Will Experiential Budgets Go Before PR Budgets

picture-101That’s the question we were asked this week by PR Week and it’s a complex question to answer, but probably the simple answer is yes.

If brand experiences become indulgent brand behaviour that doesn’t deliver a short term return then they become difficult to justify. Innocent Village Fete probably being a case in point.

Experiential is a great way to build an emotional connection with a brand, but direct sales and a high ROI are difficult to achieve. However it can be used as effectively as part of the marketing mix, but usually it requires strong amplification to make it work (ie) PR.

Therefore you could argue that experiential budgets will be cut when PR agencies can’t use the activity or platform to effectively amplify the activity to wider audience to engage them in the brand and deliver strong ROI.

What we’ll probably see is PR Agencies move away from the plethora of big brand experiences to the creation of more punchy brand activity that requires a lower level of investment and commitment, but that still delivers strong PR hooks, and Experiential Agencies will move experiences closer to the point of purchase to ensure they deliver direct sales.

All that said, then there’s Red Bull…brand experiences are just getting bigger and bigger (but so is the amplification so maybe our correlation argument still works for RB).

This weekend sees X-Fighters in Calgary, and this picture ran as a DPS in the Guardian and as a smaller image in the Metro (check out the really small logo on the wagon), and this week we also announced that Battersea is the location for X-Fighters London. Not sure it’s gets any bigger than that.