“Silicon Valley is a mindset, not a location.” – Reid Hoffman, Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist
Where will the next Silicon Valley emerge? This is a question that media outlets seek to answer every year. Why? As one Forbes article points out, “The Bay Area is expensive, it’s crowded, and there is an enormous wealth disparity between those that have struck it big and those that haven’t.” And so, Forbes and other publications offer formidable global candidates. Among them are up-and-coming U.S. cities such as Austin, TX – a popular destination for many on the hunt for a new place to call home. In fact, U.S. News & World Report ranks it number one for “best places to live 2018” and fourth in “best places people are moving to” this year. And, the good news, for tech companies especially, is that the city is drawing the right talent.
One reason people are flocking to Austin is its affordability compared to Silicon Valley. Yet, in its search for a second headquarters, Amazon evaluates other factors, which have scored the city an “A-” to keep it on the shortlist. These include the quality and quantity of people. It also considers its location and the culture. Can the city satisfy people and keep them there?
According to CNBC, Austin has “a vibe that tech talent can love.” It’s present in its diverse music, food, and nightlife – things one young millennial who works in Silicon Valley says it lacks. In his eyes, Silicon Valley is “mainly a large suburbia, built more for professionals and the families that are fortunate enough to be able to afford a house.” In short, the tech mecca is perfect for those focused on just that – their tech career. But, in a society where Millennials place their priority on work-life balance, per Inc.com; do more work outside the home; and desire experiences, cities like Austin offer more appeal. In short, mindsets have changed, and companies must follow suit to find and lure what matters most – its people.
The same can be said for event marketers and agencies looking to host the best marketing events. As you consider locations, consider new spots to attract consumers with the same mindsets.
Like in selling real estate, location is critical in hosting the best marketing events. Depending on your brand’s values and goals, your efforts may center around areas where consumers live, work, or play. The goal is to ensure they are in the mindset to interact with your event staff. More event marketers and agencies are finding the following locations to be viable solutions. Those they touch find their activations refreshing, especially in comparison to locations that might have previously been perceived as most lucrative.
A recent headline reads, “London’s airports handle 44 million more passengers than in 2010.” While in the U.S., airlines saw an increase of over 66 million passengers in the last two years alone. People are flying. They are traveling. And as they are heading off on their next great experience, more brands recognize the opportunity this presents.
Take spirits company Beam Suntory, for example. Known for such brands as Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark, Beam Suntory offered visitors to NYC’s JFK International Airport an experience two summers ago. In its rustic pop-up where the artwork told the company’s long history, passengers could sample its products while being educated on bourbon. Passersby who couldn’t stay for the lesson walked away with pocket handbooks that told the story. And, everyone who bought the products in the duty-free shop received a gift with purchase, resulting in a 26% “week-over-week sales increase.”
This activation was not only a smart way to get a piece of increasing whiskey sales – $3.4 billion in 2017. It also instilled the brand in the minds of travelers looking to kick off their vacation or unwind from the hustle of the airport. Yet, however big the benefits of airport activations, we know that they don’t come easy. Event marketers must take measures to ensure event staff are carefully vetted and have the appropriate security clearances and authorizations, many of which can take weeks or months to acquire. Partnering with an event staffing agency can relieve these burdens and ensure no hiccups day of the event.
In the same vein as airport activations, some of the best marketing events are being held on the beach. By engaging consumers while they are in vacation mode, you catch them relaxed and open to conversation. And, when you offer fun or value, like Beam Suntory, you become etched in their minds as part of the overall vacation experience.
P20 sunscreen brand ambassadors brought the value when they hit beaches throughout the UK to share 11,000 samples and product benefits with sun worshippers. And, CPG beauty brand, got2b, came with fun and value to introduce its new sea salt hair spray in busy beach areas coast-to-coast. This was done using a cargo bike that carried a brand ambassador dressed up as a mermaid, accompanied by a handsome male brand ambassador to attract the right crowd – females. The participants posed for pictures with the duo. And, when they shared these pictures via social media, their reward was a free full-size product.
Beach activations like these are best accomplished with guerrilla marketing, such as a street team. This allows brand ambassadors to be mobile and meet as many consumers as possible, while keeping costs low to maximize results.
Forbes reports that millennials want a strong company culture “more than anything else when deciding who to work for.” And, when companies ensure employees love their jobs, employees become natural brand ambassadors. They become inherent salespeople for the brand outside business hours. This makes the office a perfect place for the best marketing events, allowing brands to reach those who matter most, their staff.
An Event Marketer article sums it up. “You might say the office is untapped marketing territory, rife with consumers looking for a way to break out of their eight-hour indoor workdays, especially during the summer months.” And, it shares how L.L. Bean used this info to bring attention to its brand, while helping companies make employees happy. This was through the outdoor working space it offered to host meetings, team building exercises, and more.
Morsel Snacks brings emerging CPG brands into office environments, where coworkers sample products and receive exclusive discounts. Morsel incorporates ongoing engagement campaigns and gathers feedback from participating companies to help startups improve their products and win new customers. Morsel makes it easy for brands to practice workplace sampling and marketing, all while using methods to show ROI.
When it comes to the mindsets of consumers, brands must have the right people on the front lines to engage with them. At Elevate, we have the event staff you need for the best marketing events, no matter the location.