In the UK, year on year, more people are rushing to watch live music, with last year’s gig and festival attendance at a record high. UK Music’s data publication, Wish You Were Here 2017, found a 12% rise in live music audience numbers since 2016, bringing attendee figures to 30.9 million, 4 million of which specifically attended music festivals. In fact, music tourism and attendance statistics show a steady upwards trend in festival attendance since 2016. With figures like this, it’s hard to deny that live music is one of the most popular and profitable sectors in the music industry.
It’s no wonder then, that companies are looking to the festival sphere to promote their products and brands. Given the demographic makeup of festival goers which features a substantial proportion of millennials (an audience which is known for being difficult to reach), promoting your products at a festival presents an unequivocal opportunity to connect with an elusive demographic. While in the past, marketing at music events was restricted to visual media such as billboards and posters, or simplistic stalls, more and more brands are making use of custom built stands and experiential spaces to really engage with festival attendees. It might be time for you to jump on that bandwagon too.
Music Festival Exhibition Ideas: How Might These Differ From Exhibition Events?
One word: experience.
Think about the environmental differences between a summer music festival and an exhibition hall. Notably, at an expo or exhibition, people have signed up specifically to see exhibits and products, whereas festival goers are attending for the prime purpose of seeing live music. Because of this, you might get the impression that brands are unwelcome in the environment of music festivals, but previous cases of successful attendee engagement with brands would say otherwise. While the message and placement of your exhibit or stand should be wary of hard selling, the environment, culture and experience of festivals is something that can be utilised to really spread product awareness.
This is where experiential marketing comes in. Experiential marketing is where the marketing of a product or service achieved through engaging audiences and fostering an emotional attachment to that product or service. Interactive and engaging experiences are often used to create a relationship between a customer’s mood, attitude and behaviour, and the brand itself.
So how does this link to marketing at music festivals? Put yourselves in the shoes of someone going to a festival: Why are they going there? What are they looking to gain?
They’re looking to gain a memorable experience in an open culture, in the company of friends!
Which leads to our next point, how can you tie this into your music festival exhibit?
Music Festival Exhibition Ideas: Using The “Festival Experience” to Promote Your Products
The key to gaining interactions from festival attendees is to genuinely add value and convenience to their overall festival experience. While people are never especially receptive to out-of-context, in-your-face marketing, this can be particularly unwelcome from festival goers, who may see this as an inauthentic attempt to be sold to. To avoid this, think about the type of experiences, products and take home memorabilia an attendee would want, whilst linking it back to your brand. Find a way to forge an association between the festival and its culture to your company, without making this too obvious. You should be adding to their unforgettable experience, not distracting or attaching yourself to it in an irritating way.
A cringeworthy error here, is making yourself too brash or blatant. You want to be visible and attractive, yes, but trying too hard and forcing yourself upon people when there are no obvious links between your company and the nature of the festival, or the wants and needs of attendees, can backfire. Instead of creating those wanted positive emotions and associations, people will have a negative memory of their interaction with your brand. Doing a bit of research, or drawing on your past experiences of a particular festival can really pay off when thinking about the message you wish to be putting across to a music-minded audience. The vibe across different music festivals can differ hugely, and a mismatch between your presentation and the overall culture of a festival will also stunt this sought after active engagement.
When considering the placement of your marketing material and stands, think about the overall layout of the site and the structures within it. Where might you fit in best for a good balance of high visibility and low distraction? Consider areas of anticipated high foot traffic which mean large volumes of people will naturally have a visual interaction with you. Being placed nearby common routes to stages or eateries is a prime example of this. Be mindful, however, of placing yourself too close to heavily populated areas such as stages and other notable venues, as this would act as a distraction to performances and also run a risk of creating crowds that could act as an annoying barrier to people passing through.
Music Festival Exhibition Ideas: Making Your Product, Service or Brand Shareable
A well-known way to increase brand awareness is to create shareable content, whether it be videos on YouTube, blogs on a website, or posts across social media. This concept also can be applied to how you design and manage your stand at a music festival.
By nature, attending a music festival is a heavily “shared” experience. Music fans are engaged with the atmosphere, and seek to spread this experience through visual media (think Instagram Stories) and storytelling. When marketing at a music festival, aim to make your product, brand or service shareable in order to capitalise on people’s wish to document and share their experiences at a festival. Integrating social sharing tools into your space such as photo-booths act as free marketing to all the online followers of individuals visiting your stand. But, be authentic in doing so. Passively asking people to use a social sharing tool which allows a build up of a community surrounding your brand won’t suffice. People need to be motivated and have a reason to do so. What do you offer them in exchange?
A great example of this is Subway’s festival roadshow “The Green Room, baked by Subway”. A commonly cited irritance with summer festivals, particularly those in hotter climates, is the lack of available food, showers and convenient resting zones. Subway sought to take on these issues with a pop up including seating, free mini sandwiches, air conditioning and “personal refreshment stations” kitted out with wet wipes and suncream. Alongside these comforts, they included interactive photo opportunities, high-speed WiFi and phone-charging stations, making social sharing of the experience as easy as possible. Simply put, they found a pain point within the festival experience, and offered a solution, while creating positive associations and interactions surrounding their brand.
Music Festival Exhibition Ideas: Inviting People To Trial Your Products Meaningfully
If you’re looking to promote your products, no doubt you will have considered freebies and giveaways, alongside the selling of products.
To strengthen people’s engagement with your product, turn visitors into an active part of winning, creating or utilising your product, and really leave a lasting impression. A passive prospect is just that: unlikely to take action. By encouraging a meaningful interaction with what you have to offer, you’re more likely to create a buzz and improve your reputation with festival attendees, as well as giving them a product to takeaway and further spread your message.
Consider how you might create a more exciting way to give away products, that still respect the traditions and culture of the festival you’re attending. If you’re at an eco-friendly festival for example, creating throwaway freebies wouldn’t be wise!
Whatever concept you come up with, be sure to employ enthusiastic staff to man your stand and keep it animated. Just as your stand should keep congruent to your festival surroundings, so should the people within it.
Thinking about promoting or selling products at a music event? DD Exhibitions Ltd design and build high quality exhibition stands for every and any event. We’re happy to answer any questions or work on any concepts, simply contact our friendly team.