IN MY VIEW: Think laterally about a new landscape for live events

You may have read in one of this magazine's sister publications, a short article by Nigel Bogle recommending what action a certain well-respected advertising agency should take during difficult times. His recipe for success could be distilled down to two words - branded content. For this sage of the advertising industry, the future lies not with brands communicating to their customers in neatly ordered and paid-for slots, but more by permeating information and experiences we like to consume.

This thinking can be applied to many media channels, including events and live communication. Walking in to an exhibition is the glorified equivalent of watching a three-minute ad break. On the other hand, getting on down in a vodka-branded club or visiting a whisky distillery while on holiday is what branded content is all about. The brand brings you an experience you value, not just communication about the brand.

Admittedly, it is not feasible to take this approach to all live communication.

There will always be the need to explain about the product or service, but once a relationship is established what better way to strengthen it?

To make this work, we need to think laterally about what constitutes the live medium. Instead of exhibitions, roadshows and retail outlets, we could be thinking about media as diverse as theme parks, trains, museums ... you name it.

Establishing a new medium is no easy task - ask the dotbombers. It takes experimentation, open-mindedness, creativity and not a little luck. But one thing is for certain, we can't stand still. We're on the brink of a revolution in marketing communications, largely brought about by new technologies. If the live medium is to continue to play a relevant role, then it too must consider where it fits in the new landscape.

Before signing off, I want to make a plea. All that hugely creative work you did last year need not be forgotten forever. It's time for you to enter the Event awards again. As a judge for the past two years, I know that some of the industry's best work doesn't make it as far as the competition.

So this year, let's up the ante and make the judges' job even more interesting.


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