Engaging Versus Immersive – What’s The Difference?

written by Melina

In the experiential marketing industry, the word ‘immersive’ is repeatedly used to describe brand activity. But what does it really mean to create an immersive experience that goes beyond just being an engaging brand activation?

Bring the experience to life

The first component in creating immersive activity is the staffing. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the experience looks, if the staff involved in the event fail to embody and communicate the key values of the brand, consumers will walk away with no further insight into that brand. The need for people or brand ambassadors to bring these experiences to life is crucial.

However, simply using brand ambassadors and putting them in costumes does not an immersive experience make.

Getting the staff right

Great Brand Ambassadors can be very effective at engaging the public in key brand messages but can they really ‘immerse’ people in the brand?  For a truly immersive experience it is often said that more time is needed with people. But the type of staff used on campaigns can also be the crucial gateway to delving deeper into the brand messages. By using character staff, actors and performers, these type of staff can often provide a deeper immersion, even if they only have a limited time.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

Whilst using the right type of staff is key, what is equally important is the preparation before the live activity. Any immersive character roles need to be scripted, directed and rehearsed over and over in order to ensure continuity with the brand campaign.  Auditions are also key to getting exactly the right type of people for the roles – just because staff can act doesn’t mean they will be able to inhabit that character or embody a brand in the right way. Holding specific castings can really ensure staff meet the brief.

Our recent work with creative agency the Persuaders for the Good Ship Benefit, saw us create a team of fun and fantastical characters to take people on a journey through the ship and the Benefit brand. By scripting each character and creating back stories, the staff chosen for each position are able to truly inhabit the role and make it their own. We held several rehearsals on the ship to guarantee that once the activity went live the staff felt like the ship was their own, which added to the guest’s experience.

Maintaining team engagement

Once the activity is live, maintaining team engagement is also key to the success of the activity. Happy and engaged teams benefit both the consumer and the brand. Theatre warm ups pre activity and setting aside time to workshop throughout long running experiences are important to keep energy up and keep the staff excited about the roles.

In the end, immersion means a deeper journey and by using well trained and rehearsed staff who understand their roles and are excited about the brand activity, can really make the difference in a consumer’s understanding of the experience.