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Can data really empower experiential campaigns?

17 October 2018
vivid syndey event with spinning lights at night with opera house in background

A week on from effweek 2018, our team are still energised by the impact that data effectiveness can have on creating powerful brand experiences.

The annual conference organised by the institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), has sparked a great deal of discussion and ongoing debate around measurement and the effectiveness of Marketing efforts within the industry.

According to the ‘Marketing Effectiveness Culture’ report published by Greengrass, marketeers were given a 6/10 as a current average rating in effectiveness (a rating of 0 being poor and 10 being excellent). The study also shows that the industry is getting better at capturing data with this rating expected to increase to 7.9/10 by 2020.

Since data does not necessarily guarantee success in and of itself, we caught up with Zhao Zhang, our Lead Data Strategist, to find out whether the right measuring tactic can accelerate return for brands. ‘These topics provide some of the challenges and opportunities we are facing as an industry’ Zhao tells us. ‘With advancing technologies and an increasing pool of data available, we are now better positioned to measure the immeasurable’.

Here are 3 key takeaways from Effweek according to Zhao:

  1. The battle of AI versus Humans

AI is not new. Whilst there’s an emotive debate surrounding the potential of AI replacing Humans, we doubt the credibility of machines replacing the critical human creative process.

Among the Effweek talks, a concept emerged whereby companies were using AI technology to analyse a far richer dataset that would have been impossible to do until recently.

A case study from Picasso Labs explored the relationship between creative variables and campaign results. The team ran visual analysis against campaign performance among ad creatives and found that different hair colours among the models produced varying results. Traditionally, the decision would be made to run the campaign with one or the other hair colour or perhaps A/B tested to predict which one would yield better returns for the brand.

What’s interesting about this study is the potential of using Artificial Intelligence to take the guesswork out of predicting higher yielding campaign variables. A simple analysis could allow marketers to optimise their ideas to their fullest potential and perhaps finally do away with endless amounts of A/B testing and performance analysis that comes along with it.

The study showed that AI is certainly useful in gaining better insight into evidence based predictions of human behaviour as opposed to creativity. After all, Humans created AI and not the other way around.

Here at Imagination HQ, we have already seen great returns in embracing this trend when it comes to brand experiences. Most recently our Imagineers used AI to enable Jaguar and Land Rover to create a highly personalised experience in real-time for their auto show audiences. The results proved how AI technology can be used to develop smarter and more relevant experiences for consumers. AI has a unique ability to superboost the intelligence of Humans, especially when used as part of experiential campaign efforts AI is an effective tool in supercharging brand affinity.

  1. The Depth versus Reach conundrum

Whilst Reach refers to the number of people exposed to a campaign within a given period, Depth builds emotional connections over a prolonged period of exposure.

Brand experiences deepen audience engagement and strengthen emotional uplift towards brands, but how can we accurately measure this brand impact?

The IPM unveiled its first study of ‘Measuring Effectiveness of Experiential Marketing’ based on 50+ case study data entries to help establish the true measure of experiential success. Nearly 90% of experiential audiences communicate to as many as 8 different people via world of mouth whilst 55% of audiences communicate to a minimum of 300 people via social

For years, our team at Imagination HQ have been using a digital platform that gives us richer insights into the impact of experiences on brands. Through the development of a fully customisable toolkit, XPKit has enabled us to measure ‘engaged minutes’ of audiences as part of a Connected Experience and prove the strong correlation that exists between time spent and brand impact. Our insights show that reach is directly affected by the quality of engagement of a given audience at an experience, thus Depth is just as important as Reach. Collectively they have the ability to drive powerful returns from brand experiences.

  1. The implications of Short-term vs Long-term ambitions

Our final takeaway from Effweek addresses the tension Marketers are often faced with: going after short term initiatives versus pursuing longer term ambitions for brands.

Short-term efforts tend to focus on sales activation; driving as many sales as possible within a shorter period of time. Returns are often immediately available post campaign. On the other hand, long-term marketing tends to focus around brand building, often delivering strong emotional connections to superboost the brand, with returns typically observed further down the track.

The 'Effectiveness in Context' report by Peter Field and Les Binet suggests there’s a recommended 40/60 split between response-driven marketing and brand building marketing. When the brand is strong, effective consumer responses become easier to generate; but when response-driven marketing is relatively easy, brand building becomes more even more crucial. What we find is that when there is under-investment in a brand, response-driven marketing can start to lose its effectiveness.

Data from our XPKit platform has also proven that investing in brand building aspects is crucial in shifting audiences’ preference towards the brand. Our work for Jaguar Land Rover at the Paris motor show, has generated a strong uplift in brand affinity driven by the educational and innovative activations communicating their latest technologies. Guests to the stand had a stronger perception of both Jaguar and Land Rover as 'luxurious' and 'innovative'. Furthermore the opportunity the experience has provided for customers to engage with the brands and products in person has also generated strong leads and sales. Brand experiences therefore provide a unique opportunity for brands to achieve both short-term direct response and longer term brand building.