Brand Experiences are on the Rise, and with Good Reason
From Charlie Eder, Senior Director of Global Events
NewFronts season is officially over, but not without some major announcements in the Brand Experiences space. From big players like YouTube, Hulu, and Oath, to upstarts like Vice and Refinery29, events and experiences are playing a big role in how brands reach customers, consumers, and, just as importantly, create unique sales opportunities.
As proof, marketers will spend 20.7 percent of their overall marketing budgets on events and experiential in 2018, up from 18.7 percent in 2017, according to Chief Marketer.
Inside Oath, events are an increasingly important part of our business. Across our brands, the global expansion of TechCrunch's Disrupt franchise, Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit, Yahoo News' live Skullduggery podcast, and HuffPost's upcoming Parenting Conference in November all quickly come to mind. Each provides unique opportunities for membership and brand growth in an environment customers, consumers, and sponsors crave.
Unlike traditional media (digital, OOH, television commercials), experiences create an opportunity for a brand to evoke a true emotional connection. The experiences we create tell a story about the endless ways to differentiate a brand and turn followers into brand lovers, not just passive observers.
At the NewFronts, Vice announced the purchase of an event production company to help them build out and host brand-sponsored events. Refinery29 announced the expansion of their popular, ticketed, immersive, and instagrammable brand activation 29Rooms to two additional cities—San Francisco and Chicago.
At Event Marketer's 2018 Experiential Marketing Summit in San Francisco last week, 500 thought leaders in the marketing industry came together to network, share, and promote their work in the Brand Experience space. Across industries, leading companies such as Oath (team member Allie Galloway, Senior Manager of Events, was named one of Event Marketers "35 under 35"), Samsung, Under Armour, Viacom, Visa, and more discussed how brands—are turning to experiential marketing more than ever to create immersive experiences that fuel creativity and organic content creation.
One astute speaker deemed this "the golden age of experiential marketing." Brands are turning to events, PR stunts, and pop-up shops to share their core value propositions and create lasting impressions. No longer are brands thinking about one-time purchases; brands are now approaching marketing through the lens of how to create lifelong brand loyalists.
Overall, the live event trend is looking up as advertisers want to reach consumers where they are and in formats and experiences that resonate with them.
"A higher percentage of the pie is going toward experiential as other marketing tactics aren't delivering the results brands want, and aren't personal enough," according to Chief Marketer. "Events are now driving brand impact."