Part 2 in our 5-part strategy series on where experiences are headed in 2023 and beyond. GPJ unpacks five audience trends, what they mean for experiential and gives actionable steps to guide your marketing strategy towards the shapes of things to come.

In Part 1: Full-Contact Experiences, we addressed the human need to make up for lost time after the intense separation and isolation of a global pandemic. When the ‘real world’ shut down, virtual worlds opened up to take the place of what got left behind. Concerts found stages in Fortnite, we traveled the world through Zoom and events without physical footprints gave birth to digital twins. All of a sudden, planet Earth was virtually immersed.

Unintentionally Trapped

For years leading up to the pandemic, a growing number of people had been turning to video games and VR for immersive escapes from the everyday. But when the everyday moved its way into virtual space, it was virtual reality that needed escape.

Community & World-Building

As restrictions loosened and lifted, social scenes roared back to life, the virtual exodus returned us to the real world—and the desire for immersive world-building came with us. Fast forward through immersive Van Gogh, the Vegas Sphere, and Apple’s Vision Pro to arrive at the present moment of ‘peak immersion’.

Into the Deep

With people hungrier than ever for otherworldly experiences, and with spatial computing and physical spaces now wide open, everything from art and theatre to fine dining and fitness is getting an immersive expansion.

What Does This Mean to Me?

For brands, it’s essential to recognize that immersive experiences are more than party tricks. In fact, immersion is known to enhance learning, social connection and human wellbeing. As experience designers, we must also consider advances in technology and ongoing social disruptions as reasons why this need to build real immersion is so greatly amplified.

While immersion is a feeling that can be reproduced in virtual space, to be truly, fully immersed is a physical phenomenon. If you would like a deeper dive on the topic, reach out to us for a brainstorm and you’ll receive Part 2 of our strategy report.

All caught up? Read Part 3 of our series, Experience Futures: Native Sponsorship.