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Somerset House highlights ‘Tribe & Trusted’ as key measure of success for brand activations 

14 Dec 2023

Somerset House, the Home of Cultural Innovators, has launched the results of its insight paper into the motivations behind brand activations and what today’s attendee expects. Tribe & Trusted: brand activations looking to drive a deeper connection and lasting loyalty is the culmination of independent quantitative research, carried out in autumn 2023.  
The research set out to interrogate what brands and creative agencies are looking to achieve from an activation, and what the biggest drivers for attendance are in a world where consumers are bombarded with digital ads from brands.   
The survey’s respondents are recognised leaders in brand activations - from creative and field marketing agencies to corporate brands across sectors including retail, gaming and fashion 
Highlights of the insight paper include:  

  • Organisations are prioritising face-to-face marketing and live experiences in order to widen their outreach, and to develop a deeper understanding of how their customers behave and interact with their brand.   
  • The economy and uneasy consumer outlook is being mitigated by brands who seek to amplify deeper and more enduring customer relationships. Consumers also value authentic experiences and the opportunity to build a relationship with a brand they can trust.  
  • How we interact with each other has changed in recent years with social media exacerbating this shift. Today’s guest wants to be part of a dynamic and exclusive experience with a likeminded tribe of consumers, drawn by shared values and outlooks.  
  • Sustainability and diversity are key considerations across the board. This reinforces the point that loyalty is established through shared outlooks, values, transparency, and trust. The focus is just as much on the purpose behind a brand as the product itself.  

Luci Sorrell, Head of Sales, Commercial Events at Somerset House, comments: “We are excited to share the outcomes and insights of our recent work with communications agency, Triggerfish, on what defines a brand activation. Our central location and heritage as a residency for the arts has led us to position ourselves as the Home of Cultural Innovators. As our brand awareness has grown so too has the interest we’ve received from brands and agencies who want to work with us to further elevate their brand. As such we recently sought the thoughts and opinions of brands, creative agencies and attendees so that we could interrogate today’s motivations behind brand activations and what consumers now expect. 
“Brand engagement and creating an authentic connection with consumers is paramount and desired by both brands and attendees alike. In a changing world, consumers want to build an emotional connection with a brand which demonstrates similar values and outlooks, as well as having an authentic purpose. As a by-product of this, brands are able to build a tribe of likeminded consumers who also value this connection.” 
“Today’s successful brand activations are no longer solely about getting a group together with the objective of ticking the ‘tried and tested product sampling box. They are instead about ‘tribe and trusted’, bringing likeminded followers together to drive a deeper connection and lasting loyalty through an authentic experience.” 
Tribe & Trusted: brand activations looking to drive a deeper connection and lasting loyalty was launched at a breakfast event which was attended by over 100 industry leaders. As part of the event, Somerset House hosted a thought-provoking panel discussion featuring senior marketeers* who shared their thoughts on the design and future directive of live experiences and activations. 

*Please see bios below from our panellists: 

Liz Arber-Debaere, PR Manager UK & Ireland at Swatch Group 
After working in menswear textiles after graduating (BA and MDS) in textiles, Liz started in PR at Ella Dror PR and The Lobby, PR fashion agency for 7 years as PR Manager and head of media looking after contemporary brands as Ashley Williams, Roberta Einer and Astrid Andersen. Liz has been working for Swatch Group with the brand, Rado, for just under 2 years, and is now PR Manager for Swatch and Flik Flak.

Ebony Atakorah, Creative Director at STUDIO DREAM 
With a decade of experience in luxury, fashion, and creative industries, Ebony has worked with influential brands and co-founded Studio Dream and Palais Beauty. Her diverse expertise and ability to bring creatives together make her a force to be reckoned with. Passionate about creating meaningful work, Ebony thrives under pressure and enjoys bringing brands to life.

Fernanda Graeff, Director at Mission 
Fernanda Graeff is a seasoned Communications professional with over 25 years of experience (and then she stopped counting!) She has worked extensively with business strategy across various agencies and clients, spanning advertising, experiential and PR. This includes serving as Managing Director of her own agency for almost a decade. Having recently marked 4 years in London, she currently holds the position of New Business Director at Mission, a leading culture, communications, and experiential agency. 
Jessica MacGillivray, Client Director at Event Concept 
Jessica MacGillivray is the Client Director at Event Concept, a creative brand activation and event production agency. Jess is an experiential marketing professional with a remarkable track record of successfully executing brand campaigns over the last 15 years. With a passion for creating immersive experiences for globally renowned brands around the world, including include Xbox, PlayStation, Twitter, Heineken, adidas, and Google, she has spearheaded numerous innovative campaigns that have captivated audiences and driven substantial brand growth.

Keziah Wildsmith, Director at Heaps + Stacks | B Corp Creative Agency 
Keziah is the founder of new generation, multi-discipline creative design studio Heaps + Stacks. Taking you from concept to delivery, the team creates culture-smart brand experiences that bring joy to you and your audience. From events, to photoshoots, to activations and packaging– they work with brands to produce experiences that are playfully chic and perfectly timed.

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