On Tuesday, PPAI President and CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE, moderated a brand masters panel discussion, Experiential Branding: How To Ignite Consumer Love, on the Ad Shapers Stage at AMC Lincoln Square in New York City as part of the annual Advertising Week. PPAI has a long-time association with the week-long event which draws marketing, advertising, technology and brand professionals from across the globe for seminars and workshops featuring some of the brightest minds in the business. The event wraps up today.

Bellantone was joined on stage by Andrea Cherng, chief marketing officer, Panda Express; Sharon Byers, chief development, marketing and communications officer, American Cancer Society; Megan Robles, senior marketing manager, KeVita (PepsiCo); Jason Eano, managing director, The Annex – Havas; and Joan Bluestone Landorf, executive vice president and partner at distributor Axis Promotions, for a strategic discussion on experiential branding and how ideation, inspiration and innovation inform the brand experience and create unmatched consumer loyalty and even love.

“Experiential marketing involves promoting a product or service through unique experiences and activations that engage our customers and clients to create emotional attachments,” said Bellantone in opening the session. “It’s where the brand and the consumers connect. Promotional products, or physical advertising, are truly the original means of experiential or engagement marketing. Promotional products have fostered stronger relationships between brands and their customers for centuries. …When savvy businesses combine the power of experiential marketing and promotional products, the results are exponentially more impactful.”

The panelists shared the stories of their organization’s work with experiential marketing. Byers spoke on the American Cancer Society’s partnership with the NFL, Cherng on how her company brought the Lunar New Year to customers who may not have been familiar with the holiday, Robles on the probiotic drink company’s “Drink In Culture” brand campaign, Eano on his group’s work within Havas to bring nontraditional marketers together with traditional marketers and finding ways to develop solution-oriented cultural programming, and Landorf on how her company, as a promotional products distributor, works with end users like those on the panel to extend the consumer experience.

“For me, it’s all about this true connection,” said Eano. “We have so many individual broadcasters out there—everyone’s their own network, everyone’s putting out their own story, we can all make our arguments on what the ROI and impressions really look and feel like and what reach really gets us—when I go home, what connection did I have with that brand? How am I taking that word-of-mouth to my next dinner party or my family … as something I wear on my sleeve as part of my identity?

Cherng, who spoke on the value of forging partnerships in pursuing experiential marketing objectives, said, “When you partner with people who believe in your values and believe in the story you’re telling and also have a reach beyond your typical reach, those are absolutely important partnerships to have and they contribute as one part of the important puzzle to solve.”

The full panel discussion is available for viewing here.