Category Archives: Advertising

What skills do strategists need for experiential campaigns?


It might seem obvious. Experiential strategists need all the same skills as other strategists: critical thinking; curiosity; a love of the data and the ability to distill insights from it; understanding of people, how they work and how they don’t; ability to communicate; ability to collaborate; creativity. So far, so good.

But to brief, and work with, experiential creatives there are other skills that flow from this list but which aren’t necessarily always found together with them. And these are the skills that make a strategist successful (or the opposite of course) in experiential campaigns.

No one is watching you

When you’re thinking about experiences you are never thinking about a short (30second), light-touch experience. Even the simplest experiential will take longer than 30 seconds, (including product sampling, which involves the first and second reads, the take and the environment, before you are able to walk off) and it won’t be only one channel you experience it through. You can’t assume focused attention in the vicinity of your message. It isn’t delivered to you by a platform.

Your creatives have to create the platform using all the channels at their disposal. Which leads us to…

Multiple-channels – One space

You have to think about multiple delivery systems working together – people, uniforms, film, print, 3d, sound, lighting, technology, content etc have to deliver your message coherently. Get one of these wrong and you fail to deliver on visitors, leads, sharability and ultimately business value. I’m not joking. Try getting leads with the best product specialist you have with an uninspiring brand film. Or an off-brand product specialist at a fabulous, on-brand one-off event. Let me know how you get on…

You have to be able to create a brief that works for all your creative stakeholders at once, deliveirng an over-arching concept – as well as being able to create briefs that apply specifically to film, interactive, architecture and environment, sound – you get it.

User experience plus

And then there’s the audience.

You have to consider visitor experience. You’ve created a public moment – how are people going to know it’s even there. You are going to have to signpost it with other media or with physical properties. Events don’t just happen – not even flash mobs!

Then you have to be sure that whichever entry point you visitors come through they see as much of your message as possible, without coralling them like cattle or chaperoning them as if they are at a private view.

And you have to consider digital CX in your specific physical space. People are rarely sitting down to engage with you via mobile – they’re walking around.

It’s more like a street than a gallery. (especially if you are in the street…). And people are much less malleable than you think.

No one wants to stop to download one time only apps.

They are going to walk in front of your beautifully positioned AR, unless you know enough to know they will do that and can work effectively with creatives to deliver spaces that effectively direct people where they engage – and where they don’t.

And this is not to mention that you can’t even guarantee that the objects you loving placed perfectly for your audience will even be there tomorrow. People steal from experiences – regularly – even fixtures and fittings, like gear sticks…

Evolving experience

As more brand and media planners are being asked to brief campaigns delivered fully through experiential, so the ability to work across platforms becomes key to creating effective experiential strategies. But how do you upskill?

You have to explore insights differently, test your propositions against behaviors not just thoughts and motivations and emotions.

Look at different things – not only ads and culture, but how you and others move through the world physically.

Ask yourself, what you would really be prepared to spend time doing? What seems like a great proposition might quickly prove infertile when you sense check outputs against that simple question.

Use verbs instead of statements and imagine you are using this idea across multiple channels to see if it works.

Flex your mental muscles. And have fun.MCS

Why you need an experiential agency


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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I”ve noticed a trend. Advertising agencies or branding agencies or digital agencies have been tasked to deliver experiential projects.

Where does the perception come from that to do an experience you just need to build some stuff?

 

I’m here to tell you – If you just build it, they won’t come.

To deliver an experience that actually works you need to be able to combine a very specific set of skills – hell to even pitch a good idea you need to be able to combine a very specific set of skills – because you need to know that your idea will be deliverable.

Let’s get physical
Did you ever think about how long it takes to get permits to project on a building? Or how many toilets you need in order to comply with city safety regulations? How about how many lights are needed inside in order to make it feel like daylight and not a dingy cabinet?

Did you ever consider that until the advent of AI there was no way to accurately measure the total number of people coming into a stand at a trade show because there.is.no.door. there’s just a porous boundary through which people come and go like molecules into a concentrated solution (look it up)

Production and strategy eeks at experiential agencies live by and love this stuff. They will get it done, because they have connections and they understand what is essential, what takes time and what you can ignore. And they submit permit applications.

