A successful marketing campaign is driven by creative navigation, intentional design, and sound strategy. At the core of all these forces is a deep understanding of and ability to interpret current culture, best obtained through immersion.
The mission of marketing in general—and in our agency’s case specifically, experiential—is to create the kind of meaningful and inspired messages and experiences that position brands, products, and services at the center of the zeitgeist. To do so, it’s crucial for marketers on both the brand and agency side to foster a strong connection to the cultural framework in which a brand lives and breathes.
Keeping a culturally connected team—one that’s able to concept and execute on timely, modern ideas that, in turn, reflect the cultural savvy of the products and services we’re marketing—isn’t a formulaic or easy exercise. Still, the most vital element to building cultural connective tissue, both as a team and as individual creative professionals, is to maintain a strong commitment to immersion.
It’s immeasurably valuable to dive deep into in the world of a brand’s target audience. Much like creativity, cultural connectivity is not a tap. You can’t just turn it on at will, even when it’s a vital element to the success of your business. It takes a dedication to immersing yourself and your team into the environments and experiences in which a brand’s stakeholders are not only engaging with its products or services, but also living their lives.
By way of example, for the last three years, we’ve been working with a Fortune 50 client who wanted to make a major impact on the fitness world.
Before even proposing our campaign strategy, we took a full-on deep dive into various boutique fitness ecosystems across the country. We became the product’s target customer: sweating it out on the vertical climbing machines of West Hollywood, in the luxury boxing gyms of Manhattan, and at spin studios from Denver to Miami.
Immersion can translate across industries.
We tuned our social feeds to the fitness frequency, following the industry’s biggest names and rising stars, as we scoured the country for the best prospective campaign partners and collaborators. For months, we lived, breathed, ate, drank, spun, sprinted, and sweated like the passionate exercisers the client was aiming to reach.
In the end, the immersion process resulted in a global, 360-degree marketing campaign that not only translated to increased product sales, but created a platform for a significant and passionate subculture to come together in a shared experience.
Immersion can translate across industries. When representing brands in fashion, the arts, or hospitality, we will attend fashion shows by emerging designers, music and arts festivals from Panorama to FORM Arcosanti, enjoy group meals at design-minded restaurants, and tour the most cutting-edge hotel concepts for both understanding and inspiration.
Immersion is the best way to avoid an artificial or superficial understanding of the people who engage with a brand’s products or services each day.
Without an immersive approach to cultural connectivity, the connection between a brand and its stakeholders will inevitably suffer. Immersion is the best way to avoid an artificial or superficial understanding of the people who engage with a brand’s products or services each day. And as marketers around the world have learned time and again, consumers will feel this lack of authenticity, often before a brand even realizes it’s headed down the wrong path.
The best defensive is to embrace a willingness to dive in—to immerse teams in new experiences and emerge as cultural chameleons who deeply understand and truly represent the desired audience.
Cultural connectivity is what can turn a one-off marketing campaign into a meaningful, lasting experience, hitting a powerful sweet spot: the middle of the Venn diagram between a brand and the eccentricities of the environment in which we all experience it. It’s in that space where the campaign finds its greatest value: a unifying resonance.