Elevating an Event Into a Brand Experience, Summer Brand Activation Hacks, & Lessons from Cannes Lions 2018 (Elevate Connect)

Key Takeaways

  • Brand experiences should strike a balance between an engaging brand experience and a measurable, data-driven one.
  • While we all continue to seek out life hacks, there are simple summer activation hacks that can elevate your brand experience without a massive investment.
  • As one of the only places that can boast a truly captive, idle audience, the airport is an ideal place for a brand activation.

How to Turn Your Event Into a Brand Experience

Experiential marketing has always lived in a fun space, where brands are given the opportunity to design a compelling, stand-out activation. We have seen our share of elaborate campaigns, including museums dedicated entirely to ice cream or selfies. But to achieve marketing goals, bigger and more complex doesn’t necessarily translate to better. Because brand activation requires immense resources both in time and budget, companies need to prove ROI for each marketing investment.

The key is creativity, according to George P. Johnson agency. In a recent guest article on Forbes, GPJ addresses the experiential challenge by recommending that brands strike a balance between a creative-forward and data-driven strategy. In doing so, the activation will provide consumers with a positive experience and the brand with data that proves their investment was worthwhile.

How Dell Achieves Consumer Engagement Through Live Streaming

For every marketer, metrics are one of the most important components of any campaign. In event marketing, certain metrics are superior over others. One data point that’s particularly important is engagement. Event engagement starts a conversation between the brand and customer, which in turn, can lead to a long-lasting relationship. Luckily, engagement comes in many forms, including interpersonal interaction via a brand ambassador, gamification, or even online through live streaming.

Streaming live video from an event has shown to reap positive results in engagement, as well as brand exposure. It also provides the brand with an opportunity to create content before, during and after the event. One brand in particular that has found success in live streaming is Dell. In a recent Event Marketer article, Dell advisor Greg McCarthy provides tips to reach maximum live streaming potential. Read the full article here.

 Why Festivals Should Be Driving Social Impact

The popularity of and opportunity surrounding music festivals is undeniable. These pop-culture havens are prime marketing spots due to the easy access to large numbers of young buyers. But when you think music festival, “social impact” might not be the first thing that comes to mind. But it should be, at least for festival producers

According to Rehan Choudry, founder of Las Vegas-based Life is Beautiful Music Festival, festivals should prioritize social impact. In fact, not only does this produce positive results for the festivals themselves, it is generally appreciated by attendees. Rehan also explains how incorporating social impact programming can also add creativity to the event experience while still doing good in raising awareness for the cause itself.

Summer Activation Hacks to Keep Events Engaging

Summer is often thought of as a great time for brand activation. The crowds are out in high numbers, people are recreating outdoors, and families are spending quality time together until the kids go back to school. But summer also has its own set of challenges. From extreme weather to competitive oversaturation, brands need quite a bit in their toolbox to keep consumers’ interest.

Luckily, the options are endless. And many of the strategies needed for a successful summer brand activation are in the smaller details. From ensuring that there is enough shade and sitting areas to incorporating a food and beverage option, the key, according to this Omnience post, is to “capitalize on the vacation aspect of the summer season.”

Four Great Ways That Brands Can Activate in Airport Environments

Airports. For some, the first thing that comes to mind is stress and headaches. The long lines, the security checks…a necessary evil, but not optimal for the average person. But for marketers, airports can be a goldmine. In 2017, the Los Angeles International airport hosted more than 24.8 million international passengers passing through the airport. That is 24.8 million captive impressions. Passengers often have an ample amount of extra time in the airport, waiting for flights or delays. This is the perfect time for brands to foster connections with consumers who have nowhere else to go.

Experiential marketing can add extra benefits to passengers as well. Generally speaking, people are stressed, ornery, and unhappy when facing a traveling obstacle. Brands have the opportunity to turn these moments into positive ones. And the activations don’t need to be elaborate; in fact, they can be as simple as providing comfortable environments to hang out while waiting. Check out some of the most creative airport brand activations here.

Why Aristotle Can Provide Key Insights to Experiential

Experiential marketing is inherently collaborative. This is especially true for larger brand activations. It would be next to impossible to have a single individual take on the role of ideation, the building of the footprint, event staffing and logistics, and managing brand goals to completion. It’s just not possible. It takes a team, and usually teams within teams, to successfully launch a campaign.

This is the basis of thought from GPJ Australia group account director, Dylan McLaughlin, on how experiential marketers can succeed. Using Aristotle as his muse, McLaughlin continues on by explaining why each factor should be approached carefully. From start to finish, the experiential process requires empathy and insight from many people to reach a wide audience.

Google Continues to Use Experiential to Woo Consumers, This Time Through Mini Golf

Simply put, social currency is “the extent to which we share information regarding a brand as part of our everyday social lives.” While the concept of social currency is not new in the world of marketing, it has seen a renewed focus in recent years. Think about social media and all the influence (and influencers) that were born from it. By providing consumers with positive experiences, brands can earn quality social currency, which trickles through to increased sales.

It is because of this that software giants, who don’t necessary have a physical presence, use experiential marketing as a way to connect with consumers. One in particular is tech giant, Google. From their Nest firetruck in 2014 to their most recent Google Home mini golf course, the brand not only creates a physical presence, but improves each interaction with attendees. And through these efforts, the brand has amassed a wealth of social currency.

Insights from Cannes Lions 2018

Every year in Cannes, France, the best and brightest in marketing and PR/communication join top brands to celebrate the industry’s most exemplary campaigns. Inspired by the film festival that is also hosted in the city, founders created the International Advertising festival in Venice, Italy. By the third festival, the location was moved to Cannes, and the modern iteration of this festival, Cannes Lions, has continued to grow. In fact, in 2017 around 15, 000 marketing and media executives were in attendance.

All things considered, the festival is the premier place to showcase the best brand activations, and this year was no different. And with the call to regulation in influencer marketing, attendees were ready to see what this year’s experiential activations had to offer. Check out Pop2Life’s account of the festival here.

Author: Elissa LiongElissa 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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