In the last couple years, there has been a shift in the way companies are engaging with consumers; the relationship between a consumer and a brand is no longer as transactional as it once was. You’ve seen advertisements focused on themes of ‘feel good’ and ‘heart warming’ in an effort to connect with consumers on an emotional level; the emotional connection between a brand and consumer is more important than ever. That’s why car commercials have gone from showcasing car features to images of family road trips, and a gum commercial walks you through the journey of a young couple and only mentions its product till the last few seconds.
Companies acknowledge that consumers have shifted from spending money on ‘stuff’ to spending it on experiences. By providing consumers with engaging experiences in which they can actively participate and interact with the brand in some capacity, it increases the attendees' likelihood to become more emotionally invested in that brand and the product or service it provides. This helps to increase important attributes of that relationship like brand awareness and loyalty.
We can see the same trend in our offsite meetings. This makes sense as new event marketing platforms and other technological innovations, like social media and digital communities, create a much more comprehensive experience surrounding an event. Rather than engaging attendees primarily at the event itself, these new technologies provide several additional opportunities to interact before, during and after an event.
Don’t waste your money on the stuff! Building on this idea of emotional connection and interacting with a brand, research has disproven a long thought theory; that people would rather spend money on physical objects that will last longer and thus make us happier for a longer time than a onetime experience like a concert or vacation. As a result, brands are starting to put more money towards experiences rather than the stuff that will clutter an attendee's desk or closet.