The saying less is more is true…sometimes. But sometimes, you have to toss aside that old adage and go big! At large-scale events, where dozens, or even hundreds, of brands are competing for attention, if you don’t stand out, you’ll be lost in the shuffle, and you can expect your ROI on the event to be low.
How big do you need to go to break through the chatter? In general, the more sponsors there are at an event, the bigger your activation will need to be. You will want to focus on a more involved engagement, likely with fewer participants… Let’s walk through a few examples.
At the Boston Marathon, there are dozens of sponsors, many with elaborate spaces set up. There are ice sculptures, photo ops galore, and a make your own shirt station. So, in that environment, simply handing out a sample of a product isn’t going to be a memorable experience. On the other hand, offering something like an exclusive, climate-controlled family reunion area or a VIP race day bus would be an extremely memorable event. **Also, if any of our readers decide to do either of these ideas, please let our CEO, Jessica Shields, know. She’d love to partake!
At Austin City Limits Music Festival, there are dozens of sponsors spread out over the lawn area. Again, handing out samples doesn’t create a strong enough experience to be remembered in this high-stimulation environment. But, getting a pass to go into the American Express VIP area and have an unobstructed view of your favorite headliner? You’ll remember that activation for years.
Most of our readers have been to Expo West. You know the pandemonium when you get over 2,500 exhibitors under one roof, all trying to engage the same retail buyers. During our most recent trip to Anaheim, we saw a few brands breaking the mold. One skincare brand was doing facials right there in the booth. Even if you weren’t ready to ditch your makeup to do a facial right there, it was engaging in a way that other skincare lines weren’t. We also saw a brand that offers natural hand soaps do a chalk collage. The chalk got your hands messy, and they had a sink with their soap there to help wash it off. Brilliant.
While all of these activations involve a large set up, several staff to manage the activation, and months of planning, the work is not in vain. Events like these reach their target consumer in memorable ways and create a lasting impression. Even passersby who do not engage notice these types of experiential marketing campaigns.
So, if your brand is looking to participate in large events in the future, be sure to consider how difficult it may be to break through the noise to reach your target consumer and plan accordingly. Be ready to come up with big, bold ideas that will create an unforgettable memory for each participant. Have fun with it!
Have you participated in a really memorable activation at a large event? Tell us about it in the comments!