Brand Activation Lessons from Music Festivals, E3’s Continued Impact, & Using Crowdshaping to Drive Event Engagement (The White Board)

Key Takeaways

  • Before executing a brand activation at a music festival, brands are wise to study the festival itself to learn what resonates with attendees.
  • Crowdshaping is a little-known tactic that event producers are using to create better events in real time. Understanding more about it could help brands execute more effective events..
  • Non-traditional event venues can wow attendees but understanding nuances and special considerations is critical for a successful activation.

The Secret Behind the Success of Music Festivals

The arrival of summer is always met with buzz surrounding music festivals. And why not? They are massive cultural events in which brands can hyper-target and engage consumers where they are open to brand messaging. From Coachella to Glastonbury, brands want to present their best selves at the biggest festivals. At some of the top 20 festivals of 2017, the number of attendees exceeded over 200,000 people, with revenues ranging between $114,000 to $6,000,000.

But what makes a festival popular? What is it that Coachella and Bonnaroo are doing that draws record breaking numbers year after year? In looking at what makes these festivals so popular, brands can find insight related to the type of people that they will meet. This Entrepreneur article breaks down three major festivals that are doing “it” right, and how.

Using Crowdshaping to Drive Consumer Engagement at Events

There is a concept in the event industry that is not commonly discussed but is being used to shape events. Crowdshaping. This tech-driven tactic uses live, usually passive data to help event producers adjust and tailor attendees’ experiences in real time. In other words, crowdshaping feeds information to producers that help them run a smoother event, from easing line lengths to timing panel presentations.

As exciting a concept as crowdshaping is, it is still developing. Like all science-based ideas, it requires many of variables to execute. Not to mention, there are multiple approaches to crowdshaping. In a recent blogpost, Endless Events explains how event producers can use both passive and active methods of crowdshaping.

E3 Continues Its Growth Trajectory and High Industry Impact

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) first launched in May 1995 as a tradeshow for people in the video game industry. The inaugural event saw close to 50,000 attendees, and was quickly regarded as the biggest event in the video game industry. Fast forward to 2017, and the attendance number has jumped to 68,400, which includes 15,000 public tickets, targeting a group that had not been welcomed in past years.

Despite a part of the event being available only to industry professionals, the pivot towards allowing the public to attend provides an opportunity. As this Association Now article points out, “the success of these press conferences appears to be the aggressive pummeling to the public with lots of stuff.” Not only do brands have an opportunity to reach the public, social media and live stream impressions from this group will further brand exposure.

What You Must Know If Considering a Non-Traditional Event Venue

Non-traditional event venues are generally those locations found in nature, like jungles or remote mountainous escapes. While activating at one of these atypical locations might be a new venture for most marketers, the reward can be great. If the primary goal of experiential is to create a memorable brand experience for consumers, then these set brands up to succeed. And with more companies adopting experiential, marketers need to think outside of the box.

Non-traditional locations allow for a tremendous amount of creativity, but these activations require additional planning. In a recent blog post, Becore lists 5 considerations for brands before tackling the non-traditional challenge. These concepts seem straight forward, like knowing where the bathroom is, but in a space in which these things are not inherently “built in,” they can be overlooked. Check them all out here.

Bringing Brand Values into Marketing to Resonate with Millennials

Everyone is targeting millennials, and that means going further than acronyms and avocado toast references. To keep things fresh, many brands are instituting pop-ups in cities like LA and NYC to create experiences that show the brand’s value proposition, core values, and personality. Mike’s Hard Lemonade recently did this with their successful campaign “Drink on the Bright Side,” which was popular on digital media and television last year.

Mike’s VP of marketing, Sanjiv Gajiwala, recently explained to Forbes that to keep things fresh in 2018, the brand is encouraging “drinking on the bright side” with their own pop-ups. They are also listening to brand and retail partners who are on the front lines who are equally invested in the consumer helped them make an impact. Part of that attention led to Mike’s heavy focus on culture and how the brand could be a complement to that. “Culture impacts our brand and how we communicate with our target audience in a huge way,” Gajiwala says. “Everything we do is rooted in what matters to our customers. This includes how we can enhance their everyday lives and what they care about.”

How 3 Leading Brands use AR and VR to Create Memorable Customer Experiences

We’ve previously discussed the potential of both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) when incorporated into a brand activation. Over the past few years, several large brands have begun to embrace the possibilities associated with these tools and are increasing the number of brand activations that use these technologies.

American Express embraces experiential marketing and is also an early adopter of both types of technology. As a long-time US Open sponsor, the brand used VR to connect fans with their favorite tennis players. At Coachella, they incorporated AR to give attendees an opportunity to buy merchandise using the Coachella app’s camera. AMEX shows that these reality-bending technologies have a place both in immersive consumer engagement as well as in a practical way to drive immediate sales.

 How Direct-To-Consumer Brands Can Bring an Online Concept Offline

Making the leap from ecommerce to brick-and-mortar can be an uncertain task. Just because a company has a large online following doesn’t necessarily translate to a successful store front. But sometimes the payoff can be worth the risk and effort. Consider online mattress giant, Casper, who despite 95% of consumers preferring to buy their mattresses in-store, managed to amass a $300 million-a-year online business. Running off this momentum, Casper set their sights on a store front.

One of the ways Casper made in-store retail a sustainable investment is by aligning both their online and offline consumer interests. This strategy helped the brand establish an evolving store experience. This approach is what Forbes argues is the key to success for ecommerce brands looking to go offline.

How to Increase Lead Generation Numbers and Save Costs

Trade shows are a unique environment in which brands, especially newer ones, can gain both visibility and credibility. In fact, 91% of trade show attendees claim trade shows impact their buying decisions because they allow for competition comparison in real time. Not only can tradeshows increase a brand’s customer base, they can create an opportunity to see what is working for other brands and competitors.

One of the biggest questions companies ask when attending a trade show is how to improve ROI through lead generation. There are key considerations in both the planning and execution processes, but first is setting measurable goals with which to build your activation. Based on these goals, the decisions of booth design and technology use are easier.

Author: Elissa Liong

Elissa Liong is the Data and Analytics Manager at Elevate Staffing. She's a certain kind of particular, and loves thinking about all things data and insights. When she's not uncovering consumer insights and building out engagement tools that people love, she is probably at the gym or reading online spoilers about TV shows (even for episodes she hasn’t watched yet).

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