By Lisa Major
When the weather shows off and people flock outside to enjoy a perfect day, brands have an excellent opportunity to capture the attention of an already delighted audience. However, there are right ways and wrong ways to engage. The key is to remember that they are choosing to spend precious time outdoors. Whether or not they choose to engage with your brand in the meantime depends on what your activation brings to the table.
An outdoor activation is a chance to bring a brand to its customers in a fun and unexpected way. It’s about what a brand can add to the experience, so use the opportunity, and a talented brand ambassador team, to amplify the vibe. Gaming, sampling, pop-ups, and cool environments all have seen success as brand activations because they leverage what people want from the outdoors – a chance to have fun with friends, to hang out and relax, to try something new or different, or just to escape what’s mundane indoors.
Being considerate of why people are outside means you have to consider what they don’t want to experience. When planning an outdoor activation, be mindful of those logistical parameters that could detract from the experience and, therefore, the overall brand impression if not mitigated or planned for ahead of time. For example, your activation may need electrical access, but a portable generator will create significant noise pollution. You may aim to distribute X number of samples, but the paper waste could become a litter eyesore.
The best outdoor activations are ones that surprise and delight but are also short and sweet. A meaningful brand connection doesn’t require much of a person’s time if done well. So, let the audience return to their day in the sun reasonably quickly, with an opportunity to connect or engage again later. This could be as simple as an email or text sign-up to receive a brand message later or an extension of the brand activation – a final score to post, a photo to share, or a free gift to redeem.
Yes, phones are ubiquitous, but people are likely outside to get away from a day of screen time. While the appeal of mobile screens and iPad-armed street teams is strong, consider that the last thing a consumer spending time outdoors may want to look at is another screen. There are other ways to bring a brand to life that do not involve digital devices. Sponsor a street performance or bring in a caricature or chalk artist to present a one-of-a-kind visual brand story.
Brands look to accomplish many strategic marketing goals within one activation, but the most important priority should be to bring fun to the outdoor experience. And not just fun for the consumer, but fun for the experiential marketing team you hire as well. If being outside is a way for your audience to get back to basics, then follow their lead by keeping things simple and letting the great outdoors shine. The fun will always follow with the right motivations and mindset.
ATN Event Staffing delivers top-tier talent to generate brand engagement among your target customers. Our expertise makes the hiring process of event teams or brand ambassadors a seamless part of your planning process. Our partners look to us for regional and national events, where we’ve provided experiential professionals for two decades.