OPINION24 August 2022

The foreseeable future: brand experiences in Q4

Leisure & Arts Opinion Trends UK

With the summer starting to fade, it’s time for brands to gear up for the fourth quarter of 2022. But what should they be focusing their energy and budgets on? Sarah Owen speaks to some leading lights to find out.

Crowd of fans at a sporting event

Victoria Herrick, strategy partner, Strat House
“The summer of sport has been a massive opportunity for brands to get involved across multiple events (even if they only do small-scale experiences) and this will continue throughout the World Cup and in the build up to Christmas. We will see an amplification of such experiences across digital channels, ensuring that more than just the attendees can take part.

“However, Q4 brand experiences will likely reflect three key themes of our time: the cost-of-living crisis, climate crisis and humanitarian crisis. The key will be to do this in a way that is supremely sensitive. Q4 is indeed the golden quarter, but failing to recognise and adapt to the challenges and concerns of many households across the UK and globally at almost any layer of the economic and social spectrum will be fatal.” 

Nick Blenkarne, strategy director, Imagination
“In short, it will be very different to Q4 of last year, where restrictions and face coverings were still in force and the usual run-up to Christmas, with all its excitement and excess was almost non-existent. Fast forward nine months and, in the UK and most of Europe at least, we’re thankfully in a much better place.

 “Consumer appetite for real-life experiences continues to rise, and we expect brands to respond accordingly in the run-up to Christmas, filled with renewed vigour after two years of heavily disrupted festive seasons.

“This will be buoyed by an unprecedented World Cup – the first of its kind in winter, and in the Middle East. This presents a huge opportunity for brands to connect with fans both in person and online toom as it’s being billed as ‘the most digital World Cup ever’.

“That said, consumers’ propensity to spend on experiences may well be quelled by the increasing squeeze on expendable income, rising energy prices, and an impending recession. There may also be some latent nervousness, certainly in the West, about another winter Covid resurgence.”

James English, managing partner, Fuse

“From the UEFA Women’s Euros to Wimbledon and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the past few months have made summer 2022 one to remember for major sporting events and the brand experiences that surround them.

“The sporting calendar for the rest of 2022 will undoubtedly be punctuated by the FIFA World Cup in November and December this year. Momentum is already building, and we know that regardless of the location of this year’s tournament, fans will want to watch and engage with the competition, presenting a clear opportunity for brands.

“However, as we head into Q4, we must be cognisant of the current economic climate and how this will impact brand experiences. We expect that the economic conditions in many markets will likely encourage consumers to prioritise spending on fundamental needs and potentially staying at home to save money. This will impact where and how people interact with brands around major sporting events.

“We anticipate fewer in-person experiences, either in pubs, fan zones or in Qatar itself, with more fans watching with friends and family at home. Obviously, brands which can play a credible and relevant role in the viewing behaviour of this audience are well placed to capitalise on the World Cup. Beyond this, brands that can deliver personalised, meaningful experiences, regardless of a consumer’s location are most likely to succeed.”

Sarah Owen is the CEO of Pumpkin