2012 was an interesting year for experiential marketing. With the Olympics and Paralympics taking over in the summer, brands were falling over themselves to capitalise on the influx of tourism and to join the sporting conversation. It meant a year of non-stop brand activations with a reliance on experiential to really make brands stand out from the crowd.
So what about 2013? With the Olympics not casting a shadow over marketing communications and only allowing big (budget) brands to play, we predict 2013 as the year for new and smaller brands to step up to the plate and push themselves into the consumer sphere.
We can definitely see 2013 being a very busy year indeed and experiential will certainly be one of the forefront marketing channels for many brands. With the integration of other marketing channels and with experiential often at the heart, brands are now more inclined to increase investment – especially as a staggering 90% of consumers trust peer recommendation compared to just 14% for advertising.
Here are our predicted experiential trends for 2013….
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile.
New research from BuzzCity shows that 77% now go online exclusively via their mobile phone.
2012 saw a huge rise in marking campaigns involving the use of mobile phones and in 2013 it looks like it will only increase, especially with the launch of 4G. This means that user-generated content is more important than ever, and therefore creating social experiences that are participative are imperative to any brand that is looking to engage their customers.
You will see many brands opting to rely on user generated content at live events (including GPS mapping & geofencing) to share content and extend the longevity of brand messaging.
Vitamin Water recently capitalised on this trend by using a mobile promotion that encouraged consumers to check-in via Foursquare at an event in order to upgrade their tickets – highlighting the simplicity and instant gratification aspects.
Shhhh It’s a secret..
If 2012 saw brands bringing everyone together, en mass, then 2013 will be the year we bring experiences back to smaller, more influential groups who will then seed positive brand experiences online.
Exclusive experiences & “secret” activations will see brands making consumers ‘work’ to be part of amazing and one-of-a-kind events, in order to reward the most loyal and add a competitive element.
Relentless energy drink was just one of the brands last year who staged a secret gig with brand ambassador Professor Green and they weren’t the only ones. Although this theme ran through 2012, it will continue to grow, especially as marketing budgets are tightened and qualitative brand messaging becomes more important
Don’t worry though – if you weren’t able to make it to that secret gig or private viewing then you will be able to head to the brand page where it will be streamed live so you can see what you are missing!
With a focus on the Royal Family and austerity in 2012 Britain, consumers will continue to look back to the hazy days of happier and simpler times. Nostalgia will play a big role in 2013 as brands aim to conjure up those joyus memories from the past and associate themselves with days gone by. Retro sweets, vintage cocktail recipes and advertising creative will tie it all together to make consumers feel young again. The Evian “Live Young” campaign, which saw a playground being built in the city, is the first of many experiential campaigns this year aiming to bring out your inner child.
This will also be evident in the celebration of milestone birthdays as our favourite brands look back to see how they have evolved. The Tube turns 150 years old today, whilst Heineken is celebrating its 140th birthday by encouraging fans to submit their designs for a 2013/14 limited edition bottle. The best 30 will be picked by an expert panel and featured at Milan Design Week in April 2013, where a public vote will help pick the winner.
2013 will continue the movement of companies opening up themselves up to social responsibility and having a “nothing to hide” attitude. This year a number of big brands received consumer criticism when they were found to be avoiding tax payments and worked hard to bring back customer confidence.
This year, brands want to demonstrate they have a heart, with links to charities, community projects and environmental issues dominating communications and experiential activity. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself wondering into a secret community garden in Central London or tweeting to raise money to save rhinos.
We can’t wait to see what other experiential trends develop for 2013.
Bring. It. On.