Summer fun with #Experiential Marketing

projectmanager - June 2011

It’s summer! And the best way to make the most of the lovely weather is to get down and dirty at one (or maybe two) of the many music festivals the UK has to offer.

Music festivals are popping up left, right and center these days. It’s not just the big expensive ones like Glastonbury to go to, there are smaller ‘one day’ festivals, such as One Love Peace Festival, featuring artists like Shaggy and Busta Rhymes, which are a very affordable £35 to attend. With over 150 festivals happening in the UK this summer, there’s almost no excuse to take a break from the bleak norms of reality and let your hair down.

With thousands of excited consumers let off the chains, with a wad of summer cash to blow, the summer festival market is simply too hot for the private sector to ignore.

But the event can’t just be treated as another commercial campaign to bombard people with your brands usual message. The brand has to add value to people’s festive experience in fun and imaginative ways. Festival goers will tend to be in a relaxed frame of mind, meaning they are more likely to emotionally, rather than rationally, connect with a brand. Where as adverts and traditional marketing strategies work fine in ‘normal reality’, ‘festival reality’ is a whole new ball game and requires a new set of tactics.

That’s why it’s imperative to work with agencies that specialize in designing experiential marketing events, as these are best suited to engage with the festival experience.

Experiential marketing is the perfect match for festivals as it’s all about putting on a slightly different spin on the normal identity of your brand. It’s about adapting to survive within your new environment. The wants and needs of your new target audience: fun loving, malnurtioed, unwashed festival goers, should be primary. Pushing the traditional values of the brand comes secondary. Lets look at some past examples of doing this –

1. The Glastonbury Orange Chill ‘n’ Charge tent is massively popular largely because one thing that fields usually lack is a reliable power supply. The primary focus is on meeting that primary desire to keep their phones on full charge, allowing them to keep in touch with their friends, and take those memorable pictures.

2. PlayStation’s Sing Star tent was a big hit, where karaoke fans could perform cheesy classics in fancy dress. The primary desire of most festival goers is to have fun, so any experiential event that focuses on fulfilling that desire will usually go down a storm with the punters.

3. Rowntree’s Random silent discos, Spacehopper races and silly games attracted audience numbers worthy of the big name acts.

4. Another thing to be aware of is designing your experiential event to fit in with the overall identity of the festival. For example if the festival is inspired by the surf world and has great eco credentials, then it’s pretty imperative that the brand tries to fit in as much as possible with those values.

5. The O2 bubble treated customers to a fully stocked bar, DJ’s and live acts playing on rotation and seating areas where lucky O2 customers could enjoy the hi-tech, exclusive environment and entertainment.

Once the initial experience emotionally connects with the consumer, the traditional values of the brand can then be pushed for via other mediums, so that when your target audience return back to their ‘normal reality’, those wild, memorable experiences will be awaiting them back upon your ‘traditional’ marketing strategy, be it social media or advertising.

The underlining and key point to be highlighted here is that hiring a specialized agency that focuses on experiential design is critical towards integrating those events into the festival, and bringing a new lease of life to your brands larger PR campaign.

Check out this lovely video for a really good example of experiential marketing in festival hopping action

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