What can we expect in 2023?

24 Jan, 2023
Cook + Associates | Insightful Blogs

The last 3 years have served as an elongated lesson for the events and experience industry. The postponement and cancellation of thousands of events across the globe forced creative agencies to rethink, redesign, transform and adapt to new ventures from virtual to hybrid and back to physical again. Yet, as social beings, audiences still craved interaction during mandated shutdowns with the demand for experiences continuing as the power of the ‘Experience Economy” continued to rise.

The Experience Economy as coined by the Harvard Business journalstates new generation consumers prefer compelling experiences over products. In a 2021 study, the US travel association found 94% of Gen Z and Millennials said they plan to attend in-person experiences in the near term2. So, as the power of experiences continues to rise, what can we expect to see in 2023?

1. Omnichannel Event Experiences

The Pandemic incited a hunger for new experiences and now more than ever there is a huge focus on creating moments for audiences that are larger than life. By prioritising experiences over transactions, brands can build stronger connections with customers- and potentially longer ones too. As the world of immersive experiential events continues to develop and grow, agencies are looking for new, innovative ways to take their clients to new levels and omnichannel experiences seem to be the way forward.

Omnichannel event experiences project your physical event presence across a multitude of different channels to ensure your brand, campaign, messaging, and motives are pushed far beyond the walls of the physical event. Supercharging your event by providing seamlessly connected brand touchpoints across digital event twins, social media, direct marketing, experiential technology, advertising and more, engaging with customers’ senses before, during and long after the event is over for a more effective and memorable customer experience.

2. Metaverse

The Metaverse really found its own in 2022 with global brands like Prada harnessing its capabilities to deliver its AW22 collection in Beijing with an interactive runway open to a global audience. The Metaverse began as a medium for communication, bridging the gap between physical and virtual realms to create a digital environment with new ways to connect, engage and access information. However, a few questions remain: where does the Metaverse sit in the world of brand experiences and are we yet to see its full capabilities?

Prada MataVerse Fashion Event

Prada AW Fashion Show

Whilst some brands are jumping on the bandwagon, reshaping their business model as they replicate lifelike interactions in virtual meetings, presentations, and parties in the metaverse, others aren’t as keen for fears of neglect with physical realities and the genuine need for human connection.

In our 2022 predictions, the landscape for Metaverse events was unclear, but as we enter 2023 it is one of the hottest topics in technology despite being in early development. Despite the scepticism on the topic, we can expect 2023 to bring more providers of the technology and perhaps more clarification on the direction of its market value and a more open view of how it can transform how people work, shop and interact.

3. Technological advances

Technology has blown the world of events wide open, enabling immersive experiences beyond physical bounds to either ground us in reality or expand our minds to new realms of capabilities. Technology has allowed us to harness the use of human senses to create new levels of brand engagement and intrigue, effectively used by brands across the world to elevate themselves above the competition.

Technology is growing exponentially, and this year will be no different. The newly named “phygital” combines the popularity of virtual platforms with physical spaces to bring new levels of interaction as we reach towards more omnichannel event experiences.

4. Sustainability

Against the background of the recent COP 27 summit, we are all being urged to take action before it is quite simply too late – for our planet, for our climate, for today as well as for future generations.  The evidence is hard-hitting and life-threatening. Sustainability is no longer a tick-box exercise and with increasing momentum from governments, top-level brands and environmental activists the pressure is on to take a more sustainable approach to event operations.

Sustainability Infographic

Despite being a hot topic over the past 3 years, there is now more than ever a pronounced effort for sustainable events throughout 2023, from organisers, supplies and external influences. Re-usable architecture, biophilic design, recycled materials and carbon offsetting are just a few of the ways we can implement simple solutions to reduce an events carbon footprint and support the latest initiatives like the Net Zero Carbon Events initiative as they create a roadmap to achieve net zero carbon events by 2030. New ideologies, solutions and policies will come into force and we all must be prepared to face these new challenges head-on when they arrive.

So, with the event calendar for 2023 in full swing and new opportunities at every corner, are the roaring 2020s finally ready to start? The Experience economy is on the rise, and we’re ready to create something new.

1. Harvard Business Review

2. US Travel Association