The event industry in Nigeria is currently going through a series of evolutionary milestones, and there are signs of further revolutions. This is not very simple to grasp for an everyday event planner, but it must not be ignored. The event industry is rapidly transforming itself into an experiential event marketing industry.
An everyday event planner in Nigeria produces 4-5 lavish weddings and corporate conferences in a month, whilst the experiential event marketers are successfully establishing themselves as leaders in the communication race, with distinct advantages over their counterparts.
The difference is that the experiential event planners/marketers are adopting multi-disciplinary thinking, interaction, design and leading in ideas on how to configure interaction, personal responses and experiences: all crucial elements for communication and relationship building.
So, with the help of technology and smart materials, experiential event marketers are now taking various stylistic trajectories in lending personality and engagement to brand identities. They are now able to create fully ‘conditional and experiential realities’ using a fine blend of technology and integrating various communication channels such as design, public relations, advertisement, branding and marketing.
At this very moment, the experiential event marketing industry is well placed to lead the future of media communications in Nigeria, Africa and the world.
What does an experimental events marketing agency do?
First, you need to understand the word, experiential. I would define experiential as anything you can personally interact with. This rules out anything that sits purely online, on TV or in a newspaper.
There is a universal truth that stems from the most essential belief in psychology which is that we learn from experiences. And that same principle applies to experiential event marketing. It’s important to note that a large amount of experiential marketing is done through events. The way a brand functions and the feelings it evokes within us are vital to the ultimate perception we possess of it.
Experiential event agencies create a closer bond and lasting positive impact between the consumers and the brand by immersing the consumers into a fun, playful, interactive, engaging, highly-personal and memorable BRAND event.
If a brand event stirs genuine positive emotions within the people then they are more likely to associate those emotions with that brand, which is more effective than just showing them a Facebook ad hence the word marketing thrown in the mix.
Experiential event agencies are typically laden with onsite event management and production expertise and undoubtedly has the next generation of multidisciplinary experiential strategists, technologists and conceptual thinkers able to shape the next layer of integrated communications and physical environments.
As beneficial and exciting as this scenario is for the event industry, shifting focus towards this experiential event marketing revolution will not be an easy task for the ordinary event planner, neither will it be a walk in the park for an established advertising agency or a PR and Branding agency. It will be problematic. Agencies will need to adapt and rethink traditional roles of employees, upgrade skills and realign new roles to meet the challenges of changing positions whilst constantly defending themselves to their clients.
Creating a highly knowledgeable team, agile and articulate enough to understand the ramifications of strategic and conceptual decisions is very essential.
An example of an experimental event is the Canon Gala dinner & Product Launch
Canon set another significant milestone in its overall growth strategy with the launch of its operations in Nigeria with the goal of enhancing its business in the African continent and strengthening its in-country presence and focus.
Canon teamed up with Black Purist media, an integrated communications/experiential event marketing agency to create an incredible product display experiential area right in the middle of the Oriental Hotel, Grand Ball Room.
The exhibition stand had an amazing display of delightful new products from Canon, inviting guests to experience and view them. It was very engaging especially as this was specifically targeting leading industry experts in professional imaging solutions and businesses.
For such an evolutionary industry, the rhetoric by which it chooses to define itself is curiously underdeveloped. Common words like ‘events’ or ‘experiences’ hold back the industry and do little to describe the power and purpose of its task which is pure integrated marketing/media communications, an merge of communication channels in one physical environment to create a brand experience.
Defining and sharing new terms more suited to its purpose can seem artificial. However, the event industry must attempt to keep up and match the aspirations of this new horizon. There are no blurred lines; what we have in experiential event marketing is an integrated communications.
Event agencies will have to develop a new rhetoric, a common language, so that employees, from the C-suite to the project manager, focuses solely on the final product which is using integrated communications to create brand experience in a physical environment. Just as the production manager should know the difference between passive and interactive user engagement, the account manager must be able to explain to their clients the importance of data capture. It is also important to know how to use their new level of experiential user engagement to control a deeper grade of emotional connection towards their brand, and fostering a two-way conversation between the brand and consumers.
This new evolution in brand communication is a perfect storm.
Despite its challenges, the benefits of this revolution will mean an exciting time for the event industry, as this is the next level of experiential communications.
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