Reimagining Our Brand of Experiential
How we define our approach to building meaningful experiences, thanks to COVID-19
Dumpster fire. Left without toilet paper when you need it most. Infomercial voice-over boasting, “but wait! There’s more!” Dealer’s choice on how you’d like to describe 2020, but personally, I like to look back to the 2010’s when businesses and campaigns everywhere chose to use the 20/20 vision metaphor as their outlook for a brighter future, business plan or long term strategic vision. For every time someone said “Wait! I have a great idea! Let’s call it our 20/20 vision!” I guarantee it was met with an eye roll. Yet here we are. All of that planning for a strategically focused and perfectly metaphorical 2020 in which no one anticipated the curveballs that would be thrown our way.
But here’s the ironic twist. 2020 actually has offered us a chance to pull focus. Certainly not in the way we may have wanted, planned or intended, but it has made us take a beat to appreciate and not take what we have for granted; re-examine and ask why; and has kickstarted countless shared experiences across the globe.
Our pivotal moment of transition this year was firmly realized on March 6th. Wide-spread reports of the severity of COVID-19 were swirling and businesses had begun to pull out of the SXSW festival amid concerns of public health and safety. The implications on the business level didn’t sink in until SXSW was officially cancelled. Our team was devastated to learn that several of the experiences that they had been creating to engage the SXSW audiences would not see the light of day.
In the months that followed, we continued to work with clients to understand the challenges they needed to solve in an ever-changing landscape. Each project determined a different outcome and deliverable —from taking content offline to online, to creating unique branded merchandise, to helping brands realize a creative strategy, and everything in between.
Our leadership team needed to address the fact that we would be living in this new normal for the unforeseeable future. In mid-June, we took the time to take stock of ADVOC8’s four year history of work and align our service offerings with our clients’ needs. Then there was the insight that helped us move forward:
Experiential = events. Says who?
In the world of marketing and advertising, the medium often determines the deliverable. Print = print. digital = digital. social = social. video = video. Of course there is tons of nuance to the outcome, but by and large, people often equate experiential with an in-person, physical event. We simply didn’t believe this to be true, because while events might not be happening right now, experiences are. In reality, the experiences ADVOC8 has always created leverage multiple mediums, each customized to solve a brand’s particular challenge. Our north star question became: “How do we communicate a message or idea through a unique experience?” This opened us up to the possibilities of truly defining this for ourselves and our clients, thus we began our brand refresh.
Ever since June, our team has spent the past five months working to understand and unpick that spark of an idea to strengthen our brand and business. We’ve launched our new website, sharpened our brand identity to match our streamlined vision, and done the work of ensuring that our brand strategy has a clear focus on who we are and what we do.
We are incredibly proud of our team’s willingness to test the waters in new areas. We’ve found new and innovative ways to meet our clients needs and create experiences shaped by creative insights. We have already seen this simple shift in articulating our brand, as clients have begun to come to us with big picture challenges that need creative solutions centered around an experience.
While 2020 has challenged us all in so many different ways, for us at ADVOC8, it forced us to align on our vision of the company, and closely examine and articulate what we do best. We have gotten to create so many shared experiences and never take for granted that our team is at the center of our company’s past and future success. Hindsight is also 20/20 (insert eye roll), but looking back on the past nine months we are grateful to have come through with agility, teamwork, and centering our brand around building better relationships through meaningful experiences.