Why Experiential?

The Cognitive Experiential Code

In a recent article for Fast Company, Saatchi and Saatchi’s Jacob Braude provides an insightful overview of the cognitive science behind the Ad World’s growing interest in physical experiences.  I won’t go into the finer details of his points because he lays them out very well on his own, but I will offer two amendments:

1) Experiential is not a buzz word.  It is something that OBE and companies like us have been using effectively for years.  While it may be an emerging trend for traditional Ad Agencies, it is important to separate it from the other buzz words that come and go with such swift ease.  Experiential has always been effective and will continue to be effective, for the reasons he lists and many more.

2) We should not be looking to subconsciously control consumers.  It seems that Braude is excited about the potential to break ‘the [experiential] code” and “[write] the appropriate experiences into the lives of [brand's] consumers”.  While his suggestion is reinforced by his science, I would argue this takes it a step too far.  We, as marketers, will not arrive to some magic formula for directing a consumer’s loyalty. It has to be earned. No matter how smart we get at embedding a message into an experience, success will still hinge on how engaging that experience is. If it’s not meaningful to a consumer, if it’s not exciting or enjoyable or captivating – something that can only come outside of formulaic thinking – they won’t engage in the first place.

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