Engagement: Human After All
By Olly Adams | Insights & Strategy
Olly is a true hybrid. He’s an eccentric creative, nestled in a suit’s body. With 10+ years in brand experience/experiential/creative industries, his specialties span concept development, ideation, strategy, and writing.
Can you explain why you like certain melodies? Anything that’s any good, is enjoyed because it taps into the unrecognised heart of human nature. When someone’s made to feel something. Think about that for a second.
Films. Whether it’s the epic, big screen action of Avengers or the delicate, romantic dance of Amélie – films move people because they resonate with the subconscious, often in seemingly mysterious ways you don’t always recognise.
Music. Those goosebump moments. Arms-raised and eyes closed. Your first gig, rave or concert. It could be the patriotic feels of BBC Proms or the ‘I was there’ closing sets of Glasto; both see equal outpourings of human emotions on full display.
So, good things are human things. Unconsciously triggered feelings: the currency of engagement.
Human-centric communication has always been a cornerstone of our creative and strategic approach. So what channels, technologies, and initiatives can we integrate into our overall campaigns to help enhance the experience and muster up all those human feels? We’ve done some of the hard work for you and have come up with 5 best in class examples of how you can keep your fellow humans engaged.
Flip flop and you don’t stop
In our world, we’re always trying to talk to the person, not at them, in order to evoke real feelings. A live event is the perfect opportunity to create genuine feelings that last, and is probably why the brand experience sector had so much wind in its sails before 2020 had other ideas.
This year has seen our industry flip and flop into a digital first existence.
Screen-time and streaming is up, everyone’s doing a webinar and my Gran is using Zoom (which is not a party drug).
There’s been a whole lot of change across the globe. But one thing hasn’t changed: We’re still human. We love, we laugh, we cry, and we crave interaction. It’s more important than ever to keep this at the heart of communication strategies.
Keep it real, keep it human
Brands around the world have been showing how they’re keeping it human; from Hyundai offering to cover car payments for 6 months, to Brewdog and other alcoholic brands redirecting alcohol into hand sanitiser for local and national health services. Countless big businesses are donating money, media space and more in an effort to help. One scroll through your newsfeed of choice and you’ll see even more inspiring stories of local businesses doing what they can.
While businesses become more human, so does their content. Very real humans are now appearing in very real advertising as brands get creative with EGC or employee generated content. There’s a lot of heartwarming and noble stuff out there right now. In fact, there’s a lot of stuff out there in general. So this means, it’s important to recognise the state of the information-saturated human. You have to keep it real. Authenticity is key.
We’re not in it together
Whether you’re running a brand campaign or giving a global company update, remember that there’s a human with the same emotional triggers as you about to receive your communication. Whilst the worldwide message seems to be “we’re in it together” – actually, we’re not. We’re all in completely different situations and in different phases of change. It’s our job to listen to our audiences as they evolve.
Listen first, act later
Human-centric communication has always been a cornerstone of our creative and strategic approach. So what channels, technologies, and initiatives can we integrate into our overall campaigns to help enhance the experience and muster up all those human feels? We’ve done some of the hard work for you and have come up with these 5 best in class examples of how you can keep your fellow humans engaged.
Our top 5 methods of engagement
1. Create a viral challenge to foster those togetherness feels
Unite a remote audience by setting a fun challenge like The Julliard School did during lockdown recently. Check it out here. Apart from just being a beautiful display of human creativity, connectivity, and adaptability – this type of thing, whether face to face or remotely, can do wonders for social, website traffic, employee engagement and more.
2. Deliver a care package to ignite those ‘somebody loves me’ feels
Let your audiences know that you’re thinking about them by sending out something real in the post. Hampers are lovely but take the opportunity to up your game like Earl of East did here with their Scents of Normality candles. Who wouldn’t want their bedroom to smell like a festival?! Simple, funny and nostalgic.
3. Going live to drive those FOMO feels
Long before Covid-19, even before Wayne’s World, people have been broadcasting live – and although today it seems like common practice, live streaming relies on a number of factors to get it right; from the tech to the topics of discussion. In Amsterdam at RE-Source, we helped Facebook amplify important sustainability messages by creating and facilitating a fully sustainable Facebook Live lounge. See more on this project here.
4. Get your game face on to rally up those ‘Look mum I’m really doing it’ feels
Whether you want to incentivise or raise the stakes with competitive gaming, help people feel a part of something by actively participating or give your lockdown audience a little slice of escapism, gaming has the potential to do it all. This American Football team used Animal Crossing to reveal their match schedule for the forthcoming season, Nike’s Reactland from a couple of years ago was the perfect example of a phygital experience that was played by a few but seen by millions. Our client Twitch added a bit of interactive fun to their brand guidelines homepage with a retro game (in the “Bringing it all together” section) which you should definitely all play right now!
5. Get personal to rile up those surprise and delight feels
We couldn’t leave this blog without featuring a very good dog or two. This example from Puppo shows how you can take masses of data and turn it into something very personal, fun and insanely creative. It shows that even AI bots and algorithms can be human. In our field, we have the opportunity to get to know our people, consumers and delegates, why not turn that knowledge into something they will LOVE?
We hope that these examples will help trigger some inspiration for how you can up your engagement game, with the end goal being an experience that doesn’t feel so passive to your end human.
As communication strategists, we have a responsibility to listen, understand and be led by the remarkable humans who buy our stuff, read our posts and build our companies. Oh, and who will always help get the world up and on its feet again.
More than a brand experience agency, we help companies communicate, motivate, engage and express their brand personality.
Brand Experience Agency | London | Dublin | NYC | Digital Events | F2F Experiences | Hybrid
+44 (0)203 960 2000