Experiential 2020 outlook: Tech-fuelled, conscious and event festivalisation

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 19 December 2019

Experiential marketing has taken a starring role in 2019 as more brands seek a way to cut through the noise.

This year AdNews delved into why experience runs deeper now more than ever before in our June investigation.

If you haven't already, check out the cover Joel Moore, better known as Mulga the Artist, created for the issue - it really is quite the experience.

In 2019, we have seen brands including Foxtel and Samsung jump on the experience bandwagon and prove that the best way to connect is through an experience.

With more marketers looking to create the ultimate experience to attract and retain customers, AdNews called experiential leaders to share what they think will be the next big thing for events and activations in 2020.

GPJ ANZ managing director and SVP and Project ANZ managing director Caleb Bush
2020 is about to land on our doorsteps and if brands don’t start to embrace purpose, it’s not going to be pretty. The world is a lonely place right now and when it comes to social purpose things have been slipping for some time. Do you think your business is meeting its corporate and social responsibility? Do your employees believe the brand is delivering on this promise? Very often, the resounding answer is NO and the disconnect is purpose. Those who make a stand will be rewarded and those that watch on the sidelines will be left behind. The antidote to all of this lies in a brand’s ability to connect with people on a human level and a little less focus on shouting at them.

INVNT APAC managing director Laura Roberts
The strategy of creatively merging the B-to-B with the B-to-C over the last few years (think experiences like Xerocon, which has been dubbed the ‘Coachella for Accountants’) has given rise to the event festivalisation trend, an audience engagement tactic that will continue into 2020 and beyond. And while this approach resonates with audiences now, we can’t be complacent – we’re dealing with busier, more distracted audiences than ever. Tech – namely advanced predictive analytics – will play an essential role in uncovering what our audiences like and dislike about our campaigns, enabling us to adjust them accordingly and ensure continuous cut-through. Event festivalisation and predictive analytics: they’re a winning combo in 2020.

Jack Morton Worldwide SVP and general manager Vinny Panchal
Experience will continue to be the key differentiator for brands. With more brands investing on live experiences in the future, there needs to be greater sophistication in our category. The first is measurement. Today, live experiences can be as easily measurable as digital marketing. For a long time, the success of an activation was based on the number of attendees. Now, we have the technology to understand the visceral impact of an interaction in real time. Emerging technology such as 5G and responsible use of data will continue to reshape the way brands engage with their audiences. That’s why we’ve created Genuine X to help brands harness the opportunities presented at the intersection of technology, content and data. Sustainability will take on a more prominent role as clients seek to be more environmentally conscious. Briefs are starting to call for it and this will only grow in the future.

Imagination Australia director Heath Campanaro
2020 will see tech-fuelled experiences hit a whole new level. As AR and VR become the norm, we're now seeing AI start to influence the entire pre-during-post experience cycle, helping organisers deliver more relevant and timely content, while ensuring that consumers get what they want when they want it. Interactive technology is already expected by consumers, and helps build a case for ROI, which has been traditionally hard to prove in the world of experiences. But beyond playful tech experiences, we’re now seeing smart platforms that sit as an invisible layer throughout experiences that help enhance the consumers' journey, while helping brands better understand their audiences and respond to their needs.

The Company We Keep founder Nigel Ruffell
Personalisation: It’s no longer a one solution fits all scenario in which people turn up and all have the same experience. People want to be taken down the journey that they will get the most out of. VR gives way to AR: Two of the major assets of AR over VR are that it doesn't require a great deal of hardware because it's almost entirely software-intensive and it can be operated through event participants’ and guests' own devices. New technologies: If you can’t get there, VR remains the most real alternative experience. Soon to come, too, are online sponsors and online sessions, and packaging up individual experiences of an event so that people can take it away with them. Sustainability. More and more clients want to make their event sustainable or be seen to make it sustainable. Sensory Experiences: Long gone are the days when you “visited” an experience. Now you experience it, and increasingly that sensory experience gets closer to reality. This ties in with the most important part of an event – storytelling. A great event holds attendees in the palm of its hand.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

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