By Lisa Major
After a long hiatus, large festivals are back in full force, and people are flocking to them. With capacity limits lifted, mask requirements gone, and social distancing pretty much a thing of the past, festivals are living up to their pre-pandemic glory.
With the demand for festivals being at an all-time high, brands should seize this opportunity to connect and engage with festival-goers in the vibrant atmosphere that they offer by utilizing experiential marketing.
But activating at a festival is its own beast and requires a lot of creativity and an innovative plan. Unlike some experiential marketing events, festivals are one big melting pot of sensory experiences. From the aromas of food and drinks to the sights and sounds of visual elements, entertainment, and people, there are a lot of distractions, and it’s easy for brands to get lost in the crowd. With that said, you must create a highly immersive and memorable activation that captivates festival-goers.
Festivals cater to many interests like technology, music, film, and so forth. Before you even consider activating at a festival, you need to determine which festivals are most compatible with your brand, event goals, and the audience you intend to reach.
Once you have decided on a festival, you will need to create an attention-grabbing experience – one that stands out in a sea of competition and one that generates a ton of buzz. And no, you don’t need a drone light show or glitter falling from the sky to create an entertaining event (unless you want to, of course!). When people see a popular space or activity taking place, it naturally piques their curiosity, creating FOMO (fear of missing out) and drives them to check out the activation.
The entertainment factor of your experiential event is essential, but to make your event even more memorable, offer festival-goers something of value. And no, we are not talking about branded promo swag that will weigh them down. Give them a place to rest and recharge or teach them something new. Feed them or let them play. Better yet, incorporate several interactive elements or activities if your budget allows. The more senses you can engage, the better. If you decide to offer a giveaway, consider a personalized item or something that they can actually use instead of something that will end up in the trash at the end of the day.
Don’t forget social media. A festival is a great way to connect with people face to face, but it doesn’t replace the importance and impact of social media. A whopping 98% of consumers who participate in live marketing events create digital content and 100% share the content. With that said, you have nothing to lose. Create sharable opportunities like live streams, hashtags, Geofilters, photo and video elements, or giveaways linked to social sharing to increase your brand’s visibility. When someone shares their experience, it will get your brand in front of a broader audience, driving awareness for your brand for those not in attendance. Additionally, the content will resonate with your current followers, which can drive brand loyalty. Whatever social element you choose, make sure that the content is easy to share.
To genuinely connect with festival-goers, you’ll need to have the right people representing your brand. When considering staff for your event, look for those that align with your brand and audience, and the festival itself. For instance, the promotional team you hire for a music festival may not be the same team you choose for a children’s festival. No matter where you activate, you will increase your visibility, credibility, and bottom line when you have experiential marketing staff who can create an authentic, meaningful, and memorable experience.
By following the tips above, you will rise above the noise and set your festival activation up for success.
Experiential marketing at festivals gives brands the opportunity to make thousands of impressions in a short period of time. But, it’s hard to make those impressions without an experienced team of brand ambassadors. For almost two decades, ATN Event Staffing has successfully staffed numerous festival activations and we can help you, too. If you are looking for promotional staff for your festival campaign or any other marketing event, we would love to chat!