Dreams are strange things. They can seem so real when we’re asleep, yet dissolve in our minds so quickly once we’re awake.
On average, it’s estimated that we each spend two hours a night dreaming, yet hardly anyone will remember a single dream they’ve had.
For my mind, a lot of marketing exists in this dream world. With the exception of those rare campaigns which forge meaningful relationships between consumers and brands, consumers spend their lives subjected to an ever-increasing barrage of mediocre ads, throw-away mailers and uninspiring promotions. Faced with this onslaught, our brains effectively go to sleep and expensive marketing campaigns become like wallpaper in a kaleidoscope of quickly-forgotten dreams.
Actually, this isn’t just a theory. In our brains is something called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). Its job is to filter all the sensory stimuli coming in and decide what we should focus our attention on at any particular moment. And it’s at the heart of the reason why experiential marketing is such an effective medium.
Say you’re sitting in the office with the radio on. You might hear the same song four or five times in a day, but sometimes your brain doesn’t even register you’ve heard it. But hear, see and experience the atmosphere of that same song played live at a festival, and all your senses are totally tuned in to that moment, so the individual impact is completely different.
What’s more, you’ll tell everyone you know about that moment. It’s human nature to want to be the first to talk about something others haven’t heard about. To share a new experience and pass on new found knowledge. We live in a recommendation generation and talkability is something every brand should aspire to.
These days, to make people remark, you’ve got to give them a remarkable experience. Like helping parents experience the world from a baby’s perspective in an immersive roadshow to highlight Pampers’ understanding of baby development. Or making the idea of saving energy fun with a dance-powered activation on behalf of British Gas.
With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.