Hitting The Target – How To Pick The Right Event And Content

So you’ve been swayed by the evidence, and now you want to advertise at a live event. And with good reason – according to Momentum & AEG, “attending a branded live experience drives 65 percent of people to recommend the brand and 59 percent to buy it at retail afterwards.” Harvard Business School and Barclays Capital calculated the right endorsement can bring a 4% sales increase, and we’ve talked before about how playing content at a show is like having the artist’s stamp of approval. But how do you go about picking the right content for the right event with the right audience?


This Is The Place Where All The Junkies Go


The first thing to do is go back to your buyer personas. What kind of demographics are you trying to reach? What events are they likely to attend? Are they more interested in music, sports, or culture, or can you combine all three? If you’re after teens, tweens and millennial women, a 5 Seconds of Summer concert or a Katy Perry tour is a good shout. But if you’ve got an older, more male audience, maybe La Liga or the Venice Film Festival is right for you.

Crowd in Front of Stage

Content is King, but context is God, or so they say. The important thing is to make sure that there’s alignment not just between your brand and the audience, but your brand and the event. No matter how good a fit your product or service is for the people who are going to see it, your content will stick out like a sore thumb if it’s not a coherent and cohesive part of the whole live experience. After all, the event is the reason they’re there, so respect their passion. If you’re not working with it, you’re working against it.


More Than Words


Now that you’ve got the right context, focus on making sure you say the right things, and in the right way. You have to know what behaviours you can reasonably expect from your audience – for example, though some people might tell you otherwise, it’s a good idea to stay away from CTAs. As awesome as you are, you’re not the focus of the evening, so make brand awareness your aim. Play to the character of the event too – music and sports work well with eye-catching, energetic content, whereas cultural events suit a more sophisticated and relaxed approach.

Not only should your content match the feeling and tone of the event, but you should try to tap into the audience’s heightened engagement. Events “provide a fantastic platform to hijack and directly engage with active individuals that are open and interested in what you have to say.” And make sure that if your content makes promises, you’re in a position to keep them – there’s a good reason “only 4% of Americans think the marketing industry behaves with integrity,” and it’s not because the other 96% work for AdBlock. Don’t take my word for it – here’s Yvonne Lara of USC:

The consumer has become wise to [when] they are being marketed to, and the need for personal connection will become how brands find success. The live, experimental landscape will be critical to evolution and sustainability. Whether the Oscars, Super Bowl or a concert at strategic large market venues, brands need ways to connect to the audience they serve. Let them live what your brand means for them and you will be able to adapt, adjust and continue to serve your current fan, and build loyalty that will result in sharing their experience, and bringing more people into the next experience.

The way people buy and interact with brands has changed. That’s why inbound has gained such traction, and it’s why your content has to invite fans into a conversation, not shout at them through a megaphone. More than ever before, brands need to integrate into and represent people’s lifestyles, not just solve their problems. So it’s no surprise that using events which tap into your consumers’ passion points is such a powerful way of signalling how well you align with their values and interests.


Hide And Seek


Once you’ve identified the kinds of events that your buyer personas are flocking to, and you’ve got the pitch-perfect content to speak to them on a deeper level, it’s time for the hard part – arranging a partnership. The contact and negotiation stages are fraught with difficulty, and are where the majority of brand partnerships fall down. Potential pitfalls include management approval of brand and creative, price, activations, social media and various other sticking points that can throw a spanner in the works.

That’s assuming you can even find out who you need to speak to and bend their ear in the first place, which is no easy task. Management companies tend to have someone whose remit is specifically or broadly brand partnerships, but they are often inundated with requests. Most prefer to go through media specialists with a demonstrable track record, and with whom they have an established relationship. But where would you find one of those, I wonder?