It’s no secret that the way we engage with our audiences has changed. Overnight and at unprecedented speed, ‘normal’ lost all meaning and the ‘new normal’ was born. What that new normal is, does or looks like could remain to be seen. That’s if you let it. But if we step back, re-focus and take a deep breath, we should embrace it more as an opportunity for brands and agencies alike to shape it. This is a renewed adventure that we need to embark on together with the consumer.
What is certain, is that brands cannot lie dormant, nor be forgotten. Consumers value interaction, they need access to their communities and with that we’ve seen a number of pivots to address taking traditionally offline experiences online.
The power of the digital experience is not only very real but it’s also very effective
Live stream music and entertainment is thriving, stripped back Instagram gigs and conversations with the biggest in the business are daily occurrences and you can still have a virtual pint in your local pub thanks to Zoom. The power of the digital experience is not only very real but it’s also very effective, especially at a time when there are limited alternatives that work under the current social distancing scenario.
This almighty shift may seem new at first glance, but the reality is brands have been engaging in this way for a long time, you only have to look back to brand activations like Marshmello’s set in Fortnite, for example, which was outrageously successful. What this current situation has done though, is put a spotlight on it, made us more focussed and creative in the way we use it and as an output amplified how valuable it is in terms of effectiveness in engaging consumers.
However, have no doubt when the time comes, and importantly when it is safe to do so, that we are released from captivity we will crave physical experiences that bring our communities together more so than ever before – that is simply human nature. Whether we’re talking about music, sport and entertainment or arts and culture, those moments we share together physically, are invaluable. There is, certainly in my opinion, no way to replace the power of live. Experiential at its best can be unparalleled in effectiveness.
Brand experience has and will continue to evolve, possibly no more so than in the coming year
At LIGHTBLUE, we talk about integrating smart technology to overall brand experience (technology not for the sake of technology), it’s in the mix at the outset along with strong content narratives and a critical element at that. We have to remember that as humans we’re all completely different, we embrace individuality and largely we like things on our terms. Technology allows us to not only reach new and wider audiences but also create hyper-personalisation to engage on a 1-on-1 level. It also can significantly enhance live experience when blended properly.
As we look to the future (and there is a positive one at that), brand experience has and will continue to evolve, possibly no more so than in the coming year. It’s our role as an agency to navigate this time and support brands in reconnecting. We nor they have all the answers. For that, it’s a test of agency agility, resilience and willingness to be a partner. With that we are currently running workshops with our clients on our ‘New Age Storytelling’ platform, which takes us right back to objective but maps out a new and phased journey using technologies such as Augmented and Mixed Reality. The platform is based on consumer insights to deliver a phased approach to the new normal.
One thing is for sure, it’s definitely not about replacing one or the other. It’s about integrating digital and experiential to craft community-first, culture-driven narratives that deliver much stronger and more impactful brand moments, which resonate both with purpose and legacy.
So Experiential or Digital? That’s not a question. Our audiences deserve it all and it’s our job to deliver that.