How has the rise of experiential impacted the UK's creative industries?

As new figures reveal that the UK's creative industries grew by 8.9% in 2014, event professionals look at how experiential is playing its part in the sector's growth.

The creative industries are now worth £84.1bn to UK economy (@DCMS)
The creative industries are now worth £84.1bn to UK economy (@DCMS)

Figures published by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) on Tuesday (26 January) highlight that the growth equates to almost double that of the UK economy as a whole.

Additionally, the UK’s creative industries are said to be worth £84.1bn to the economy, and generate nearly £9.6m per hour.

The government has stated that it plans to continue to implement measures to support creative industries, by awarding tax reliefs and investment, as well as safeguarding music and cultural education programmes.

A creative option

Nicky Havelaar, managing director at Crown, explains events and experiential offer an alternative to other forms of media. "The consumer is bombarded with an unprecedented amount of information through a multitude of channels, thus it is imperative to cut through the noise with original and authentic methods to grab their attention," she says.

"Events and experiential provide a creative, yet relevant platform to engage consumers and it’s a key reason why the creative industry is thriving as the focus is on the consumer."

Leading in the field

Kim Myhre, senior vice president and managing director at FreemanXP, is well aware that the UK’s creative industries are thriving, which in fact prompted the company to open an office in London. 

"The findings of this report confirm FreemanXP’s view that the UK is a leading market for creative services, innovation and talent, offering tremendous opportunities for breakthrough brand experiences across the live, social and digital environment.

"This is one of the reasons that Freeman decided to invest in the UK market over the last couple of years with the launch of Freeman exhibition services in 2013 and the launch of the FreemanXP agency in 2014," he explains.

Myhre adds that the company highly values the talent of its UK team, who fulfill events, advertising, design and PR roles. "The quality and wide range of creative talent in the UK has been enormously valuable to FreemanXP as it creates and delivers exceptional brand experiences for our clients in the UK, whilst also being an important inspiration to our work around the world," he says.

Live experiences are in demand 

Rob Sharp, managing director at Pulse Group, believes that the role of events and experiential within the creative industry has expanded. "Brand communications through live experience have grown to be a significant part of the marketing mix. The landscape has changed to our advantage, and despite big spends in above the line continuing to make up a big majority, events and experiential have seen significant growth within the creative industry," he says.

"Today we live in a three dimensional world yet the marketing focus has historically been on two dimensional forms of communication through various screen technologies. As the balance has swung towards more ‘head down experiences’, so does the desire to experience more."

Sharp explains it is this change in consumer behaviour that is prompting marketers to deliver live experiences. "Marketers are investing in intelligent brand and customer experiences, appreciating that every interaction with a consumer, be it in B2C or B2B terms, should be valued as a live experience. Central to every communication strategy is a live interaction with a consumer and working with specialist agencies is central to their success.

"Experiences build trust, belief and appreciation of brand values and product truths through authentic brand experiences. We believe a brand has never truly defined itself unless it has people coming into it, feeling it and experiencing it. Three dimensional real world experiences add colour, depth and resolution to otherwise distant and contrived brands," he adds. 

More: Bellwether industry reaction: Sporting events and social to drive spend in 2016

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