Live Events Improve Digital Marketing, the Importance of Brand Ambassador Accountability, & the Best of NYC Experiential Retail (Elevate Connect)

Key Takeaways

  • Live events can serve as an anchor for big-picture marketing engagement, generating content that translates on-line to boost social media.
  • Brand ambassadors serve a critical function at experiential events and must have built-in accountability to achieve campaign goals.
  • Festivals serve as a valuable place for brands to engage with consumers, but before investing in the next new thing, brands should be cautious.

Using Live Events to Make Digital Marketing Better

In the modern marketplace, marketers are tasked with facilitating a larger brand experience that extends before, during and after purchase. Now, it is more critical than ever to have a consistent message across mediums and platforms, and to integrate them to reinforce the brand experience.

Live events let brands have face-to-face conversations with consumers, which is an unusual opportunity. And when brands incorporate a social media campaign in conjunction with a live event, the number of engagements exponentially rises. In fact, this combination can boost clickthrough by 236%. Yet, some brands are going above and beyond to merge in-person and digital, creating experiences that consumers love to share. From the immersive Westworld experience at SXSW 2018 to a floating Corning Museum of Glass, it is through amazing activations that brands are “linking that in-person interaction with the digital connection” for a more impactful on-screen experience.

Tiny Houses Take Experiential By Storm

If you aren’t a regular HGTV viewer, it’s about time you found out: tiny houses are a big deal. Not only are they becoming popular places to live and inspiriting a slew of new television shows, they are popping up in brand activations. And it makes sense. Not only do tiny houses allow brands to get creative, the small spaces are cost efficient and easy to transport. These factors can lead to better consumer participation, improved engagement numbers, and higher ROI.

Take for example, State Farm’s tiny Road House. The tiny house traveled around the United States, stopping at various football tailgating events. The activation made something as typical as insurance into a fun, unique, and interactive activity for football fans. Check out other great examples of tiny house activations here.

The Best of NYC Experiential Retail

Consider that 72% of online shoppers agree that in-store experiences are important. This data demonstrates that brick and mortar has an opportunity, even amongst the perceived gloom of large store closures. But to stay in the game, many brands must change their approach. Store closures are happening for a reason, but companies are finding success in adopting an experiential retail approach. Immersive stores serve as a brand destination and appeal to younger experience-hungry generations.

The key to experiential is finding a creative, memorable way to connect with consumers. It’s important for retailers to incorporate elements that make sense in relation to their brand and the products they are selling. Take for example, some of the more successful experiential retail stores in the New York area. Adidas’ retail store is unlike any other from the brand and includes a miniature track where customers can measure their strides as they run. Compare this to Nike’s immersive store experience that instead focuses on the rich history of the brand. Retail Dive lists 22 of NYC’s best experiential retail experiences.

Brand Ambassador Accountability is Important for Experiential Campaign Success

Brand ambassadors are often underrated in the planning stages of an experiential event. Yet, they serve as a direct connection between the brand and consumers, embodying the company itself. Data shows that they have the power to establish long-term, positive connections with customers. Ensuring the brand ambassador is professional and aligns with the brand is important. An ideal brand ambassador not only communicates messaging but conveys a contagious excitement for the brand and its products.

Aside from being the face of the company, brand ambassadors are also its eyes and ears. This means they can, and should, gather data from the field and deliver detailed event reports. And this information can be vital. From the “temperature” of the event, an assessment of the location, and more, the detail they provide can shape future activations and help show ROI. And in order for this to take place, those staff members must be held accountable. This post outlines why and how brands can help their event staff be successful.

You Need to Know These Event Tech Terms

In experiential marketing, technology has taken center-stage, providing efficiencies and rich opportunities for consumer engagement. Event technology has shown to increase productivity and decrease costs. But as helpful as tech can be, it comes with a plethora of challenges. Not to mention the challenge of keeping up with the buzzwords that you need to understand.

Bizbash recently published a “cheat sheet” that outlines the most common terms as it relates to event technology. These include virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) and the difference between the two (in case anyone is unsure). The article also includes terms like geofence, R.F.I.D, and many more that are useful for event execution. Check out the post here.

Should Your Brand Give a First-Year Festival a Shot?

Last year, the inaugural Fyre Festival made major headlines. But it was not because the festival exceeded expectations. The disastrous attempt at a destination music festival had all the hype, but the actual “event’ resulted in extremely unhappy attendees and sponsors. This failure highlighted the importance of how marketers approach festival sponsorships, especially when considering a brand new, untested event.

Yet, many brands are eager to get into this space. With festival activation being a recent hot ticket item for experiential, it’s easy to get excited about the potential that a new festival is offering. But don’t rush. According to a recent Event Marketer interview with Superfly (Bonnaroo and Outsidelands) founder, there are at least 3 good places to start before jumping into business with a new festival.

Coca-Cola’s Reverse Vending Machines Show Brand Values and Purpose

There is no doubt that Coca-Cola is an iconic brand. The 132 year old company was founded due to a pharmacist’s curiosity, and through careful marketing efforts turned itself into a brand associated with “fun, friends, and good times.” To this day, Coca-Cola continues to focus on building relationships with its consumers. Throughout the years there has been consistency in their messaging: if everyone were happy, the world would be a better place.

It is through this positioning that Coca-Cola has created a wide variety of marketing campaigns. Most recently, a cause marketing interpretation popped up in the form of reverse vending machines. These vending machines, as part of a 2018 Special Olympics USA Games brand activation, encouraged consumers to return bottles to help raise money to the Special Olympics. Through the campaign, the brand aligns itself with a meaningful cause while fostering happiness for those who choose to take part through giving back.

This Brand Activation Event Gave Dogs an Incredible Day

Sometimes the best brand-sponsored experiences go unnoticed. It’s not that consumers don’t see that the experience is happening; it’s that they don’t notice the event is brand-sponsored. Often, today’s consumers know when they are being marketed to and the data show that they outright resist it. This is how events like the Ice Cream Museum and the Museum of Candy have found success. Consumers are interested in participating in the event itself, and don’t think twice about why they are walking away with Dove chocolate samples.

A more recent example of a successful brand-partnered event was the Best Dog Day Ever in New York last month. Dodo partnered with Samsung to create an elaborate, dog-centric, outdoor event geared toward both dogs and humans. When you consider that there are 89.7 million dogs living as pets and rising, it’s clear that humans love their dogs. In creating a positive event centered on the dog, consumers were not overly sensitive to being marketed to.

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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