Made by humans: making a case for humanity in a new age of tech
As an industry, are we trying too hard? Bertie Ager of experiential agency 2Heads talks about striking the right balance between humanity and tech.
If we embrace it in the right way, technology can supercharge physical experiences / Fernand de Canne
There has been a lot of chatter coming out from industry gatherings over the last few weeks (yes, SXSW, I’m looking at you) about the rise of artificial intelligence and its role in marketing. If we are to believe everything that was said, then in a few years we will all be augmented by technology incapable of individual thought and acquiescing to algorithms in our efforts to engage with audiences and influence consumer behaviors.
Future-gazing is all well and good, but I think as an industry we are all trying too hard in the pursuit of the next big thing. The power of experiential marketing in my mind is its ability to connect with people on an emotional level. There is no other channel that can match it for pure engagement.
Forgetting to feel
If an individual chooses to spend time engaging with a brand experience, be it pop-up retail, fully immersive showcase, brand pavilion, event or everything in between, then we are already halfway to nirvana.
Yes, their experience needs to be compelling; it needs to have utility, be arresting and thought-provoking; it should inspire and entertain; it should elevate the brand and create advocacy; but it also needs to speak to them as humans – and that isn’t going to happen if the experience is designed by computer.
It has to be imbued with emotion; it needs to spark something in the mind and tug at the old heartstrings. So that’s why I am starting a campaign, a rallying cry to our industry if you will: Made By Humans.
Think of it as a kite mark for our species that celebrates how experiential is brought to life through a blend of illuminating insights from a real person about real people and top-notch creative from artists, magicians, writers, designers and entertainers – not an aggregated collage or creative chimera generated by ChatGPT that doesn’t speak to how people think, do, and feel.
And finally, craftsmanship: production and high-end delivery from the makers, shapers and doers who bring the vision of the creative to life with an eye for detail and a real understanding of tactility and finish.
Technology can supercharge humanity
We are in the business of crafting human connections, and for that to be successful, we need to ensure we don’t lose the humanity of the experiences we are all striving to create.
This doesn’t mean that we dispense with technology. Far from it; we all need to embrace innovation and harness what it can do. Augmenting a physical experience with cutting-edge tech can supercharge it in unimaginable ways. The use of high-fidelity content that tells human stories and transports audiences to magical destinations, can make any experience live long in the memory.
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But whatever clever piece of technology or stunning content we do use, let’s make sure it is the hardworking folks that get up every morning brimming with ideas and new ways to surprise and delight that are creating the show rather than leaving it to the machines.
I, for one, am excited about what the future holds. I love what technology allows us to do, but there is no substitute in my mind for what we can create as human beings when we dare to dream and are given the permission to explore new ideas, come up with new stories and craft those experiences that bring people together.
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