top of page
image6.gif

OVERVIEW

In the age of relentless technological advancement, the world finds itself at a crossroads that redefines the very essence of our experiences: Technology is in a head-on collision with the human desire for personal connection.

This new paradox has become a battlefield for marketers in 2024. Brands are faced with the challenge of navigating breakneck innovation whilst NewGen audiences cry out for authenticity.

The choices we make will define our relationships; a contemporary struggle for consumer attention in an increasingly nuanced and complex arena. How can ground be gained through immersive creativity? Will the spoils of victory go to digital advancement or a return to the analogue, nostalgia-laden grassroots of live events?

Join us in exploring the NewGen trends shaping the future of brand experiences. Our report aims to highlight some of the best routes to capture audience interest in 2024.

So gear up for the battle for hearts and minds, and make your choice…

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

Mask group.png

BEYOND AI

“I will never apply AI art to my work. The art form is an insult to life itself.”

- Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli

In 2023, creators hinted at a newly-imagined world where brands co-create through Artificial Intelligence (AI). The “Midjourney prompter” was the most desired role for agencies, with 16 million users by November, symbolising a momentous shift: 

But will 2024 see visionary prompting take brands into immersive AI-powered experiences?

Agencies are ditching cookie-cutter content and co-piloting creative vision with AI. It’s clear already that this technology's impact is shaking up more than just the digital realms, but live experiences too. Whispers of a bigger shift hang in the air: Artificial General Intelligence (AGI). 

AGI, as former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt defines it, involves "strategic capability" and a "sense of self-determination." So while Midjourney helps to unlock doors today, AGI promises to be, not just a tool, but a collaborator, a co-writer, reinventing the entire stage for live experiences.

Bill Gates and Chat GPT Founder Sam Altman recently agreed that the full potential of AGI hasn’t yet been realised, but its progression cannot be stopped. 

Mask group.png

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

DIGITAL DETOX

“We want to be interrupted…To turn off these alerts is to risk feeling out of touch, or even socially isolated.” - Nicholas Carr, What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains

Despite our obsession with being plugged in, 2024 will see Gen Z and Alpha further ditching the digital deluge for mindful immersion. A conscious disconnect fueling a nostalgia revival.  

It’s happening in all corners of culture: Thrifting, retro TV, and the dumbphone resurgence... It's not just a trend, it's a reimagined relationship with tech, and one that should be taken seriously.

For events, this means swapping screens and bots for authentic, IRL moments that engage all the senses and forge core memories for guests. Just one google of last month’s “utterly astonishing” 'Sault' concert proves how Drumsheds is epitomising immersion and uninterrupted engagement, its finger firmly on the pulse of this trend. 

Similarly, the resurrection of nostalgia-evoking art events like Luna Luna “Fairground of Sensations” further solidifies a new-found need for immersion that amplifies the present, not the pixelated.

Mask group.png

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

ADVANCED SPATIAL COMPUTING

A few months ago, Apple released the highly-anticipated ‘Apple Vision Pro’. “It’s an aha moment, and you only have a few of those in a lifetime”, says Tim Cook, Apple CEO.

This isn’t just playing games in a headset, exploring augmented reality or visiting virtual worlds; 2024 will herald the arrival of a new type of computing using 3D space as our workstation.

Advanced Spatial Computing (ASC) is about the wider coming trend of enabling advanced human-computer interaction by blending physical and virtual environments. And with this new technology comes the ability for audiences across the globe to truly interact in a new, mixed-reality.

This will usher in a new frontier of shared, MR experiences, fusing physical production with layers of digital realities, and providing an unrivaled immersive space. And the potential doesn’t stop there; a Presidence Research report states that the spatial computing market will reach $620.2 Billion globally by 2032.

