Right Brain, Left Brain Blog

81 posts categorized "Experiential"

01 November 2016

Are your campaigns portable?

It’s no secret that more and more campaigns include an experiential or ‘live’ element, either as the focus or playing a key supporting role. However, many brands and agencies are not getting the most from these activations, because they are ignoring a vital factor – portability.

Brands are investing more and more in marketing in the real world because it is proving increasingly effective at engaging consumers thanks to the amplification factor through online channels, particularly social. This increases ‘portability’ – or rather extends the reach and lifespan far beyond the actual live experience.

Sounds easy. Let’s simply share the campaign online through as many social channels as possible during the ‘event’ itself and after it has taken place. However, delivering true portability isn’t that simple. The sheer act of doing this will indeed extend the reach, but it won’t necessarily make the campaign more portable. That’s because portability is all about extending not just awareness of the activation itself, but also, more importantly, ensuring the right meaning about the brand and all the messages you want to get across are carried through the various channels of ‘amplification’. And these might not necessarily just be online, but could also be through other techniques, such as word of mouth, PR, out of home and more – essentially maximising not just engagement, but also effectiveness.

Every campaign needs a portable strategy – whether experiential or not – to increase reach, but for true portability it has to be relevant to the brand rather than scattergun, and also convey consistent messaging and impact.

Continue reading "Are your campaigns portable?" »

13 September 2016

Why it's time to get real

It’s no secret that there’s currently a sea change taking place across marketing and advertising. The good news is that spend is up – 10.7% in the UK, according to the IPA Bellwether report for the second quarter of 2016 – and has been rising for the past three years now. More interesting is what’s driving this trend. Unsurprisingly, the main catalyst is digital marketing, with an impressive 9.8% increase in investment. Perhaps surprisingly, the main catalyst is real world marketing (events and experiential), with an impressive 13.4% increase in investment. Unsurprisingly, digital marketing follows closely behind with 10.9%, then come main media advertising (9.3%) and PR (2.3%). No other specific discipline posted increased investment.

Is this just a blip; a random quarterly leap?

No, investment in experiential marketing, as monitored through Bellwether, has been rising each quarter for over two years. Widen the research net and the sheer force behind experiential becomes astonishingly clear. According to the Pearlfinders Global Index 2016, the number of brands looking to invest in the discipline was up 40% on 2015, which itself reported a 56% rise in experiential activations over 2014. Meanwhile, 75% of brands admitted to growing their experiential budgets in the Event Magazine Power Brands Report 2016, with 50% anticipating further rises.

The Pearlfinders Global Index summed up the situation well, saying: “Experiential has come a long way from the sample-driven add-on it once represented. It has become a key player within brands’ marketing communications and this growth looks set to continue.” A long way, indeed!

As to where this extra experiential spend is coming from, 66% is has transferred from other disciplines, while 34% is incremental, according to the Event Power Brands Report 2015.

“Other signs of experiential’s continued rise include the fact that, since 2012, the number of agency start-ups has exponentially grown with a disproportionate number of these within the experiential space,” says Nick Adams, co-author of Real World Ideas: A Guide to Modern Experiential Marketing and managing director at marketing agency Sense.

“There is also a clear trend in agency positionings being updated to embrace experiential activation, from Leo Burnett’s ‘Acts Not Ads’ to AMV Live Experience, JWT Live, among others. What’s more, leading marketing and advertising bodies MAA [Marketing Agencies Assocation], IPM [Institute Promotional Marketing] and ISBA now offer dedicated experiential training, an industry code of conduct is being planned and experiential award categories have doubled since 2013.”

On the radar

So how has a marketing discipline that was fighting to be recognised as such only a decade ago suddenly found itself firmly on the brand radar above most others?

A key factor is the growth of its close marketing spend running mate digital. The rise and increasing sophistication of the internet and social media has enabled live experiences to be amplified exponentially in terms of reach, hugely increasing the discipline’s cost efficiency. Meanwhile, the content is perfect for consumers’ hunger for authenticity and ‘reality’ from brands. Technology and social have also made the effectiveness of experiential easier to measure. Plus the discipline fuels word-of-mouth recommendation, creating the advocates that brands currently crave more than ever.

