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Experiential is dead...


...long live experience. It is time to drop the idea of generic campaigns and instead tailor creative, personal experiences that will engage, enthuse and inspire your brand's target audiences

We look to the lyrical wisdom of martial artist, philosopher and film-maker Bruce Lee and rapper/entrepreneur Jay-Z to nudge us through our thoughts on the future of our industry.

Before we begin, though, we would like to retire the non-word ‘experiential’, along with those limping old-timers ‘ambient media’ and ‘PR stunt’. Too vague for us. Too vague for our clients. Can we ditch the terrible BTL/TTL/ATL trio, too? So early 90s.

We honestly believe the future of all brand marketing will be experience-led, and this is why.

‘Be formless… be water, my friend.’ (Bruce Lee)

What set Bruce Lee apart from his contemporaries in the early 70s was an under­standing of the human dynamics of change. Most traditional martial artists of the time taught a style of fighting that was set in stone – fixed moves.
In such an unpredictable commercial environment, agility and reactivity are the skills that will define the agencies of the future. The ability to adjust and put thoughts into action at speed will be key.
There are no set outcomes. The output could be digital, content, mobile, event-based or beyond, but at the heart there needs to be a human, interactive experience.
‘Ain’t nothing wrong with the aim, just got to change the target.’ (Jay-Z)

Brand experiences rely on the power of the crowd. Creating experiences for distinct audiences could be the way forward. If we want to engage British Asians, the gay market, hectic families or wannabe outdoor adventurers, the experiences must be unmistakably tailored for them. Even within a target audience of  ‘concert-goers’, a customer experience designed for a Michael Bublé fan down at The O2 will most certainly not work for The Lost Prophets crowd at the O2 Academy Brixton. No more broad brush, generic activity. Let’s get personal.

‘Use only that which works and take it from any place you can find it.’ (Bruce Lee)

The gigs we rock out at, the art shows we ponder, the books we devour and the buildings we look up at are inspirational to us. Popular culture fuels the living, breathing creative process that helps us craft experiences that people can’t help but engage with. We all need to get out more. We don’t have a creative director at pd3 because an idea is judged simply on whether we would want to tell our friends about it, in person or online.

‘He who does not feel me, is not real to me, therefore he does not exist. So, poof... vamoose…’ (Jay-Z)
Jay-Z’s defection from a tradi­tional label to Live Nation shows the power of real, live experiences. You can’t download, relive or better a live experience as a way of creating shared memories. The art world, regarded as the apex of creativity and visual communication, has shifted from images and objects to a series of unique experiences and installa­tions. Remember Carsten Höller’s slides and Olafur Eliasson’s giant sun at the Tate Modern?

pd3 is a creative agency with experience at its’ heart. We do what we do because, with 10 years’ experience in experience, we know it is the surest way of creating emotional engagement.

This isn’t pseudo-psych designed to make us sound clever and sell more planning hours. Ask consumer psychologist Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, who has instilled this rigour into how we create and, more importantly, evaluate, the experiences we create for clients.

Our A-B-C experience research model defines the three major psychological components of interacting with brands. Brand experiences can evoke an affective reaction that produces a behav­ioural outcome and our insight into this experience is to enhance our cognition. This impact is measurable through control sample comparison.

Put simply, some things stick with us in life; some things sail by. But experience alters the way we see, act and react to things, people and brands. It leaves its mark.

Mo Saha (second from right), creative planning director, pd3


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