Seven brand experience trends for 2022

Seven brand experience trends for 2022

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1.Sustainable stories

Sustainability is the pressing issue of our time. As the proportion of consumers seeking to reduce their impact on the planet increases, so do the most progressive brands who will lead that drive, reflecting the transformation of businesses to become sustainable and net positive.  For many sectors, the shift from product to service models 

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1.Sustainable stories

will make brand experience a crucial tool in holding onto existing customers and winning over new ones.  This could be by simply being more transparent about the company’s sustainability initiatives or by creating experiences and services that enable customers to be part of making a positive impact, in partnership with brands.

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2. Paid-for brand experiences

We’re seeing an interesting coalescence of two effects of the pandemic: after so much time lived virtually, people are seeking more ‘IRL’ experiences and craving unique leisure experiences that have shareability and kudos.  Alongside this, the hollowing out of the high street by lockdown and the shift to online and delivery means that there 

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2. Paid-for brand experiences

is excess real estate in a central location. Together, these offer opportunities for brands to make a play in the leisure/entertainment market – offering unique experiences that bring together leisure activities with the offer of recognised brands. By charging an entry fee, brands can offset some costs, attract a more targeted audience and achieve outsize brand effects.

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3. Gaming and the metaverse

If the metaverse is an entire experience ecosystem, then gaming is the broader, more accessible version that people have been engaging with for some time.  Captive, immersed and loyal audiences mean gaming experiences will continue to be cherished and explored by brands. Facebook’s announcement that it was 

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3. Gaming and the metaverse

renaming as Meta was the latest step in tech’s move towards making the metaverse a reality.  The trend will be for much more of the metaverse and we can expect to see more brands experimenting and playing with it as it becomes more mainstream. While it’s still early days, we’re seeing more and more brands experimenting 

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3. Gaming and the metaverse

with ways to use the metaverse to meet their marketing goals – the conventions are still being defined, it’s a great time to explore the possibilities.

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4. High street retail as brand homes

Brand homes are the older, richer sibling of ticketed experiences.  The value they can bring to brands is considerable – in our research, we found that 67% of people felt more positive about a brand after a visit to a brand home and 49% bought the product more regularly after their visit. But as COVID-19 has ravaged high street brands, a 

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4. High street retail as brand homes

shift in attitude toward store space has started to emerge – and with it, we see the rise of brand home retail as flagship retail spaces meld commerce, communication and brand home strategy.  Flagship retail delivers a closer customer relationship for brands often distanced by third party retail channels – something M&Ms recognised 

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4. High street retail as brand homes

some time ago with the world’s largest candy store in London, M&M World.

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5. Micro-targeting

Events and experiences costs have been under the spotlight as physical options were curtailed.  The knock-on effect is that there has been an increased focus on ensuring the right people are present, especially for brands targeting higher price points or trying to influence specific audiences – such as higher net worth 

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5. Micro-targeting

individuals or B2B audiences. The trend for micro-targeting leads directly into our next two trends, as it forms a virtuous circle with data capture and B2B thinking.  Increasing focus on higher-value attendees will see experiences working much harder for brands in terms of audience quality rather than quantity.

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5. Micro-targeting

We saw this with Rolls-Royce being highly selective on slots for its luxury curated events for the new Ghost.  Micro-targeting requires good data to market to the right people and convert; with poor data, a brand will struggle to get the right quality of attendees. COVID-19 has focused minds on getting the right invite list – and this 

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5. Micro-targeting

requires collaboration and integration between CRM, data and events teams.

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6. Data capture

So, while having good data is essential for micro-targeted experiences, in turn, experiences will increasingly be used as vehicles to capture data.  This imperative grows as new rules on cookies means brands can’t easily track people’s online journeys. As a result, brands are going back to basics and looking for first-party data acquisition.

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6. Data capture

Because of the value exchange of a brand experience, they are natural sources of gathering data.  Attendees are in-person, engaging in a brand conversation, there’s a degree of trust – it’s the ultimate automatic opt-in. People don’t visit experiences unless they are willing to engage with the brand. The conundrum is when 

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6. Data capture

to ask for the data. Brands must consider what touchpoints they will use and whether they need to integrate their web solutions or create a bespoke data capture mechanism.

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7. B2B experiences

The COVID-induced demise of B2B events has been overstated – but they will require more careful consideration of their core proposition to thrive, and brands will be reassessing their value with a critical eye.  They are ultimately about great content, networking opportunities and, ideally, located in an attractive 

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7. B2B experiences

destination to tip over the desire to attend in a pandemic era.  Does the experience stack up as a proposition that can convince CFOs of attendees’ companies that it’s worth them coming? For example, Web Summit returned to IRL in November and welcomed 45K attendees – this was down from its peak of 60K but given 

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7. B2B experiences

that business travel had dropped by more than 60%, the attendance it achieved vindicates its strategy.

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