How Brand Activations Can Use Art to Go Beyond the Photo Op (Elevate Connect)

Key Takeaways

  • User generated content is powerful, authentic, and free-of-charge. And while many brands put “Instagrammable” at the top of their brand activation wish list, immersive art experiences might be leaving these selfie stations in the dust.
  • Experiential is more efficient and effective in creating brand connections, and therefore is seen by many as the future of marketing.
  • More large, global brands like Nordstrom and Office Depot are leading by incorporating experiential retail into the everyday customer experience.

Using Immersive Art to Make Brand Activations More Than Just Instagrammable

The power of the “made for Instagram” backdrop is undeniable. We have seen first-hand how a highly-creative photo background can garner a lot of attention at a brand activation. And brands get double points when they feature an interactive experience that allows attendees to create a video, or maybe utilize the popular Boomerang app. But, despite these creative options, some would argue that simply offering a photo-ready element stops short of the endless possibilities that experiential offers.

This is the point that the Becore agency makes in a recent post. They use the Meow Wolf experience as an example, which is an immersive art exhibition in Santa Fe, which is produced by 150 artists. Becore explains why brands should look to an art experience to inspire user generated content over a photo element alone. From telling an entertaining story to removing limitations, art spaces can go beyond what is expected. They provide brands with an opportunity to keep attendees immersed, engaged, and eager to evangelize their experience.


Embracing Experiential as the Future of Marketing and Advertising

Think of the most memorable advertisement you’ve ever seen. Chances are that it made an impact because it connected with you on an emotional level. You felt giddy after a funny campaign, or nostalgic during one that portrayed family life. For as long as companies have been marketing to consumers, brands have understood the importance of creating an emotional connection to make their brands memorable – and to build a strong relationship with you.

Yet, to establish that emotional connection, the ads must be seen. As digital media has grown, it has expanded brands’ reach, but due to oversaturation, digital is losing its power. Now companies are embracing experiential marketing to establish this connection. But some brands are still apprehensive when it comes to investing in experiential. Check out this recent Ted Talk, where Fake Love agency founder Layne Braunstein explains why experiential is the permanent future of advertising and marketing.


Nordstrom and Other Retail Giants are Leading With Experiences

The brick and mortar shift toward experiential retail shows that brands are changing the way they engage with customers. This is in response to a changing shopping paradigm, where consumers want to get to know brands through experiences. Whether a company is converting a flagship store into an experiential destination, or an ecommerce brand is bringing its online business offline, brands of all kinds are evolving. They are seeking to give consumers what they have come to want and expect – a personal, interactive shopping experience.

In a recent Forbes article, global brands such as Nordstrom, Office Depot and DSW are leading the way with experiential innovation. Specifically, Nordstrom’s Los Angeles concept, which gives customers an opportunity to meet with personal stylists and try on clothing they ordered online. This experience falls in line with Nordstrom’s brand, and provides a unique experience that isn’t found at any other retail space. Check out how the other leading brands innovate through experiential here.


How the NFL is Taking the Customer Experience to the Offseason

The age of experience truly is upon us. Experiential marketing budgets are up, with 1 in 3 CMOs expecting to put 21-50 percent of their marketing budget toward brand experiences. Both millennials and Gen Z have reported coveting experiences as much (if not more) than physical products. And we have discussed the many ways that a single experiential activation can have an impact on consumers. As a result, brands are using experiential as part of ongoing and regular consumer engagement to boost brand awareness and sales.

Case in point– the marketing juggernaut we refer to as the National Football League (NFL). The league has been executing experiences not only to boost their brand, but to continue to engage with fans during off-season. Most notably, the NFL experience in Times Square, which allows fans to become a player from their favorite team and feel the excitement of being in a Super Bowl championship.


Panorama Music Festival Activations Go the Extra Mile to Engage Fans

As summer has begun to wind down, we have begun reflecting back on the best music festival activations of 2018. As is typical, Bonnarroo was a popular place for brands, as well as Coachella, which saw its fair share of cool experiential (one of our favorite being the W’s luxury Yurts). Now we look to the Panorama Music Festival in New York City. Despite having to cancel the last half of Friday’s performances, brands were out in full force, doing their best to make up for lost time. And in fact, some argue that, despite the cancellations, the festival turned things around and was able to claim a successful year.

The brands that executed at Panorama ranged from beauty to beverage and everything between. Sephora’s holographic space buns and metallic beauty resulted in a lone line of consumers waiting for their turn with the brand. Meanwhile a smaller, but equally popular, footprint by Glenfiddich provided attendees with a vapor guide to help them decide which whiskey to buy. Moral of the story? Even in the face of unfortunate weather, Panaroma stuck with it when the going got tough. The festival was still able to eke out its place in the 2018 summer festival experiential hall of fame.


Samsung’s Family Guy AR Experience Shows Off Its Connected Home Products

While virtual reality seems to get the most press, its sister tech, augmented reality (AR), has been growing in creative use and popularity. AR, which merges the physical and digital worlds, can be cheaper and more readily available than VR, as most AR platforms only require a smart device. In fact, AR is becoming so popular that it is expected to balloon into a $117.4 billion industry by 2022. For experiential marketers, incorporating AR is a powerful tool when it comes to consumer engagement.

Samsung recently partnered with BBH agency to launch Doorways, an interactive experience that uses AR to let users step into the fictitious Family Guy world. Through AR, the Griffin house was outfitted with Samsung smart home appliances, and attendees could use their smart phones to explore the house – and the smart appliances as well.


Knorr Channels Fresh Food Delivery Fad at Recent Brand Experience in NYC

The consumer movement towards a healthier lifestyle has made cooking at home a newfound popular pastime. But, as Event Marketer points out, “the majority of today’s busy consumers don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen whipping up complex recipes.” As a result, home meal delivery services such as Blue Apron have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. And now CPG brand Knorr has taken this concept and retrofitted it for experiential marketing.

Activating in conjunction with National Farmer’s market Week, the brand created one-skillet meals and delivered them to New York residents who tweeted #KnorrToMyDoor. The meal kits were delivered via Brand Ambassador on a branded bike & trailer. Check out the full details of the experience here.


What You Need to Know about Attracting Influencers through Events

Since social media became a primary marketing method, influencers are an ever-increasing asset for brands. Influencers can help companies reach consumers in an authentic and impactful way. Recently, influencer marketing came under scrutiny due to their “endorsement-style” relationship with brands. These compensation-based arrangements seem in conflict with the transparency that followers expect from their favorite influencers, (as well as from brands). But, despite the controversy, the power of influencer marketing remains, as people continue to look to these online celebrities for cues about what to buy.

In that same vein, the success of any influencer campaign will depend on its ability to show authenticity. To do so, simply paying influencers to market products is not enough. The influencer and the brand need to develop an authentic relationship, and influencer-only events are the perfect way to foster this connection. Check out BizBash’s recent article, which provides tips on how brands can attract influencers to events and develop an omnichannel approach.


Author: Elissa LiongElissa Liong is the Data and Analytics Manager at Elevate Staffing. She's a certain kind of particular, and loves thinking about all things data and insights. When she's not uncovering consumer insights and building out engagement tools that people love, she is probably at the gym or reading online spoilers about TV shows (even for episodes she hasn’t watched yet).


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