By inviting her students to take part in the Fill the Bottle challenge, Claire Roederer, head of the Customer Experience Chair at EM Strasbourg Business School, demonstrates that experiential marketing can also be learned from actions favoring the environment and public space. The students' individual accounts of this activity will serve as a support to decipher the major concepts of customer experience, in particular the hedonic and sensory dimensions and the growing role of the “active consumer”.
What Is the "Fill the Bottle" Challenge You Involved Your 60 Students In?
For almost two hours on September 24th, we “left” our students in the streets of Strasbourg. They were all given a 1.5 liter plastic bottle with one objective: to fill it up with as many cigarette butts as they could find on the ground. This challenge is currently very much trending on social networks and, as such, it already touches on the issue of experiential marketing, which we address in our “New Marketing Trends” course that we offer to the sixty students in their second year of the Grande École Programme who have chosen a Marketing major.
So Their Task Was to Pick Up Cigarette Butts on the Street?
Exactly! You have to understand that we wanted to offer them an atypical course this year, with breakfast conferences, workshops, and more. This ‘outing’ was in line with this philosophy and my objective is to make them understand that experiential marketing also includes societal or environmental dimensions and that it can invest in urban space. In addition to working live on social networks, students will be asked to give a personal account of their experience. It will provide a working basis for identifying the features and concepts of the customer experience, particularly in its sensory dimension and in a context where the consumer becomes a stakeholder, a collaborator and sometimes even a co-creator of products, services, or events.
What Are Your Goals?
There are three main ones: first of all, to give students a practical demonstration what an experience is, so that they can concretely touch on concepts seen in class. Secondly, I want them to understand that marketing, beyond prejudice, can also address the issue of general interest. Finally, I would like them to understand that in today’s climate, marketing involves establishing conversations on social networks with a real horizontality of discussion that leads to more freedom. It's not so natural for them.
How Did the Students Welcome Your Proposal?
Some were surprised at first, but overall the reception was positive. They were receptive, I think, to this somewhat atypical approach.
All the More So as the Approach Fits in Well with the School's Values!
It is true that EM Strasbourg Business School, particularly through its 3 Values, is very involved in the field of Sustainable development. But marketing is also a matter of behaving responsibly and we can no longer hide the fact that the environment is a major issue. Everyone can make an action, a virtuous reflex to limit our impact on the planet and public space. With this action, we are also getting students to think about all this and hopefully contribute to making them more responsible citizens and managers in the future.