5 Guidelines to a Successful Festival Activation
From Clockenflap to Coachella, festivals span the globe each year and attract attendees from far and wide. People are drawn in as they want to attend, have a great time, and tell everyone how awesome it is!
This phenomenon creates a unique opportunity for brands to integrate into the festival experience. You can tap into a vast, captive crowd who, when if the festival is picked correctly, is your core demographic.
But how do you do so in a meaningful, memorable way and break through the noise surrounding you?
We have been part of, and taken note of, some of the best festival activations of all time and have picked out 5 key guidelines to help you be successful! Our examples are specific to the alcohol industry but can be applied across many industries. Here's what you need to know:
1. Blend in, Act Casual
The key here is not to over brand but to blend in. Allow festival goers to experience your brand as part of the festival and engage with it as such. No one wants to feel like they are being sold something when they are just there to have a good time. You want to create an experience which adds to their day or weekend!
How do you do that? Absolut has taken this concept to the next level by creating their own festival - The Mid Sommer Weekender.
Midsummer is one of the oldest and most celebrated pagan traditions in Sweden. It involves the maypole, the frog dance, herring, fresh potatoes, flowers, and alcohol. The Absolut Company combines traditional Midsummer activities with live music performances, art, activities, Absolut cocktails, and more.
The traditional intake of alcohol at Midsummer celebrations aligns with the brand and its audience, and Absolut created the perfect atmosphere for its products to be consumed and enjoyed. The result? This magical event brings the brand to life in a completely engulfing way, without the guests even realizing it!
2. Offer a Freebie
Next, everyone loves a freebie but more than that, a festival is a great way to make consumers look at your brand as invaluable. Offering something to festival attendees like a portable charger or a branded cup, backpack, or t-shirt with the event name is sure to grab their attention and warm them up to you. Plus, take-home items offer long-lasting brand exposure.
3. Be Visually Stimulating and Interactive
Festivals offer stimulation overload. That is part of the fun. However, with so much going on, you have to stand out from the crowd and give guests a reason to interact with your brand. Festival-goers are usually open and looking for something to do, so give it to them!
A brand that achieves this every single time is Hendrick's Gin. Take for example their three-story bar that served specialty cocktails while actors dressed from the early 1900s blew bubbles. Or look to their multi-sensory experience at Taste of London or the theatrical Photo Booth at Panorama 2017.
Hendrick's is the master of bringing the interactive experiences. Follow its lead and think about how you can bring your brand to life in a creative way that will draw in your audience and invite
them to play around for a bit.
4. Own a Space
Next, create a zone which people want to hang out in and talk about as an intrinsic part of their festival experience.
A great example of this is the Heineken house at Coachella. Hosting headline acts, this stage/ zone is an intrinsic part of the festival. In addition to music artists, Heineken created further engagement by inviting in graffiti artists. It also offered free water, sustainable charging through the movement of dance, and, for the finishing touch, free beer cooling delivered back to campers between 12pm and 7pm!
Designing an inviting, exciting space for people to hang out that naturally incorporates your brand along with other activities and entertainment is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
5. Amplify with Social
Lastly, festivals are the "place to be." They create the perfect opportunity for attendees to capture envy-inducing shots that friends love to hate and hate to love. In fact, 98% of consumers create social content at events and experiences, and they are especially primed for sharing when attending a music festival.
As a brand, you have to make sure you are a part of that content.
Who's the master of this? Absolut comes in again. They are always ensuring their spaces are beautiful, intriguing works of art.
Make sure your investment into a festival is worthwhile by creating Instagram-worthy visuals. This will ensure you reach people beyond the festival through highly valuable word-of-mouth!
Festival Activation for Your Brand
Want to join in on the fun of festival marketing to drive your brand results? It really is an innovative way to reach a large audience in your target demographic. Instead of telling consumers why they should buy into your brand or reaching them through an indirect means like online or through print, you can show them in person. When people have a positive experience with a brand they can touch, feel, taste, smell, etc., it makes a lasting impression.
Want some help planning a festival activation which ticks all the boxes? Get in touch!