March 27, 2012

And the Lineup Is...

If you're like me and have attended a music festival or two (hundred), then you've probably learned a few tips and tricks along the way ' like bringing rain boots to navigate the ensuing mud-slide after a slight drizzle or MacGuyvering a face-mask from a bandana to brave the sandstorm from a passing golf cart. As marketers gear up for this festival season's metaphorical mosh-pit of bands and brands, here are a few strategies to keep in mind.

Why Music Festivals?

According to a Brand Republic survey, 78% of consumers state that brand association with music is a good thing. Presence at a music festival creates a positive brand experience and memorable consumer interaction. As a venue for a young, attentive and social audience, it is no wonder why marketers continue to target these opportunities. Additionally, consumers are adapting to the presence of brands at festivals as they realize the value that they bring to the experience.

While You're Here, Make Yourself Useful

For an audience that has come to embrace the commercial counterparts at music festivals, static branding simply won't cut it. A brand's presence at a music festival should bring something useful, functional or necessary to attendees. Providing a service that ties back to the brand is one way to create a meaningful connection with the consumer. This can range from offering a VIP experience to fans or simply holding people's 'stuff'? as State Farm did at many of this year's events by supplying lockers to protect consumers' valuables while delivering a message of safety and security.

Not All Festivals Are Created Equal

It is important to keep in mind when planning your activation that consumers' needs can be contingent on a festivals location, layout or even lineup. Air conditioning and cold water for example, can take on new meaning after three days of camping in the hot summer sun but won't necessarily receive a standing ovation at an après ski-festival in the Rockies.

More and more, marketers are letting consumers design, shape and control their interaction with the brand and sometimes even the festival itself as is the case with the ever-popular design contests to determine festival merchandise. The use of bespoke consumer takeaways from personalized kicks to self-designed tote bags and T's allows fans to create a souvenir as well as an experience that they love.

Go 'Green'? or Go Home

To engage an audience of today's festival-goers without a message of concern for the environment would be like belting out a 'play Freebird!'? at your next concert experience. As festivals become greener, marketers should follow their lead. Even if your brand isn't 'green,'? incorporating an earth-friendly festival footprint can be as simple as recycling items used within your space, ditching paper prints for a digital photo-activation or selecting eco-friendly items for consumer giveaways.

One More Song!

As with any good concert, there should be an opener and an encore. Marketers can leverage pre and post festival communication to increase brand visibility within the music space. As mentioned recently by MarketingWeek.com: 'Brands can use digital to engage with their target audience before, during and after the events to get the most out of their experiential activity.'? This is important not only to create an experience that resonates with consumers long after the event but also to reach the audience who may not have attended a music festival this year.

So before you grab your Ray-Bans and head for the mainstage on this year's music festival circuit, be sure to plan accordingly. While just a few of many guidelines to keep in mind, following these steps in addition to setting clear goals will help ensure your brand gets an all-access pass for creating memorable consumer engagements that drive epic results.

Rock On.

Topics: experiential marketing, Blog, consumer experience, summer, green, music festivals

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