How Adidas, Soap & Glory, and Southern Comfort Win with Experiential Marketing Events

Learn the approach successful brands take to find event staff who connect with consumers.

The media has been abuzz with reports of rivalry at this year’s FIFA World Cup. Still, the focus wasn’t only France, Croatia, and other top contenders. Instead, it’s among two of the world’s leading athleticwear brands—Nike and Adidas.

The target isn’t new for the companies. Combined, these two sponsor almost 70% of 2018 World Cup contenders. Adidas supports two teams more (for those keeping count). Their matchup dates back decades and continues to be a highlight among news outlets. This is in spite of a big disparity in sales. For 2017, CNN reports that Nike hit $15.2 billion while Adidas brought in a third of that number. However, the latter makes the larger nervous since it “has a better sense for what consumers want to buy.” And, for the moment, consumers want fashion over function—a win for Adidas, but Nike isn’t sitting idly by. It’s making strides to deliver, too.

That’s because consumer engagement stays top of mind for both brands. They seek to meet audiences with content that resonates and experiences that bind them. These strategies not only help keep consumers abreast of changes, they result in sales. In fact, an EventTrack report says event marketing experiences make 74% of consumers “more likely” to buy promoted products. This shows why Adidas and Nike ranked among the top 25 brands for U.K. experiential activations and spend for 2014-15.

There’s also another similarity in their efforts – a thoughtful approach to experiential event staffing. These companies know how important it is to have the right individuals representing them during these key experiential marketing events.

The Importance of Staff to Experiential Marketing Events and 4 Steps to Secure Them

When Adidas sought to promote its Stella McCartney line, those behind the campaign knew they needed to reach the right people. The right people were VIP influencers. The right way was a fitness workshop, hosted by famous model Karlie Kloss. Yet, the stakeholders knew there was more to this event than its main attraction. They knew that every detail had to go off without a hitch. They knew other interactions would need to take place outside of Kloss’s involvement to ensure a positive experience. Guests would need help checking in. Then, they would need guidance through the activities and to leave with tools to help them share this new line with their followers. And, they knew it all came down to event staff.

The priority placed on hiring event staff is often lower than it should be when planning for experiential marketing events. While activities, engagement tactics, and the like are of high importance, hiring the people entrusted to carry them out should hold equal weight. In fulfilling critical plans, these people will also work to hold two-way conversations that result in trust and sales. And they may even face obstacles, such as logistical issues or unhappy guests. Yet, through experience and in being flexible, the right event staff find ways to turn a tough situation around and ensure a positive outcome.

Successful Brands’ 4-Step Approach to Securing the Best Event Staff

In following these key steps, successful brands are able to find the best event staff for their activation and increase ROI.

Step 1: Identify the Right Partner

Knowing that same (or greater) billing should apply to staffing, experiential agencies and event marketing teams will partner with an event staffing company to guarantee dedicated resources. The key is to make sure the agency or project manager has the know-how and means to find the right people. It will make the remaining steps much easier and helps to ensure success from day one.

Step 2: Determine Staffing Needs

Basics for event staffing go beyond the right number of reps. The goals and objectives of experiential marketing events must be taken into account when recruiting event staff. For the Adidas influencer event, for example, individuals had to demonstrate a passion for fitness and health. Prerequisites also included experience working with influencers and celebrities, making no less than a professional brand ambassador acceptable.

Adidas and its partners knew talent of this level would secure their vision for an authentic experience and add value. This is especially true when like-minded influencers had questions or simply sought conversation. It was these interactions that would reflect in social media posts or videos of the experience and with the Adidas brand.

Step 3: Narrow Down Candidates

To choose the best candidates for the Adidas event, Elevate Staffing solicited videos from the professional staff applicants. These allowed candidates to share fitness tips and hobbies and verify alignment with the event. More importantly, it let our clients see the applicants in action to confirm the right look, passion, and know-how. Yet, some experiential marketing events may call for more in-depth evaluation based on unique skillsets.

When American whiskey brand, Southern Comfort, sought to create awareness of two products in the U.K., it planned a nationwide product sampling program, targeting six locations. To ensure consistency across borders, the campaign needed regional project managers. It would also need brand ambassadors in each location to interact with consumers and hand out samples. This meant event staff would have bartending skills and certifications. They would also need theatrical skills to personify the Southern Comfort style and provide an authentic experience.

To confirm capabilities and narrow down applicants, regional casting days took place. These gave the brand a reliable view of each person’s capabilities. It also allowed them to interact with the applicants in real-time to confirm the best for the campaign. And, all the effort paid off. Seventy-five thousand product samples were distributed and 25% of the discount vouchers were redeemed.

Step 4: Train Event Staff

Even with experienced event staff ready for activation, training must take place. One goal is to ensure individuals dress and act according to the brand’s identity and values. Plus, they must know where to report and when, as well as remember key messages to share with consumers. Many activations call for comprehensive education, such as with the all-out efforts of U.K. beauty brand, Soap & Glory.

The brand’s ambassadors, known as Glory Girls, have a specific look and certain skills related to each activation. This is on top of a passion for – and knowledge of – makeup and beauty. Whether participating in Soap & Glory’s mobile marketing tour at U.K. universities or creating brand awareness at U.S. music festivals, thorough instruction ensures the Glory Girls are comfortable with what’s expected of them and ready to give it their all. This involves in-depth styling days and instructional makeup tutorials. And, depending on the activation, it may also include dance rehearsals! It’s activations like these that show the depth and breadth of staff involvement in experiential marketing events. And when showing results, such as the Glory Girl’s adding 15,000 more followers to the brand’s social media channels, it also proves the power of training. More importantly, it shows the power of choosing the right event staff.

Author: Kelly Springs-Kelley

Kelly Springs-Kelley is the Marketing Director at Elevate Staffing. When she's not creating content or pondering the future of in-person consumer engagement, Kelly can be found hiking the mountains of Arizona with her 2 kids and 3 dogs.

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