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.