Making a splash
Quite aside from the practicalities of staging an event, do you want to do something that’s been done before, 100s of times?

I thought not.

You want your brand to stand out, to be unique, dramatic. For that you need creatives who know what’s been done before experientially and for which brands. But if your agency is more interested in media buy than experiences how well do think they will know the experiential landscape?

Creative
And don’t think that the solution is to get an advertising agency to come up with the creative and an experiential agency to deliver it. Even if they do come up with a beautiful expression it may well not be deliverable, not only because of the practicalities (see above) but also because some creative ideas literally can’t be delivered experientially. They won’t work because they don’t take into account the fact that people are not sitting still for 30 seconds looking at a screen and therefore able to be immersed in a story. People are instead walking by on their phones, looking at someone else’s screens or simply shopping. 

Brand
Have you ever considered the way your brand should behave in an experiential setting? What does print look like on walls instead of in a magazine? How do your brand ambassadors behave? What do they wear?!

Possibly if you have a retail business much of this is known, but the people who work in experiences tend to be part-time, one week they are working for your teddy bear manufacturing group, the next for a FinTech start-up at CES.

They aren’t retail personnel, so they don’t live and breathe your brand.

And besides, they should behave differently in an experiential space. Your receptionist doesn’t try and sell your product to people coming in for meetings…I hope.

Digital
If you haven’t yet been burnt by a pointless VR then my congratulations. A good experiential agency knows what makes people cue, stay and what they take away from digital engagements like VR. They are not only expert at creating massive immersive environments they are also experienced at working in intimate mobile interfaces  – because that’s how we tell stories and generate leads.

And of course, a show space is completely different from a home space. Attention spans are shorter, sharing and information needs are different. There are far more distractions!

Quality
Who would you trust to do your teeth? A dentist or a doctor who wants to diversify?

If you want good experiential please look for an experiential agency.  Or encourage your advertising agencies to defer to the experience of the ones you are already using.

Your experiences will reap the benefits.

Your customers will reap the benefits.

You will reap the benefits.

What blogs should I follow?


 

blog icon information internet
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I have just purged the blogs I follow and I find myself looking for some new perspectives.

Do you have any recommendations? I would love to hear them! Send me your comments below or on twitter.

Looking forward to your suggestions!

Best Use of Social Media at the Experience Design and Technology Awards


screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-5-19-14-pmWell, the title says it all. We are very pleased to have won with Social Square for Ford. It represents a different approach to social that Imagination explored in Europe with Ford but were fully able to implement at the Detroit autoshow 2106 and in subsequent autoshows. While most social media at events focuses on a short burst of high profile activity from some very high profiles influencers to drive reach and attention we take a different tack.

Our focus is always the visitor to the stand. Across a year about 35 million people attend autoshows big and small. And they buy cars. High numbers are 3 month intenders, it’s a highly concentrated bundle of good for any brand. We focus on the visitors’ needs and how they behave as social interactors. Because of this we construct moments and conversations to appeal to them as they navigate the show and share their experiences with their own audiences, large and small. For them the day they attend is Day 1. They may not even pick up on the big ticket PR social media that happens at press day, because they aren’t the target market for that vehicle. But they are still influential. We then pair that focus on visitors with audience appropriate influencers who are also presenters. Their focus is what happens at show, encouraging people on stand to interact and giving them the reward of social attention and engagement.

It’s a strategy that works, garnering Ford a reach of 13,500,000 across the 10 day period of the Detroit autoshow across all channels and with 30,686 Engaged minutes on YouTube.

Social used to be more about conversation, I feel it’s moving towards the same old shouting we used to see from traditional media. Yes that has its place, but experiential social is just as effective and focused on the buying public. And it’s their interaction which drove our reach and engagement, so I’m doubly proud of this award.

