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Deborah Armstrong, founder of event design company Strong & Co, and the brain behind Glastonbury Festival’s Shangri-La, is Access’ newest columnist, initially focusing on experiential

When researching the literature on what other people thought experiential was my head almost fell off from boredom. Well there’s no need for that *abruptly shoves pages off the desk*.

Experiential is simply creating an experience that the audience moves through and around, rather than in front of. It started, for me, around 20 years ago in the world of installation art, moving through immersive theatre, festivals and events.

We event creators created because we loved it, and the creation of those crazy little worlds ended up influencing the mainstream advertising industry.

Still, gawd bless the bandwagon jumpers. The huge impact events like these had on audiences means that in 2018, experiential has a budget line and is generating work for the events industry.

A recent survey by Freeman showed that 59% of CMOs consider brand experience increasingly more important than traditional advertising. Business may be booming, but it’s also become more competitive. Events were once the domain of production companies but now marketing and advertising agencies have experiential divisions, and produce their own events.

Over the next four issues I’ll discuss how I create award-winning experiential events, surviving in a competitive landscape and raising the game. I’ll give away a few (not all for goodness sake) of my secrets, developed first as an artist at Central St Martins.

There’s a few anchor points I use each time I create a new project. Some might say, why would you help others compete? But when we already lead the way, what is there to worry about?

Making events in the UK even better quality helps us all.