As we dive into a new year at GPJ, our strategists reflect on the most interesting stories we covered in our monthly Experience Intelligence reports, which explore the latest insights and trends at the heart of today’s experiential world..

So, what were the top trends that defined 2023?

Generative AI art spreading like wildfire. With the democratisation of generative AI tools expanding so quickly, we’re seeing real impacts of AI-generated art across creative industries—including ours. Artists of all disciplines and skill levels are experimenting with how to best utilise generative AI—and they’re on the verge of transforming industries. With a myriad of creative AI tools launching, experience designers can lean into these new artistic territories to help craft unique experiences Source: August ‘23 Report.

Immersive experiences have reached a whole new dimension. The Las Vegas Sphere is the epitome of peak immersion. On September 29th, legendary rock band U2 christened the stage  of a now infamous venue: the Sphere. With nearly 1,600 permanent speakers and a massive, wrap-around LED screen, attendees are engulfed by this 875,000 square foot venue that enables artists to customise the space to their brand and create unique, content-driven experiences. With the goal of achieving “peak immersion,” venues like the Sphere are presenting enhanced opportunities to achieve responsiveness and connectivity between the digital and physical worlds can immerse audiences like never before. Source: November ‘23 Report.

Consumers are indulging in solo experiences. As the post-pandemic thirst for experiences sustains, many consumers are taking a different approach—flying solo. More than ever before, consumers are eager to attend big events alone. From solo dining to self-dating and even solo traveling, there has been a notable shift towards going it alone across all aspects of society. Experience marketers should carefully consider their attendees’ journeys to cater to both groups and individuals. Brands are starting to take note too. For example, KFC Bangkok recently introduced the world’s first solo Ferris wheel, and Airbnb has expanded a safety product that helps solo travelers.. New work dynamics are causing brands to approach the office as an experience. Across industries, spaces are evolving to be more purposeful—and the office is no different. People are ready for an evolved relationship with work, and brands should reconsider their offices as true ‘brand experiences’, focussed on the benefits of being together in-person, to meet new realities and expectations. Source: September ‘23 Report.

The greatest out-there experiences of 2023

The MLB increases fan transparency with newly launched Replay room

The MLB is giving fans an inside look during broadcasts to replay and review the perspective of the umpire and to help explain a plethora of new rule changes launched this year. Source: April ‘23 Report.

Unilever spices up Clean-tertainment

Unilever’s #CleanTok on TikTok unveils Dirty Deeds: A Kitchen Crime, a quirky ‘soap opera’ turning cleaning into. Source: December ‘23 Report.

Tatcha’s experiential, meditative pop-up is driving sales

People were able to experience the concept of “forest bathing” through Tatcha’s meditation rooms and other interactive experiences at various Sephora pop-ups. Source: April ’23 Report.

Welcome to Barbie’s Malibu Dream House

The Barbie Movie’s latest viral marketing stunt is a partnership with Airbnb to list a real-life Barbie Malibu Dreamhouse hosted by “Ken”. Source: July ‘23 Report.

What trends do we have our eye on for 2024?

  • Women’s sports offer new opportunities for brands. As women’s sports continue to break records, brands are recognising this overlooked audience and are increasing their investment in content and engagement opportunities around players, tournaments, and leagues. From TV series to search tools and sponsorships, brands clearly see a big opportunity to drive engagement—and are already getting high returns on their investments. With new investment, the continued growth of women’s sports invites massive opportunity and creative potential for brands to engage. Source: September ‘23 Report.
  • From growth obsession to community wellbeing. As slow living and 4-day work weeks continue to gain popularity,  it’s obvious that the people are shaping the future of work and forcing a refocus of business priorities. Younger generations are putting themselves first and taking a stand for the planet over profits, all amid growing concern for the consequences of economic growth. As the degrowth concept quietly gains traction, brands should consider taking the time to prioritise the well-being of consumers, employees, and the planet. Source: March‘23 Report.
  • The revival of third places in a lonely world. New opportunities for third places will continue to develop as people seek out gathering spaces that seamlessly integrate into their lives. However, for third places to effectively combat social isolation and loneliness, they must be accessible to the communities they occupy. Continue blurring the lines between work and play by considering how you can create third places for people to engage with their peers. By prioritising surround experiences and taking advantage of pre-existing third places, brands can create exciting new ways to engage with their audiences. Source: March‘23 Report.

We are excited about what the future holds and believe these three trends will continue to shape experience design in the months ahead. 

We’ll continue to keep our finger on the pulse and share the insights we uncover in our monthly Experience Intelligence reports. Sign up here.