The Best Experiential Trends and Strategies of 2018 (The White Board)

Key Takeaways:

  • From pop culture integration to exploration of the eSports world, the experiential activations of 2018 have much to teach us as we look to the new year.
  • While pop-ups are often referred to as “shops” or “stores,” brands are smart to put a memorable brand experience ahead of revenue generation.
  • Brands continue to invest in influencers, yet by looking past their existing brand superfans they are leaving the power of vocal, enthusiastic brand ambassadors on the table.

 

Year in Review: The Top Experiential Trends and Strategies of 2018

The world is changing, and so too is how we use experiential to market goods and services. Developing new ideas, embracing innovation, and pushing the boundaries of creativity provides brands with a leg up when connecting with consumers face-to-face. And with new technologies, a blending of digital marketing and experiences can come together in harmony. And as we look to a New Year, new opportunities to continue to grow the experiential industry are serving as inspiration.

But inspiration also comes from reflection. Recently, Event Marketer published a look back at some of the top trends and strategies from 2018. These include brands’ success with outdoor activations, how the popularity of streetwear influenced pop culture, and the growing eSports industry. Across these trends and strategies, brands of all types can draw inspiration for the new year. Check out the full list from Event Marketer here.

 

We’ve explored the power that pop-up stores can provide brands. Not only can these activations serve as a test space for a permanent brick and mortar location, they also generate additional revenue. Yet, many argue that focusing on a direct increase in sales should not be the goal. Instead, brands should approach pop-ups as a long-game tool that leads to a lasting relationship with customers.

What this means is that brands should focus on the larger pop-up experience as opposed to a revenue stream. By doing this, brands ensure that any customer who passes through the doors have a positive experience and are inclined to align with the brand. This strategy is more likely to result in a long-term brand relationship. It also encourages consumers to go beyond simply sharing the experience on their social feeds. Instead, they become a lasting brand advocate among their peers.

 

Three Ways to Make the Most of Superfans

When it comes to partnering with online ambassadors, most brands invest in influencers. But with calls for better transparency, the proliferation of fake followers, and increased consumer apprehension, influencer marketing has its challenges. Instead of relying solely on these online personas, brands can tap superfans as their best group of advocates.

The key to harnessing super fans is building an authentic relationship with them. Because they are already brand fans, these are the customers that are first in line for new products. And chances are they are already championing the brand to their friends, families and social media followers. As this article by Wasserman’s Stephanie Hickman puts it, for brands to leverage these people in the most fruitful fashion, “(they) need to enable and empower them to be the ambassadors that they already want to be.”

 

eSports and Gaming Flourished in 2018 and Brands Won’t Want to Miss in the New Year

The world of gaming has long been enjoyed in the margins, often seen as a way for nerds to pass time. But today’s online-forward world has taken video games out of the basement and into the mainstream. The rise in gaming has also fostered a community of eSports fans, giving the industry its own place in pop culture. And a large part of its exponential growth can be attributed to social media and eSports influencers.

The recent popularity of gaming has also caught the attention of brands. As with any target demographic, brands have to maintain a level of authenticity to appeal to gamers. To achieve transparency, brands should consider enhancing their live experiences to reach this audience. The focus towards gaming as a whole is beginning to shift, and brands are smart to get in at the ground level.

 

2019 Marketing Conferences: The #1 Marketing Events Guide

As 2019 marches on, many marketers continue to plan the year. Not only are we ensuring that client needs are met, but in most cases, seeing that they stay ahead of the curve. Because the industry moves quickly, its often easy to fall behind the latest trends, new technologies, and more.

To help the pros keep up, across the globe there is a host of conferences, summits, and expos dedicated to exploring every inch of the marketing industry. Whether you are a seasoned experiential veteran or just getting started with digital media, the benefits of attending any of these events can be many. From panels and discussions to networking and learning opportunities, this Bizaboo marketing events guide can point any marketer in the right direction.

 

2018 Game Changers… and Why it’s Imperative you Know them for 2019

When it comes to staying ahead of trends, looking to the past for concepts that “changed the game” can be a great place to start. They are strong indicators of where trends are heading and the ways in which technology and other methods disrupt the ways we do things.

Instead of relying on concepts from 2018 that were popular, brands that focus on game changers have a better starting point when crafting campaigns. According to this post by The Marketing Arm, the most notable game changers of last year included blockchain, rebranded genders, sensory lead marketing and holistic wellness. Check out the full article here to see what made these items so disruptive, and how they might impact 2019.

 

What to Expect from CES 2019

Dating back to 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has served as a platform for technology brands of all sizes to showcase advancements and make new release announcements. In fact, CES was the place where iconic technology like the VCR, Blu-Ray and Ultra HDTV were first introduced. With more than 180,000 attendees flocking to Vegas from more than 150 countries, the annual show will see a big 2019.

While some large brands opt to hold their own conferences or events to make major announcements, this year’s CES is still filled with a slew of innovation. Most notably is the expansion of 5G beyond mobile devices, which will drive innovations within the smart home sector and Internet of Things. Check out this full list of the most anticipated announcements from Tech Crunch.

 

Exclusive by Design: How Hospitality Experiences Drive Brand Loyalty

In the past, many hospitality experiences were met with lackluster enthusiasm. They were often formulaic, lacking the wow-factor and creativity that consumers have shown to respond to. In other words, there were no Instragrammable moments to be found. But times have changed, and more brands are creating new, FOMO-inspired hospitality events. These new events are not only catching the attention of consumers but are helping brands achieve brand loyalty.

Brands like Citi, Under Armour and TE Connectivity are among those leading the charge in designing coveted hospitality experiences. Using their relationships, these brands have elevated the consumer hospitality experience to new levels. Citi, for example, used their ties to the entertainment industry and created a live music platform for cardholders during Grammy Week in Los Angeles, California. By creating exclusive events and opportunities, Citi has succeeded in making an impact on its customers.

Author: Kelly Springs-Kelley

Kelly Springs-Kelley is the Marketing Director at Elevate Staffing. When she's not creating content or pondering the future of in-person consumer engagement, Kelly can be found hiking the mountains of Arizona with her 2 kids and 3 dogs.

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