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Building a Better Bay Area – Google experiential marketing

Corporate philanthropy is definitely on the rise. Between 2012-2014, 56% of companies increased charitable giving, and Google is no exception. But when the search engine giant gave away $5.5 million to Bay Area nonprofits, it let the public decide where that money would go in an unconventional, interactive way.

Google experiential marketing allowed people to cast their votes online, but they also wanted to involve the Bay Area community in a tangible way. So they installed large, interactive posters — in places like bus shelters, food trucks, and restaurants — that locals could use to vote for a cause.

In the video below, the narrator notes that this experience reaches “people when they had the time to make a difference.” That’s a big thing about experiential marketing: It allows people to interact with a brand when they have the time. Maybe that’s why 72% percent of consumers say they positively view brands that provide great experiences.

Google: Bay Area Impact Challenge from Ben Beazley on Vimeo.

And that concept works in this experience, because it takes advantage of a “you’re-already-there” mentality. In San Francisco, finding people waiting for the bus or going to food trucks is pretty much a given. So while they were “already there,” Google set up a few opportunities:

To learn about and vote for local nonprofits
To interact with the brand in a way that doesn’t require using its products
To indirectly learn about Google’s community outreach

With the help of the online voting integration — and a branded hashtag: #GoogleImpactChallenge — the campaign ended up generating 400,000 votes over the course of about three and a half weeks.

Points to note:

    Create a branded hashtag that participants can use to share the experience on social media. Then, make sure you’ve integrated an online element that allows people to participate when they learn about it this way.
    Keep it local! It’s always nice when a large corporation gives some love to its community — in fact, 72% of folks say they would tell friends and family about a business’s efforts like these.
    Remember the “you’re already there” approach. Find out where your audience is already hanging out and engage them there, instead of trying to get them to take action where they don’t usually spend their time.

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