Brand activation at boutique festivals

I was recently asked for my thoughts about taking advantage of a last minute commercial space booking at Wilderness 2016

The audience of high net worth individuals. Very much the epitome of the ‘HENRY’ (High Earner Not Rich Yet) What makes this audience at this type of event so interesting is they are in an experimental, release mind-set, looking to try new things and collect as many experiences as possible. Brands that provide the stage for unforgettable memories especially those that people want to share using photos and video will win.

There are a number of things brands can do to help increase their awareness at such events. Key thing is this is not big logos, brand speak and blanket branding. There are other types of festivals for that approach.

Checklist onsite activity (separate note TBC for VIP areas, carpark and transport node activities)

SPARK INTEREST. The audience have come to try new food and see interesting ‘stuff’ most will be onsite for all 3 days. This is about both a planned sequence of events and fuelling the joy of discovery with unexpected ‘happenings’ 

BE USEFUL. Timetables, maps, insider tips of best routes to hidden stages/cafes/better loos, -Wifi and charging points are now pretty much expected. But make sure the wifi can not only collect data but also provide information. I.e. the password = ‘9pm special guest’ or ‘2 4 1 at 3pm’ VIP WC, Cover if it rains, lend out brolleys, blankets, cushions, shade if its sunny, A place to sit, a place to eat food brought at another stall etc. an area to do something fun. – Secret areas, areas that change day to night.

OWN MEMORIES. Provide a distinctive environment that encourages sharing of images.  Physically through creative dressing, lighting effects or theming – all of which specifically designed to look good on Instagram formats. Especially at night! But also digitally by geo-tagging/fencing your physical area. Everyone checking in on social media will then receive a prompt of ‘The Sipsmith special (name) place’ - if the name sounds cool and builds kudos for the audience they will use it. – again especially if this is specific to time of day or event happening.

COLLABORATE. There are bound to be complimentary brands on site, increase your coverage by producing joint activity. Especially if this is a bit secret and part of the discovery. Only regular customers are told or mailed about it before hand – it will spread on social if it sounds intriguing i.e. Buying both brands unlocks the location or entry to a special activity. 

OFFER SOMETHING NEW. All of this audience have wide social circles, most of who are not here at this event. Provide a keepsake or experience that they can take back to their circle to share in conversation to gain social kudos. This could be something as simple as joining a special ‘Wilderness’ sect of the mailing list or worshipful membership or unique flavours served in the festival bar. All the way up to distilling a unique gin on site that can only be pre-ordered at the festival to be delivered later to the person’s home. –Remember the audience are in ‘high spending/treating’ mind-set.

Laurent-Perrier at Wilderness did most of the above, some more successful than others but they did keep physical branding to a minimum and as such did command social media coverage in both stories and images. Much of the traditional media coverage also highlighted their area as the place to be.