In a day and age when everyone wants everything to be more “experiential,” there is no event that pushes that concept further than CES. While the event has essentially become the world’s leading technology carnival, there’s perhaps no better place to discover what the new wave of experiential trends will be, that aren’t just retail or event marketing focused. After hours of walking the floor at CES, here are the three key areas of experiential opportunities poised to engage with people in new vital, emotional and sensorial ways across digital and physical touchpoints.
The world around us seems to get louder every day, so it’s no wonder people are seeking quieter, sensory soothing ways of interacting with the world around us.
- Samsung, “Ballie” - Samsung called Ballie a “life companion ... a small, rolling robot that understands you, supports you, and reacts to your needs to be actively helpful around the house.” Its discreet charm felt straight out of a Pixar movie and captured the attention and hearts of everyone at CES. Its unassuming form factor and lack of a whiz bang interface felt like a relief and counterpoint to the increasing number of screens at CES and in our own personal lives. As people get fatigued from the attention economy, they’ll increasingly seek out experiences that feel like the equivalent of an hour long ASMR video.
Experiential at Scale.
While experiential is often thought of an event activation or store, the concept of what is experiential is scaling to even urban sized ambitions.
- Toyota and Bjarke Ingels Group, “Woven City” - This venture led by Toyota, will be a real city breaking ground in Japan in 2021, where the company will be able to test and prototype different technologies at an urban scale. All big brother concerns aside, it’s easy to see how a technology first city could make our lives much more human focused. We could re-imagine a future where all digital and physical touchpoints are focused on really improving the day to day experience. Even if we just achieved optimized autonomous travel, the impact could be enormous. Carbon emissions would drastically fall. The subway is never late. Less streets and more trees. Cities could be a beacon of what vibrant, people-first living could look like. The next revolution of urban planning is upon us and it may not be led by architects— whether or not that is a good thing or not is yet to be seen.
With wellness becoming a huge focus for both businesses and consumers, the idea of using technology to enhance the sensory experience inside the home has increasing appeal.
- GE, “Home Grown”- This visionary smart kitchen system grows, stores and monitors food production- all inside your home. Home Grown brings the veggie garden inside and promises to create “zero distance between what you eat and what you grow.” At a time where people are increasingly concerned about how their food is produced, there are huge nutritional and psychological benefits to knowing what is going in it. Also, bringing the outdoors indoors has proven positive emotional effects, which might do more than the fern that’s currently in the bathroom.
While most conversation about experiential tends to focus on a narrow range of applications, it’s important for brands to think about how the concept could be used more broadly. One trend to bank on is that the companies that deliver the best experiences across an increasingly complex network of digital and physical touchpoints, and positively engage the senses and emotions in both small and big ways, will be the next winners.