What is brand experience and how do you get into it?
Whether you have or haven’t heard of it, brand experience is a fascinating corner of the advertising and branding industries. No one knows this better than global creative agency Amplify. From organising a sleepover at the Louvre for Airbnb, to hosting an interactive creative residency in the heart of London’s Piccadilly Circus for Google, Amplify have helped countless brands connect with their fans in imaginative ways. As true experts in this field, we’ve asked the team to give us a full tour of this sector – what it is, how to get into it and what to expect.
*This article is part of our year-long partnership with Amplify.
🤔 What is brand experience?
Brand experience can really be anything, but for us it’s when brands show up in a meaningful way. An experience should help a brand connect with their consumers and fans, both present and future, in real life or online.
Brand experience can sometimes be simplified and thought of (insufficiently) as ‘event marketing’. This isn’t untrue of what we do, though it’s just a fragment of what brand experience can be. A brand experience should always answer a business challenge; we’re not just throwing parties – although we love to do that too!
Clients are often looking for answers to different problems: some want better brand recognition or to attract headlines. Others might want to launch or give people a taste of a new product. But all of our clients want their audience to feel like they’ve gotten closer to their brand, products or what they stand for – even if they’ve not actually been physically near over the past few years.
An experience can take many different forms, too. Sometimes a brand experience is ‘below-the-line’ and is an online interaction, and at other times it sits ‘above-the-line’, and is an interactive billboard, flipping a traditional format on its head.
🔨 What skills are required?
In brand experience, we’re often trying to bring strategy and creativity together to answer briefs, so if you enjoy problem-solving, then you’ll be right at home in the industry! In addition to this, here are some of the essential skills and traits that are useful to have or develop:
- A natural curiosity and interest in people, culture, brands and marketing; you’re always looking for new and inspiring creatives and collectives
- Communication; from writing presentations to being on calls and handling emails
- Collaboration and teamwork; you’re a good listener and can adapt to other people’s ways of working
- Being pragmatic, calm and well-organised when it comes to deadlines; managing multiple priorities and communicating realistic timings
- Efficient and able to work quickly while paying attention to detail
- Self-reflective, responsive to feedback and always striving to improve
- Respecting established processes but also willing to add your own flair
👀 Where have I seen it before?
A good example is our Curiosity Rooms project to mark the launch of the Google Pixel 3 phone. The main challenge at the heart of the brief was to ‘make every day more extraordinary’, so we came up with the concept of ’curiosity rooms’.
Taking over three floors of an unused store in London’s Regent Street, over five weeks we hosted talks, workshops, catwalk shows, dining experiences and performances – including a few appearances from the likes of Professor Green and John Boyega.
📜 What kind of jobs can I do?
From creatives to producers and client services, there are plenty of roles within brand experience, and across various seniorities. These include but are not limited to:
Business Directors and Leads:
💼 What tasks does it involve?
- Pulling briefs apart and challenge clients
- Coming up with ideas, platforms, experiences, campaigns and executions
- Working with strategists to build on ideas
- Creating mood boards and presentations
- Writing treatments and copy
- Researching and pulling out interesting observations to help inform ideas
- Writing a succinct and clear creative brief using the original client brief and insights from initial strategy work
- Creating and writing interesting starting points for creatives to work with
- Making sure the team answer the challenges set by the client
- Being the brand guardian and ensuring we’re answering the brief in a unique way
Business Directors and Leads
- Building and managing relationships with clients to build trust
- Overseeing the brief, budget and plan
- Setting and managing the expectations of the client and team; this can mean sometimes having challenging conversations to make sure expectations are realistic, using the brief and scope of work as reference
- Finding opportunities for the agency in line with the business’ ambitions; growing accounts and projects is a huge focus
- Leading on projects, tracking and driving all elements through various stages
- Bringing together internal talent, external suppliers and clients
- Working with all departments to test the feasibility of ideas
- Exploring timelines to ensure projects can be delivered on time and within budget
- Ensuring that company guidelines are adhered throughout a project, from legal considerations and IT compliance to environmental sustainability goals
- Tracking and maximising on a project’s potential while keeping an eye on profit; this often means analysing supplier choice and using negotiation skills
- Overseeing quality control and assessment
💰 What can I expect to be paid?
Graduate or first roles tend to start at around £24,000, with junior roles (anyone with over a years’ experience) usually stretching from £28,000 to £35,000.
🧫 What are the culture and hours like?
For us, the last two years have demonstrated how important blended working is. Prior to the latest government advice, we were working three days in the office and two from home.
It’s important for us all to be together in-person regularly to connect socially and professionally, especially when working to tight deadlines or on complex projects.
We also appreciate that people like to get their heads down or get meetings actioned on the days they work from home. From what we’ve heard, this is similar across the industry.
➡️ How can I get into it?
There are many ways to get into brand experience design. We recommend these access schemes as good places to start:
💬 Any last words of advice?
Whether you’re finding inspirational imagery on Pinterest, saving powerful posts on Instagram, drawn to the TV during an ad break or notice a brand while playing a game – find out who was behind it.
Find out which brands and agencies created it, who produced it and search for them on LinkedIn. Work out who the best person is to contact, and see if you can get in touch on their website or via LinkedIn itself.
Before you contact anyone – and especially if you’re applying for a role — make sure your LinkedIn profile and CV are updated, proofed and match each other. Your strengths and skills should be made clear, and you should be able to explain how your experiences make you an interesting candidate in our industry. For example, any experience working in retail customer service can make for great client relationships and crisis comms!
Then, write yourself a succinct introduction and get yourself out there!
*Amplify is a Creative Lives in Progress brand partner. Every year, we partner with like-minded brands and agencies to support our initiative and keep Creative Lives a free resource for emerging creatives. To find out more about how you can work with us, email [email protected]