“With the right festival backing and the right tactics, brands can attract active audiences that become fiercely loyal brand advocates and become festival brands themselves,” In the first of our In the Know interviews, Nick Morgan, CEO of The Fair explains how more and more brands are embracing festivals within their marketing plans…..
Brands today are looking to our sector for inspiration more than ever before, using festivals as a platform to market themselves. This is largely, in response to the rise in the experience economy and coupled with an ever-growing festival market, means the possibilities for brand partnership and, ultimately, brands owning part of the festival space are huge.
Experiential and marketing agencies have their eyes firmly placed on this season’s shows and with more and more competition between festivals to create something new and unique, there’s a lot a lot more for brands to aspire to.
The key to why festivals are such successful platforms for brands is the scope for creating real connections far more effectively than via other passive, traditional above the line marketing methods. This is because experiences bring active participants together and ultimately create community. Face to face interactions that represent a brand’s identity in multi-faceted experiences, allow relationships to be formed and real community to be created which is what consumers now want.
They want provenance, values, ethos and the festival audience is pretty much perfect for this kind of interaction, if the activity is audience relevant (corporate ‘trade’ stands don’t work). The fact is that no other medium allows such a long dwell time with a prospect or existing customer – brands can spend up to 72 hours, over a weekend talking to their customers – that is unique and invaluable!
Organisers work hard across multiple channels, gamification, sub-brands, club nights, collaborations; driven by social media throughout the year to create momentum, continue to grow existing customer relationships and find new followers. Whoever a festival decides to let in to the ‘exclusive club’ as a partner, should resonate with the whole production and become part of the event narrative – gone are the days when sponsorship in the form of your name in lights on stage (or on scrim across some hoarding) and long may they stay gone.
From event tech to pouring rights, the values of event partners and the shows themselves go hand in hand and there can now be a seamless transition between all the experiences there are to be had over the course of an event with no in-your-face advertising and no obstructive selling.
Brands that are often at the top of their marketing game already recognise that emulating developments in the festival industry has massive potential and now want to own their own shows. With the right tactics, brands can create active communities and become synonymous with their own festivals. Great examples of this include Innocent’s unplugged festival series, Red Bull’s synergy with extreme sports and music festivals (who evolved from gazebo pop-ups backstage and now own these events). As well as MasterCard’s extremely clever Priceless campaign (going for over 18 years) positioning themselves as the active enabler of experiences. With the right festival backing and the right tactics, brands can attract active audiences that become fiercely loyal brand advocates and become festival brands themselves. From touchpoints and reach to seeding and sharing via social, festivals always win.