The Next Big Thing in Social Media is Happening Offline

It’s time for anyone trying to start a social conversation to look at experiential as a key driver for creating meaningful online conversations. Most experiential brand managers would argue they are doing this already. So what is the difference?

In the past, we tried to amplify (or justify, in some cases) our experiential spend through social media. Today, we start with social as the goal and look to experiential as one of the most effective ways to start earned social media conversations.

OLD POV: Every effective, dependable experiential campaign must include social amplification.

NEW POV: Every social campaign should utilize experiential to start earned conversations in social channels.

Why should social use experiential? Authenticity. Brands want to create meaningful conversations online. Experiential works because it embraces consumer behavior organically. If an offline experience resonates with a consumer, they’re going to talk about it—and today that means they’re going to talk about it online. The line between online and IRL is blurred to the point of negligibility.

What’s in it for experiential? Clarity. What do the phrases “universally accepted” and “crystal clear” have in common? They have never been used to describe experiential ROI. Sure, there are exceptions, especially in the world of transactional activations, but it gets muddy when you’re working cross-platform and have to show traction in several (or all) of these channels: PR, social, content, engagements, impressions, samples, and retail.

The key is isolating a single channel, such as PR, content or social, and designing an experiential engagement to pay off that specific KPI. The takeaway? Offline events that resonate will create earned online conversations.

Mark Anderson is Executive Creative Director & Executive Vice President of Portland experiential agency, Division Black. For the complete presentation of The Next Big Thing in Social Media is Happening Offline including case studies and rules of engagement, email

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

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