Deborah Armstrong, founder of event design company Strong & Co, tells us what experiential is, what it isn’t and why bother to make it better

Lets get one thing out of the way. A branded item (truck, confectionary giveaway, whatever) is not experiential.   

Sure you are having a live experience, but it’s not a particularly good one.

It’s not one that you especially remember, share, or talk about. It’s not one where you formed relationships, or where you were challenged to think or feel differently.

When I think of Experiential, I think of early pioneers such as Shangri-La, of Secret Cinema, of Punchdrunk, YouMeBumBumTrain (pictured) and Shunt – those early pioneers, kinda gung ho weirdos  (I include myself) people who just kept creating these crazy worlds for love and good times.

But look how much influence it’s had.  Every brand is now under pressure to create experiences as meaningful, and as impactful, but in my humble opinion, you cannot simply generate great experiential.

Experiential being in hot demand forces creators to think differently. The world of experiential is closely aligned with digital – here success is measured by shares, so it does challenge people to raise their game.

An installation for a mental health charity, CALM was designed by an Ad agency (Adam & Eve), and developed and installed by us (Strong & Co). It reached over 2.4bn hits at a cost of only £100k.  2.4 billion!  That’s the sort of sit up and take notice number that CEOs like.