This is reflected in research examining experiential’s effectiveness. It topped the poll for ‘most effective marketing tactic’ with 72% of the vote in the Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing in the UK 2015 survey. Furthermore, when brands were asked for their top three most effective marketing mediums for the Event Magazine Power Brands 2015 report, experiential came out on top.

One brand that has significantly increased its investment in experiential recently is The Economist.

“The real world is proving to be a key space for performance brand marketing,” says Marina Haydn, the publication’s Senior Vice President, Circulation and Retail Marketing. "I'm delighted that our experiential strategy. By using our content and turning it into a real-life activation we can speak to our potential readers in a more exciting and interesting way. Experiential has been a fantastic method of not only changing brand perception, but also converting to subscription. The success is that it’s a genuine experience, people are taking it home with them and talking about it, and there’s a conversation taking place.”

Meteoric rise

As well as growing its own spend levels, there is also evidence to suggest that experiential has had a hand in maintaining digital’s position at the top.

“Experiential and digital channels are not mutually exclusive,” says Adams. “There is a popular view that the growth in experiential is contributing to the growth in digital, because: digital/social mechanics are most commonly used to amplify experiential; digital strategies allow data-capture and enable brands to create an ongoing conversation with consumers; and many brands are using experiential to create content to drive digital campaigns.”

What’s more, most of the statistics quoted above tend to be based on the more conventional definition of experiential, focused on live face-to-face interaction. By extending the discipline to encompass all ‘real world activations’ – brands creating or doing something in the real world – the growth is likely to be even more pronounced.

“As the broader definition and understanding becomes more prevalent and accepted in the market,” adds Adams. “We expect that future reports and statistics will paint an even more positive picture of experiential marketing.”

So with investment predicted to climb further and experiential increasingly placed at the heart of many campaigns, it would appear the discipline is primed to go from strength to strength.

“We’ve been tracking the meteoric rise of experiential as an effective channel in recent years,” says Mike Thorne, editor at Pearlfinders. “Buoyed by sponsors’ increasing activation budgets and better ROI tracking, the number of brands investing in this area will continue to climb through 2016. More significantly, we predict that the scope and scale of projects will also grow.”

By Ian Whiteling, freelance marketing journalist

06 September 2016

Quality brand ambassadors aren’t commodities

Streetpr

When it comes to making the most of a brand’s communications budget, few activities have the potential to deliver the same impact as face-to-face marketing, whether it’s at an event, a festival, on the High Street or in a busy train station.

Marketers know that if they can get their product into the hands of their target audience, or have the chance to talk to them about their services for even just a few minutes, they are more than half-way to converting them into consumers and even fans.

So it’s unforgiveable that so many live or face-to-face campaigns are being completely undermined by utterly atrocious promotional staff. There’s no excuse for that; staffing agencies should be investing time, money and effort in recruiting and training quality people – and then more on retaining them.

But many supposedly reputable staffing agencies, which reassure clients that they have thousands of qualified staff on their books, are actually advertising for people – often for jobs they are supposed to be delivering next week or even tomorrow – on job forums and social media sites.

Where’s the quality in that? Where’s the duty of care which should be owed to clients?

Continue reading "Quality brand ambassadors aren’t commodities" »

22 July 2016

Innovative Ad of the Week: Sony Pictures ‘Ghostbusters Waterloo’ (UK)

Ghosbusters main

This week brings to an end a pretty spooky burst of outdoor activity for London commuters, who were surprised and delighted by a giant sculpture of the iconic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man at Waterloo, as part of a complete train station takeover by Sony Pictures to promote the new ‘Ghostbusters’ movie.

The ‘super-sized’ out-of-home campaign, a collaboration between Sony Pictures, JCDecaux (campaign concept), Feref (creative), MGOMD and Talon (media), played up the idea of ‘something strange in your neighbourhood’ by transforming London’s Waterloo Station into a film-themed showcase for the past two weeks.

Continue reading "Innovative Ad of the Week: Sony Pictures ‘Ghostbusters Waterloo’ (UK)" »

19 July 2016

Who’s representing your brand?

