The world of entertainment is all about creating an experience that people will enjoy. That translates to the business world as well and experiential marketing has become one of the hottest areas in marketing.
In this week’s Big Interview on Entertainment for Business we sat down with Paddy Davis, Managing Director of Because in Ireland, one of the world’s biggest experiential companies.
Because is a major global network with offices in New York, London, Singapore, Dubai and Australia, what is it about Dublin that attracted interest?
Paddy Davis: We are independent agencies that are globally connected and the results can really deliver. Obviously, there are a lot of cultural similarities between what we do here and what happens in London but with offices around the world, we also benefit from learning about there are different ways of thinking and delivering for clients.
Ireland is in a good place when it comes to creative ways of using innovative technology to create new experiences.
Part of that is, without doubt, the access to and engagement we have with the major technology companies here.
Our colleagues around the world are often surprised by the ease with which we can discuss new tech with the biggest global players like Google and Facebook. The payback is that those companies are keen to find out how people will use their technology in a real-world setting. It works for both sides.
How has it been for you coming on board with the network?
We have been part of Because for a little over two years now. In the beginning, there were challenges, adapting to new ways of working but that quickly passed and now what we gain from being part of something bigger makes us much stronger.
For example, there is leverage to be gained from the work we do in other markets with a brand like Dyson and how they activate around the world.
Sharing ideas and often content that has been created for another market and adapted for our market without having to start from scratch makes it a faster and better experience for the client, and for their customers.
How have Irish companies and consumers taken to some of the new elements in experiential?
In many ways experiential marketing has always been around, it’s the adoption of technology that has really made a difference to the three classic stages of engagement, experience and amplification.
How we consume content has changed materially with the advent of smartphones and streaming.
It’s much less about the big advertising now and more about personalisation and messaging to an individual.
The engagement phase of getting people to think about a brand and how they might engage with it in a way that feels like a two-way deal has become very personal.
We work with influencers and use social and digital content to engage with people in a very individual way. It used to be that you would either see the billboard or hear the ad through a very fixed channel. Now it can come at you through multiple forms and that makes the relationship you have with a product quite different.
Building an experience for a client like Renault who we are now working with on their activation around the GAA is only part of the work we do. Experiential is all about getting people to the experience, encouraging them to enjoy what they find and then amplifying that experience through sharing and becoming influencers themselves.
Do you work as part of wider agency teams?
That very much depends on the client. There are times when we are part of a broad agency roster and others when we are in complete control alongside the client with how the messaging and the experience is delivered.
We have access to some great expertise around the globe now, particularly in the world of virtual and augmented reality where we have a tech team based in London and available to us.
That’s a big benefit to be able to tap into real global strength and creativity.
It helps give us an edge in an area that is rapidly growing and which can be delivered in ways that are far less budget busting that many imagine.
Looking at the ways in which this can be adopted will be part of the Experiential Masterclass we are running in Dublin on March 7th.
Entertainment for Business is a partner with you on that and readers can see details and register at the link below. What else will it cover?
We showcase some of the most exciting and effective brand experiences from around the world and give you the chance to try out the latest cutting-edge VR technology.
There are some great brands coming along to the March event and it promises to open the door on what can be achieved with a bit of imagination.
How much of experiential is delivered through creating your own events?
That very much depends on the client and the relationship they have with their customer. Putting the brand into the hand is ultimately what we want to achieve but that is different doing a sampling exercise with Heineken 0.0 as it would be encouraging people to try out a new range from 53 Degrees North.
Last year we created a new festival for them, an adventure experience in Blessington which allowed them to engage with their existing and potential customers in a way that would not be possible in store or online.
We had them hiking, mountain running, kayaking and experiencing adventure through the eyes and the gear of 53 Degrees North and Columbia who we partnered with.
Is there a number that matters when it comes to the sharing of an experience that makes it most effective?
There is no single multiplier that can be applied. The very best of experiences can go viral and deliver more of a brand exposure than you could ever imagine.
For other campaigns, the face to face element is much more important. If you want somebody to feel or taste a product that has to be a real-life experience and we work with the client to very specific briefs about what they want, what they need and how we can help them to achieve their end goals
What excites you personally about working in this space?
I always believe that we should feel challenged by a new brief. The world of experience, how we consume and how we adopt messages from brands is changing all the time.
Staying on top of that with our global network and bringing the knowledge back to Ireland is a great position to be in.
Last year was a big year with Heineken working on the 0.0 launch and adoption. This year there are really exciting plans being formed around their sponsorship at the Rugby World Cup and how we deliver that and make it work in what will be a busy market is very exciting.
Where will Experiential go next?
There is still so much more to be gained on the brand side but VR and AR is taking us in entirely new directions as well.
We are working with a New York based pharma company on products in the medical world and using technology to help demonstrate the impact that products are having.
Fom what brand to wear to ways of enhancing people’s physical wellbeing, it’s a broad canvas and one which is continually delivering something new.
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