In our latest blog, Luci Beaufort-Dysart, Head of Live Events & Experiential provides her perspective on the value of events to help bring joy to people and to rebuild the economy as lockdown restrictions are eased.
Bringing people together again and helping business and the economy to rebuild.
We, along with the rest of the events and experiential marketing industry were relieved and encouraged by the government’s recent announcement of a go-live date for UK events… Bring on 1 October.
While we have spent the last four months or so working on a number of immersive virtual experiences, we have also spent this time adapting, anticipating, planning… so that we are primed and ready for this day.
Ahead of the October launch we will also be getting back out on the road as early as next week (August), with some of our clients, such as Vodafone, to run some hyper-local experiential activations across key UK locations.
The last four months have been devastating for people and commerce the world over, with many grieving for the loss of loved ones, the loss of their businesses, suffering from fear surrounding health and finances, as well as struggling with isolation and the demands of working from home (while for some also parenting).
The events and experiential marketing industry has a crucial role to play to help people and business to thrive again in a forever-changed world… by bringing people together and by rebuilding business and the economy.
Bringing people together
As social creatures, we have been gathering as groups for many hundreds and thousands of years. Events – whether formal or informal – tap into our human desire to form social bonds; to connect, to collaborate, to create together.
From a scientific point of view lots of things are happening when we interact with other human beings. One of which is the release of one of the brain’s hormones, that of oxytocin, which studies have shown to be important in social behaviours including love and trust. This is released when we tell each other good stories, when we laugh and smile with each other, when we receive or do something kind for someone else.
From a mental health perspective, lockdown and our new way of living and working is hard for those of us who are social creatures, and only time will tell how severe an impact this is having on society overall. Loneliness was a concern prior to COVID-19 with people feeling more disconnected than ever before, for multiple reasons.
Our industry has an important role to play to help people connect again, in a safe, reassuring and engaging way. Of course, people will have their fears over coming together in groups, this is only natural. That said, by following all the safety and social distancing guidelines, events and experiences can play a significant role in enhancing people’s lives – bringing joy, rebuilding trust and reducing anxiety levels.
Rebuilding business and the economy
Whilst this pandemic has impacted the majority… the events industry, worth £70 billion to the UK economy, has been dramatically impacted.
The good news is that there is now greater awareness about our industry and the power and influence it has in helping brands to connect with their audiences bringing all the benefits outlined above. And as such, experience marketing will be a valuable channel to help rebuild business and the economy now that a go-live date has been given.
And in the meantime, experiential retail marketing of the kind that we do for our client Vodafone, is a safe and engaging way to get brands in front of their consumers again, bringing them valuable services on a local level to keep them connected (quite literally, through Gigafast broadband service – read our separate blog here), as well as connected to others.
Retail experience provides an opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves and to reinstill trust and loyalty with their customers, through thoughtful and authentic activations that bring joy and the added value that you just don’t get online. Online retail has benefited during COVID-19 but experience marketing, if executed in a safe and engaging way*, can help entice people back into stores.
And this should be supported by an omnichannel sales and marketing approach to ensure that at each touchpoint the customer experience is joined-up. This is where our wider agency capabilities can support Hyphen activations. From displaying point of sale to instore promotions and ensuring stock availability, the 360 customer experience needs to be considered, consistent and engaging, for brand loyalty and trust to be built again.
And the role of the brand ambassador cannot be underestimated. It has long been recognised that people buy from people – whether directly or indirectly through recommendations, endorsements and word of mouth. And well briefed, engaging brand ambassadors will have a valuable role to play to help brands build trust and forge loyal relationships with their customers again.
Look out for our next blog where we will share 5 ways that we’re creating safe and engaging* multi-sensory experiential activations for brands in this new world we now find ourselves.
The team at Hyphen are primed and ready to help you and your business to connect with your current or future customers.
Do get in touch if you’d like us to help!
Stay safe. Stay connected.