Staffing

Connecting with people in the real world has never been more important to brands. Investment in experiential was up 6% in the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest Bellwether report, only one of two disciplines that saw an increase in spend – internet marketing was the other. Meanwhile, real world activations increasingly lie at the heart of a wide variety of campaigns, amplified through social and online channels to drive consumer engagement.

Experiential marketing is unrecognisable from what it used to be. Brand experiences are more creative, more ambitious and more unique. But has the promotional staffing world changed at the same pace? On the whole, no. Traditional brand ambassadors are no longer enough. Individuals need to share brand values and possess skills that go way beyond, superficially, “bringing a brand to life”.

Continue reading "Who’s representing your brand?" »

15 July 2016

Innovative Ad of the Week: Entertainment One 'The BFG Dream Jar Trail' (UK)

Bfg

To promote the upcoming movie remake of Roald Dahl's 'The BFG', Entertainment One has launched a experiential campaign which uses Google's Nearby Notifications beacon technology to bring six-foot "dream jars" to life. 

A total of 50 "dream jars" have been dotted around London in an initiative which plays on the concept that the BFG bottles dreams and blows them into childrens' bedrooms. The six-foot jars contain the childhood dreams of a range of celebrities including film director Steven Spielberg and actor Mark Rylance. 

Adding a new layer to the campaign through the help of Zenith by using Google's beacon tech, which launched last month, Android users (with Bluetooth switched on) that pass by one of the activations are notified that they are in close proximity (within 15 metres) to one of the real-life jars. If a user clicks through, they are given more information about the jars, the installation and the film. IPhone users can access the same content through Google Maps or Google Now. 

Continue reading "Innovative Ad of the Week: Entertainment One 'The BFG Dream Jar Trail' (UK)" »

31 May 2016

Why brands should make participation the ultimate goal

If brands struggle with one thing in the audience engagement stakes, it’s getting people actively involved. They can develop highly creative and striking cross-channel ad campaigns, target consumers through social media and mobile, entice them with offers, boost customer experience both online and offline, and more, but arguably more valuable than all of this is driving a direct action – getting people to participate. To do this, brands need to push the boundaries of marketing a little further.

Lego is great at this. It’s Yoda Chronicles offers short tales from the legendary sci-fi story told through animated Lego figures via YouTube. It provides a safe way of presenting to kids what could otherwise be violent stories, is a wonderful soft sell for the Stars Wars Lego range, but more importantly it’s a very clever way to reinforce the world of Lego via social media using content, which is far more engaging and effective than simply advertising its toy range. What’s more, it has proved so engaging that some consumers have been creating their own Lego animations – and we all know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Essentially, this provides a great way of participating in Lego outside of the traditional brick building, while reinforcing this core proposition.

Lego

Continue reading "Why brands should make participation the ultimate goal" »

07 March 2016

Judging Experiential (Part 3 of 3)

The same idea can be executed amazingly or poorly. It can seem authentic and original, or gauche and cheap. It can touch millions with clarity, or just hundreds with confusion. This excerpt from the book “Real World Ideas” explores some principles which mark out the very best experiential work, which you can look for when judging a creative idea.

Integrate with reality

Experiential is at its most effective when it interweaves with reality – when it solves a real problem, provides a real service, or similarly effects something else in the real world.

Often however, experiential ideas restrict themselves to the four imaginary walls of a site space in much the same way a TV ad restricts itself to the four walls of a screen. They act out an idea superficially rather than really bringing it to bear in a manner that matters.

When looking at an idea, always ask: “Is the concept communicated here really making an impact, or is it superficial and fictional?”

Use Context

Closely related to encroaching on the real world, this principle involves making the best of your experience's environment to amplify your creative. When people build an experience in a vacuum and place it on an allotted site, they ignore the fact that all around them are things that their budget would never be able to simulate – lots of busy people, nature and so on – which would become part of their experience if they acknowledged them.

Take for instance the New Zealand Coastguard, who showed people how tough it was to find those lost at sea not by building a sea substitute, but by actually dropping people in the middle of the sea itself. The ocean became a core part of their creative idea – free of charge.

Continue reading "Judging Experiential (Part 3 of 3)" »

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