Ford’s new B-MAX hologram


I was rather pleased to get a package recently from Peerindex and Ford. Inside was a torch and a hologram and some

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information on the new car. I knew Peerindex were running a perk on the car – partly from my profile and also my contact with one of their key creative agencies – but I didn’t expect to get one. So, a nice surprise.

The hologram is sweet and has had a lot of people dropping by my desk to have a look and a play. A torch is provided which you use to illuminate the hologram itself. It’s rather ingenious and a nice way to showcase the fact that the car has no pillar into which the doors close. Which is tricky when you don’t yet have the actual car on the road.
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A nice appetite-whetter and an interesting, creative and strategic approach to blogger outreach. Thumbs aloft.

NFC NVG (not very good)


NFC enabled bus stop in London I am very proud of my new NFC enabled phone, in fact I specifically chose it over a slightly earlier model because I think NFC is going get bigger and more important in the next  couple of years and I like to be in with the in-crowd. So imagine my delight when I discovered that the bus stop at the top of Tottenham Court Road, which I use to catch buses back to Marylebone, has an NFC touchpoint on it.

The touchpoint promises – Travel information and extra information from brands.  And curious I tried it out. All it offers is a link to the TFL mobile site.

Ok, that is travel information, but that’s not extra information from brands. I was disappointed.

I don’t know, but I suspect that Clear Channel are charging brands to put content onto the NFC touch points which is why there was absolutely nothing from brands there.  I would suggest that brands are offered free access and the opportunity to provide any content they want – even a tv ad I’ve already seen would be better than promising everything and delivering nothing. In that way a growing audience will be built. Of course you can argue that these things take time, but why waste time? It doesn’t make sense to offer more than you are going to deliver because my expectation from now on will be that the content behind ad funded NFC will be thin at best and non-existant at worst.

A collection of predictions for 2012


I have been mulling over what I might usefully write at the turning of the year. I feel the need to mark the completely arbitrary distinction between 31st December and 1st January in some way. And the easiest thing would be to prepare some predictions for you to display my foresight and unbelievable genius. And my talent for sarcasm.

The fascination with making predictions about what the coming year will deliver online/in social/on mobile is a bit like the prediction frenzy that goes on in women’s magazines. Not so, you say. We base our predictions on understanding of the market, new developments we know about and our own razor sharp insight, you say. Hmmm. Who remembers the predictions around the Year of the Mobile? 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005…

And what about the various woolly predictions from last year? Here is one I read about Google+, and I kid you not,

“Someone will do something interesting with Google+”

Well strictly speaking there’s no way you could fail on that one. The writer didn’t say they were related to Mystic Meg…

Anyway – rather than attempt predictions of my own I thought I’d point you at some interesting ones on a variety of topics. If nothing else maybe you’ll get a laugh. Happy New Year!

What 2012 holds for social media on thenextweb
5 predictions for the Chinese mobile market in 2012 on Forbes
Online video predictions for  2012 from ReelSEO plus some good tips and info on searching and marketing on YouTube
*&%@#! and Other Ads Trends for 2012 from The Wall Street Journal
9 Facebook predictions for 2012 that don’t suck from NorthSocial

And finally, almost as accurate and certainly more amusing

What does the year of the Dragon hold for you? from gotohoroscope
Mystic Meg’s money predictions for 2012 from The Sun
Gung hay  fat choy! (phonetic chinese)

Goovies are great!


Hoorrah! The Goovies are on again. These are Cadbury’s Creme Egg sponsored animations provided by my favourite of all web amusement sites http://www.weebls-stuff.com.

I think these are a good example of an agency teaming with creatives to deliver something that really enhances a campaign and is really effective in its own right. The Goovies are true to the cracking (geddit) amusement levels of weebl and bob and the brilliantly off-kiltre and slightly macabre Cadbury’s Creme Egg goo suicide campaign and they seem to have let the creators of weebl and bob just get on with doing what they do, making highly amusing animations – which is I assume, why they wanted to work with them in the first place. Too often agencies see the creative work of others and rip it off. This is an example of how the brand and the creatives have worked very well, over a few years.

Anyway, here’s the first one – Eggvatar.