As we venture into our third month of socially distanced living, many are questioning what our working world might look like upon our return? This is especially prevalent for those working in the experiential marketing and events industry, whose methods have traditionally relied on close physical interaction between ambassadors and the public.
COVID-19 has upended almost every industry and the concept of ‘normal’ now seems a million miles away. So, how will our professional landscape repair itself in the wake of this pandemic? Obviously, no one has the answers written in stone, but recent months have given us some invaluable insight on what we could expect for the future of experiential marketing and the sampling sector.
Our industry hosts an abundance of bespoke events that drive innovation and immersion, but almost every campaign relies on large groups of people attending the same location at the same time – a reality that cannot continue.
Moving forward, we expect that agencies and marketing teams will turn to regulated systems and procedures that actively account for attendees. This could range from monitoring who will attend prior to the event itself, restricting the time frame in which they can engage with the campaign and implementing bespoke cancellation procedures that can be readily enforced should the event run into any complications.
Whilst the industry has become accustomed to tactile methodology, the post-pandemic world is set for change. We expect to see experiential events and sampling campaigns take a more distanced approach, inviting attendees to look more often than touch. Of course, this begs the question, how can we increase consumer engagement with products on a strictly visual basis when we know the benefits of interaction.
Well, as an industry that is renowned for its creativity and forward-thinking, it’s time we head back to the drawing board. How can we create astounding demonstrations that captivate an audience? Will technology play a wider role? What will consumers desire in our post-pandemic world? How will we give it to them?
Together, we must search for the answers – addressing both consumer expectations and considering their current concerns. It’s a balancing act, to say the least.
Emphasis on sanitation procedures
To viably emerge from this crisis, brands and agencies must adopt a new mindset that priorities safety above all else.
For instance, if a brand wants to distribute freebies within their campaign, it’s imperative that there are strict sanitary procedures enforced and followed by all ambassadors. As we’re already too aware, hygiene and physical well-being is a present concern for everyone, so our marketing efforts must be mindful and ensure that consumers feel comfortable when engaging.
Alternate working methods
Working from home has very much become the new normal and it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to return to our five-day office weeks. So how our staffing teams function following our lockdown remains unclear.
With 83% of professionals wanting to work from home for at least a proportion of the week, it’s highly unlikely that we will ever return to our ‘normal’. What we can do, however, is accommodate flexible working patterns to suit individual needs using the insight gained from recent weeks.
Yet, a huge proportion of our staffing teams will not be able to work remotely as we move beyond this period. Our campaigns rely on physical staffing teams that represent brand ideals and engage with their consumer audience. However, our working methods must adapt to ensure that their safety, as well as the consumers, is preserved throughout any activations.
Measures such as providing protective equipment, enforcing distancing measures and allocating staggered shift times will help to do so. All in all, we must become more flexible.
Navigating this new world will undoubtedly pose a challenge for brands and agencies across the world. However, it also presents us with a unique opportunity to trial new methods, further engage with our consumer audiences and build more resilient teams. So, no matter the viewpoint you take, one thing is clear, we’ve got work to do!
About LIVE agency:
LIVE are an independent agency bursting with experiential product sampling passion; The team at LIVE are experiential sampling experts, bringing ideas to life. At the core of everything they do is a passion to generate instant connections between brands and audiences. Over the last 10 years, LIVE have come to understand that innovation and constant advancement is what drives the entire retail industry and, as such, they are continually searching for ways to better the product sampling sector. The team strives to create bespoke, immersive and unforgettable experiences that follow consumers from the sampling campaign straight through to their later purchase. Whether an experiential campaign, sampling, product roadshows, guerrilla marketing, sponsorship activation, support leafleting all with bespoke ROI measurement.