Are events getting more serious, more of a mix of education and conversation than hospitality and entertainment?
It is true many events used to be “theatre and entertainment” but have now become much more strategic and based on a better understanding of the audiences, their needs, their tastes. So a concept of “educational inspiration” is very valid now. This leads to more meaningful events.
Is content becoming more important in event strategies?
Absolutely, every experience needs to be considered as a content opportunity. And many events are a mix of content generation and experience; take the Oscars for instance: is it a live event or is it a TV show?? Technology is democratised and everyone can broadcast now so making events they want to broadcast is a huge opportunity. You don’t understand audiences if you just take content and stream it, rather that adapt it… Events are increasingly designed for the content generation opportunities they bring.
How about AI, how real is it, and will it be?
This is coming; it is still more something we are preparing for, not integrated yet into the experience but it is a very exciting opportunity; despite challenges with privacy. AI will enable us to personalise extremely the contacts and the experiences.
Big data and measurement (and biometrics?)
Measurement is a critical component of any marketing activity. It starts with understanding well what you are trying to do. The opportunities are increasing in that field thanks to technology, you can measure the experience and its impact. What is exciting is how we will use data to measure emotions. Biometrics gives us this opportunity. The challenge is that most biometrics still represent a disruption, an interruption in the experience.. Measuring presence on social media, NPS, reach, impact on sales is not intrusive, but biometrics is. We are exploring and testing biometrics, we have stuff on our labs.
You have a lab??? What do you research?
Our lab is focused on innovation and integration of technology into experiences. Three core functions: inspire our clients and our teams to integrate technology, it has a near term objective to integrate existing technology, but the focus is mostly to look three years ahead: where consumers are going to be, what they will expect, with what technology. Understanding people is critical to define brand experiences. We hav to know what makes people tick. The integration of technology cannot be successful if you don’t understand people. We develop a scientific view on experiential coding.
How is the agency market evolving?
We are experiencing a huge disruption. There are many more players offering experiential. More and more clients also come from the agency side, which brings more transparency in the relationship. But there are many more people involved, and I am not sure this is very good for quality. On another note, while measurement is still something we can improve as an industry, the value of events has never been greater.
How are the talents you recruit changing?
We increasingly embrace talent from technology, psychology, marketing, and making sure this comes together. We are passionate about diversity of thought, which is essential to be creative in our work.
In this blurred world, what role will have experiential marketing agencies tomorrow?
At the heart of an agency are people and interaction. The opportunity is to integrate experiences in meaningful campaigns. Events even become the basis of many campaigns, as they materialise the experience brands offer. In terms of agencies, the opportunity for the clients to ask various types of agencies for ideas is there. The best idea wins, whether it comes from an advertising or event agency. But it is a good change; it is an opportunity for our industry to bring more value.