Physical asset production is often a large percentage of experiential marketing budgets but the spend is not always optimized. The right asset can help to create a memorable consumer engagement and drive program success. However, when done wrong can lead to inefficient spend and hinder the ability to deliver on marketing and business objectives.
Better efficiency of spend. Increased cost-savings. Reduced budgets. Questions from Procurement. Return on investment. Cost per engagement. Sustainability and carbon footprint implications. These are all considerations that brands and agencies must work through as they develop their experiential marketing initiatives.
In most experiential programs the production of physical assets is required, and they have the potential to represent a considerable portion of a budget in support of bringing a brand experience to life.
As Lumency designs and develops our experiential marketing programs, we ensure that several key considerations are reviewed. A focus on the right spend to create the right assets, for the right engagement delivers the best value.
While program objectives vary and production needs can be complex, working through these six key considerations will help you develop the best asset for your brand.
Is your brand the hero, or are consumers just interested in the asset?
Cool is cool, but does the asset help connect your brand to your target? Will your target remember your brand message, or will they just remember the asset? Don’t rely solely on the asset to speak to your target, you still have to have an authentic brand message and an overall compelling experience to ensure resonance.
Innovation is great, but it can come at an increased cost.
Everyone is looking for new and innovative ways to connect with their target audience(s). Sometimes creating innovative assets and experiences is worth the investment as it will help your brand stand out and ensure your brand message is heard. Other times simple, analog engagements are the best way to break through. Consider if you are looking for innovation for innovation sake, and if you’re willing to invest a higher portion of your budget to make that a reality. Rent vs. buy also enters into this consideration. Rentable assets may not have every innovation you want, but do they have what you need? Or should you make that capital investment (discuss with procurement too as it may come from a separate budget you don’t have access to) and buy an asset that you can use longer term for more purposes?
Swiss Army knives are cool, but sometimes you just need a knife.
It may be easier and cheaper in the short term to design an asset that fulfills one program’s set of requirements. However, consider opportunities to look at your broader experiential plans and how building a modular asset could create consistency and efficiency of spend. Being able to build a more customized, durable asset that is used across multiple programs drives efficiency and can get you more engagement elements. Think about other areas where the asset could be deployed for the brand, including internal employee events.
Spend now, save later.
Make sure you consider how the asset will actually be used in the field. Is it easy to transport, set up, tear down? Sometimes spending a bit of extra time engineering a better design up front will ensure you don’t spend more hours than needed just to make the asset ready onsite. For simple, easy to deploy assets brand ambassadors may be able to manage the set up. However, larger more complex environments will require specialized production teams to ensure the asset is installed properly, safely and efficiently. Both approaches have their benefits and cost implications, so be sure to consider this during planning. Additionally, sustainability and carbon footprint are important considerations for many brands that can be addressed in thoughtful production. Ensure you understand the options for sustainably sourced materials and the carbon footprint impact your asset will have from the build, transportation, use and disposal.
The right build partner is essential.
Lumency’s in-house design and production management team works with a number of great production partners that specialize in the physical build of experiential assets. We believe that specialty is key. Be wary of one stop shops that claim to provide full end to end production capabilities. Just because they can fabricate a beautiful asset doesn’t mean they know how to code the integrated digital experience inside of it. Often this work is outsourced to another vendor, which adds another layer of complexity not to mention mark up.
You have this great asset, now what?
Considering the lifecycle of an asset is important to ensure efficiency and unplanned budget impacts. Beyond the initial build, how will the asset be shipped/transported? What maintenance will be required as it is used and ages? Where will it be stored? What is the end of life plan (i.e. repurposed, disposed, sold, donated)? Creating a plan for all these considerations in the upfront budgeting and design/engineering stage will ensure you don’t end up with an asset that is hard to manage and own.
Producing the right asset, for the right brand engagement is fundamental to Lumency’s experience design methodology. By following a thoughtful production process, we deliver meaningful brand engagements that leverage smart and efficient production assets to enhance the consumers connection to our client partner brands.
Want to learn more about our approach to experience design?
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By: Mike Mallory