Did you know the history of food trucks dates back to 1866? That was the year the “chuck wagon” hit the trail, feeding cattlemen and others moving across the Old West. Although mobile dining is nothing new, it’s important to point out the concept wasn’t held with as high regard as it is today. Various articles remind us of people’s lack of desire to buy from these vendors under their previous nickname, “roach coaches.” But, recently, this negative distinction was transformed as millennial culture embraced the food truck. In fact, in the years 2008-2017, mobile food services was number three on USA Today’s list of fastest growing industries.
That’s because food trucks and other mobile options not only offer convenience for hungry passersby. They deliver the authentic experience millennials crave and gives both the chef and the food an alluring level of accessibility. And this kind of intimacy is much like the one that experiential marketing provides. It’s why marketing executives find experiential marketing so effective in meeting goals. A third of them plan to spend 21-50 percent of budgets on activations in the coming years. And, like the 155% employment growth in the mobile food services industry, the increase in live brand experiences is driving the need for event and experiential staff. It’s no surprise that the number of event staffing agencies has climbed. Though this development should seem to be a positive one, the fact is many often lack the experience or infrastructure to deliver results.
No matter how original or exciting your experiential strategy may be, if the people on the front lines aren’t as exceptional, its impact – and results – may be less than optimal. Still, the evaluation of event staffing agencies is seldom at the top of a long list of campaign elements. To add to the challenge, event staffing budgets may also be slim. But, brands can’t afford to rely on anyone less than great to provide the authentic experience millennials and others expect.
At a high level, your event staffing agency partner should understand your plans and the need to supply the best people. These are individuals who personify the brand and its values and know what’s necessary for authentic human engagement in your brand’s context. The agency must also employ them as W-2 staff, providing legal protection for themselves and your company as a co-employer.
An experienced agency will understand that cost is a consideration in your decision and will seek to maximize your investment. For example, they should offer in-depth event staff training to ensure teams are well-versed on your brand, products, messaging, and goals. The right partner will also set qualitative and quantitative KPIs to ensure alignment with metrics and report results.
Yet, there are other details necessary to stay on course in your search, so you can get the right information and end with a successful campaign.
Ask yourself the following questions when evaluating an event staffing agency. In doing so, you will be equipped to make the most of this critical investment.
Brands with a regional or global presence, or those seeking to build such, may launch campaigns that include several markets. When campaigns incorporate various locations, including staffing across borders, using one agency with presence in all the areas offers many benefits. One is the consistency. You have one team sourcing and training staff, which ensures clean messaging and centralized accountability. This also offers ease from activation to activation so you don’t have to worry about repeatedly starting from scratch in sourcing quality event staff.
Consumers seek a personal approach when engaging with brands. So, as brands seek to provide this kind of individual-first service, they will need representatives who understand the consumers. When Adidas launched its Stella McCartney line, for example, it held events specific to yoga and boxing. This required fitness enthusiasts that were knowledgeable in each respective area to be most effective in reaching consumers with the same passion.
Industries that are highly competitive will also want to seek specialized event staff. This ensures they are competent in answering consumers’ questions and demoing products. It’s necessary to earn their trust to earn their purchase. Seek an event staffing agency that has experience in your industry or with your target audience. A review of their client portfolio or case studies should provide a base level of information.
Besides industry or market-specific event staff, you may uncover needs for other specialty individuals. For example, use of virtual reality and augmented reality is prevalent in experiential activations today. And, stakeholders know that having educated people, such as those trained on the Oculus line of products, to guide consumers is necessary to make the desired impact.
You can also up the wow factor when you opt for specialty event staff, such as mixologists versus bartenders or a character actor versus a person in costume. An established event staffing agency will have access to a wide variety of talent, helping you maximize your investment and take efforts to the next level.
Knowing your needs and understanding what makes a good partner make finding the right event staffing agency easier. At Elevate, we are proud to the be the partner of choice for brands big and small around the world. Contact us to learn why we’re the best partner for your brand, too.