Humans Vs. Machines

written by Melina

Stand Out Magazine recently asked Hel’s Angels how the increase in interactive experiences in experiential activity has impacted on how promotional staff “interact” with consumers and visitors. They wanted to know how the introduction of technology has changed the staffing landscape in recent years, and how we, as an agency, have learned to adapt. It got us thinking; do the people still hold the power in this industry?

‘Humans Vs Machines.’ It sounds like the latest episode of a sci-fi blockbuster. Brands are constantly competing against each other to employ the latest innovative technological marvels. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned human interaction? Here at Hel’s Angels we have been privileged to work with some of the biggest and best brands in the world, and do not deny the positive impact that technology has had on experiential activity. However, we also strongly believe that digital marketing cannot merely stand alone when it comes to creating the most effective brand experience.

“We have seen a definite shift away from live experience towards purely digital, and then back again as brands recognise the need for the human relationship in creating the strongest relationships between consumers and brands. People provide personality that technology can’t”
Helen Hanson, Hel’s Angels Founder

There is no denying the uplifting change that interactive technology has had on the experiential industry in the last couple of decades (we have seen it first hand after nearly 20 years in the industry!) From social media to digital advertising, tablet data capture to augmented reality, brands have applied these elements to activity and therefore amplified themselves and their brand messages on a massive scale, and ‘word of mouth’ seemingly just does not cut it any more. Or does it?

As with any type of evolution, the staffing landscape has had to adapt to keep up with the pace of this technological innovation, as brands have had to keep up to keep themselves relevant in the market. It’s now almost a priority for staff to add technical experience to their promotional CV, as it opens up job more opportunities for them in the experiential industry. Staff have learnt to the follow the trends of experiential and adapt their skills according to the macro climate of the evolving technological world. As an agency, we consider staff with technological skills and experience to be an asset to the company, and almost essential when considering a new applicant.

“Our Angels need to be not only exceptional at communicating with consumers within all demographics, but comfortable with a wide range of technology and how best to engage each demographic with that technology”
Helen Hanson, Hel’s Angels Founder

Hel’s Angels believes that human explanation is still essential in bringing an activity to life and making a more immediate impact on consumers. We try to embed this in the forefront of all our activity, and always keep this in mind when recruiting new staff. We think it’s vital to maintain that special level of engagement with the consumer, and having the right people to do that is key. Where using technology in live events does enhance the activity, it also frees up the Brand Ambassador’s time to be able to concentrate more on in-depth personal interaction with the consumer. Therefore, rather acting as a facilitator to an technical concept, our Brand Ambassadors are the primary focus in making the experience memorable and personable. And that is what makes Hel’s Angels staff really stand out.

“Technology is most effective when fully integrated with all other elements of an activation. Hel’s Angels’ clients expect us to be able to offer them new and innovative technologies alongside the more ‘traditional’ staffing solutions”
Helen Hanson, Hel’s Angels Founder

A perfect example of this was a job that Hel’s Angels worked on alongside Comic Relief earlier this year. In the run up to Red Nose Day, and to create awareness of a revolutionary way to donate to charity via contactless card payment (another example of fabulous innovative technology), Comic Relief erected 10 larger-than-life statue cut-outs of the Nation’s favourite Comedians. In 10 different locations across the UK, from London to Glasgow, our Hel’s Angels Brand Ambassadors ensured the safe transportation, storage and installation of the statues, as well as ensuring the smooth running of the week long activity on-site and encouraging the public to donate. The technology was great, and visually the statues were incredibly eye-catching, but the activity really needed the right people to be able to bring it to life. That is where Hel’s Angels expertise lies – in being able to identify, employ, train and put forward the right people.

The technological revolution has also had a huge impact on the way staffing agencies run internally and the service we offer to our client. Technologies have brought massive efficiencies to recruitment, training, booking and briefing processes. Once an activation is live, technology allows Hel’s Angels to offer our clients a reporting tool which gives them instant access to feedback direct from the field.

“When I started Hel’s Angels nearly 20 years ago, we communicated with our clients and staff mostly via telephone, post and fax. Now instant communication gives us much greater control over campaigns and allows us to be extremely responsive to the needs of clients and campaigns”
Helen Hanson, Hel’s Angels Founder

Please see the full article in Stand Out Magazine here on page 41 & 42