An image of the Snapchat logo. Picture: REUTERS
An image of the Snapchat logo. Picture: REUTERS

Members of younger market segments provide valuable insight for marketers about the right brand experiences. The response of this sector of the market to events and festivals is particularly relevant for understanding trends in this arena. The following takeways are important to consider when creating optimal live brand experiences. 

Fluidity

The digital revolution has opened consumers up to endless possibilities in every aspect of life, resulting in open and fluid identities that go beyond gender, genre and style.

On the plus side, this has made the millennial generation one of the most informed and tolerant. But for event and marketing professionals, it means young people have fast-changing preferences that appear fickle, because they have ample access to information that allows them to nurture eclectic and sometimes inconsistent tastes. Segmenting marketing into demographics simply doesn’t work anymore.

A bigger purpose

Social purpose is key.  Consumers increasingly expect brands to go beyond functional benefits and stand for something – a link to a cause bigger than themselves.  As a result, companies are adopting a firm social position in obvious ways.

The big take-out:

The brand experience world continues to evolve, and lines are blurring. Brands want true, content-rich, shareable events with talkability, representing a huge opportunity for those working in events.

Be real

Brand authenticity provides reassurance and validates choice, but the term “authentic” is overused. The younger generation is ruthless in its assessment of how “real” brands are. A case in point is the backlash received by Pepsi for an errant brand decision in 2017. It shows that if a campaign or experience is in any way forced and inauthentic, the brand will be called out for it on public platforms.

So, how do you prove authenticity? By consistently practising what you preach in every element of your brand experience and showing people what you stand for rather than telling them. Own your learnings and mistakes, and don’t jump on the latest trend if it doesn’t resonate with your brand.

The “maker” generation

Today’s audiences want to curate, craft, edit and “make” their own content as part of their brand experience. By including elements of self-expression, experimentation and personalisation in events and experiences, you in turn enhance an individual’s social and professional currency.

Seamless journeys

Brand experiences transcend physical activation, meaning all live experiences should be designed to complement and amplify the consumers’ digital experience. A key consideration in events is to create spaces that capture the spirit of the moment and culture, and seamlessly translate it into the social realm. Make areas for generation Snapchat and Instagram, and create them as part exhibit, part installation to encourage engagement.

The next level

If done well, augmented reality and virtual reality (VR) can amplify events to the highest level. Think what Facebook is doing with Oculus Venues, allowing people to view live events such as sports and concerts in VR. Meanwhile, MelodyVR enables fans to experience 360-degree gigs from the crowd to the stage as if they were there.

• Glenn van Eck is the CEO of Magnetic Storm

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