The Power of PR In Experiential

Experiential is quickly becoming the most sought-after form of marketing for brands looking to make deeper connections with consumers, but what makes an experiential activation successful? What seems like a series of intangibles — effortlessly cool vibe, timing, weather, candid photo moments, even a lucky Instagram post from the right person — often represents countless hours of ideation, consultations, and carefully curated decisions every step of the way. PR is an essential cog in the experiential wheel, though not always in the more obvious ways you might expect.

What’s important to keep in mind is that PR is not only about “public relations” but also “media relations,” and publicists make it their business to keep their fingers on the pulse of what’s trending, relevant, and impactful. As such, where PR might be needed most is in the beginning stages of experiential, guiding conversations as to what resonates most strongly with consumers and, perhaps more importantly, with media. Does it matter if you create a beautiful, immersive, and memorable experiential landscape if no one is talking about it — or worse, if no one even knows about it?

Here’s the thing: as experiential becomes increasingly common in major markets (just think about all of those “museums” that are popping up across the country and the globe, from ice cream to eggs, pizza, confetti, and even sex), it’s more and more important to produce unique and immersive events that tell a story. What makes guests tick? Perhaps there’s an element of nostalgia, a charitable component, a famous face, “surprise-and-delights” or a whammy of a deal. Just ask The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — the team at Amazon Prime managed to pack all the above into their smashingly successful Carnegie Deli pop-up in New York City tied to the second season premiere. And don’t just take our word for it, everyone from Vogue to Buzzfeed, Bon Appetit, Adweek, and everyone in between wrote about it and still managed to touch on different elements of the week-long activation. PR pros are experts at crafting narratives and will help identify those nuggets that will turn your pop-up into a story worth telling AND an experience that people will literally line up to see.

And of course, let’s not forget one of the most important roles of PR in experiential: filling the room. Leveraging relationships with key journalists, influencers, calendar editors, and more to secure press before, during, and after the activation is vital to the success of these types of events. After all, what’s the point of experiential if there isn’t anyone there to experience it?