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01: Finding Value(s) In A Post-Covid World

This will be the first piece in our series on Future of Experience.

We’ve been locked down. Thirsting for the doors to open to see our favorite band, dance with our closest crew, experience life as we used to know it– full color amidst gatherings of friends and strangers. That is the electricity of shared moments; the pulse of the human condition that has driven us since, well, forever.

This currency is what marketers have long tried to convert into excitement for their brand or client through ‘experiential marketing’. $84 billion was spent on experiential marketing in 2019. We’ve all seen the quotes and stats with emboldened big M Millennials eschewing the material for the experiential; and brands finding ways to stand out and invigorate audiences through their own variations of the sort.

And yet one year into a pandemic that has pushed us inside and behind screens, devoid of the casual rubbing of shoulders, that currency has been predominantly digitized. We FaceTime instead of grab a coffee. We Zoom instead of meet. We collect digital forms of memories and art pieces for millions of dollars digitally barcoded. We go to the movies and shop and eat like mad with a few clicks, an electric impulse connecting desire to service provider to lips, ears, pupils in the matter of minutes if not seconds.

Now this is not all bad - and the pandemic alteration of our old way of doing has brought a lot of good. Environmental – less travel has made our air and water cleaner. Economic – companies and individuals are saving money. And Personal – the collective We have more of our most precious resource – time. Time with loved ones, time for passion pursuing, time to invest in our communities, and time to re-evaluate our old ways of doing. So as we peek around the corner towards ‘normalcy’, we need to take stock, weigh our values, and bring intention to how we think about creating IRL experience. Because they need to evolve and they need to bang.

We started MATTE as concert organizers and filmmakers. As we progressed into a full creative studio, the power of creating mini-worlds that people care about and come together to share became a driving force of our work.  I am a firm believer in the power of collective gathering. Being in the same room experiencing the same thing is transcendent. So much so that humans packed stadiums to watch other humans compete in virtual eSports tournaments. There is an in-person human energy that the highest quality screen has yet to conduct. 

As Emile Durkheim, the 19th century French godfather of sociology, once said, “There exists a source of religious life as old as humanity and which can never run dry: It is the one which results from the fusion of consciences.”

This transcendence can be achieved “by the mere fact of coming together, thinking together, feeling together, acting together.”

We mustn’t lose this sacred act of communion but we also can’t go back to the old way of operating. For brands plotting their entrée back into the experiential game, establishing value will be ever more important in creating resonant experiences. Here are the ones organizers and patrons should hold dear.

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