A-Z of Experiential Marketing: Z for Zeitgeist

Posted by: Line Up on July 11th, 2014 IN The A-Z of Experiential Marketing


If you’ve been charting a course through our A-Z of Experiential Marketing over the last few months, you’ll know that this is our swan song.

Z for Zeitgeist brings us neatly to the end of this epic blog series and what a great way to end, by exploring 6 key marketing trends of the moment and their impact on the world of experiential marketing:

1. Creating Fans

Consumers these days care as much about what their association with a brand means as they care about owning it.  Not in that ghastly, old 80’s materialistic way, but in a much more contemporary, often altruistic way.  Witness the rise of brands such as footwear pioneer Toms that is now diversifying into all kinds of product extensions on the strength of its authenticity and social conscience.

TOMS Footbear social conscience

This willingness to connect with brands that empathise with their consumers plays directly into the hands of the experiential marketer.  When the brand becomes bigger than the product, then consumers become more than purchasers – they turn into fans.   And fans are predisposed to share experiences with that brand and then with their digital communities, creating the kind of earned media that was once a pipe dream.

However, be warned, the brand experience is not a single event or moment in time.  To create real fans, an all-encompassing, cross-platform, experiential approach is required that will create multiple touch points and provide relevant content to share.

 2. Visual content

Online content is digested for immediate gratification.  Indeed, Apps such as Snapchat only allow users to display their photos for 10 seconds, any more would be a waste.

So it’s not surprising that visual content, that can be processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text* has a far higher impact and is far more likely to provoke an action or be shared.

And video is far more compelling than still imagery.  Posts with videos attract 3 times more inbound links than plain text posts.  For experiential marketers to take advantage of this, live activations need to create visual impact.  Technologies such as projection mapping – when used well – fuel the Smartphone frenzy and will ensure that your event really does deliver beyond its moment.

Circle of Light Moscow International Festival, Bolshoi Theater official video from Cosmo av on Vimeo.

3. Real-time Marketing

For the most part, brands have realised that they need to move quickly these days and have adapted accordingly.  The expectation now is for witty, clever and relevant responses to the latest meme, world event or cultural moment.  But this all comes at a price and has necessitated big organisational changes for brand owners, agencies and our relationships.

Timing is crucial and approvals can’t hold up the process.  But speed to market is irrelevant if the content shared doesn’t resonate with consumers.  The important metric is how fast the content is shared, and that’s wholly dependent on hitting the right note.

Beats by Dre nailed it with their animated Beats Pills at the 2013 MTV Music Awards and their spoof red carpet photobombing.

experiential marketing z for zeitgeist

4. Everything Mobile

Which leads us nicely to how all of this is consumed and the answer these days is very simple – mobile, mobile, mobile.  Every digital touchpoint must be optimised for mobile, so think vertical scrolling rather than horizontal viewing.  Consumers are prepared to watch longer videos on their mobiles but look at the proliferation of the more simple apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Vine and WhatsApp as a guide to the kind of instant gratification that captures the attention and gets shared at speed.

And whilst Smartphones proliferate now, by 2020 there are expected to be 24 billion connected devices across the globe as competition for devices such as Fitbit, Nike+ and Google Glass explode the category.  The growth in wearables is set to fuel another explosion in content that will need to be tailored to the device yet aligned and compatible with every other touchpoint.

5. Geo-targeting

With more and more technology available to help brands touch base with consumers via their Smartphones and according to their location, the experiential marketer can reap the benefits.  Historically, an activation would typically use a venue that could guarantee high footfall of a certain demographic.  However, with technologies such as geo-fencing, pop-ups can now quite literally pop-up anywhere, since local traffic can be driven and directed to them.   And since consumers prefer to think that they have ‘discovered’ something or that they are part of a discreet ‘club’, the chances of them sharing your message grow by default.

Geo-targeting technologies can also be used to powerful effect for stunts, as this brilliant cinema based experience vividly illustrates:

6. Apps that Connect

Instagram now boasts over 150 million users sharing an incredible 16 billion photos a day.  It’s an App that appeals because of its simplicity and because, like Snapchat, WhatsApp and others, it delivers that instant gratification that Millennials crave.  The formula is simple – allowing people to communicate at scale, on the go, via a simple and unique format – and brands and businesses should be looking at integrating their social output across these platforms, if they aren’t already, whilst they are still relatively commerce-free.

And why stop there? Developing a bespoke App around a specific event can grow your audience way beyond the event itself as Nike found:

So, there you have it!  In the last of our A-Z blogs we’ve shared our thoughts on the key influential trends in experiential marketing at the moment.  But as we all know, the moment moves on so quickly so, as a final thought, how does your company make sure that you keep up in this rapidly evolving industry?

You might be wise to take advise from Forbes journalist, Patrick Spenner and set yourselves up with a dedicated pre-viz team.  It’s all about identifying what’s around the corner before it hits you and a cross-disciplined, entrepreneurial, forward-thinking team could do worse than to meet once a week to make sure that you can see past the first turn.

Happy future everyone!

Want to read more of our A-Z of Experiential Marketing posts? You can now download and keep A-N as a PDF ebook.

Or select another of the posts from the series to view online:

Audience | Brief | Content | Digital | Engagement | Fun

Global | Hindsight | Insight Journey | Knowledge | Logistics

Mobile | New | Old | Product Launch | Q&A | ROI | Social Media

Target Market | User Experience | Venues | Word of Mouth | X for X Factor | Y for Youth | Z for Zeitgeist

Line Up

Line Up

Line Up is an award-winning, creative communications agency, headquartered in London. We create engaging live and digital brand experiences for internal and external audiences all over the world.

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