Why is it that experiential is so attractive at the moment? What has experiential got to offer inside the marketing mix that makes it so desirable that advertising agencies have started talking about delivering it?
In an age of fake news, polished messaging and a massive, global media environment, experiences are largely self-directed, personal if not personalized and offer limited attendance opportunities. That means that people feel like they are getting something unique, a moment in time, a genuine interaction with a brand. After all, only 70,000 people can actually attend the Super Bowl in person whereas 62 million people worldwide joined the conversation on Facebook alone to the tune of 270 million interactions.
For Millennials particularly there is a driving need to deliver unique and inspiring content whether that’s to your friend group or to your influencer following. Posting the same thing everyone else is posting isn’t’ going to achieve that. Hence the desire for time limited events with restricted attendance. The Museum of Ice Cream had a wait list of 200,000 people after it opened in 2017.
And there’s more opportunity to create emotional moments that last beyond 30 seconds. If spending time with a brand creates uplift in perception (and it does) then experiences win out every time as a means of communication prior to purchase. Here’s an example – people pay $15 to go to an auto show and spend about 4 hours there. All that time they are absorbing messages, interacting with brand ambassadors. And yes, we do see substantial brand lift in our research.
Experiential marketing has been delivering value for everbut now that Millennials are reporting it in research marketers are finally viewing experiential as more than simply handing out samples in cute t-shirts.
The question now is whether ad agencies will try and deliver experiential in the same way they tried to deliver digital in the 2010s. And whether they will succeed.
PS If you want to see some examples of incredible experiential work that is driving engagement check out this flipboard. Its not Imagination’s work, you can go here for that, and it’s also awesome!
We all dream of writing that brief which makes a creative team sit up and say “My god! This is it, I get it, I love it, I love you, I know exactly what I am going to do!”
Unfortunately that’s more the exception than the rule and the situation is made worse by the fact that planners/strategists/”thought ninjas” (or whatever other name by which you like to be known – polite only) are primarily verbal people.
Why does that make it worse?
Because most of the time we are talking to primarily visual people. If you put a 3 page A4 document in front of a designer it’s not likely to be viewed as a brilliantly incisive piece of valuable thinking. It’s more likely to be seen as a boring tract of unnecessary detail or, in the worst case scenario, a sleep aid.
There is science behind this of course – research into learning styles. There are 4 key learning styles –
- Aural or Auditory – learners who like to discuss, listen, repeat and debate in order to learn.
- Visual – learners who grasp ideas more easily if they are illustrated, graphically represented or arranged for instance by using charts and mind maps.
- Visual (verbal) – learners who take in information through words read/write
- Kinesthetic – learners who need their learning to be connected to reality through demonstrations, exhibits, case studies etc.
Too often we’re guilty of putting out briefs and information in ways that are unusable or difficult for others to process, and then we wonder why our carefully crafted masterpieces get ignored.
How to combat this?
- Write less – please can we have no more 3 page A4 tomes as briefs. Even I can’t bear them and I love writing (viz and towhit…)
- Include imagery – Combine the fundamental requirements and insights with one picture that expresses the whole concept
- Think about immersion – Can we use physical space to brief, experiences to drive understanding?
We now use a brief that has a full page image and 2 pages of ppt size and I’ve found it to be really useful in helping me communicate both fact and emotional concepts. I haven’t yet had an occasion on which to use a Kinesthetic approach but would love to hear from anyone who has on what worked and what didn’t.
Every Monday I run our Brilliant Experience meeting. We check through the latest and greatest in experiential out there in the world and record it on our Flipboard.
It feeds our brains and our creativity and helps us to set the bar for our work and our aspirations.
It’s a busy time of year at Imagination. We cover SEMA, LA Autoshow, CES and Detroit in 3 short months. The good thing about that is there is a lot to digest and explore and some interesting things to bend your mind around from what the B2B experiential landscape looks like to where technology trends are going in the next 12 months.
Here’s my report from CES which picks up on some of the trends we were seeing in our Experiential Trends report and identifies a couple of themes from the tech world that we will definitely be using in our future autoshow program.
You can download the paper here…
The Imagination strategists on the Ford account from both USA and Europe have pulled together the experiential trends they are seeing take hold in 2018. We visit a lot of shows and experiences and we always have our eyes and ears open to other brilliant trend reports.
This is a very experiential focused piece because Imagination is focused on creating connected and connecting experiences so though we do examine some high level mega trends we are looking more closely at design, architecture, technology and behavior in physical space.
Here’s hoping you have a peaceful and happy New Year.
The latest Imagination Detroit whitepaper focuses on how AI will transform experiences with demographic cohort opinions, as well as some thought around how to implement at your own experiences.
Thought you might find it interesting!
I’ve said before I love working with the creatives in Imagination, nothing is impossible to them. Plus we get to work with incredible partners such as Unreal, Kitestring and NCAM. And here’s another example – a world first use of AR at the Detroit autoshow to tell stories about Ford’s cars when people can’t actually see inside them.
We just won a Gold award for this work in the Event Tech awards.