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

COMPETITIVE SOCIALISING

“There is no greater predictor of human well-being than the amount of social time we spend with one another.”― Tom Rath, Author, Life’s Great Question

The quiet that shrouded UK highstreets during the pandemic seems but a fading memory. In its place; a vibrant new wave of competitive socialising experiences. Savills reported a 30% uptick in venues hosting these types of activities whilst the industry experienced a colossal 400% growth since 2021, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

From quaint board game hideaways, to mini-golf and axe throwing, it’s clear that younger generations still enjoy the more traditional socialising concepts. In fact, a 2023 Mintel report states that 93% of Gen Z’s have participated in competitive socialising activities in the past year. But customers want more than just nostalgia… Bowling lanes are illuminated by AR visuals. Dart boards flash with digital scoreboards. We now move into a phase of entertainment that satisfies both classic and modern needs. 

“Customers today want unique, exciting premium experiences – and that’s what we’re offering them", says F1 Arcade CFO, Jonathan Peters. 

Its recent success and plans to expand to the US show that F1 Arcade is moving the needle. It took an historic competitive concept, and innovated it with immersive technology.

Mask group.png

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

RETURN ON EXPERIENCE
(ROE)

Whether you have plans to create a nostalgic, human-centric event, or a 360 tech-induced environment, 'Return on Experience' is the new key to measuring the lasting value of live immersive experiences. 

While ROI remains crucial to assessing campaign performances, marketers are realising that focusing solely on financial metrics misses the emotional impact their experiences can have on consumers. Jonny Grant, Chief Strategy Officer at The Department explains, “brand activations that deeply immerse their audiences can explode customer connection, generating strong advocacy through the sharing of content, right the way through to purchase.” PwC’s latest survey reports great customer services resulting in up to a 16% price premium on products or services, as well as increased loyalty. In fact, 65% of consumers say a positive experience is more influential than advertising or marketing.

So how is it measurable? 

Measuring ROE goes beyond immediate engagement. It tracks the short- and long-term impact of experiences, online and offline, across consumer networks.

Through "attraction" and "connection" phases, digital and physical metrics capture attendance, conversions, dwell time, social reach, content creation, word-of-mouth, and more. A proprietary formula then quantifies the experience's total effectiveness.

Mask group.png

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

NFT IMMERSIVE ART WORLDS

NFTs have been around for a decade. But in 2021, The Block reported trading volumes surge to $13 billion. Infamous Bored Apes and Cryptopunks took the internet by storm, leading to explosions in sales across the art world, culminating the $69M sale of Beeple's “First Five Thousand Days. A JPEG that positioned him amongst the top three most valuable living artists.

It wasn’t long before brands leapt on their potential and began creating digital collectibles of their own. It also wasn’t long before the hype wore out... 

In 2024, artists are transforming user interaction with NFT art by presenting them in virtual worlds that inject ownership and agency into the very fabric of digital experiences. These visitable NFT experiences are where this art meets science, blending cutting-edge tech with artistic mastery to craft immersive worlds that bend traditional boundaries.

Fan experiences can be enhanced through collectible challenges, and the art world can introduce a new-wave of immersivity, giving the classic gallery setting a face lift. 

Artist Rich Simmons is one of the first to dip his toes into this environment. His virtual art gallery, Headcrash Hotel is a deeply immersive animated collection built with unreal engine that takes the viewer on an easter egg-filled journey.

Users can enter the gallery through digital software, and explore his art collection. This collection can also be purchased as NFTs. 

Mask group.png

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

POSITIVE
IMPACT

In 2024, "sustainable" isn’t enough. In the world of IRL experiences, it's time for impact. 

A recent McKinsey & Company report revealed that 70% of Gen Z and Alpha consumers would pay more for sustainable products in 2024. In the world of live events, what do “sustainable products” look like?
 
Investing in long-running, multi-location experiences. Upcycling existing, dilapidated spaces. Donating event materials to local institutions. Just a few ways that brands can make a positive impact, leading to tangible environmental wins, not just carbon offsets.
 
