Riding the Wave: Hijacking Cultural & Seasonal Events

crowd at experiential event

With the World Cup now officially done and dusted, advertisers and branding gurus have without doubt taken full advantage of the large outdoor crowds and excitement in the air by ensuring they have a brand presence that is undeniably felt. Whatever the time of year, though, hijacking cultural and seasonal events for event marketing is a powerful way to reach a target audience while they’re in a positive and receptive mood.

Below, we’ve outlined our top tips for marketers looking to capitalise on big, seasonal events that sweep the nation - helping them get maximum value out of every cultural phenomenon, international sports event, music festival and more. 

Choose the events carefully

In the months running up to any event marketing campaign, try to source data on your target demographic and existing customers (as well as incorporating any existing data you have) to help guide your location choices. It’s easy to assume your target customer would be at an event but, without data to back up that hunch, your risk may not pay off and you might even struggle to get sign-off from your internal decision maker.

Ensuring you can count on brand stakeholders or target customers being at your event is crucial to guaranteeing its success. Analyse the data you have and determine if your target demographic’s needs will be met - and if the content of the event is of interest to them - to boost your chances of interacting with potential customers.

There may be other potential or existing customers, however, who will be alienated by your attendance at certain events. While this is unlikely, you should nonetheless avoid divisive marketing which could estrange certain groups in order to cover all bases. For example, the emergence of military contractors BAE Systems sponsoring an art exhibition in Newcastle upon Tyne was met with uproar from protestors.

During British summer, there are events galore where you can benefit greatly from making sure your brand has a visible presence, including but by no means limited to the following:

  • London Fashion Week
  • The Grand National
  • The Chelsea Flower Show
  • The FA Cup Final
  • T in the Park
  • Glastonbury Festival
  • Henley Regatta
  • Latitude Festival
  • The Isle of Wight Festival
  • The Championships, Wimbledon

Don’t be fooled into thinking you can only generate interest in the warmer months - even if British weather can sometimes be quite ghastly. During winter, there are plenty of events your brand can sink its teeth into, such as the nationwide flurry of Christmas markets, as well as Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and Glasgow on Ice - to name a few.

Whenever you choose to release your brand into the wild, it’s highly likely that pitching a promotional stand or vehicle at an event will incur a charge - so it’s important you choose wisely to ensure the strategy is worth it. 

people browsing through vinyl records

Maximise your presence

To really provide a focal point for your audience, consider using a bespoke, branded exhibition trailer to make an instant and lasting impact. Exhibition trailers also work as a moving advert, as you travel to and from different events with your logo and slogan present on motorways across the country.

If you’re attempting to hijack the buzz nearby or during large sporting events, such as the Olympics or the FIFA World Cup, exhibition trailers are essential. The trailers attract interest, dividing an otherwise unapproachable crowd and offering them an alternative form of entertainment to what’s available in their surroundings.

When you arrive at your destination, ensure the staff you have with you are informed and passionate. Choose your promotional team carefully, as they’re responsible for how the audience interacts with your brand and can make the difference between a new social media follower and someone who’d actively avoid your products.

Your promotional team should be more than mere representatives - they should be brand ambassadors and it should be clear to all who approach them that they’re happy and proud to be there. Ensure your representatives are armed with promotional materials, too. From flyers and goody bags to business cards and branded freebies, this is a simple but highly effective way to get your brand in the homes of prospective customers.

You should also ensure your representatives have questionnaires and signup or mailing list sheets on hand, to enable you to stay in contact with attendees and direct them to your social channels. Integrating your presence at the event with social media is a surefire way to attract more guests to the event. Doing so can garner further exposure, with user-generated content being shared and reshared including a specific hashtag.

cheering crowd of concertgoers

Leave a lasting impact

Overseeing interactive events which get audience members involved in front of the exhibition trailer is a great way to leave visitors smiling and ensure the crowds head your way. When executed effectively, experiential marketing makes a brand look more personable and approachable, with participants being gifted a memory as opposed to a simple promotional flyer.

For summer events, try to get guests outside and interacting with each other, so that the marketing feels more like an activity and less like an advert. During the winter months, this is more difficult to achieve, as attendees naturally don’t want to be out in the cold but, when guided indoors, are aware there’s a purpose behind the invite. In these instances, you should utilise technology to generate entertainment and maintain interest. 

If you have a contact, consider enlisting the help of a local celebrity or hometown hero to really get to grips with an area and show you know and understand the inhabitants on a local level. Remember to spend sufficient time promoting the event on social media channels weeks in advance of and after the event - then make sure to request feedback and record the data to learn and improve for future events.

By incorporating these ideas into your experiential marketing strategy for the coming months and years, you can make sure there’s no unforgettable event your brand isn’t an important part of.