Whether one agrees or disagrees with the philosophical idea of postmodernism and its value for marketing practice (Brown 1994), there is no denying that a number of the conditions proposed by Firat (1991) determine consumer behaviour and the way of doing business in today’s affluent societies (Cova and Cova 2002; Patterson 1998). Indeed, due to the majority of industries increasingly reaching a state of saturation in recent years, many products have matured to such an extent that they can no longer be distinguished on their quality and functional benefits alone (Weinberg 1993; Kroeber-Riel 1984). Subsequently, the role of brand management has already shifted from providing a “mere” means of identification towards creating brand identities and communicating brand visions through the addition of sign values and meanings (de Chernatony 2001; Weinberg 1992). However, the reliance of marketers on identical symbols and sign values has resulted in standardised, interchangeable brand communication designs (Weinberg and Gröppel 1989) and comparable claims that are pushed through the same channels, blurring any existing brand distinctions even further (Schmitt 1999; Kroeber-Riel 1984). Therefore, the emphasis of branding should be placed on stimulating hyperreal experiences for consumers to meet the changing needs in affluent (postmodern) societies.
As a pull strategy, event-marketing offers marketers an innovative approach in marketing communications that meets those conditions. By staging marketing-events, consumers are encouraged to experience the brand values and vision as a 3-dimensional hyperreality (Wohlfeil and Whelan 2005a). In other words, similar to a theme park the brand identity is turned into a “real-lived” multi-sensual experience. Because personally “lived” experiences tend to be stronger in determining consumers’ notion of reality than the “second-hand” experiences traditionally communicated by advertising (Weinberg and Nickel 1998), event-marketing is better equipped to anchor multi-sensual brand experiences in the world of consumer feelings and experiences (Weinberg and Gröppel 1989). By meeting consumers’ growing need for experiential consumption in affluent societies, they make a genuine contribution to their perceived quality of life (Wohlfeil and Whelan 2005b, 2004). But is it just another postmodern craze or an exciting new way for marketers to communicate brand values to consumers in affluent societies?
Therefore, the objective of this paper is to introduce the concept of event-marketing to a broader audience and to discuss its role within marketing communications as well as its impact on the changing communications landscape. By presenting empirical evidence from a qualitative field experiment at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the paper will outline how brands can be communicated as experiential 3-dimensional real-lived experiences, which would strengthen the emotional attachment to the brand by developing and implementing creative event-marketing strategies. Consequently, the findings will narrow the information gap by increasing the perceived fit between consumers’ experiential needs and a brand’s contribution to their quality of life.
|8th Irish Academy of Management Conference
|1/01/05 → …
- experiential marketing
- experiential consumption
- Brand Lands