there to hearing about new and most importantly, relevant products.

Having a memorable, appealing and ‘Instagram-able’ experience is a great way to gain the right type of attention. We were inundated with people taking selfies under our walnut tree, which had been crafted for the festival, and of the tasty looking sample cones, filled to the brim with trail mix which had been made especially.

Our stand was designed to get high dwell time – most visitors stayed to chat and ask questions about California Walnuts. The feedback gained by the team throughout the day was incredibly positive and started the dialogue around the health benefits of California Walnuts.

By placing your brand into the hand of the right demographic, in the right surroundings, it will no doubt create a positive reaction – one that can be incredibly influential.

So let’s not shun the faithful stand out of fear – instead do it right, and reap the benefits!