Experiential Marketers: Capitalize on This Social Media Trend Now!

Before his career-altering injury and current legal troubles, Derrick Rose was widely regarded by Chicago Bulls fans as the second coming of Jordan (Michael Jordan, that is). At a lean and powerful 6 feet 3 inches, and coming from the impoverished inner city, the Chicago native was the embodiment of the rags-to-riches American dream. Rose, who plays point guard for the Bulls, was drafted as the first overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft after spending just one year at the University of Memphis—as per NBA rules—and quickly made an impact on the game, winning Rookie of the Year honors.

At the height of his popularity, before he tore his ACL in 2012, Rose made an NBA All-Star Game appearance, took home the coveted Most-Valuable Player award and led his team to a 62-20 season in 2010. Being recognized as one of the NBA’s top players and its best point guard, Rose had brands lined up vying to use his image and likeness to help sell everything from apparel to bobble-head dolls. Even had none of his sports achievements made Rose’s mark on the world, he would, nevertheless, be forever known for his part in one of the best experiential marketing campaigns that the marketing world has ever seen.

In 2013, Rose teamed up with Adidas to establish a pop-up shop in London, where the company’s marketing team would be promoting the ball player’s new sneaker line. Fans packed the one-day-only basketball court surrounded by four white walls and a red ledge set 10-feet high—the height of a regulation NBA rim. On the ledge were brand new D-Rose sneakers, free for the taking for any fan who could jump as high as Rose does to score. As you can imagine, the event was a slam dunk.

But how could experiential marketers take an event like this and extend its reach to people throughout the U.K., or even the world? First instinct for many marketers would be to promote the event on social media using pictures and videos from the pop-up shop. However, a new social trend is emerging that may quickly make sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn an afterthought for experiential marketers.

This trend comprises live stream and temporary content apps like Meerkat and Snapchat that are growing rapidly in popularity. In fact, in 2014, Snapchat’s CEO—seeing the possibilities of his mobile app platform—turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who wanted to absorb the social media opponent.

For those who may be unfamiliar with these apps, software such as Meerkat and Periscope allow users to stream live video through their platforms (or, in some cases, platforms like Twitter) to a list of followers. Snapchat, on the other hand, is known as the app users employ to send pictures or short videos to their friends; these images then disappear almost immediately, or after a 24-hour window in some cases.

The genius of these apps lies in their ability to put people right into live action. Apps like Snapchat have been able to capitalize on events throughout the world by allowing attendees, based on geographical location, to contribute to temporary “stories”—or galleries that mix both photos and videos together—that others can then watch from anywhere.

Imagine, then, if every Chicago Bulls fan could watch the D-Rose pop-up promo from the perspective of those who were at the event in London, in real time. The ability to create in-the-moment viral content is so tempting that even presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton recently launched her own Snapchat account—while joking it was her favorite platform because “those messages disappear all by themselves.”

Experiential marketing has always been a great way to generate leads by putting a brand’s products or services in the hands of potential end users; however, it has always been limited in reach. Now, by embracing live video and disappearing video apps like the ones above, marketers can successfully extend the reach of their events beyond the walls of their pop-up shops.