Authors: Mishaal Abbasi, Colleen Trentham & Dylan Foster
It is inevitable that 2025 will be driven by the experience economy – a world where brands profit from the feeling they evoke and the benefits they offer to customers. As businesses build value-based relationships, active audience engagement will be essential for success. Experiential marketing will be a fundamental channel for delivering on consumer’s expectations, shaped by the following trends:
1. Inclusive and Accessible Design
While we’re making progress towards diversity across sectors, inclusion will be a national standard by 2025. Examining the range of life experience will be critical when planning events – going beyond race and gender to consider geography, culture, and disabilities will be vital to an activation’s success. From thinking about how students across town arrive at an event to how someone with physical disabilities maneuvers on-site registration, brands must embrace the nuances of consumer's lives to deliver meaningful value. Taking the time to understand and explore these differences will help with crafting more thoughtful, purposeful consumer journeys. Want to start planning ahead and need creative inspiration? We love this school bus window installation, which increases interaction among hearing-impaired children on their way to school:
2. Creating for Content Creators
Consumer technology has become increasingly powerful (and digital). The accessibility of cinema-quality camera phones, easy-to-use A/V tools, and the expansion of platforms to share their work has given people the power of a studio in their pockets. Consumers are using this power to express themselves in ways that serve as a digital extension of themselves – this is an obvious opportunity for brands. As a result, brands will need to plan and curate experiences with built-in opportunities for audiences to create their own content. Enabling people to capture and share great content within their personal communities will help brands extend their reach beyond activation day without sacrificing quality.
This will continue to be important as consumers hold the power to shape who and what a brand is through their experiences and the stories they share (both online and off). Just how much influence do they have? 72% of consumers say content shared by friends, from or about branded experiences, influences their likelihood to purchase a brand's product. In the age of social media everyone’s an influencer. Brands must plan and create around this reality to truly embrace it at their events.
3. The Art of the Soft Sell
Retail spaces are being transformed into experience hubs as younger generations invite brands to play a bigger role in their lives. Gone are the days of simple brand transactions. Instead, consumers expect value without price. We see this taking form through educational events, free services, and even the occasional nap pod. By 2025, we anticipate this as the norm for brands, as they use experiential marketing to deepen customer relationships. Why? Because it works. 74% of event attendees have more positive opinions about the brand, product or service being promoted. Even further, 65% make an on-site purchase and 70% of event participants that purchase once become a regular customer.
Brands looking to build meaningful connections with their consumers will reap the benefits of thoughtfully curated experiences. Whether they’ll implement these three ideas? Only time will tell, but we can’t wait to see how these trends play out in the experiential marketing universe.