Today’s consumer is much more demanding than the passive recipient of your latest ad campaign, longing for your new product. The days of linear consumerism, where the journey ends at the pay point, are over. Materialism isn’t the driver any more. Today, it sits comfortably in the passenger seat, because experience-ism is the current day gold. Armed to the social media teeth with an authentic, culturally relevant campaign, a brand can flex its reach like never before and do more than just sell a product to this new, experience-hungry audience.
Experiential equity will soon become the most important metric in marketing. Some of the biggest brands in the world have been trailblazing this fertile ground for years. During the 2010 South Africa World Cup, instead of just launching a new boot or film, Nike created a Facebook campaign, The Chance, where 15-18 year-old boys around the world put their case forward to win a pro contract, filling their Facebook wall with their skills, pictures, videos and posts. The true gold for brands is to understand people and get under their skin with authenticity, just like a good friendship.
In 2013, the Dr Martens brand unlocked over five decades of musical and sub-culture heritage, taking a line-up of new bands across Europe to play live, intimate gigs under the auspices of a content-rich campaign, #Standforsomething. Not only did they tap into the music industry, they welcomed in a new wave of music followers, ready to spread the word.
The new face of generation Z is a bit of a social animal, lapping up new experiences, new ways to co-curate a different and much more exciting and tangible lifestyle. Brands are not only making themselves visible, they are beginning to understand exactly what their audience wants. This explains why BrewDog has recently teamed up with Deliveroo, bringing Londoners their favourite craft beer from the brand’s physical spaces across the capital.
In this experience economy, we’ve moved from owning stuff, to doing stuff. Consumers aren’t consumers anymore. They are more like brand advocates that crave an authentic experience, which they can take part in, talk about and share with their peers. The magic lies in a brand’s ability to surprise, energise and activate people in their world. So, when Mountain Dew sounded out their intentions, they teamed up with us to create The Dew Shack Festival Tour, taking the brand to the mainstream across some of the biggest music festivals in the UK. The campaign, Live and Loud, brought together live DJ sets and performances, graffiti walls and Europe's largest portable vert ramp, enabling the brand to amass a new, young UK following through greater exposure and association to the things they really want to do.
Running hand-in-hand to the experience economy is the sharing economy. Today, brands are only as strong as the stories told and shared by its advocates. Which is why bringing your brand to life in the real world has never been so en vogue. Brands have never been more powerful and their true might is now determined by people and experiences, not just the spending habit of people they once knew to be consumers.