The importance of live events

Time is currency and if your audience is willing to invest their minutes, you’re in. Put simply: experiential events offer a more authentic way to connect with people. This way consumers are way more likely to absorb your messages than through a billboard or an Instagram ad. The idea is to have a conversation and develop interest rather than ram sales pitches down their throats. Learn the gift of the gab and you’re golden.

Events work because they give the impression that people must act right away – the immediacy of them draws the crowds and sells tickets. Pop-ups have proven extremely popular for retailers as they close the gap between people and brands. They offer instant gratification for those pesky short attention spans. They’re seasonal and shareable; braggable and brazen. This also means brands can access wider, non-traditional audiences if they put the work in.

To pull this off successfully you need to discover where your market hangs out and follow them there. That way, you’re not begging them to come to you, you just kindly interrupt their day… Street corners, train stations and festivals are all prime spots for campaigns. And think big – shop takeovers and tube station stunts work well. Give out freebies but make sure the branding is subtle and the crap is actually useful. Neon sunglasses are a nono, but a handy tote bag is perfection. Pair branded swag with a social competition and Bob’s your uncle. Another technique is to teach them something – consumers are hungry for information so why don’t you feed their curiosities? Or let them create; encourage them to put their stamp on something and they’ll be dying to show it off. When it comes to online, the priority is incorporating a hashtag that is simple and instructions to share as easy as pie.

One of the reasons live events prove so popular is they put control back in consumers hands – they have the power to leave when they want. The public even leads the content, so marketing teams can sit back, relax and watch it roll in. Social platforms act as a hotbed for user generated content that the brand can use and recycle. Trust us: “98% of consumers create digital or social content at events and experiences and 100% of these consumers share the content” according to Cronin.

A perfect example of this was Krispy Kreme’s hole-in-the-wall dispensing Nutella flavoured donuts. Everyone went mad for it and all of the proceeds went to Teenage Cancer Trust. Another one was the vending machine that dispensed free Reebok trainers if you ran past it fast enough. And it’s scalable with social, unlike billboards where you can only guess footfall, you can monitor likes and engagement.

Don’t forget it is powerful for brands to exist in live, physical spaces as well as online. Dominating the digital realm is great, but we cannot forget that human touch to engage customers. Just how we did with Body Shop’s #PlayforPeace campaign; turning shopping centre spaces into a Christmas wonderland adorned with cosmetics offering live makeup demos, board games and tastings. For every gift bought from the seasonal gift collection, The Body Shop made a donation to International Alerts Play for Peace Project. An unshakeable combination.

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