Introduction: The Season of Opportunities
Spring is in the air and all good brand managers know that the ensuing summer heat brings more than just the fragrance of flowers — it marks the lead-up to peak trading season for consumer goods brands. To maximise peak performance, you must break through the noise of competitive markets and capture consumer attention and consideration. Experiential events present unique opportunities to forge lasting connections that influence purchasing decision over peak.
Why Experiential Events Work: Beyond the Basics
We’re bombarded with 3,000-10,000 marketing messages every day. Breaking through the noise demands innovation and activation. Experiential events are immersive experiences that command consumer attention through multisensory engagement. They let you move beyond targeting and messaging and showcase the one proposition that’s hard to replicate – personality. Here’s why experiential events work:
01 Let Your Brand’s Personality Shine
Whether your brand aims to be the epitome of sustainability or the forefront of technological innovation, an experiential event serves as a custom-built stage. By sponsoring or curating events that resonate with your brand values and mission, you naturally attract an audience aligned with your value proposition.
02 A Captive, Playful Audience
Unlike traditional advertising platforms, experiential events provide access to a captive audience already in a receptive mindset. When consumers enter event spaces, they are not just physically present but also emotionally and psychologically engaged. This kind of attentive audience is marketing gold — ready and willing to interact, share, and ultimately, buy.
03 Target with Intent
Exhibitions and events draw targeted audiences. Live music events target fans. Exhibitions target lifestyles and interests. Experiential events provide marketers with a great opportunity to engage with target markets with shared interests – with accuracy.
Strategic Timing: Why Now Matters
Showing up at key events ensures your brand is front of mind as people gear up for the summer holidays and retail activity blossoms.
September marks the beginning of Spring, and with it, the start of the festival season in South Africa. The summer and spring calendar is a litany of opportunity to engage – from Hey Neighbour, to Rocking the Daisies, to Rage, to Jozi Kota fest, there’s something for everyone (and every brand!).
For the ambitious, bringing brand new (pun intended!) annual events to the circuit is an amazing way to elevate your brand with a piece of real estate that you can own and leverage on mainstream and social media for years to come.
Step-By-Step Guide to a Successful Experiential Event
Experiential eventing can require significant investment. But done right, yields real return in terms of brand equity and revenue. Investing in the right events with the right experiences is key to realising that return. Here’s our step-by-step guide to getting experiential eventing right:
01 Know Your Audience:
As with all marketing efforts, knowing your audience is key. Select events whose target audience aligns with yours. Also consider the usage occasion for your brand and how you can bring that to life at events. If your brand doesn’t lend itself to a usage occasion, don’t let that deter you – think about the type of experience event goers are looking for and give it to them! They’ll thank you for it with their purchasing decisions when they’re next in store.
02 Design with Purpose:
Whether you’re curating your own event, or sponsoring a spot at a preexisting one, define your objectives clearly. And craft a consumer journey that’s both compelling and that meets those objectives.
03 Logistics, logistics, logistics:
The success or failure of your event often comes down to logistics – from parking to payment methods, to ablution – an event lives or dies by the consumer experience. Make sure that you have considered the full extent of consumer journeys and make contingencies for every eventuality.
04 Content Is King:
Develop compelling content that resonates with your target audience – pre-, during and post- your event. Remember that events are content-machines. Festival goers naturally record and share their experiences and you would be remiss not to take advantage of this opportunity for organic, user-generated content. Create opportunities for content creation for consumers that are fun, innovative and showcase your brand in an unobtrusive way that consumers can’t help but engage with.
05 Utilize Data-Driven Insights:
Set KPIs for your experiential events, and make sure that your activations are measurable. Event organisers should be able to share expected traffic and demographics that you can base your targets on. These data points will also guide you when it comes to selecting the right events to sponsor, and when forecasting reach and ROI.
Choosing the Right Execution Partner
A successful event is not only about the perfect concept but demands flawless execution and specialist skills. Here’s what to look for in your ideal experiential eventing partner:
01 Comprehensive Planning:
The right partner should demonstrate careful consideration from conception to post-event analysis – and everything in between. They should be able to provide detailed budgets and project plans that cover procurement, logistics and staffing.
02 A Solid Track Record:
You don’t want to be the use case. Ask potential partners for case studies of previous events including results.
03 Logistical dream:
Eventing has many moving parts. Your partner should be competent in design, set up, staging, procurement, staffing and supplier management.
04 Data-Driven Metrics:
Tracking event interactions is important to determine efficacy. Your partner should demonstrate a commitment to measure results and ROI through data analytics.
A Case in Point: RE-FRESHING OROS FOR AN EMERGING MARKET OF BUYERS AT COTTONFEST
In a competitive category, amidst evolving consumer behaviour, how has Oros maintained its status as South Africa’s orange squash market leader for over a century? Aside from consistent quality and product innovation, the brand has never succumbed to complacency or taken that status for granted. Their omnichannel approach includes sampling, experiential and promotional marketing, engaging consumers at out-of-home events and venues aligned with the brand’s personality and value proposition.
CottonFest is one such event. Celebrating South Africa’s youth culture, the event brings together thousands of artists and revellers. This year’s Jo’burg event saw over 10,000 attendees, 1,000 artists and achieved significant media reach – pre-, during and post the event.
The event aligns with Oros’s fun brand personality and refreshing value proposition. It also represents an opportunity to appeal to young adults who grew up on Oros and who are now coming into buying power of their own. Engaging consumers at this life stage is how Oros remains relevant for successive generations.
The objectives of Oros’s Jo’burg CottonFest activation was brand awareness and product trails. We designed and built an immersive installation featuring the ever-interactive dancing Oros man, a 360-degree selfie camera and brand ambassadors who distributed ice cold Ready-to-Drink Oros samples and Oros mocktails to thirsty party-goers.
The installation was purpose-built to maximise trials and engagement and amplify reach through consumer-created social media content. Consumers visiting the stand were incentivised to engage through funky giveaways (for each social media post featuring product and the hashtag #OrosFlavourUp, consumers received a trendy branded bucket hat). The Oros man brought his unique flavour to the installation, the skate park and on the dance floor, creating hype, and inviting engagement.
75% of event attendees engaged with the brand at the installation, enjoying Ready-to-Drink and mocktail samples. Branded giveaways were extremely well received by consumers who considered them ’stylish memorabilia’ – testimony to the brand’s legacy and equity. This is just one example of how the right experiential events can bring brands to life for consumers in lasting and compelling ways.
Conclusion: Seize the Opportunity
As the peak trading season looms, brand managers must capitalise on the potent combination of consumer readiness and strategic timing. Experiential events offer an unparalleled platform for engagement, impact, and conversion. With the right execution partner by your side, not only will you navigate the peak trading season, you’ll dominate it. The question is, are you ready to make your mark?
With Tradeway, you are assured of an experiential eventing partner with a proven track record and the resources and expertise to execute with excellence. Contact us today to learn more.
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