Consumers demand in-person encounters, therefore companies are increasing their investment in experiential marketing.
81 percent of firms think their brand events and experience budgets will “equal or exceed” pre-pandemic levels in 2022, according to AnyRoad.
Is the experience strategy the same post-pandemic?
Here’s a look at how firms are luring employees in the real world, as well as some industry trends.
During the last two years, the emphasis on “live experiences” has given way to virtual and hybrid experiences, which integrate real-life social contact with digital aspects.
Simultaneously, the metaverse,’ or at least a more fleshed-out idea of a new immersive digital world where these interactions take place, has emerged.
This might open the door to new brand experiences, with the fashion sector, in particular, taking advantage of the opportunity.
The forthcoming Metaverse Fashion Week, which will feature virtual fashion presentations, virtual after-parties, and other immersive events from big companies like Hugo Boss, is proof of this (such as live music performances).
Virtual guests will be able to buy the digital wearables shown on the catwalk, as well as real-life designs and NFTs, during the event, which will be hosted by the metaverse platform Decentraland.
The virtual fashion week is a method for firms to test the waters before investing in the metaverse, with names like Gucci already offering digital products (and pique consumer interest digitally).
With the barriers between the online and real worlds blurring, we should expect to see more firms adopt a hybrid approach to experiential marketing in the future.
Brands are profiting from the so-called “experience economy” in more ways than one, thanks to customers’ need for in-person events.
While the primary goal of experiential and events marketing is to increase brand awareness and memory, businesses are increasingly making a direct income via paid experiences.
One such example is Hasbro’s ‘Monopoly Lifesized,’ a live-action experience that blends aspects of the Monopoly board game with escape rooms and challenges.
“For us, Monopoly Lifesized signals a huge entry into a growing and interesting business,” David Hutchinson, CEO of the Game path, said of the debut.
Audiences want to experience live entertainment in new ways, and what better way to do it than by stepping into a life-sized recreation of the world’s most popular board game?”
The 22,000 square foot location (placed in the former Paperchase on London’s Tottenham Court Road) also features a Hasbro retail store and a Monopoly-themed bar and restaurant named Top Hat, a fantastic illustration of retail space transformation in the last two years.
Is this form of for-hire experience, on the other hand, an economically viable business or simply another strategic type of experiential marketing?
Pay-for events, according to studies, can have a beneficial impact on customer impression and engagement since they are ticketed.
Paid experiences had double the rate of brand and product mentions than free experiences, according to a study conducted by creative firm Imagination, which looked at 40 paid-for events and 30,000 data points.
Furthermore, the survey discovered that 17 percent of paid-for experience interactions were recommendations, compared to only 1% for free events.
Overall, the study discovered that sponsored experiences result in better levels of engagement, higher quality leads, more customer value, and bring customers closer to the product (driving more mentions of a brand or product).
This is because paying for an event “shifts individuals into a different mindset – they have invested in the experience and are more eager and receptive to interact, entertained, and learn something new,” according to the study.
Social media continues to have an impact on purchasing decisions.
According to Bazaarvoice’s data from 2021, 23% of UK customers use social media to discover and buy new items.
At the same time, 40% of customers say they won’t buy something
if there isn’t user-generated material on the brand or retailer’s product page, underscoring the importance of social content in e-commerce.
This also highlights how linked the social and retail worlds have grown,
leading to an increase in the number of social platform-retailer relationships.
Of course, these are primarily done online, but corporations are increasingly collaborating with social media firms on experiential marketing.
Argos, for example, has teamed with Pinterest to produce “The Argos Mood Hotel,”
a “world-first concept hotel crafted using interior design goods from the high street company,
based on the hottest interiors ideas coming from Pinterest’s yearly trends report.”
The hotel can visited in person, but it can also digitally experienced through
360-degree video and shoppable digital forms,
which can found on Pinterest and Argos’ social media sites.
Sibylle Tretera, Pinterest’s Head of Creative Strategy, spoke about the relationship
and how the brand experience strives to turn passive social surfers into active customers.
“Argos’ innovative methodology investigates how people use the platform and brings to life the very trends they’re looking for,
making it simple for home décor aficionados to put their creative ideas into action,” says the company.
Indeed, the theory is that by offering buyers a physical replica of an online mood board,
they would be more inclined to buy –
and continue to use Pinterest as a source of product discovery.
TikTok, another social media company that has gone offline, made an ‘IRL’
debut last year with its TikTok For You House, an experience pop-up at the Westfield London retail mall.
The TikTok experience, which designed in a house-style structure,
allowed guests to engage with and learn from prominent TikTok producers
while re-creating viral meals in the kitchen and showing fashion in the dressing room.
While there was no buying involved, the experience was intended to increase foot traffic to Westfield during the flu epidemic,
as well as allow TikTok to connect with existing users and recruit new ones to the site.
With huge, bold, and dramatic creative, out-of-home advertising is meant to halt people in their tracks.
However, in a world where customers constantly flooded with information,
it may be tough to break through the clutter and capture their attention.
As a result, more firms are adopting experiential methods in their out-of-home advertising,
mixing immersive features with intelligent marketing to produce engagement and memorable encounters.
Bombay Sapphire took over three window displays in New York’s Soho neighborhood in December 2021,
utilizing them to feature holiday-themed apparel, art, and live dance performances.
Additionally, each window had a QR code that allowed passers-by to claim a free drink at a nearby participating restaurant,
guaranteeing that people who interacted with the billboard pleasantly surprised and rewarded, and, most importantly, had a memorable experience.
Brands can use 3D billboards to promote comparable engagement, making otherwise mundane or unremarkable events more memorable.
Balenciaga, for example, partnered with Fornite to construct immersive 3D billboards in London, New York, Tokyo, and Seoul last year.