Event Cycle, a sustainable solutions agency enabling brands to make a positive impact. Following a Veuve ClicQuot event, they donated 54 pieces of furniture to new homes, “benefitting 17 charities and supporting 10 of the United Nation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the organisation's causes.”

It’s evident that brands are recognising the consumer’s need for authentic, action-based brands within the live event sector.

Leading global environmental charity, WWF, continue to champion eco-conscious practices, even throughout the process of their live events. "It's a huge challenge, but if we all act together and across every sector, including in our communications and events, there is hope", says Lucy Sargent, Director Of Philanthropy & Events at WWF. 

Mask group.png

CHOOSE YOUR PATH

THE NEWGEN EXPERIENCE

 YPulse reports 83% of Gen Z and Millennials think brands should interact more with their consumers through experiences, signifying a reawakened yearning for real-life engagement, doubled down by a 20% post-pandemic increase in those that would rather spend money on experiences than products.

However, with this desire for authentic connection matched by the persistent requirement to deliver scale, the impact of NewGen experiences that use technology to amplify the human emotion cannot be understated. 

This evolution of immersive events will intertwine nostalgia, transparency, and transformative technology to create profound connection at scale. Jonny Davis from Allied Global Marketing explains, “despite current economic uncertainties, hybrid brand experiences have consistently proven their value, offering tangible returns on investment.” 

The previous trends, all equally individual, have the ability to converge into a vibrant tapestry, rather than singular paths. People are not confined to pre-set choices, but empowered to mix and match elements from each, forging unique experiences, thus leading to one final macro-trend. 

The NewGen experience, aptly shaped by the youngest generation, explodes consumer participation through genuine immersion. 

TRY ANOTHER PATH

Mask group.png

Want to discuss how we can apply this thinking to your brand?

Mask group.png

GLOSSARY

AI: The capability of computers or programs to operate in ways believed to mimic human thought processes, such as reasoning and learning.

AGI (Artificial General Intelligence): A hypothetical type of AI that possesses the kind of general intelligence humans and animals have.

ASC (Advanced Spatial computing): An umbrella term that encompasses concepts like virtual reality and augmented reality, as well as the related concepts mixed reality and extended reality.

AR (Augmented reality): Digital content is transposed onto the real world while still allowing visibility of the real world environment.

MR (Mixed reality): Digital content is transposed onto a view of the real world, while allowing the elements to interact with one another.

VR (Virtual reality): A fully immersive visual environment that blocks the view of real environments and replaces it with a virtual one.

XR (Extended reality): An umbrella term that includes VR, AR and MR.

MIDJOURNEY: A generative AI program that creates images from natural language descriptions.

CHAT GPT: A large language model enabling users to refine and steer a conversation towards a desired style and format.

IRL: In Real Life.

ROE (Return on Experience): A metric allowing marketers to examine how consumers interact with their brand and measure how their investments in customer experience are impacting their bottom line.

NFT (Non Fungible Token): Digital assets using blockchain for unique ownership, often associated with art, collectibles, and tokenized content.

Jan-22-2024 14-23-43.gif
head image.png
Rectangle 63.png

TECH EVOLUTION

Mask group.png
Rectangle 64.png

HUMAN REVOLUTION

Rectangle 65.png
image2.gif
website background.gif
image3.gif

Gear up for the fight for consumer attention, and make your choice…

image7.gif
Jan-21-2024 16-59-40.gif

"I believe there's a 50% chance that we will have AGI by 2028."
 - Shane Legg, Founder of Google DeepMind

our forecast.gif
image 8.gif

The Department Predicts…


With the pre-Christmas arrival of Midjourney V6, and Chat GPT5 on its way, AI is already having an immense impact on our creative solutions this year. Whilst AGI is still some years off, the relentless march of AI will surely bring even greater creativity to brand experiences in 2024.

