Time to solve the great value equation
Dawn Cardy, Business Director, Brand Experience at Space.
With no let-up in the world’s socio-economic challenges, 2023 will be about maintaining brand loyalty and finding ways into new audiences. As consumers inevitably feel drawn to choosing cheaper alternatives, brands will need to show up and offer more than the product if they expect them to part with their cash.
Brand experience has a big part to play in influencing the decision to buy. It can showcase the added value a brand choice brings, which at a time where every penny counts, can mean more to a shopper than just low prices. People want entertainment, escape, or to feel affinity with a brand that helps them make responsible purchases.
Make it fun. The more immersive the better. People are back out there post pandemic and searching for experiences to enjoy and share. Storytelling around brands is shifting from a one-way dialogue into something far more collaborative and shared, that brings the brand world to life.
Netflix is choosing to invest in more integrated immersive experiences, opening a multi-title mall pop-up in LA, combining experiential with retail, and conducting a hybrid launch experience for Money Heist reaching 10 million fans.
Reach is often perceived as experiential’s weak spot, but the rise of digital and hybrid experiences is extending this far and wide, with more brands claiming a spot in the metaverse or leveraging gaming platforms, connecting to a younger audience. Partnerships and collaborations will continue to result in content-rich experiences, with partners keen to support great output to encourage customers to continue to invest. The move from IRL to online shows another big trend for 2023 being retro nostalgia, offering moments of escape, with creators leading the way.
Our personal values
Many consumers want to see their values reflected in the brands they choose, but are switched on to purpose washing, and switched off to traditional media. Experiential shows credible brand purpose in action and builds long-term loyalty by enabling customers to live out those values. Hyper-targeted local activation is becoming increasingly effective by connecting at a community level, and only then amplifying at national/global scale.
The Asics Upliftford experiment brought the brand’s belief in “a sound mind in sound body” to life by transforming one of the UK’s lowest-mood cities into an urban activity oasis to encourage happiness through movement. Retford became “Upliftford”, and Asics worked closely with community leaders to achieve a 27% mood uplift in the town. By extension, these progressive values must be reflected in agency partners through diversity of talent, thoughtful investment and sustainable production.
Value for money
Clients need to be confident in your investment strategy. With budgets under pressure, demonstrating impact is crucial and agencies should be actively putting measurement at the heart of their strategy. Having increasingly sophisticated methods available for understanding consumer engagement, brand experience provides a direct avenue for measurable brand building and can be used efficiently alongside, or instead of, more expensive mainstream comms investments.
This article originally appeared in Campaign Magazine.