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What Does the Latest Bellwether Report Tell Us About Brand Experience?

What Does the Latest Bellwether Report Tell Us About Brand Experience?

UK industry report highlights growth of events

WRITTEN BY JORDAN WAID, NIRU DESAI, AND BREA CARTER

The findings of the latest UK-based Bellwether report, released on 14 July, highlight the power of brand experience, with event marketing budgets recording an increase of +13.4% during the second quarter of 2016, the highest increase of all marketing sectors.

Internet (+10.9%) and main media advertising (+9.3%) rounded out the top three respectively, meanwhile direct marketing (-4.3%), sales promotions (-0.5%), and market research (-0.5%) saw a decline in marketing spend.

The quarterly report, which is released by the Institute for Promotional Marketing (IPA) and compiled by Markit, analyses marketing budgets across the UK.

Jordan Waid, Vice President, Brand Experience and Niru Desai, Vice President, Strategy at FreemanXP in EMEA consider what the key findings of the report tell us about the current state of brand experience. 

What’s Driving Growth?    

Waid believes the unique nature of live events coupled with changing consumer attitudes is driving marketers’ preference for brand experiences over other types of marketing.

Live experiences enable brands to communicate with people in a really personal way, so that they become advocates for the brand. It creates peer-to-peer communication, which is ultimately what you want,” he explains.

“There has been a shift for brands, where they no longer broadcast messages to consumers, they create experiences that can be shared so that people actually broadcast these messages for them.”

He adds: “Live experiences create brand authenticity and connect with consumers in a way that can’t be achieved by watching a television commercial, hearing a radio advertisement or seeing something in print.” 

Desai agrees, and explains that the more screen intense we become, the more we crave face-to-face interactions.

“Event marketing has become a priority for a brand to invest in, in order to establish, cement, and nurture a valuable connection with its target audience,” she says.

Incorporating Complementary Modes of Marketing into Live

Desai recognises that events are just one, albeit important, piece or a larger marketing puzzle which explains why the Internet and main media advertising similarly experienced positive budget growth.

“Events are a key platform, yet part of a larger brand journey that audiences go through. To maximise the event investment as well as the audience experience, it is important that event planners think about the pre and post engagement elements.” 

“The Internet and advertising media provide opportunities to instigate and continue the conversation generated at events. These additional channels allow for brand experiences that are restricted to those onsite to be virtually shared beyond the walls of the event,” she explains. 

Given that both the Internet and main media advertising experienced substantial growth over the period, Waid notes that it’s important to look at how brand experiences can incorporate the two, to further enhance the attendee experience.

Waid says: “We always talk about the intersection of online and live – it’s a trend we at FreemanXP track called ‘on live’."

“It basically describes that seamless connection between live experiences and the digital world. Today the relationship between the two should be symbiotic.”

The Future of Traditional Marketing Tactics  

Both Waid and Desai believe that it’s increased consumers’ desire for personalised and content that has perhaps contributed to the decline in spend across direct marketing, sales promotion, and marketing research.

“It does not reflect that brands are moving away from these methods of marketing, but that the spend is more targeted as marketers move away from a mass coverage approach,” says Desai.

“We as users are constantly feeding our surroundings with key data points that outline our desires, dislikes, and frequency of actions. Brand marketers are getting smarter, and they are applying these user profiles to generate more personalised and targeted direct marketing tactics and sales initiatives, and consequently more deep dive market research.”

Waid explains that it’s increased consumers’ desire for personalised content that has perhaps contributed to the decline in spend across direct marketing, sales promotion and marketing research.

“Direct marketing, sales promotion, and market research rely more on big data and are consequently less personal.” 

“We are seeing a shift towards small data-driven methods of communication, which can be more relevant and personalised. For this type of marketing to be truly effective, it needs to be disruptive to cut through the everyday noise of our lives,” he says. 

GRAPH SOURCE: BELLWETHER REPORT
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