Endlessly monotonous PowerPoint presentations are out, and experiential events are in. With better technology, enhanced creativity, and intelligent strategy, events have become highly engaging experiences. Richard Twamley, creative director at communications agency, drp, believes that with more to do and more to see, there is an opportunity to get involved in interactive activities that bring people and ideas together.
Experiential events, or “engagement marketing” involves a strategy that directly engages consumers, as well as invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand. Experiential can add an exciting element not only to events, but also to exhibitions, large conferences and road shows. This exciting and diverse approach to events is an experience that delegates want to share and shout about, whether that’s physically loudly with their voices, or loudly online via their social platforms.
So how can technology be used to create an experience at an event?
Below we have listed 3 unique experiential events, and the tech used, which hopefully will ignite ideas and inspire event planners.
1. ‘Internal Engagement’ – Jaguar Land Rover F-PACE Launch Event
To launch their brand new F-PACE, Jaguar land Rover delivered an external PR stunt that involved the F-PACE defy gravity in a Guinness world record-breaking 360 degree loop de loop in Frankfurt Motor Show. The loops were shaped in the numbers ‘8’ and ‘0’ to celebrate their 80th anniversary. The F-PACE successfully completed the loops showcasing its lightweight design, agility, sports car speed and performance.
In line with this momentous F-PACE product launch drp delivered a record breaking internal campaign for Jaguar Land Rover employees. The internal attraction campaign titled – ‘Who’s in the Driving Seat?’ initially focussed on the mystery behind the identity of a heavily disguised driver and started with a pre-reveal film shown at Jaguar Land Rover’s offices and posted onto YouTube.
The campaign’s real impact was delivered by the experiential installation titled ‘You’re in the driving seat’ answering the previous question ‘Who’s in the Driving Seat?’, which demonstrated to the employees that they themselves are the real drivers of the business and the success of the products made. Employees were filmed wearing the racing suit worn by the driver of the loop de loop in Frankfurt, and this was then instantly edited with the original footage so that each employee appeared to be the actual driver of the F-PACE.
The experiential solution allowed employees to feel connected to the product whilst creating a unique activity that would encourage them to share, and ultimately contribute, to overall product marketing activity. ‘Selfie’ installations and digital signage positioned the F-PACE in front of a backdrop displaying the F-Pace logo – employees then stood in front of the car and photos were uploaded to Facebook for them to share. The video installation element combined video technology with installation art – in this case digitally stitching the loop de loop from the Frankfurt with the employees own video inside the F-PACE.
The brief required the campaign to provide a shareable communication solution that delivered a reach of 100,000 people via Facebook. The initial pre-reveal film posted onto YouTube received over 12,000 click-throughs to the embedded post and 400 shares by employees, over 91,000 content appearances and in excess of 100,00 video views. As a result of the launch activation element of the campaign there have been to date over 1 million content appearances, 264,000 individuals reached and 50,000 people have liked, commented and shared the content.
Jaguar Land Rover employees were engaged with a unique experience that was worth sharing with their family and friends. The experiential element was unique for each person, and the employees could share their experiences via social media.
2. ‘Multi-Faceted Experience’ – JCB Global Dealer Event
JCB wanted to bring together their dealers and customers from over 40 countries to exhibit the capabilities of the full JCB product range via demonstrations, which were impossible to replicate in their worldwide dealerships. JCB was keen to ensure all 3200 international delegates, who spoke 14 different languages between them, were ‘wowed’ from the beginning.
The main experiential highlight within a series of programmes running across five weeks saw JCB’s plant machinery at centre stage. By showcasing the staggering capabilities of these vehicles, audiences experienced them first-hand and engaged with the products face-to-face. Cavernous, temporary structures were set up to allow audiences to be within an arm’s length of the stars of the show: dump trucks, excavators and industrial forklifts, scooping, shifting and lifting heavy loads. 28,000 watts of sound cranked up the atmosphere as well as 578 production lights. JCB plant machinery was also pitted against rivals’ nearest models, allowing the audience to fully appreciate JCB’s competitive edge. Hands-on testing made the experience even more immersive, as people felt, saw and heard the quality of the awesome machinery on display.
This first-hand experience enabled worldwide dealers and customers to fully comprehend the capabilities of JCB. Data was gathered before and after the event, measuring delegates’ shift in understanding around key areas of the programme, including perceptions on products and JCB’s support mechanisms. Substantial upward shifts were seen across the board. The success of the event persuaded JCB to add four further rotations for local schools to enjoy a similar experience.
3. ‘Possiblers Campaign’ – drp 35th Anniversary
Last year drp celebrated its 35th Anniversary, and the company launched an integrated campaign to celebrate this milestone and connect with their clients. The event was the opportunity to introduce clients to new areas of the business, find out about the latest developments and ultimately, increase engagement and sales. Hosted at West Midlands Safari Park the event was attended by 950 guests including the drp team, friends and clients. The event consisted of park tours, workshops, a gala dinner, and showcase finale including live production show, choir, fireworks and production to rival a festival.
‘The Possiblers’ were a series of 3D animated characters created as part of the company’s ongoing integrated marketing campaign. These characters, Parker, Olivia, Sinclair, Stella, Iggy, Becca, Lance and Erica each represented one area of the organisation forming an integral part of the entire campaign and the event itself. The first initials of the characters spelled the word ‘possible’, in sync with the drp strapline ‘anything’s possible’.
The many experiential elements of the event gave delegates a chance to experience, learn, and immerse themselves in drp and their services. The digital and interactive activity workshops were run by the multiple drp departments, from digital to design, film & video, print and more. There was the chance to learn how to code, film, edit and create a video, or photoshop your face on a poster with the design team. Delegates could also bring the ‘Possibler’ characters to life by creating their own versions.
drp exceeded their target of attendees, in terms of social, they ran and delivered the most successful and far reaching campaign. They reached a total of 112,687 accounts and hit 265,883 impressions across channels. Alongside this viewership figures reached 991,144 individuals, but conservatively drp only take 25% of this figure which is 247,786 individuals. The anniversary campaign and event proved to be extremely successful with a robust ROI, increased engagement, introducing clients to new areas of the business, from the history to the future of the business.
Experiential events don’t have to include the latest gadget, VR headset or AR iPad, all that’s needed are strong aims, marketing objectives, and creative ideas. Jaguar Land Rover simply required their own products a green screen, cameras, editors, and social media. JCB needed production, fireworks, and their own products. drp utilised their departmental teams across all areas of the business, including design, print, video, and event production. Event tech is incredible, however, it’s not the only resort, there are plenty of ways to be experiential and market a brand without it.
Written by Richard Twamley, Creative Director at drp
(Winner: C&IT Awards Agency of the Year 2014)