Younger consumers expect brands to lead the charge on creating experiences

The concept of creating an emotional connection between brands and consumers through physical engagement is a longstanding one, so why now, more than ever before, is driving live brand experiences growing in importance?

The way people consume media and interact with brands has changed considerably due to technological advancements, and the expectations consumers have from brands has shifted. Consumers are seeking deeper brand experiences, at the same time retail is evolving at a rapid pace with smart devices now able to engage and direct consumers from points of influence to points of purchase. This means we need to look beyond traditional channels to influence.

Over the past few years we’ve seen how the importance of experiences has increased in the eyes of consumers. More than ever, they are shaping people’s perceptions of brands and can even boost the value consumers attach to physical products. This trend is particularly pronounced among young adults.

In research carried out as part of Savvy’s on-going Shopper Panel insight programme, we found that 54% of UK consumers recall seeing a brand or retail experience during the past 12 months, while 35% actively engaged with one.

54% of consumers recall seeing a brand or retail experience during the past 12 months

Source: Savvy Panel, January 2019

35% of consumers have actively engaged with a brand experience during the past 12 months

Source: Savvy Panel, January 2019

Look at these statistics for younger consumers and we find that 84% of 18-24 year olds recall seeing activity and 47% have interacted.

47% of 18-24 year olds recall seeing a brand or retail experience during the past 12 months

Source: Savvy Panel, January 2019

This soon to be core consumer group is more driven by experiences than products and ownership and there is an expectation for brands to be active and to some extent lead the charge on creating experiences for them to participate in.

Creating real tangible experiences gives people a reason to remember your brand. Experiences allow brands to move from just selling product to giving your brand an identity and driving brand preference.

Savvy Live recently created and delivered an event for William Hill to raise awareness of their sponsorship of Anthony Joshua. To reach their target demographic and drive brand preference we brought together the AJ sponsorship with William Hill’s sponsorship of the World Darts Championship. ‘The BOX’ featured a punching machine, exclusive video content and a virtual reality experience allowing participants to spar with a VR AJ and be in with a chance to win tickets to AJ’s next fight. Housed within a shipping container the live brand experience not only appealed to boxing fans but to wider sporting fans.

Evaluation of the event highlighted that 75% of visitors left the event feeling more positive about the brand as a result of the activity.

75% of visitors left the event feeling more positive about the brand as a result of the activity

Source: Savvy Insight Event Evaluation, January 2019

These statistics represent our initial findings from our recent Savvy Shopper Panel, the full report will be available at the end of the month. If you would like access to the full report please get in touch.

Beyond the statistics, experiential activity offers brands a number of key benefits, which are difficult to replicate through other forms of marketing. Giving consumers an opportunity to make memories through experiences makes them more likely to become brand ambassadors.

Experiential can also act as a valuable catalyst for the creation and spread of social content. Creating experiences that consumers consider worthy of featuring on their personal feed because it reflects their personality and values will drive organic content and generate genuine responses resulting in wider online conversation.

We created an experiential and influencer campaign for adidas last year. Rugby’s image and how it’s observed by today’s youth was at a stalemate so for adidas to have any chance of growth comparable to that seen in football they had to adopt a differentiated approach that repositioned rugby to the young 16-24 consumer making it accessible and edgy.

We created DFY, a new game for urban rugby players a series of exclusive events across Paris and London. The grass roots rugby showcase was built up of a series of live events; qualifying games and the grand finals that were held in urban venues that were transformed overnight into dedicated DFY rugby centres. Each event hosted over 100 grass roots influencers, with every moment within the final specifically created to aid social content. To capture each and every moment we provided spectators with 180 bullet time cameras, GoPros and official videography. Our influencers demanded thumb stopping content from the offset, we created numerous posts for them to share and built a VIP app for designing their own identity for user generated content. The overall campaign delivered a reach of over 5.7m impressions and our influencers continue to post positively about the brand, despite completion of the campaign, demonstrating effectiveness for brands in the longevity of investing in creating experiences that drive social media content.

At Savvy we have over 10 years’ experience in helping brands create memorable live experiences that drive emotional connections, shape behaviour and influence purchase. Our brand experiences are a source of shareable content for consumers seeking deeper engagement with brands and opportunities to generate social media currency.

Our Savvy Live team includes strategic insight-led creative concept, tech and innovation integration and execution experts who work together with brands to deliver varying scales of activation from instore events and sampling through to retail pop-ups, brand installation, roadshows and large-scale public events/festivals. In collaboration with our strategic festival partners, we have a number of brand activation opportunities available for the 2019 festival season. Festivals provide a stage for brands to create fan experiences through unique creative concepts that not only drive brand engagement but add to the overall festival experience. There is an untapped opportunity for brands to offer unexpected moments, and one-off experiences within the festival environment.  If you would like to understand more about opportunities available, get in touch.