Pandemic aside (for once), experiential marketing isn’t going anywhere. Well before the lockdown, we’d been seeing a huge growth in face-to-face events and people wanting experiences over possessions. At ACA Live, we suspect this will still be the case once the country begins to open up again.
But that’s not to say events are going to look exactly like they did in 2019. Of course they won’t. But new opportunities will exist.
Instead, maybe we’ll take a lead from the arts, starting with small-scale events and halls that are only a third full as we socially distance. Or maybe it’ll be like supermarkets, with one-way systems and hand sanitiser available on demand.
But what events will really need is to offer an experience that reflects the needs and wants of a changed community. And for brands, that means a different focus to how they’re developed:
Community became the watchword of our life in lockdown, so consider more community-led events. Look at how you can offer benefits to local people and businesses through entertainment, services or resources. Be authentic, even if you’re corporate.
Innovation will always win out, so build immersive events that engage the senses but take into account how the world has changed. Brands don’t want to invest in short-term, sub-par digital solutions to fill the gap, but instead are more interested in longer-term experience strategy and the role that innovation and tech can play to create more holistic physical and digital “brand worlds”.
For example, we liked LadBible’s augmented reality Yungblud gig, using web-native ‘hologram’ effects to deliver an immersive concert straight into your living room.
Environmental sensitivity and sustainability
It may be that in the future we’re more personal and more one-to-one with our experiences. Maybe they take place with smaller groups or we have more outdoor activations. Experiences don’t have to be in confined spaces with large groups. Perhaps more brands should design events focused on clean, bright, simple layouts.
Also, even before the pandemic a lot of people were paying closer attention to sustainability and the pollution caused by our industry. If you can build your event faster, simpler and with an eye on where resources are coming from, a lower footprint is a given.
The question some are asking is if live events will all include a much bigger digital element because of the impact of the pandemic, or if there might be a backlash that takes us back to analogue, people-focused events with little or no digital overlay?
The thing is, hybrid events were becoming an accepted way of doing things even before the lockdown. If anything, the situation has accelerated.
Yes, we want human connection again, but the taste of a digital world has created a momentum all of its own. Bear that in mind and prepare to offer events that can provide the best of both. Digital ‘brand worlds’ can offer a permanent space to showcase any number of products and services, combined with the ability to track visitors, capture data and react to potential prospects much faster.
Keep it clean
And this may seem a no-brainer, but health and safety measures will be key and any event will have to integrate a system of best practices. Understand what attendees will expect when it comes to hygiene, what liability you can risk and the procedures you must consider before live activations resume.
If you’ll forgive the jargon, hygiene factors are now a hygiene factor.
Need help with your next live experience?
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at email@example.com to talk about the live events on your calendar for late 2020, 2021 and beyond. The event industry is going to come back strongly and you’ll want your brand to be at the forefront.