We humans are social animals. There is something within us that drives our need to participate rather than to simply witness. The need to belong and to connect with other people is encoded within our DNA. We experiential marketers (along with entire business sectors from theme parks to restaurants) have long been tapping into this fundamental human need and using it capture customers’ attention and increase their engagement with our clients’ brands.

This spring, an unprecedented pandemic came along and rendered many of the physical manifestations we’ve long relied on virtually untenable. But the fundamental human desires that drove our activations never went away. If anything, those forces may be stronger than ever, as evidenced by the large numbers of people seen attending outdoor campaign events in the final days of election season.

At Spinifex, we’ve been mostly helping our clients to meet those needs for connection by creating digital experiences that people can participate in from the safety of their own homes. Often these have been fun engagements meant to accompany virtual events, and other elements of brands’ newly pivoted event strategies. We’ve seen a strong demand for these kinds of experiences in the months during which virtually all on-person events have been canceled.

We’ve leveraged a number of digital technologies to help foster virtual connection. We’ve created detailed models and intricate worlds in 3D, and we’ve introduced our clients customers to new experiences using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). These technologies have made it possible to create beautifully realistic and engaging customer experiences. And such virtual experiences may remain part of the event landscape for years to come.

But we’re also beginning to see the light at the end of this tunnel. Sometime next year we will likely return to a time when people can be brought together in groups again. Granted they may need to be smaller groups, and convened in larger outdoor or well-ventilated indoor spaces. In the near-term we may still need to promote mask-wearing, six-foot distancing, and frequent use of hand sanitizer. Buffet style catering may be on the outs for a while, as might tightly packed experiences like concerts. But with the right plan, most types of corporate events will be doable. And given that deep-seated fundamental need for human interactions, it will be worth the planning and investment for many brands.

We very much look forward to return of live events and face-to-face interactions. And when that time comes we’ll no doubt go back to creating the kind of physical experiential activations we did pre-pandemic. But in the meantime we’ll keep engaging and connecting people virtually. Because just like food and water, connection is really a basic human need.

Featured Image: Toa Heftiba on Unsplash