Experiential campaigns in the age of the digital buyer
As the pandemic forced live events and activations to be put on hold, organisers had to rapidly move from physical-first thinking to creative digital solutions. Companies were challenged to recreate face-to-face experiences online, still ensuring they conveyed the correct messaging whilst understanding the emotional needs and new mindsets of their audience. Experiences also shifted to new digital channels, highlighted by Balenciaga releasing their fall 2021 collection via an interactive online video game.
The bar will undoubtedly be set higher in 2021. Audiences will expect ‘next level’ virtual events that are professional and add value.
High production experiences will become the norm as companies offer bespoke viewing opportunities, behind the scenes content and footage from multi-angle cameras, creating TV broadcast type experiences. As companies also tap into the wealth of valuable data that comes with digital experiences, they will be better able to clearly map the customer journey, analysing whether the experience resonated with their audience and whether it converted into revenue.
As we move more towards hybrid experiences and audiences start to follow more of a non-linear journey, companies will have to assess whether there is another type of user-experience design needed. As their audience dips in and out of live and virtual moments of their choosing, organisations will need to develop mechanisms to track what people already know and join up the dots to fill the knowledge gaps. Connecting these types of silos will be the all-important factor in developing integrated experiences which also deliver business growth. Micro-experiences will also increasingly be expected by audiences as they look to have purposeful and authentic moments across every detail of their digital journey.
We must continue to assess what type of digital experiences our audience now want. Do they want them to be hyper-personalised in line with their accustomed Netflix viewing? Do they want a series of experiences that have a longer narrative, which they can dip and out of as and when they require? Or do they want experiences that are a force for good, where they can help contribute to wider socio-economic issues? Experiential marketing should always be used as a powerful way to build emotional connections, to put the customer at the centre of the brand, be relevant and most importantly to understand the mindset of their customer.
If we continue to build those emotional connections all whilst understanding the new needs, behaviours and mindset of our audience we have the opportunity to create experiences that drive real change.
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