The experience evolution

Posted on 12th January 2016 in category Events

In the last few years we’ve seen a real evolution in the industry as event professionals and their clients are increasingly moving beyond a traditional event format to instead deliver experiences.

Experiential marketing has continued to develop as a specialism in its own right as the emotional connection between a brand and consumer is now more important than ever, with companies competing to not only sell products but also aiming to convert customers to their brands for life. This is especially true when targeting millennials, with recent statistics showing that 78% of millennials more inclined to become part of a brand if they have face-to-face interaction with it.

At fresh we’ve been delivering experiential for our clients for a while now, and due to increasing demand we’ve set up a dedicated division to cater for the level of strategy, creative and delivery required to both engage interest and communicate brand messages to the target audience.

From event to experience

What’s particularly exciting about the evolution of experience is its transcendence beyond being an isolated field in its own right as experiential, to now feature prominently within corporate events and conferences. Businesses are seeing the successes and value that experiences offer and are looking to apply the same levels of quality in-depth engagement to get delegates on-board and inspired by key business messages.

Moving away from traditional plenary formats and presentations, event professionals are now working ever more closely with clients to take key messages from their events and breakout content and develop these into activities and technology-driven audience interaction and immersion.

It’s good to share

With a majority of people now owning smart phones, and tablets becoming more cost-effective to rent or purchase for a conference, event apps are on the rise. From an experience perspective the benefits of including an event app are numerous, from facilitating two-way content sharing, to enabling voting and live feedback.

As computer and mobile games have moved from the niche into the mainstream for audiences of all ages, we’ve also seen an increase in gamification with technology being used to create interactive games, challenges and build competitive team elements into events.

Beyond the opportunity to fully engage with your audience, event apps also provide invaluable data and insights before, during and after events, including supporting the measurement of return on investment and objectives. Detailed information can also be provided on delegate likes, dislikes, interests and tracking their movement around the event space to help improve future events.

So what’s next?

There seems to be no stopping the growth of experiential and looking forward many big brands have begun to use the channel as a main campaign driver, with ads and media used to simply support this activity. This can be seen in Cadbury’s Christmas Cadvent campaign and the ‘Give a Kleenex Kiss’ campaign, which are experientially focused campaigns that have been amplified through TV advertising and social media to reach an even wider audience.

Within corporate events and conferences it looks like the use of event apps will continue to grow to even become the norm. With Virtual Reality headsets reaching the mass market and competition driving down costs, we could also see these being used more at events to immerse delegates in custom-created content and incorporate a depth of gamification.

Whether looking from an experiential campaign perspective or incorporating immersive interactivity into events – experiencing is believing, and it’s here to stay.

 

Natalie Roberts
Creative Strategist

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