At its core, the goal for many brands when executing an activation is to demonstrate ROI. Whether success is measured in increased sales or increased brand awareness, marketers often seek success by creating a memorable, meaningful experience. However, exactly how “memorable” an experience is can be arbitrary.
Luckily, there are tactics that have been shown to result in highly memorable interactions with a large number of consumers. Some tried-and-true engagement pieces still hold sway, such as an “Insta-worthy” photo op, but brands need to elevate their activation beyond the anticipated “basics.” Recently Biz Bash shared insights from event professionals from top brands and agencies who regularly crush it when it comes to building incredible live experiences. Check out their advice here.
Many brands are embracing purpose-driven marketing as a way to do good and connect with consumers in a meaningful way. Sometimes the cause or charity is significant to someone in a leadership position at the company, such as in the case of Sprouts Farmers Markets. For many years the grocer has supported Autism Speaks, a cause which is near and dear to CEO Doug Sanders, who has a young child affected by the disorder. In other cases, brands will find giving inspiration by looking at the issues affecting their industry or communities, such as in the recent case of Country Time Lemonade.
As Event Marketer reports, this past summer saw a number of kids getting busted by police – not for illicit activities, but for setting up lemonade stands. The brand was shocked to see the treatment of these kids in what is a time-honored, entrepreneurial activity, so they did something about it. They launched the Country Time Legal-Ade campaign, “a fund to help aspiring lemonade sellers apply and pay for a permit or, if families had already been slapped with a fine for engaging in this renegade activity, receive reimbursement.” It’s no surprise that the campaign was met with great enthusiasm from the communities affected.
Driven in large part by influencers, many beauty enthusiasts are quick to jump at the opportunity to learn new makeup tips and techniques. But since cosmetics are dependent on personal factors like skin type, undertones, and preference, many customers are weary of spending an excessive amount on unfamiliar products. Which is why beauty retail giants like Sephora or Ulta incorporated a try-before-you-buy experience to drive sales.
Upon stepping inside these retailers, one sees rows upon rows of products of all types, along with a tester for customers to swatch. And while providing testers is an extra expense, the data show that they are worth the investment. In creating a space that allows customers to see exactly how the makeup will sit on their skin or match their complexion, 79% of consumers are purchasing new products in these stores
The focus on health and wellness has changed the way brands approach marketing a number of new and existing products. Consumers have more information on how food impacts their health and are making purchasing decisions accordingly. The pivot towards health-conscious options has led to brand partnerships that seek to increase their marketing impact by broadening each companies’ reach through audience sharing.
One recent example is Australian-based vitamin brand, Swisse, which partnered with yoga brand Wanderlust on a series of festival-like wellness activations. Dubbed “Destination Happiness” the experience provided a wellness oasis within a one-day event called Wanderlust 108, complete with massage therapists and a meditation dome. Each component of the footprint featured a Swisse product and touted its health benefits. The partnership allowed Swisse an opportunity to target consumers who were already concerned about positive health and well-being and was able to elevate both themselves and the Wanderlust 108 event.
The pop-up shop trend has shown that these temporary activations have few rules. They can take place in highly-trafficked locations or smaller venues. They are executed at any time of year. However, many industries do benefit from popping up during holiday seasons, like e-commerce brands. And using the holidays as a platform, brands can capitalise both on a festive experience while driving direct sales.
Online beauty brand, Green Beauty, is looking to achieve this balance. This month they are launching a 2-day exclusive pop up in Chicago. The brand is using the holiday to create an experience that combines service and hospitality. Upon entry, attendees have their coats taken and can shop for products, take photos, and even have their purchases gift-wrapped. The pop-up experience plays heavily on traditional holiday nostalgia, and is successful in pairing emotion to achieve the company’s more practical goals.
Despite the many debates that have surrounded the retail-pocalypse, it’s clear that brick-and-mortar is still standing. In fact, it’s not just standing – many retail establishments are thriving. Yet, the stores of today do not look the same way that they did the past. Modern consumers expect more than racks and a register. To compete with the ease of ecommerce, retail stores have been using experiences and pop-ups to change the way people shop and lure them away from shopping via a screen.
Giving shoppers a brand experience has also allowed companies to be creative and demonstrate their brand’s personality. For some, this has included incorporating a café, like Nordstrom. These secondary concepts elevate the shopping experience, get more people into the store, and encourage consumers to stay longer. For others like Sephora, producing an exclusive one-time event (on top of an already interactive shopping experience) has helped them connect with consumers and increase their following.
For some brands, trade shows are an integral part of brand growth. And for good reason, considering that 77% of decision-makers found at least one new supplier through one of these events. But trade shows are noisy and crowded. It can be difficult and challenging for brands to get attention from their target audience. Whether it’s adding an interactive element or investing in incentives, standing out can mean stretching your trade show budget, which may tempt you to cut costs elsewhere.
As this Event Marketer article points out, while there may be parts of the budget that you can play with, there are three key items that should not be overlooked. From ensuring great internet access to factoring in the maintenance of your footprint, make sure you have a line item clearly drawn for these key trade show elements.