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Bands, brands and getting more from an experience

Keith Austin talks about how brands are engaging their audiences at this year’s festivals and how to ensure your brand is the real headline act.

Despite the current austere times, Virgin Media announced on Friday that tickets for the 2012 V Festival sold out in 2 hours. That’s 2 sites, 4 show days and a captive audience of 180,000 people. That’s not even taking into account the other 135 summer festivals across the UK that will attract the baby boomers to go get grandparents. Simply put this year’s UK festivals will attract the equivalent population of a small country.

As a result the marketing opportunities are endless, but with festivals locations around the whole of the UK (and Europe) how do you effectively reach this audience? 

Summer festival

Assuming you’re a sponsor or partner then you can pay your huge fees and mingle with the masses. But, if you’re not that doesn’t limit the opportunities as a festival trip is more of a journey that starts when the crowds leave their front door and ends when they get back.

So how could you keep up whether you’re in the small festival island or outside? Well, your route to success is dependent on your brand agility. If your brand is available on the way to the train station that's one tick box, but in terms of scale you’re just one chocolate bar among a shelf of hundreds.

Stand-out is a key success factor as is the experience you provide. Hundreds of big brands still get it so badly wrong when they dip their toe into this entertainment sector and therefore some rules apply to ensure you don’t end up a real festival wash out.

1. What goes on outside doesn’t apply inside.

Festivals are micro-climates. They are fun, not formal so you’re going to have to step up your brand experience.

2. Add some value to their day.

You have a captive audience so treat them with respect and they’ll grow to love your experience.

3. Don’t invite David Brent.

You need to get smart and create something that is tailored to the type of person at the event. Try to ‘fit in’ isn’t going to work. Road test it before you arrive on-site.

4. The food & drink show.

Brands that offer food and drink work best, but there is no reason why a different brand can’t fuse their products with this area. People get hungry for something different rather than just another bar or food outlet.

5. Go mobile.

With 135 festivals it’s worth investing in something that isn’t a one hit wonder. The cost of building an experience can be expensive so you need a real return on your investment.

Sky Exhibition Trailer S8

One entertainment client who continues to get it right is the brand BskyB. Their agency partner AVVIO recently engaged Event Marketing Solutions (EMS) to create, plan and deliver a tour that brought to life their HD and 3D viewing experience away from home. Jamie Redknapp and Angela Griffin introduced the audience to the experience across 25 locations. Over 10,000 people experienced the event campaign in one of two of the largest EMS vehicles that were converted into the ‘Home of Sky’.

If you have a desire to deliver real results this summer please get in touch as we’ll help you to achieve that one to one to the world.