Jan-21-2024 17-19-55_edited_edited_edite

“Whatever you now find weird, ugly, uncomfortable and nasty about a new medium will surely become its signature. CD distortion, the jitteriness of digital video, the crap sound of 8-bit — all of these will be cherished and emulated as soon as they can be avoided.”
- Brian Eno, music artist and visionary

our forecast.gif
image 8.gif

The Department Predicts…


Get ready. The future of engagement might be surprisingly analogue. Expect more nostalgia-based, immersive experiences with brands repositioning historic products in 2024. 

image10.gif

"We’re going to break free from those smartphone screens. A new era of AI-driven spatial computer hardware is just getting started."
- Cathy Hackl , Founder & Chief Metaverse Officer at Journey

our forecast.gif
image 8.gif

The Department Predicts…


Yes, advanced spatial computing is going to continue to elevate the gaming industry. But prepare to see ASC infiltrate all industries, changing the way we work, and the way we experience entertainment. Brands, take note of the ways this technology has the potential to enhance consumer emotions, and even encourage purchasing decisions.

400%

Since 2021, the competitive socialising industry has grown by


 

image 12.gif
image11.gif

74%

of consumers are more likely to purchase products after engaging in a branded event

our forecast.gif
image 8.gif

The Department Predicts…


Competitive socialising is here to stay. But what we’re excited about is brand contribution.  
We expect to see more and more brands initiating and collaborating on competitive socialising experiences as a sure way to incentivise audiences, and increase overall consumer engagement in 2024.

Jan-21-2024 22-37-56_edited.jpg

"When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion."
- Dale Carnegie, Author

our forecast.gif
image 8.gif

The Department Predicts…


Measuring ROE unlocks profound benefits: deeper connections, unwavering loyalty, and long-term brand growth. In 2024, we are going to see brands adopting more measurement tools like ROE to prove the superiority of live experience in their marketing mix. By crafting more innovative, immersive experiences, brands can prove the limitless potential of shared emotions and authentic connections. 

image10.gif

"It's completely flipped my experience as an artist, it doesn't feel as lonely, it feels inclusive. We're able to build a community in our own image."
- Rich Simmons, Artist, Creator of Headcrash Hotel

our forecast.gif
image 8.gif

The Department Predicts…


NFT Immersive art worlds is going to be a trend that grows over the next few years. It presents a fascinating and scalable way for brands to collaborate with artists, to create some truly innovative digital experiences.

WWF 2_edited_edited.jpg

“We're finding solutions so future generations have a world with thriving habitats and wildlife. It's a huge challenge, but if we all act together and across every sector, including in our communications and events, there is hope.” 
 - Lucy Sargent, Director Of Philanthropy & Events at WWF

our forecast.gif
image 8.gif

The Department Predicts…

Given marketers’ focus on a generation rightly obsessed with the impact of the brands they consume, it’s only a matter of time before this becomes a crucial element of the live experiences they produce. 
In 2024, showing the positive impact of our experiences will become a mandatory requirement for agencies and brands wanting to do game-changing work. 

 

Jan-29-2024 22-56-25.gif

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou

our forecast.gif
image 8.gif

The Department Predicts…
 


We are only scratching the surface of how A(G)I and other advancements can help us co-create mind blowing memories, but a combination of technology, deep-rooted culture, and unforgettable live moments is a sure formula for 2024’s experience industry. This age of experimental creativity presents NewGen hybrid brand events as the ultimate trend to elevate the human experience.
 

BMW_EM_Batterie 2.png
Jan-22-2024 14-23-43.gif
BEYOND AI
DIGITAL DETOX
OVERVIEW
ADVANCED SPATIAL COMPUTING
COMPETITIVE SOCIALISING
ROE
NFT
POSITIVE IMPACT
THE NEW GEN EXPERIENCE
get in touch

Address

Studio 1, 2 Leathermarket St,

London SE1 3HN,

United Kingdom

Phone

+44 203 305 5878

Email

Connect

  • the department icon
  • Vimeo
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • X
bottom of page