As the experience economy continues to evolve, GPJ’s Jess Quiney and Spinifex’s Cathy Rule sat down to chat about the transformative power of truly immersive, sensory experiences and the opportunities for businesses and brands to raise the bar.
Jess: The Experience Economy (a term coined in Pine and Gilmore’s seminal article in the Harvard Business Review) is evolving. According to Pine, the next iteration is the Transformation Economy. Beyond memorable encounters curated by businesses, people are seeking a more authentic, meaningful and transformational connection with brands.
Cathy: A great way to achieve this is through the creation of imaginative, interactive and immersive experiences. Ones that go beyond being a branded moment and instead enable two-way, ongoing conversations between audiences and brands about things that really matter.
Jess: By combining the age-old art of storytelling with the tools of the digital age, we can tell stories in new and innovative ways and create magical, memorable experiences. Getting this right is what will make experiences stand out in the Transformation Economy.
World-class immersive experiences
Cathy: There are so many examples of incredible immersive experiences from around the world. We are seeing some super exciting long-burn projects finally coming to fruition in the theme park space such as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando, and the Epic Universe slated for completion in 2025. Large-scale, digital exhibitions and immersive galleries that bring the work of artists to life have taken the world by storm. And teamLab, an international art collective, continues to push the boundaries of what’s possible for immersive museum experiences around the globe. These captivating and interactive engagements are testament to the true value at the seamless convergence of digital design and cutting-edge technology.
Jess: Moreover, the general public’s expectation now around entertainment is so high, traditional arts, and certainly branded engagements need to engage at a visceral level; a great example of this is the epic light show at Coldplay gig where LED wristbands light up the arena on another level. The opportunity for digital elevation to truly capture attention and entertain is endless.
Cathy: Vivid Sydney, our homegrown annual celebration of creativity, innovation and technology, has just transformed Sydney and filled the city with boundary-pushing art installations and 3D light projections including our very own. This year, Spinifex helped celebrate Australian interior design, projecting beautiful hand-drawn wallpaper and fabric design onto the façade of Customs House. Pulling from the Australian Museum of Design’s extensive collection of more than 7,500 works from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, Inside Out was an animated journey through three decades of Australian décor and style. At Vivid House, we delivered an immersive 360° experience across a hyper-real world inspired by Australia’s many natural wonders; the dream-like journey soared across our snow-capped mountains, verdant valleys and sublime sunsets before diving deep to our ocean floor, visiting our native marine life, birds and more along the way. And at Cadmans Cottage we helped 12 young artists’ dreams come true, projecting their imaginative worlds of “endangered species” onto one of Sydney’s oldest buildings.
What does this mean for corporates?
Jess: As experiences continue to become more and more extraordinary, people’s expectations get higher and higher. This raises the bar for corporates trying to compete for their audience’s time and attention with their own brand experiences. Those who can’t keep up risk getting left behind.
Cathy: With expectations sky-high, the curation and delivery of memorable experiences has never been more important. And one of the most effective ways to ensure people walk away from your experience feeling transformed is to make it interactive and immersive. Big, sensory installs are able to not only effectively convey the power of a brand, but, when done well, also prompt online chatter that amplifies the reach beyond the physical experience.
Jess: World-class immersive experiences aren’t just for artists, musicians and creative folks. Brands that jump feet first into this arena are the ones who will succeed in the Transformation Economy.