5 Ways to Make Your Experiential Event Stand Out in 2019
Do you want your 2019 event to be the hottest event in town?
To set yourself up for success, you need your event to be experiential. It’s a norm for appealing to the Millennial generation, but according to a recent survey by Global Data Consumer, even the majority of people born before 1960 agree that when given a choice between trying new products or trying new experiences, they definitely prefer experiences.
So, “What is experiential?” It begins with storytelling and ends with a memorable experience that drives consumers to emotionally connect with your brand.
Here are 5 of the latest trends that can help make your experiential event stand out in 2019:
1. AI & Robots
As machine-learning becomes increasingly sophisticated – and more and more accessible – try to find ways to incorporate more artificial intelligence and robotics into your live events.
While some of these technologies are still in “gimmick” mode, there are certain tasks and experiences where automation now makes the most sense. Research suggests that AI technology can help manage 48%-63% of an organizers time by helping with research and admin work.
When it comes to delivering basic information, most people now appreciate the automatized information delivery services that they can receive right on their smartphones. Some cutting-edge events now even incorporate robot “hosts” for wayfinding and basic event information, freeing up human employees to take on creative and relationship-building roles. Big brands have started utilizing machine-learning to automate the event planning process as well. In 2017, Mazda utilized AI technology to find the right influencers to promote their new CX-5 model at the SXSW festival. This technology took care of finding the best people to align with their brand, thus allowing them to promote to the right kind of consumer.
2. Social Media Live Streaming
Live streaming via the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube has now become a norm for events in 2019.
When live streaming is incorporated in an event, it allows for the power of impact to expand far beyond the people physically present and creates a unique opportunity to involve the global community. With social media such a commonality in the world today, even many in-person participants expect this type of interaction to be part of their experience at an event. Live streaming during events allows brands to target a broader range of consumers, while simultaneously allowing them to share in the experience. According to research conducted by Live Stream in 2017, 82% of consumers prefer live videos to social posts from their favorite brands. Live video is also replacing the growth of other types of online video, with a 113% increase of ad views year after year.
Social media allows everyone to be a publisher and thus take an active role in co-creating the content and experience of an event. As crowdsourcing content and storytelling journeys continue to increase in popularity, make sure you can incorporate more social media / live event crossover experiences in your events throughout 2019.
Event participants today do not want to sit back and be entertained. The new normal is for the creation of an immersive experience that sweeps us into another world.
New advances in AR/VR technology are making digital immersion experiences more common. Even old 2D screen experiences are being given new life as 3D worlds allow us to now touch, feel, and interact with new realms. Consumers now want events that they can contribute to, and share with those around them. Immersion allows consumers to personally add to the brand story, which in turn allows them to form an emotional connection with the brand. AR/VR technology is especially helpful for creating multi-sensory experiences that want to transport consumers to other worlds. For example, in 2016 Budweiser constructed a beer garage which utilized VR technology to give consumers a tour of their brewing plant and brewing process. While they were experiencing the tour, other elements were added to stimulate their other senses. This successful multisensory activation allowed consumers to develop a deeper understanding
of the brand.
As you think about designing your events for 2019, consider utilizing this kind of technology so your event participants can tune out distractions and become immersed within an alternative environment.
4. Celebrity Influencers
A continuing trend is the importance of a celebrity’s presence at one’s event to create an up close and personal, once-in-a-lifetime experience for consumers.
As more people are becoming “internet famous” in highly specialized niches, expect to see more of these online influencers at the forefront of small, but targeted events that are designed to ultimately reach an enthusiastic online tribe. The “Influencers by Numbers” Full-Screen media report in 2018 declared that “Gen Z and Millennials are most likely to trust influencers than brands themselves, even if they are posting about that specific brand.” Since influencers already have the consumers trust, more and more brands are utilizing them to promote their experiential events.
5. Deeper Mission
Today, brands with a sense of purpose and deeper mission are outperforming brands that merely sell.
As 2019 progresses, expect to see more events that go beyond mere product launches and promote a sense of involvement with a bigger cause. If event participants feel their engagement serves a greater purpose, they will be more likely to both engage and share about their experience with others. A Cone Communications CSR study conducted in 2017, found that 87% of consumers stated they would purchase a product based on values – because the company advocated for an issue they cared about. This shows how much consumers want brands to have a say in issues that matter to them, and support brand events tied to a cause they care deeply about.
Now is the time to dig deep into your own mission and find creative ways to share that with the world.
Using these five trends will allow you to elevate your event to the next level and create an experience that consumers will not forget. As 2019 progresses, we’re excited to see these experiential event trends — and more — come to life.