Experiential Marketing: A Connected Approach
In our 35 years of producing experiential marketing, we’ve been constantly amazed by the non-stop, high-demand race being run by corporate marketing and communications teams. Between internal and external initiatives, the range and scope of projects tackled each year is impressive.
In the effort to accomplish the work, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of how each program fits into the big picture. With numerous initiatives running simultaneously, often produced by different teams and agencies, a project may be successful stand-alone, but could potentially sacrifice cohesiveness with other programs and with overall company objectives.
Building “connected” strategies has always been one of EVI’s foundational strengths. We view experiential and events production as a highly-integrated component of a corporation’s macro strategy and business communications plan, and that’s where every client relationship begins.
We develop client partnerships with an “all-in” approach that positions us as a direct extension of your team. One of the ways we accomplish that is by taking more of a long-term “agency of record” mindset. While most corporations take a partner approach with their advertising and PR firms, we find it is more uncommon on the experiential and event production side. That's something we're working hard to change.
As simple as it sounds, the brand discovery phase is crucially important, but often overlooked. It’s the foundation for everything that follows. When EVI undertakes an agency of record agreement, we immerse ourselves into the people, the mission, the products, the services, the history and the culture of a brand. How does a company want to present itself… to be perceived by its audience? What behaviors are they trying to reinforce or modify…what are the desired results?
We team-up with senior leadership, marketing, branding, communications, the advertising and PR agencies, product development, technology, finance…all of the departments that make a company work. With a strategic perspective, we are able to look at all event marketing and communications objectives synergistically, providing numerous advantages in creative continuity, financial efficiencies and message effectiveness across the broader campaign. Ultimately this roadmap allows us to achieve more optimized results.
That business fluency is a major reason why companies like Aramark, McAfee by Intel, and JCPenney choose to work with EVI as their long-term experiential agency on their year round calendar of events.
Tod MacKenzie is Aramark’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs. He’s an industry veteran with years of experience leading advertising and communications for companies like PepsiCo and DineEquity. When MacKenzie teamed up with new CEO Eric Foss at Aramark in 2013, they were on the verge of taking the global food, facilities and uniforms services company public, and looking to completely reshape the brand and its worldwide experiential strategy.
“We recognized that we had to significantly raise the bar on our experiential marketing efforts”, says MacKenzie. “The company was doing a lot of events, but there was a lack of cohesiveness, and we just weren’t getting maximum impact. We needed an experiential agency that could partner with us across the board on an optimum strategy and on a long-term basis.”
EVI President and CEO Michael Marto and his producing team came in and very quickly helped put Aramark on track. In collaboration with the company’s senior management and functional centers, and its new brand agency, EVI became an indispensable part of Aramark’s team. The company credits EVI for looking at its experiential needs from a holistic view, which is crucially important.
Aramark and EVI scrutinized every opportunity with that big picture view to optimize and connect all aspects of the company’s experiential effort. A cohesive and connected matrix of brand launch events, recognition events, leadership conferences, internal webcasts, communications media, branded entertainment and permanent installations have played a big role in supporting Aramark’s robust growth as an industry leader.
Adds MacKenzie, “From the strategy and creative innovation, to the project management and producing execution, we have a highly collaborative machine that performs at a peak level. The value proposition is an undeniable success. We’re entering the fourth year of producing a full slate of events, and I can’t imagine a better way of achieving our goals.”
Benefits and Efficiencies of EVI’s Connected Agency Approach
Strategic Understanding of Corporate Mission from a top level business perspective enables us to produce projects that deliver results within the context of the big picture.
Thorough Brand Immersion enables development of creative ideas and message cohesiveness completely aligned with your culture and brand language.
Ability to very accurately deliver to the client’s tastes and expectations across multiple projects with consistent quality, flawless technical execution, and accountability for results.
Ongoing client interaction and feedback through surveys, team input and involvement in strategic meetings with senior management allow us to refine solutions and stay precisely on track with key business objectives and metrics.
Continuity of team members enables a very efficient, cohesive, and effective workflow, creating a client comfort factor at major positions, from project managers and producers to the creative design team. A deep working knowledge of the client organization enables seamless integration with all departments.
Allows more efficient use of internal marketing communications resources. Project to project consistency avoids a repeated vetting and alignment process with multiple agencies. Enables internal marketing communications team to remain focused on primary core business objectives.
Long term planning allows optimization of all resources and delivery of a much higher value proposition. Investment dollars are more efficiently amortized across numerous events and platforms through advance negotiation, increased buying power and multi-purposing of resources. Savings can go straight to the bottom line or create resources for additional projects.