Experiences over possessions make for a much longer lasting effect

SQN PR & Marketing Executive Sarah Byles talks about the value of experiences in creating enduring impressions and outcomes. 

I hail from a country of travellers. New Zealand is a country of boundless opportunity for experience and has a culture with a thirst for it. So much so, that many of us leave at some point in our lives to chase experiences by living overseas. At the moment it is estimated that there are around one million of us out of the country, or one fifth of the global population of Kiwis.

The “Overseas Experience” or OE is a right of passage for many and we pack our suitcases in droves each year to work in places such as the UK, Europe, Canada and even nearby Australia to experience all that life has to offer.

But that doesn’t mean you have to identify as a Kiwi or come from a culture with such massive diaspora to appreciate the benefits of experiences.

The Atlantic cites living in the moment as the most conducive method to happiness and, if you can’t do that, to plan for experiences as the second best option.

As The Atlantic’s James Hamblin deduces: “Nothing material is intrinsically valuable, except in whatever promise of happiness it carries.”

So if your material possessions no longer hold the promise of happiness, you start to look to experiences in the form of vacations, festivals, skiing trips and more. This shift in perspective could be attributed to a number of factors, unattainable housing prices and a push from the younger generations up. Or could it be that the youngsters know inherently, what older generations forget over time? 

In The Drum’s partnership with Bauer Media Group and study into young people’s habits to fulfil advertising perspectives, they succinctly summarise the shift to experiences as: “the new status symbol”. 

Of the audience studied, 71% agreed they would rather tell people about something they had done than something they have got. And this has real business significance for everyone.

The mixture of anticipation and nerves exhibited by our guests prior to their co-drive experience on our client WRC hospitality trips is great example of the long-lasting value of experiences. This is undoubtedly the highlight of the trip for guests, and is a special centrepiece to a three-day programme introducing them to the World Rally Championship.

While the trip and culmination of WRC special stage viewing, behind the scenes tours and dining experiences make for a memorable trip in itself, it’s the adrenaline factor of a once in a lifetime co-drive experience which really cements in guest’s minds the reasons why our client sponsors the sport.

Time after time we see experiences like these translating not only into stronger and more productive business relationships but into tangible outcomes. Significant improvements in channel sales figures, stocking commitments or shelf space often stem from the opportunity to see a showcase-based sponsorship in such a memorable context. In the long term, attendees are likely to view the client’s products in a higher regard due to having witnessed their working case study first hand.

So when you think about the collective benefit of something like a sponsorship programme, it’s not just about the branding or positioning opportunity or even the monetary value which can drive the most advantage. Look to what experience you’re able to get out of it. The effects of those experiences will last a lot longer and stick in the minds of those who matter most. Trust me, I’m a Kiwi.