Tips from Industry Experts: How to Ensure Your Event Stays True to Brand
Tips from Industry Experts:
HOW TO ENSURE YOUR EVENT STAYS TRUE TO BRAND
Published on April 30, 2019 by Taryn Covrigaru
How do you produce an experiential activation that stays true to the brand & aligns with the original intention of the event?
There is a looooooong way to go between the inception of an idea until final execution. No one can speak to this time intensive journey more aptly than those of us in the experiential industry; whether the marketer at a brand, the agency conceptualizing and bringing an activation to fruition, or a partner supporting the experiences at the event. The initiative starts with an original intention and can go through months - even years - of iterations through RFP drafts, brainstorms, revisions, more brainstorms and more revisions until the final product goes live.
The evolution can sometimes result in all parties landing at a spot far from the initial strategy. Through it all, however, it is crucial that the final product stays true to the brand; that it resonates with the impetus for the project and thoughtfully aligns with a well connected strategy that ladders up the brand’s marketing goals.
This is no small task, especially when there are multiple partners involved and working together to ideate, develop and ultimately produce the event. In an effort to spark some ideas, inspire and help us all stay aligned, we reached out to a few industry experts to provide their insight into how to tackle this problem:
How do you produce an experiential activation that stays true to the brand and aligns with the original intention of the event?
“The best brand activations are never a one-way story.”
Match Marketing Group
Here’s what the experts have to say:
Experiential Marketing Agency
At Match, we always keep in mind that the best brand activations are never a one-way conversation. It’s important to consider what the consumer wants to know and to design a way for them to actively be part of the brand’s story. Of course, without building in a measurement plan from the start, your experience will end up being a one-way loop anyways. So, admit that data and creativity don’t have to be enemies and create opportunities for measurement-based feedback at every stage of planning and execution to ensure the greatest ROI.
“With subtle and thoughtfully executed details, a brand’s voice and personality shine through”
O Hello Media: From Anthem's perspective, how does the branded merch you produce support the ability to stay true to brand?
Anthem: Offering specialized branded items unique to your brand they will use and/or wear at work or at home every day, makes your brand a fixture in their lifestyle. With subtle and thoughtfully executed details, a brand’s voice and personality shine through.
O Hello Media: What is it that you recommend focusing on to stay true to the brand and ensure that the merch produced aligns with the purpose of the event?
Anthem: Use your customer personas to select the best custom merchandise that surprises and delights your target audience. The best items fill certain needs or solve nagging problems in their lives.
O Hello Media: How does it resonate with the impetus of the project and thoughtfully align with a well-connected strategy that ladders up to the brand's marketing goals?
Anthem: Brand activation is all about making authentic brand experiences that create lasting connections with your audience. Choose items that are unique to your brand and that contribute to extending what it values and what it believes in. This will help the item stand alone and do the work for you.
Event and Marketing Supplier Network
“…hone in tightly on the consumer takeaway, and then ceaselessly work to achieve that objective…”
The Resource Department
Consumers will advocate and associate with a brand in a much stronger way via experiential activities than most other forms of marketing. The key to producing an experiential brand activation that ensures a successful outcome is to constantly check that every part of your planning, and eventual execution, links back to the consumer objectives set for the program.
Whether it's increasing brand awareness, frequency, trial, or just boosting sales, creating a laser focused business objective is critical to a successful experiential activation. Too often teams, in an effort to bring a brand to life, scramble to utilize interactive technology, social media, or other trending assets without considering how these tools will truly move their original business objective.
Our advice for effective experiential will always be to hone in tightly on the consumer takeaway, and then ceaselessly work to achieve that objective through properly trained brand ambassadors and well-considered experiences.
Event Staffing Agency
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One of the most important things that brands and agencies need to consider is the people who are representing the brand. Oftentimes, this critical piece of the experiential marketing puzzle is overlooked. Let’s face it, brand ambassadors can make or break your campaign. If you rely on simply filling an activation with a warm body without considering what the brand’s overall mission is, the goals of the event, and more importantly, what the brand stands for, then you’re screwed. For example, you would never want a brand ambassador who has absolutely zero gaming experience assisting with a launch of a gaming console. Brands and marketing agencies need to make sure that they are working with an event staffing agency that takes the time to vet their staff appropriately. There are so many fly-by-night agencies around that don’t take the time to do that, and a staffing app certainly can’t do that. At our agency, our staff have to pass a series of benchmarks to work on any activation. Our account managers take the time to thoroughly vet each person to ensure that they meet our clients’ needs and expectations, and that they align with the brand’s image and values. Because brand ambassadors serve as the face and voice of a brand, they are on the front lines and are responsible for not only the first impression a consumer has of your brand, but for long-lasting impressions, too. Today’s consumers are savvy and they want authentic experiences. If your staff doesn’t come across as genuine, it’s going to negatively affect your bottom line.
“If your staff doesn’t come across as genuine, it’s going to negatively affect your bottom line.”
ATN EVENT STAFFING
Ideas, News & Resources for Event Professionals
When developing a concept for an activation, the goal is to attract new fans to a brand or re-engage existing fans. Ask yourself: Where's the wow? What is there to do? What's the element no one has seen before? How do you tweak familiar elements so they're newly interesting? What's the obvious thing everyone will want to post to social (and what's the non-obvious thing for them to discover?) What will those posts communicate about the brand? What's the purpose of each piece of decor and how does it relate to your brand? How does the activation engage the five senses?