People in general, and millennials in particular, like to support small and local companies. People have gotten the message that when they spend $100 with a locally-owned business, $68 of their hard-earned cash stays in their community (as opposed to the $43 that stays in the community when they make purchases at a large chain). People like the personal attention and knowledge they get at smaller stores; the unique products they can find at boutiques and non-chain stores; and the feeling that they’re supporting their friends and neighbors.

That’s not necessarily good news for Fortune 500 companies – but there is hope. If your brand is seeking a way to tempt consumers away from the siren song of small and locally owned businesses, experiential marketing is one of the best way to do it.

Experiential marketing (also known as event marketing or live marketing) allows a business to put a personal touch on what may appear to consumers to be a faceless and unapproachable entity. By giving consumers opportunities to meet people in their own community who care about their needs and want to serve them, you show the human side of your company. By providing them with a unique and engaging experience, you demonstrate they can find something interesting and unique by purchasing your brand’s products or services.

There are also ways Fortune 500 companies can use experiential marketing to show they care about the issues and causes in particular communities that are important to the people who live there. Here are some of the best practices Factory 360 has developed for Fortune 500 companies interested in experiential marketing.

Leverage your resources

One of the great things about being a Fortune 500 company is that you have significant human capital. Your human resources can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your experiential marketing event. A research team can put together very thorough data on the brand’s target market for the activation. A communications team can focus on really engaging people on social media. The manufacturing team can build mind-boggling displays or interactive exhibits for the event. By utilizing the resources you already have as much as possible, your company can also save money.

Note that we don’t recommend companies develop and execute experiential marketing campaigns in-house. This blog post explains why in more detail, but suffice it to say that experiential marketing campaigns are so specialized and time-consumer that they’re best left to the experts. That being said, the people you have in-house can help an experiential marketing firm understand your brand’s goals and marketing landscape thoroughly

Fortune 500 companies can also use their resources to create very memorable experiences. Smaller companies may not be able to hire celebrities, invest in impressive and memorable giveaways or trips, or put together a very exclusive event. Larger companies with larger marketing budgets can. Investing in an unforgettable event for your consumers will create a very positive association with your brand.

Give your company a face

One of the issues people have with very large companies is that they seem very impersonal. By putting a human face to your brand, you make your company seem less like an impenetrable fortress and more like a neighborhood gathering place.

For the past 14 years Factory 360 has made Chase Bank a positive and engaging presence at over 500 community festivals and special events. When Chase first approached us, they wanted to implement a grassroots campaign in the communities where they have offices to get more people to open checking accounts.

We’ve developed a number of fun and interactive experiential marketing activations that draw crowds and provide bankers an opportunity to talk with consumers about Chase products. The results have been remarkable. Chase Bank generates an average of 240 checking accounts per event day. Over time they’ve opened more than 6,000 checking accounts for people. Chase leverages the relationships established at these events to get people connected to other, more profitable banking products in the future. Consumers like knowing they have a person – not just a place – they can go to when they need loans and other services.

Use sponsorships and cause-related marketing

Here are some well-known facts: No one can resist puppies and kittens. There’s huge interest in programs that serve children and veterans. And people love to support causes – especially if it doesn’t take them much time or money.

Fortune 500 companies don’t have to plan stand-alone activations to see huge success with experiential marketing. They can sponsor an event that supports a worthy cause or results in a good outcome for the community. Become the title sponsor for a fundraising dinner for foster children or benefit concert for breast cancer research. Champion a fun run that focuses on reducing childhood obesity or a community clean-up day. Give money and human resources to an event to connect homeless veterans to housing or homeless pets to loving families. All of these types of events are especially beneficial if the company can have a booth and offer a valuable (but small) experiential marketing experience in a prominent location.

A sponsorship activation doesn’t have to be tied to a charity or charitable cause, either. With all the enthusiasm for small and locally owned businesses, see if your company can find a way to include these types of entities in an event. For example, if an experiential marketing activation will be catered, have popular local companies bring in all the food and beverages.

Experiential marketing is all about creating a positive association between consumers and brands. That’s what you do when you tie your company’s name to a charity, cause or local business people love.

Hire the best experiential marketing firm

You hire the best talent to serve consumers. Why not hire the best outside firm to put together your experiential marketing events? Factory 360 has an outstanding track record of creative successful experiential marketing campaigns for Fortune 500 companies. We offer a wide range of services including college and festival programs, multicultural marketing, brand ambassador and model networks for staffing events, affluent marketing and social media integration. Contact us today to find out why Factory 360 is the perfect fit for your Fortune 500 company.

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