Why the World Needs Brand Experience Now More Than Ever…

My 11 year-old collared me at the weekend with the following insight: 'Dad – why can’t there be a good news channel? Every day the news is depressing and bad'.
And he’s right. God knows we need good news and escapism now more than ever. Brexit, lack of global political leadership, war, death, destruction. The list goes on and on.
You don’t have to be an idealist to realise that something (anything, frankly) needs to fill the void. In 1955, I wonder if this is where Walt Disney and his Imagineers started out post-world war two – helping to build not only an escapist playground, but also rebuild a society and physically put a smile on the face of the next generation. 
Some 65 years on, we need it again. But this time every brand has the potential and perhaps the responsibility to inspire and entertain. To lift the mood, create positive moments to enjoy and memories to share. 
From the omni-experiences of Secret Cinema, to the escapist tech-driven experiences like Lockheed Martin’s Field Trip to Mars, brands are stepping up and consumers are responding in their billions. Enjoying more, spending more, escaping more. 
The power of experience has become an economy in its own right. A major multi-billion dollar player in the global economy and one that brands ignore at their peril. 
Our recent global study, WE KNOW Experiences, uncovered a huge expectation and desire for brands to step into the vacuum. Addressing issues like stress, meaningful family time and escapism – some 86% of the respondents want brands to step in and help lift their mood.  
Purpose has become a key buzzword
in the business of marketing and experience. 
Even hard-bitten investors like Larry Fink, Chairman & CEO of Blackrock, are pushing companies, recently stating: “Every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential”.
Brands like McDonald’s and Nike have embraced this in their approach and created powerful experience-led campaigns that go way beyond product and instead focus on what they give back to society. McDonald’s is currently leading with its emotive ‘Thank you’ charity spot, extolling the support its consumers have given to building hospital family housing. Or the recent Nike Church experience last year – turning a disused place of worship into a fully-fledged basketball haven to take kids off the dangerous, crime-filled Chicago streets. 
Approaches like omni-experience and purpose-led experience are the future of not only our industry, but society as a whole. With it comes a greater expectation on what brands, creative agencies and other organisations can and should deliver. As we head towards 2020 and leave the dust of Brexit et al behind, there is little doubt that brand experience must play a meaningful role in people’s lives like never before. 

Luke D’Arcy, UK President, Momentum Worldwide