Creative Experiences That Drive Customer Acquisition

Brands like The Economist, Hello Fresh, Gorillas Delivery, Zipcar and Monese are looking to real-world creative experiences that drive customer acquisition. This is why.

True Brand Engagement Leads To Customer Acquisition

Different forms of direct marketing (direct mail, digital, and direct response advertising) have historically been the mediums of choice for brands looking into customer acquisition. Particularly those whose business model involves some form of ongoing subscription, membership, or other form of frequent purchase.

Whilst effective in achieving high reach and a low cost per customer acquisition, the real measure of success is of course retention. Do the customers you attract become life-long brand loyalists and regular users? Are you achieving the ultimate end goal, which is positive return on investment (‘ROI’)?

Real-world brand activations and creative experiences allow an audience to experience the product and brand personally. This is a rich engagement that allows customers to fully appreciate a product’s USPs whilst absorbing the personality and emotive side of the brand.

Are Creative Experiences Right For All Brands?

The short answer is “No”.  Creative experiences that drive customer acquisition work best for brands or businesses with some distinct characteristics.

  1. Number of existing customers – a global brand with hundreds of millions of customers will struggle to achieve a meaningful increase in customer base if experiential marketing is primarily viewed as an acquisition channel. However, for a brand with a smaller existing base, like The Economist who had 1m customers, this approach really moved the needle, growing its readership by over 10%.
  2. Customer ‘life-time’ value – a product with a low retail price (or low average order value) or a product purchased infrequently will find experiential marketing hard to pay back on a pure ROI basis. A brand attracting a consumer spend of say, £150+ per annum is key. The higher the consumer spend; the greater ROI can be achieved from using an experiential marketing approach.
  3. New market entrants, challenger brands, brands with limited physical presence – e.g. content publisher, an online or app-based product or service, e-commerce etc. These are amongst the most common businesses to reap the rewards from bringing their brand to life with creative experiences that drive customer acquisition.The Value Of Engagement

A real life, face-to-face engagement between consumer and brand should not be underestimated. Creating an experience that acts as a ‘honey pot’ attracting the optimum target audience, gives the consumer an immediate authentic and creative experience of the product. This is going to pay dividends in achieving a high level of retention. These creative experiences can fulfil other marketing objectives that work hand in hand with customer acquisition – e.g. driving brand reappraisal, targeting a new demographic, gaining brand cut-through in a new market or territory.

The Creative Possibilities Of Brand Experiences

What do we really mean by experiential marketing? Well, it can be any interaction (live, virtual or hybrid) that gives prospective customers a meaningful and memorable introduction to the brand. This can include:

  • Face-to-face street teams or touring road shows, operating in high-footfall public spaces
  • Event and festival campaigns
  • Interactions in workspaces and educational establishments
  • Pop-up spaces and installations in public places
  • Streamed live experiences (e.g. product demonstration or brand events) accessed virtually online
  • Invitee only venue-based experiences

Gorillas Delivery

Creating real world creative experiences is a fundamental part of Gorillas strategy. Their aim is to to create mass brand awareness and maximise App downloads > sign-ups and the ultimate metric, grocery orders. Experiences attract the right hyper-local consumer, gain immediate App downloads, with a significant % placing their 1st order, yielding a high ROI

The Economist

The Economist needed a new high impact and efficient customer acquisition strategy.  An initial 2-day test proved so positive, over the course of 3 years, a real-world acquisition strategy was scaled across 14 countries. This yielded over 130k new customers with a retention rate that out-performed multiple other channels.


Introducing city dwellers to a new alternative travel option relied on bringing the Zipcar proposition to life in a compelling, but efficient way. Global brand experiences targeted the right consumers, introduced the service, registered new users, and provided an incentive, securing a high level of conversion.


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Discover our latest guides to help brighten your brand experience strategy here at The Futures Lab


5th Floor Century House
100 Oxford Street

New York

243 E 14th
#2 C/O SQ
New York
NY 10003


Discover our latest guides to help brighten your brand experience strategy here at The Future Lab

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Whether it be Festivals, Trade Shows, PR Stunts, Installations or Pop Ups to name a few, we believe brand experiences are one of the most powerful forms of marketing to impact consumer perception and attitude towards a brand. They can create real behaviour change when born out of a deep consumer insight allied to a compelling idea. And it’s these fundamentals we look to get right whatever the live, virtual or hybrid task in hand.


Sampling is all too often perceived as an unsophisticated, somewhat ‘blunt’ marketing tool. Over the last 16 years Sense has pioneered a set of strategic principles which underpin our unique approach to sampling and which are highly measurable from both an ROI and consumer behaviour change perspective. We will happily guide brands through the myriad of sampling channels and products available so whether it’s mass face to face sampling, in offices, digitally, at home or just a strategic framework that you are after, we can provide a blend of tactics to fulfil both brand and sales objectives.


With many clients now focused on activating in channels more closely associated with a sale, our heavyweight retail experience closes the loop on a typical shopper journey by encompassing the moment of truth in store. Be it prize promotions, shopper toolkits, key visual creation, path-to-purchase communications, category strategy, B2B campaigns or Amazon optimisation, our goal is to create forward-thinking retail experiences that deliver demonstrable brand value. We aim to make ‘retail fail’ a thing of the past for ambitious brands looking to thrive is an ever-competitive landscape and believe our streamlined team is perfectly placed to do this.


Knowing what will keep a brand bright, exciting, and vital means we need to keep one step ahead of the curve. Our thought leadership hub, The Futures Lab, helps us to understand the marketing trends of tomorrow. It’s also the origin of strategies and methodologies which have created over 65 award-winning campaigns. 


Creativity is nothing without results. And we know that commissioning bold concepts, capable of changing minds, requires reassurance that it’s the right thing to do. 

Data, insights, and research precedes every campaign we do, and our proprietary measurement tool, EMR, gives us a decade of campaign performance metrics. Which is why we’re proud to have been recognised as industry-leading by brands like The Economist, Coca-Cola, and Molson Coors. 


We believe brand experience is inherently more varied than other forms of marketing. No formula, no template, no cookie-cutter approach – and often no precedent. 

That’s why, Sense places trust at the heart of its business – grounded in teamwork between our people and yours. Our processes are efficient, our senior team stay involved and our partnership mentality had helped us sustain powerful client relationships, some lasting over 10 years.