For the past 20 years Mark Evans has been devising marketing strategies for a range of global brands such as Levis, Disney, Chanel and the COI.
An industry expert and key influencer in guerrilla and experiential marketing, he is a highly experienced business leader in creative marketing communications and digital media, owning several patent protected media technologies that now operate internationally for major blue chip brands.
We spent five minutes chatting to Mark to pick his brains about the industry, to find out more about experiential marketing and to see what he's currently up to...
How did you get started in your chosen field?
Being ex-military I have served in remote and often challenging environments from a young age. Planning my operations and having a 'Plan B' up my sleeve at all times was drilled into the forefront of my mind... everything I did was delivered and responded to with precision.
As much as I could I would ensure everything was perfectly balanced. The words “cause and effect” were important when making decisions in my life, in fact they still are and all of the above helped me tap into a natural ability to seize moments and gain tactical advantages where others would avoid.
Later on in life, after working in store management and “space planning”, I found a nice little niche promoting some of the UK’s biggest club nights across the UK and I earned a reputation for sneaky disruptive tactics used to raise awareness and at the same time avoid conflict with the authorities. I learned a lot from this period, in particular the power of the ‘news story’ and how to create the ‘stunt’ that hooks the news. Back then, changes were already happening at street level and it was here and also because of the growth in brands targeting younger people that spawned the black art of ‘brand experience’ and ‘experiential marketing’. This was the new route to effectively reach an ever more cynical audience, traditional advertising was starting to fragment and die.
I went on and launched my own superclub back in '95 called ‘The Aquarium’, attracting major global DJ talent to what was formerly a sea life centre on a remote beach in Scotland. Any marketing we did had to be different in order to draw attention and target the mass crowds who would ultimately be travelling a distance to experience our incredible and novel venue. Some tactics and technology used to penetrate the target market were utilising Radio One, The BBC and military lasers & outdoor video projections. Theatrical teams took to the street on tanks, parading at night and handing out ‘Aquarium’ invites. And that’s just some of the ordinary stuff.
How did Kommando get started?
On the back of one of the UK’s first guerrilla marketing agencies called ‘Bhuda’ which I set up in 1998. It was clear even before this time that consumer behaviour, business and online opportunities were changing far faster than traditional advertising or media could adapt. Today, we've got a fantastic, dedicated team that simply power the ideas with passion.
Tell us more about what you do
We do everything from thought leading experiential marketing to ground-breaking and spectacular ambient campaigns, and our aim, for over a decade, has been to create exceptional brand experiences through clear strategic thinking and insights.
The processes that deliver these brand experiences are executed with military precision for some of the most famous and demanding brands in the world. Process is everything. It drives our campaigns and that's why our reputation for attention to detail has become legendary.
We differentiate ourselves from other field marketing agencies through our operational rigour. We will apply a six-stage process to all activity and our process is underpinned by Klockwork. Klockwork is our unique field force recruitment, monitoring, evaluation, processing, invoicing and mobilisation software that's had a full decade of investment and enhancement put behind it.
We're considered pioneers in the growing field of experience marketing. We've been working at it single-mindedly from our bases in Glasgow and London since 2000 for world famous brands and brilliant creative agencies in 16 countries. At the heart of everything we do lies true engagement with consumers, whether that be product sampling and promotional distribution with unprecedented levels of reliability or award winning social marketing campaigns with deep levels of engagement for the Governments in Westminster and Holyrood (we're uniquely retrained by both).
Our unique approach combines operational military precision with truly insightful creativity, underpinned by unique and innovative techniques and technologies. Robust data capture and online follow through gives our clients unprecedented levels of direct, permission-based access to their customers and prospects.
Explain to us the concept of experiential marketing and brand experience
A great experiential marketing or brand experinece campaign triggers and indulges the senses, transporting brands from a collection of one dimensional values to a full 4D experience. Kommando create dialogue and invite conversation.
At Kommando, the goal has always been about bringing brands to life. We’re an experiential marketing and brand experience agency that rewrites the rules and shouts louder than the rest. As experienced marketers, we specialise in attracting attention, creating memorable experiences and communicating brand messages through events and into online and social space.
On Experiential... It's the difference between telling people about features of a product or service and letting them experience the benefits for themselves. When done right, it's the most powerful tool out there to win brand loyalty.
On Brand Experience... Brand experience is conceptualized as sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments.” J. Josko Brakus, Bernd H. Schmitt, & Lia Zarantonello.
So what have been the highlights?
Re-launching Levis 501 in 11 countries, launching Kiera Knightley as the face of Chanel's Coco Mademoioselle in four and turning all the street furniture on Kensignton high street into the contents of a ladies makeup bag for a well known cosmetics brand. Attending the Shanghai World Expo in 2010 to show off our technologies as an example of why the UK is a hub of creative excellence - that was also pretty special.
Anything exciting you're currently working on?
Growing our agency and international Value Added Reseller (VAR) programme for one of our partners patented Digital Out Of Home (DOOH) media technologies.
Anything planned for 2013 that we should know about?
We are expanding the team and moving from our current offices in London. The new premises will be located on Endell Street. There will be a concerted effort to change the way people measure ‘experience marketing’ in London.
When you're not working, what are you up to?
I like mountain biking with friends and often raise money for local charities through this hobby. I also love to walk my dogs.
Finally, what words of wisdom would you offer to people starting out in marketing?
Be brave, be different, be relevant. Make sure you get the chance to work on the ‘client’ and the ‘agency’ side, you will get a better understanding of how ‘it’ all works.
To find out more about Kommando, visit www.kommando.co.uk.
This is a sponsored article.