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Focus - Deep-dive into key sectors, brands and themes

Key trends driving the future of experience

Stella Artois
Stella Artois

At Creativebrief we are fortunate to work with some of the most exciting and forward-thinking experiential agencies out there. Those who specialise in creating tangible experiences, where customers can touch, feel and interact with brands, and in turn, where brands can create a more human connection with consumers. From working with Gucci and Beyoncé to create a concert live streamed to over 1 billion people, to creating a floodlit football pitch powered by footsteps, built by Shell in the heart of a favela. [view case study]

“Today we define ourselves by the moments we share, not the labels we wear”. Sunshine X

The experiential category has seen 11 quarters of continuous growth according to the IPA’s Bellwether Report, with an increased spend of 10.7%. It’s proven that people retain more information when multiple senses are engaged, and smart investment from brands will be rewarded with acts of loyalty and genuine engagement.

“Giving time and physical participation is the peak of commitment to a brand. As sectors beyond youth focus on culturally led strategies, events are increasingly becoming a key focus,” said Jonathan Emmins, Founder of Amplify.

Below we’ve picked out the key trends driving the future of experiential, and brought them to life through some of the most creative and effective campaigns.

Sotheby's Virtual Reality experience
Sotheby's Virtual Reality experience

Blending the real and the virtual

Technology allows us to overlay our real world experiences with virtual ones. LiveTour5D is using Virtual Reality to transport visitors to historical locations back in time, and immerse them in famous historic scenes. Last year The Salvador Dalí Museum enabled enthusiasts to fly through the paintings using the same VR technology. In February, auction house Sotheby’s created a VR experience to bring a fresh perspective to the artwork for sale. Some of which are expected to sell for up to £14 million.

EDF's Pretty Curious Studio, sense
EDF's Pretty Curious Studio, Sense

Acting on brand values to change perception

It’s more important than ever for brands to ensure they are acting on their values. Brands are judged by how they act, as well as what they say. Agency Geometry Global helped Columbian bank Grupo Aval show its commitment to inclusivity with the campaign ‘Feeling out Loud’. A unique experience for the country’s deaf community that enabled guests to "feel" the music of some of the best bands in the world.

To put into action their commitment to encourage more girls to pursue STEM subjects, UK energy supplier EDF alongside agency Sense, developed the Pretty Curious Studio. Girls aged 12-13 from 50 schools were given hands-on experiences that re-framed STEM in a creative context.

Unite to support a global cause

Over the past few months we’ve seen the world come together through a series of organised marches. The power of many voices can raise the volume of minority groups and get the world talking about subjects that can otherwise be easily ignored. In 2013, global luxury fashion brand Gucci founded Chime for Change, a new initiative to champion education, health and justice for every girl and every woman, everywhere. Working closely with the three founders, Beyoncé Carter-Knowles, Salma Hayek-Pinault and Frida Giannini, agency Sunshine helped create an instant global movement. The initiative launched with the spectacular Sound of Change Live concert that was broadcast live in 150 countries to a global audience of more than one billion people.

Co-creation and collaboration

People don’t just want an experience, they want a unique experience. And why settle for spectating when there’s an opportunity to be part of the story?  Immersive theatre continues to grow in popularity, and many brands have adopted this concept into their own creative ideas. Agency Sid Lee worked with Stella Artois to bring to life a multi-sensory dining experience- Le Savoir - featuring culinary wizards Bompas & Parr and the world’s premiere theatre experts. 

Amplify’s work for Google and YouTube focuses on identifying those who hold the most influence. In turn, these megabrands then ask these influencers to create or co-create experiences and content for them to share. [view the case study]

EE Wembley Cup, HSE Cake
EE Wembley Cup, HSE Cake

Live streaming to the masses

Live integration will increasingly help bring experiences to the masses in real time. The word ‘live’ may sound scary to brand guardians, but often embracing a lack of control can help your brand to become more human. At Wembley Stadium EE has installed a permanent superfast 4G network, interactive LED lighting on the arch and an app powered by their network. With this framework in place, agency Havas Sports & Entertainment Cake were able to create an eight-part web series - The EE Wembley Cup. The show was fronted by YouTube stars and football legends, with the final episode being watched by over 20,000 in the stadium and streamed live to almost a million more online. “What happens at festivals and events no longer stays on site. Instead, peoples experiences are shared and played out over social media via increasingly advanced technology”, said Lucy Basden-Smith, Experiential Business Director, HSE Cake.

New Brow Collection Launch, The Persuaders
New Brow Collection Launch, The Persuaders

Brands on the move

It can be very easy to become consumed in our own bubble. We move in the same circles, are served the same ads, read the same publications. Creating experiences that take your brand out of context can help you find a new audience and stand out from the crowd. Alcatel, the affordable smart phone, worked with Alter Agency to create Boom Taxi; an interactive virtual reality experience within a branded black cab that took the brand directly to their desired audience, rather than waiting to be found.

To launch their new brow product, make-up brand Benefit and agency The Persuaders created The Benefit Brow Mobile, a campaign focused on taking brand engagement to people outside big cities. One of the first visits is to the Isle of Skye.

Samsung 837 Social Mirror, Black Egg
Samsung 837 Social Mirror, Black Egg

Try it and test it

By trying products in real situations, consumers will better understand their value. Dyson led the way earlier this year by launching their first experience store on Oxford Street. In New York Samsung have opened 837, a store they describe as a ‘technology playground and cultural destination’. Customers can’t purchase a single Samsung product anywhere inside the 55,000-foot space.

To launch Nike’s Digital Sports Lab in Shanghai, Agency Rosie Lee created a beautifully designed space that offered Nike fans a personal athlete-level fitness test. The results helped participants understand their performance potential whilst demonstrating the brand’s digital expertise.

About the author

Kara Melchers, Managing Editor, BITE

Kara has editorial control over BITE, Creativebrief’s daily insight into global marketing trends and the cultural movements driving them. She runs BITE INSPIRE sessions in the UK and US, for brands including Virgin Atlantic, A.G. BARR, British Gas and Pepsico. She also presents at our BITE LIVE events series and industry festivals in London and New York. Get in touch if you’re working on an interesting project

kara.m@creativebrief.com