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In the hay days of the 1970’s festivals were a celebration of artists playing music with fans sitting in a field watching. Almost 50 years on, and the Reading Festival, which began as the National Jazz and Blues Festival in the 1960s and Glastonbury which first ran in 1970 are still desirable events to attend, albeit on a much larger scale. Festivals are now much more than just a destination for live music, they have diversified their offering and now some cater for all the family. In addition, we have seen a rise in a wider variety of festivals from food festivals, art festivals, beer festivals and even seasonal markets. Festivals are not just about the music, but an full immersive experience for those who attend.

Size of the opportunity

In the UK alone, it was reported that c14 million people are now attending festivals each year providing a real opportunity for promoting products, raising brand awareness and launching new services.*Barclaycard predict that by 2020 festivals could be worth a whopping £3.5billion! Festivals now attract a much broader audience. Families with children as well as young people. Given the cost of some events, it is likely that they are attracting spectators, with high disposable incomes. In addition, the majority of festival goers are active on social media platforms, ready to capture images of themselves having a great time, providing an ideal platform to promote your brand.

Summer festivals can present a great marketing opportunity if the target market is aligned with yours. Here are our thoughts on what to consider when evaluating the opportunity and planning your marketing approach.

Brand affiliation

Look for local festivals that affiliate with your brand values and ethos. A quick search in your area will bring up local, upcoming events. If your brand fits with a festival theme and the target market matches yours, it could be worth considering event sponsorship or attending with a stand. According to Nielsen's research with its Music 360 report,‘76% of festivalgoers and 51% of all consumers say they feel more favourable toward brands that sponsor a tour or concert.’

Creating a Sharable Moment for Social Media

Festivals are a great place to make memories Your brand could be a part of that too. Create an experience integrated with the festival. Ensure it is exciting enough for the consumer to want to share. The use of interactive photo booths with props and even animated backgrounds are a great opportunity for festival goers to share their experience through social media tagging your brands profile in or using your branded hashtags, which all help promote the product or service.

When it comes to expanding brand awareness through social media, connectivity is paramount before, during and after the festival has finished. Creating a buzz on social media prior to event is great way to build up the excitement for the audience. Take advantage of the festival hashtags, which will expose the brand to a wider audience. Millennials, in particular, are likely to support brands that stay up to date and participate in popular trends such as music festivals.

Is that a free Sample?

What-ever industry you are in, free samples are a great way to entice new consumer. Consider a relevant event exclusive giveaway or sample for the event. When handing out free samples you also gain an opportunity to create a campaign around it, whether it be a competition, or social media tagging exercise. Use the moment to grow your reach of potential customers. According to EventTrack 74% of people surveyed said they’re more likely to buy from a company after attending a relevant event.

Event specific offers

Creating specific promotion for sales at the festival can be a great way to create exclusivity. Offers only available to attendees entice festival goers. You could also take the opportunity to collect feedback or conduct small surveys, with the promise of a discount or freebie if they complete. This will give you an opportunity to collect real time feedback.

Create Brand exposure

Lastly, if you do not have a tangible product, then why not consider branding a general product that will be of benefit to festival goers, consider something useful; a bag, water bottle, t shirt, umbrella or even a wireless mobile charger. These all present a great opportunity to.

Create an event budget and stick to it

When reviewing any promotional or brand awareness activity, it is important to set a budget which is in line with your overall strategic marketing plan. Without this is place, it is often tempting to get a little carried away with the theme and the excitement of the event. Keep costs under control and always find tangible ways to measure success.

* Barclaycard

Get in touch To find out more about creating brand visibily at a festival or event.