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How brands can confidently navigate today's climate by reimagining experiences

26 August 2020

Before this period of huge challenge and uncertainty, the experience economy was buoyant. Whether the hospitality sector, tourist destinations or branded experiences.

However, we now need to be bold and reimagine the world of experiences. We need to hone and elevate experiences, not only to adapt to COVID-19 in the short term but also to enable the resurgence of a leaner, more innovative experience economy that is confident in the value it creates for people and for brands. Christophe Castagnera, Head of Connected Experiences, discusses further. Christophe Castagnera, Head of Connected Experiences, discusses further.

Recalculating the value of experiential marketing

One of the most important factors is a refocus on the value of experiences. This is being re-evaluated as brands look to establish a new formula that addresses the challenges of COVID-19, optimises costs and develops a more sustainable return on the experience model.

So when it comes to return on investment, brands will need to ensure that:

They reach even bigger audiences with virtual hybrid models that are built around richer, physical live experiences

They maintain the critical element of depth and audience connection through experiences created in more outdoor environments, adapted for all weather

More curated, premium experience models are created that are more targeted at the individuals most likely to convert to sales or contracts

Accelerated adoption of innovative technologies

Innovation is, and has always been, a big factor in the world of experiences, whether using augmented reality or seamless connected digital technology and hosting. Now all of these techniques and tactics are moving into the mainstream. This allows the opportunity to place them front and centre of the physical world of live experiences, thereby making them more connected than ever before, with more transparent and trackable ROI. 

How brands can reimagine the world of experiences

Our recently published series of how-to guides outline some strategic principles for brands to unlock experience solutions during COVID-19 and beyond. We believe there are four key considerations to reimagining experiences:

  1. Rethink people flow and creating more space

The value of space and time has become paramount and more accessible. The principle of experience ‘bubbles’ in terms of enclosed spaces, timed experiences and combinations of the two has exploded into life.

Whether you have booked an enclosed pod at a gastropub, are using your own car for a drive-in cinema experience or have booked a curated time slot for an exclusive customer preview of the latest mobile technology, people have engaged with this concept en masse and it will remain a regular fixture for branded experiences.

  1. Enable customers to interact with confidence

Interactive touch-screens are the staple of live experiences, from exhibitions to brand destinations. COVID-19 has demanded a rethink of this for safety reasons, leading to a wider range of ways to interact.

Voice technology and gesture recognition have become user friendly and cost-effective, whilst integrating guests’ personal mobile devices to connect to installations opens the door to a more continuous and seamless experience. With features such as QR codes adding convenience and AR markers adding a touch of animated magic, brands can seize the opportunity to widen the repertoire of interactive installations and engagement.

  1. Blend storytelling and technology to deliver hybrid experiences

Hybrid experiences combine creative storytelling with integrated technology to create new combinations of live, virtual customer experiences. This enables brands to offer a sensory, interactive experience that is elevated beyond typical virtual events, with a powerful narrative that runs through the whole experience. Our recent launch for Samsung was a prime example of this principle in action.

Hybrid experiences also offer an enhanced opportunity for rich personalisation and detailed guest analysis through a virtual platform and integrated technology experience. Their potential lifespan can range from the one-off, to an ongoing platform for programmes and episodic content.

  1. Take advantage of connected and integrated experiences to build deeper relationships

Brand experiences are arguably the deepest and richest direct marketing channel, with a wide range of techniques used to collect personal data including hosted devices, user-generated content and ‘pay data to play’ interactive games. COVID-19 has accelerated this, as brands place more emphasis on profiling audiences and offering them a personalised experience in exchange for enhanced first-party data that enables them to build a longer, deeper relationship with their customers.

These principles will become the cornerstones of re-imagined experiences. We love working with businesses who are brave to try new approaches and together, we discover more ways to combine creativity and innovation and redefine the world of experiences.