MCI Experience’s Kim Mhyre talks to Access about re-inventing the live experience.
What inspired the formation of MCI Experience?
As demand for more innovative, creative and authentic brand experiences grows, brands are expecting more from their agency, than ever before. The most successful brand experiences are based on significant strategic knowledge of the brand, its objectives and target audiences. Today, experience focused marketing agencies must consider all of the relevant touch points, both live and online to ensure the clients success, and this requires an agency with an increasingly diverse range of skills and approach.
In response, MCI Group launched a new kind of brand experience agency that integrates a range of creative and strategic marketing disciplines. MCI Experience has been created to serve as an incubator of new, innovative experience marketing capabilities for more strategic, creative and immersive experience marketing programmes and events.
At MCI Experience, we exist to help brands define and deliver their marketing objectives and ambitions through meaningful and memorable live, digital and virtual experiences. Our strategic design thinking approach to brand storytelling is imaginative, immersive and emotive. We partner with our clients to create breakthrough marketing experiences that achieve measurable business results.
What are your bugbears about the events industry?
The term ‘event’ tends to conjure up images of a room full of delegates listening to a speaker behind a podium or a hall full of exhibition stands. Yes, these are experiences, but they are a far cry from what is possible. The nature of event audiences – is changing. The days of thinking of event goers as a passive audience are gone. Today’s event audiences are much more demanding, more impatient and have high expectations that events will be more engaging, personalised and participatory. Thinking about events in a traditional, logistics-led way limits the possible business results as well as our potential to create engaging brand experiences that connect attendees in much more meaningful, memorable and shareable ways.
What makes a great brand experience?
Brand researchers in the Journal of Marketing define brand experience as “sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments.” All of the individual exposures or touchpoints taken together make up the experience. So, in other words brand experience is literally everything you have seen, heard, felt, smelled or tasted about a brand. The brand experience is everything a person knows about a brand.
With this in mind, a great brand experience needs to be designed with a deep and empathetic understanding of the audience. We are rapidly moving in to an era of personalisation. Event audiences are no longer happy to be one of the crowd. They will insist that events and brand experiences recognise them and know what they value. The very best brand experiences will be those that are designed to be authentic, relevant, personalised, engaging, enjoyable and shareable.
How does technology factor into your work?
Technology is now an integral part of the live experience. Today’s event goers are technology-enabled and active in the use of this technology to provide many of the benefits that events used to serve – content, community and commerce. As a result, we will continue to see breakthroughs in new experience technologies, apps, social media, AI, VR, drones, interactive video, projection mapping, holograms and more.
What we now need to think about is how we apply this dizzying array of technology in the best and most meaningful ways to enhance and extend the experience. Relying on the traditional approaches and expertise that the events industry has been using for years to design event experiences will not be sufficient to create the next generation of on-live experiences. A new interdisciplinary approach that engages a much wider range of skills and disciplines is the future of experience design in an increasingly digital world.