Any live experience that didn’t don a brand partnership pre-covid was a missed opportunity. Back then, live experiences and brand partnerships came hand in hand, and brands rejoiced in the ability to reach new audiences, rake in the revenue and rally full steam ahead on product launches in new and creative ways.
In March 2020, festivals, markets, outdoor cinemas, and sporting days came to a halt, and, in the 18 months that followed, any event that ordinarily entertained an insurmountable aggregate of people, suffered the consequences.
DMG events, a brand that runs B2B conferences in the energy, construction, hospitality, and leisure sectors, were hit hard with the group reporting pre-tax profits down 60% to £52.4m for the year in September 2020, and, from a B2C perspective, Press Gazette quoted £1bn loss of events revenue in the first half of 2020 alone... an unfathomable loss to a growing industry.
The bounce back
Ideating new ways to excite consumers during covid was a tough task. In 2020, the world of in-person came to a halt, but brands got creative to fit the new mould of the virtual world.
Take iHeart Radio Festival for example, the event was held virtually in Los Angeles and Nashville, with a line-up of big names including BTS, Coldplay and Miley Cyrus. In the move from physical to virtual, the festival repositioned itself as a chance for fans to virtually connect one-on-one with their favourite artists. The success of these once physical events lay in the evolution of the live experience, which ultimately brought joy to a nation locked indoors.
Fast forward to summer 2021, customers could finally dip their toes in the water: festivals returned, Cinemas reopened, Sports games were back, and this year, it really feels like we can triple summersault ourselves back into the live experience scene full force.
Regaining this access to festivals and immersive in-person experiences, or watching clips of people reunite to have fun en masse, was akin to waking up on Christmas morning with the present you’ve been waiting for all year (or in some cases, 2 years...)
Coming out of covid
2022 is arguably the most important year yet for experiential marketing. Whilst the basis for the partnership, a product or proposition sold to an untapped audience through brand affinity, remains unchanged, clients have started setting aside ‘special’ budget for product launches or activations in a way that’s never been done before.
I mentioned Christmas earlier, and brands are still unwrapping a back log of new products that were launched during covid and can now have their time in the spotlight at a live experience. Although product launches were still possible virtually, the live experience factor was lacking. For example, the launch of Tenzing‘s new energy drink flavour (blackberry and açai) could’ve been a tasty crowd pleaser at a festival or sporting event - everyone loves a freebie. But alas, it didn’t have the physical activation it deserved meaning customers had to buy-to-try...
Live experiences upcoming in 2022, the brands reaching new heights
The brands going that extra mile in 2022, investing in their product, messaging and consumer experiences will come out on top. With social agendas such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and post covid safety now taking centre stage for consumers, brands need to shift the way in which they present their brand, their line of products and shape their experience.
A brand's purpose is more important now than ever before because post pandemic consumers care who they invest their money into, not what. And with customers giving greater value to their time (having lost 2 years to the pandemic), brands must ensure that they’re reaching audiences that are going to care about their product, with the right partnerships.
Here are some brands that care about the full brand experience and are setting the standard for live experience partnerships this year.
1. Sony Music x Raymond Gubbay
Combining beautiful melodic tunes with a light show in the MUSIC LIGHTS LAZERS FIREWORKS show. It’s an immersive experience, combining two different mediums of art. One not to miss.
Taking place: 23 April to 25 September 2022.
Crich Tramway Museum will host the new Signals Festival, a one-day event, taking place in Derbyshire. Signals Festival is billed as a family-friendly festival and is set to celebrate “music of the future in a world of the past”. Taking something historic and adding a twist of modern, we love to see it.
Taking place: 11 June 2022
Really leaning in to the “less money, more purpose” aspect of brand partnerships. Sponsored by McDonald’s, Flackstock will take place on the grounds of Englefield, celebrating the life of the late TV presenter, Caroline Flack. Money raised from Flackstock will be split equally between the charities Choose Love, Mind, Samaritans and Charlie Waller Trust. A cause and experience we can certainly all get behind.
Taking place: 25 July 2022
4. Luna Cinema x Ascot Racecourse
Ascot has been the country’s most iconic racecourse, with Her Majesty herself attending the Royal Ascot, now the setting for a unique open-air cinema experiences this summer. Truly immersive and an experience you shouldn’t miss.
Taking place: 14-17 July 2022
Now this one, is more for event’s organizers. This epic brand has launched TRACE, its mission is to support the events industry transition to Net Zero by empowering event managers with knowledge and data to make better decisions, “Developed to give insight into the environmental impact of event operations, TRACE captures and reports emission and waste data from live, hybrid and digital events.
The TRACE platform is designed for event agencies, exhibition organizers, brands and in-house teams.” Isla and its product, TRACE, will change the way of events moving forward, fitting into to the category of shedding light on sustainability. BRILLIANT.
2022 is all about knowing your audience and driving your brand forward
The brand partnerships that will be remembered in 2022 care about purpose, audience and the right partnership. For the brands that get it right, live experiences will become increasingly epic, and consumers and brand marketers alike, have an exciting summer ahead. We can’t wait to see what’s to come.
For all brand partnership enquiries and information, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch.
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