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Goran Gohring, Managing Partner of STAGG & FRIENDS, Düsseldorf

Göran Göhring is the managing partner of the agency STAGG & FRIENDS, which focuses on live experiences. Together with his agency team he has been creating events for more than 20 years, from face-to-face and digital training courses to press events and management conferences.

Q: What is the difference between events, brand experience and experience marketing?
Why do we want to make it so hard for the customer? Such terms are mostly just positioning terms used by agencies. I do not actually use the term ‘experience marketing’ at all, because it is not about “marketing” here, but about a certain communication form of marketing. Whatever you want to call it, it’s important that the content of an event, a brand experience or a live experience is created around the brand and the product, as well as the specific target group, otherwise even the best idea will fall flat. Furthermore, it is essential that the process reliability is continuously secured in the implementation, because an event is always live – there is no second chance to put your message across.

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Q: Why do experiential marketing events work best?
It always depends on what you want to achieve. There were already really well thought-out events in the past, which were actually a live experience and as such worked admirably as a format. What is important is the further development of the event formats in line with the brand and product development. Here you need strong content-based thinking, as well as good ideas and solutions from the agency.

The Daimler Global Training Events is a good example. These face-to-face training sessions are held each year for sales and after-sales staff. They are always strategically designed around the brand and product, continuously developed through digital formats, and always on the premises: every idea has to support the training goals, increase the sales of the products and thus contribute to the added value of Mercedes-Benz.

Q: What kind of results can experiential marketing bring in comparison to other marketing activity?
I believe in the communication trio of: classic – digital – live. The live experience will play a much bigger role in future than today, because digital brand and product touchpoints with the target group are very important. These can then be meaningfully supplemented and extended by live experiences. Furthermore, in contrast to other measures, live experiences can stimulate all four senses (hearing, sight, smell and touch) at once and thus generate a stronger emotionalisation and recognition of the messages.

Management conferences are a good example of this, especially for globally active companies that are in a continuous process of change, where it is important that the top management carry out regular face-to-face events, because purely digital communication cannot fully convey the wealth of core messages. Management meetings are then more than just three days of Powerpoint battles across the sessions; the successful concepts are those that provide a common thread when it comes to core messages – from the prior communication and all the formats of the actual conference – including team building, networking and workshop elements through to the cascading of the messages outside of the event. This is the only way that live communication can deliver.

Q: What are the latest trends in experiential marketing?
Currently, campaigns in which digital and analogue formats are interconnected are very successful. Last year, we designed and implemented various projects that fully support this. By way of example, in the training for the SEAT Ibiza there was a digital game that was played by participants in the run-up and also during the training. In the evaluation, we then established that the learning results of all the event participants had increased precisely due to this gamification format. The well-trained sales force then makes an optimised contribution to improved value creation.

Q: What experiential marketing campaigns have inspired you in the past year?
The Philharmonic Orchestra Hamburg case of Jung von Matt, where over 100 musicians performed together at more than 50 locations in Hamburg. A technical masterpiece, but above all a great idea for a live experience.

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Q: What’s been your favourite project to work on so far and why?
As I have designed and implemented events and live-experience formats since 1992, it is very difficult for me to highlight one event. We have very successful projects in the agency every year. In 2016 alone, we won 17 awards.

Q: What is the best book you’ve read on experiential marketing or marketing in general?
I read a lot, so I will recommend one of the books I read most recently: “Start with why” by Simon Sinek.

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STAGG & FRIENDS is today one of the leading communication agencies for live communication. For nearly fifteen years, the approximately 50-member team has developed extraordinary live experiences of brands and products at the Champions League level for automotive companies such as Daimler, Volkswagen, Volvo and other DAX 30 companies. At their Düsseldorf base, the team creates strategic and creative communication concepts that are always dependable and have good process reliability. STAGG & FRIENDS is the only communication agency with a focus on live-experience to be a member of the GWA (German Association of Communication Services).

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