Category Archives: Installations

Why are marketers turning their attention to experiential?


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!

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Tech and Experience 2015


It’s January so trends are like totally over. However, way back in December they weren’t over and we posted a number of great examples of things we think will impact on the experience world in 2015 on the Imagination Labs blog. Here are our punts:

Wearables
Clunky watches that look like they came out of 1978 and are an extra in The Prisoner? That’s so 2014, darling. 2015 is the year that wearables break out of the smartphone industry and into other sectors, notably fashion. You can already buy Ralph Lauren’s Polo Tech Shirt which tracks and streams real-time biometric data from your workout shirt to your phone. And next November sees the launch of the crowd-funded Olive bracelet that helps monitor your stress levels and then provides solutions. The product is beautiful and the science behind it is robust. Or what about Smart Wallet? Smart Wallet is connected to your phone and includes GPS so you won’t lose it, an app enabled tracker so you can find it when it’s lost in the bottom of your bag…ahem…and a charger for your iPhone.

These wearables are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what major companies are creating and what is being developed via crowd funding sites like Indiegogo. Beauty and usability are coming together in the human space and 2015 will see their use escalating in the early adopter segment.

How might this impact on experiences?
Networking badges for events, personalised visits to experience spaces,

Internet of Things
Of course in many ways Wearables are just one expression of the Internet of Things (IoT) – objects connected to the internet in the same way that phones, laptops or iPads are. Gartner predicts that by 2020 there will be nearly 26 billion devices connected to the Internet of Things from heart monitoring implants to biochip transponders on animals. Perhaps the key development for 2015 is the adoption and spread of iBeacon technology.

iBeacon is a technology from Apple that works with both iPhone and Android systems or other device to perform actions when in close proximity to an iBeacon. There are already brands using this IoT technology to deliver enhanced experiences, brands like Virgin Atlantic. Virgin Atlantic have set up a network of iBeacons that offer a variety of services to users with more planned, For example, Upper Class passengers approaching the Upper Class security channel can receive a notification for their phone to open their electronic boarding pass ready to be scanned by security. In the airport proper, passengers may receive special partner offers, such as 0% commission as they pass the Money Corp currency exchange booth. BA and KLM are experimenting with the similar technology, NFC to implement luggage tags that enable 35 second bag drops.

But IoT goes beyond this to home management tools like Google’s Nest which can help manage not simply temperature but also security via your smartphone, connected cars and car services like Car2Go that allow you to track and pay for car sharing time via your phone or smart outlets like Belkin’s plug that enables you to switch appliances on and off in your home remotely.

How might this impact on experiences?

Spaces can become intelligent, trackable and tailored to each individual’s experience. We will see the beginnings of this in 2015.

Intelligent spaces
Finally, the previous trends find one of their key expressions inside a larger trend, that of Intelligent spaces.

When you can fix up your visitors with elegant and informed wearables and load up your space with objects that talk to the internet and each other you can create the conditions to deliver spaces that respond to the use of the participants. Visitors can move from being passive users who take what they’re given to actively engaged users who impact on the space by taking us up on our offer for more engagement, picking and choosing only what they want or passively impactively the space through their emotions and arousal levels. Saatchi and Saatchi’s New Directors Show case at Cannes this year used technology to assess the audience reaction to the films they were watching and then displayed that real time on wearables and in displays around the auditorium. Imagine emotions of visitors influencing the lighting displays, heat or even smells in the space. At a low level this kind of responsive experience will definitely be offered up in 2015, how far it goes is dependent on the bravery of brands and agencies as they work together.

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.