High Five 2018.

Review. Outlook. Trends.

How have live communication and standing ovation developed in the last year? And where are things headed from here? Five outlooks and insights at the end of the year.

Outlook 1: Creativity at a new level.

For many years, creativity was the jealously guarded secret of the agencies. Very old school! And inefficient to boot. Because while the solutions developed were usually creative, they were frequently inexpedient. Time for evolution: The future is bringing client and agency closer together: Not just as client and contractor, but as partners in co-creation workshops. This provides a stimulus to projects right from the start, as well as delivering viable results more quickly.

The trend is clear: In 2017, co-creation workshops became very well established for us as an efficient form of collaboration. This changed a great deal – and not just in the client–agency relationship, but also in mindsets. One thing has now become clear: Openness and a collaborative mindset are more conducive to the maximisation of creative resources.

Example: New C-level event format for Equinix.

The co-creation workshop created the prerequisites for an innovative event and networking format designed specially for CEOs. Under the working title “Business Apartment”, meetings and talks were held in a business apartment environment.

Outlook 2: Brand experience is becoming the no. 1.

There is a new leader in the world of marketing and branding vocabulary – brand experience. This term encompasses everything that makes brands unique: the way in which the consumer experiences a brand both physically and digitally. Creating “branded experiences” is a fundamental task of live communication. We already talk of the “experience economy”, by which we mean those areas of the economy whose products constitute a sum of experiences.

It is becoming increasingly clear how much can be achieved when live communication is placed in the holistic context of brand experience. We are therefore increasingly designing brand experiences that start with a traditional branding process before then transferring seamlessly to live communication formats.

Example: Pioneer spirit as brand experience.

The Mindfire foundation wants to decode our brain code – and is looking for the best worldwide talent to make the principles of intelligence usable for artificial intelligence purposes.

Decoding the mind for humankind.

standing ovation is conceiving and realising the entire brand experience for the foundation: from corporate design and communication strategy through to Mindfire mission events. The first of these mission workshops will take place in Davos in 2018. 100 carefully selected, talented individuals will pool their collective cognitive potential over the nine-day event.

Outlook 3: From emotion to sustainable experience.

Live communication creates emotions in a unique way. Those who can share their emotions experience them more intensely. For that reason, live communication has evolved into an important content bringer for shared communication in recent years. The moving image plays a more and more important role here. Live communication is becoming an increasingly enduring form of communication: it makes lasting “experiences” out of spontaneous “emotions”.

As far as we are concerned, there can be no event conception without including the aspect of shared communication. How do we generate content, and can it be deployed in a sustainable and creative way? These questions form an integral part of any live communication planning process.

Example: A world event tours Switzerland.

The opening of the Gotthard base tunnel was an event that made hearts beat faster all across Switzerland. As part of the inaugural festivities, standing ovation designed two identical brand pavilions for ABB – thereby tapping into the festive spirit and highly emotional atmosphere. Enthusiasm for this concept proved so enduring that “Project Gottardo” evolved into a full Swiss roadshow with multifaceted social media activities.

Outlook 4: Format boundaries are becoming fluid.

Once upon a time we talked of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Events) and thought in separate formats. But live communication is now following new pathways by creating continuous brand experience: Conferences that are the same time incentives with event character? The future is the amalgamation of experience and mediation formats, making them platforms for innovative brand experiences.

On both counts we would like to thank our clients.

It is experience not format that lies at the heart of our work: What does the target audience want to experience, and how can we design this experience in a sustainable way? If this is done successfully, digital and physical experience will complement one another.

Example: The European Space Agency is taking off.

The gathering of representatives of member countries of the European Space Agency was much more than a conference focusing on ultra-sophisticated research with a scientific policy budget running into the billions. Socialising, networking, and the Lucerne experience were likewise important, which is why the conference format was expanded to include numerous experience modules.

Outlook 5: Complexity is not getting any easier.

Successful live communication is becoming more complex. The combination of different live formats, the incorporation of social media and web presence, the assumption of brand management tasks, and the creation of strong event identities – all of this makes live communication projects highly complex undertakings. Mastering complexity remains a challenge at all levels. It requires new forms of cooperation between agency and client.

We are fans of structured approaches, in workshops and co-creation. We want tasks and requirements to be clear before things move into the planning and implementation phases. Which is why we are also fans of controlling and monitoring. Only then will complexity pay its way.

Example: Newsroom delivers new event experience.

The Swiss Marketing Forum broke new ground with standing ovation in order to impress upon potential visitors the sheer diversity of conference activities at Marketing Day 17. Innovative newsroom technology made it possible to structure the complex offering and give visitors the option to experience all sorts of things live via various digital channels.

2017 has opened new doors, for both us and our clients. By bringing together the digital and physical worlds, live communication is continually conquering new territory. This in turn requires courage and the confidence to try new things. On both counts we would like to thank our clients – for the courage to go for innovative and creative solutions, and for the confidence they have placed in our team and its multifaceted competencies.

We are looking forward to 2018. High Five!

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