3 Steps to Selling Out Entertainment Events: Part 3Festival Sponsorship assets are the benefits sponsors will receive as a result of purchasing a sponsorship asset at a festival or other event. The event sponsorship asset inventory is all the potential ways sponsors can engage with attendees to enhance their brand. Activations are the activities that bring the asset to life.
Brands today are looking for ways to stand out at festivals. They don’t want to become lost as one of the many found with large festivals. Gone are the days when banners were enough to catch people’s attention. Nowadays, festival sponsors expect more than just a logo slapped onto a banner or stage backdrop. They crave unique experiences that attendees and fans can share on social media and remember for years to come.
Part 1 discussed 7 Important Festival Sponsorship Assets. This post will build upon the seven assets listed in Part 1. I want to reinforce again that’s it not about an inventory of sponsorship assets. It’s about sponsor alignment. Potential sponsors will be asking themselves what they get out of sponsoring a festival or entertainment event.
- Is this the kind of event that our brand should be associated with?
- Are the characteristics of the audience consistent with those of our target customers?
- Are there enough of our targeted audience to warrant the expenditure of resources for the festival or event?
- Can the festival provide the sponsorship assets and activations for us that will create memorable experiences for attendees while also offering valuable marketing opportunities?
If the answers to these questions all align, you have a very good chance of acquiring a sponsor for your festival or event.
Other Potential Festival Sponsorship Assets to Consider
So, let’s continue with our quest to identify more creative approaches to developing an inventory of festival sponsorship assets, building upon the ones we highlighted in Part 1. Here are a few to consider:
- Live Streaming: Using live streaming or other real time online interactions are a way to grow your event beyond the audience that is physically present. Some types of festivals and their goings-on have a potential audience that goes well beyond those attending them. They lend themselves to live streaming. Done right, adding a live online component has the potential of engaging a wider audience for the festival or parts of it. It can be a big hit and make those that can’t physically attend feel like you haven’t forgotten them.
Offering sponsored live streaming is a great way to attract sponsors by offering a way to expand their reach and engage those who may not be able to attend in person but are actively following online. A less complex approach may be offering sponsored real time social media updates by a social media influencer, or some other connected person involved with the festival. You can supplement the influencer with your own event app updates and social media posts.
If you decide to use live streaming, be sure to use a reputable company to provide the stream services and test everything beforehand to prevent technical glitches during the show.
- Branded People and Characters: While brands may often have people working at their sponsorship asset at festivals, you have the ability to offer them much more in the way of branding awareness. Consider offering sponsors the chance to have people in branded apparel (t-shirts, pants, bags, etc.) walking around handing out samples of their products at the event. Having a physical presence outside of a booth provides a means that brings their brand to the audience rather than waiting for the audience to find them.
Now take it a step further. What if the branded people were strolling characters or performers who both entertained and passed out the sponsor’s sample products? A strolling character might even be an employee of the sponsor who could answer questions as well. Strolling characters could be wearing a mascot, superhero or other costume or performers such as jugglers, close-up magicians, one-man band, human statues, stilt walkers, etc. This is a way to turn a mundane approach to brand visibility into an exciting asset for both sponsors and their audience.
- Swag/Goody Bags: Swag bags can add value to attendees at your festival while providing a great opportunity for brand exposure to those sponsoring. Everyone loves getting free stuff. The right gifts won’t be thrown away and give people something to remember the sponsor by. Depending on the event size and sponsorship resources available, you can provide swag as people enter the event of when people leave it.
Give your sponsors’ audience something to recall their experience. Branded products and fun things are memorable. They will examine what they received in more detail once they get home, assuring brand engagement.
One approach is to add intrigue by creating a swag “scavenger” hunt. When entering attendees are provided with a branded swag bag which may include some branded swag. To get the good stuff, attendees will need to follow the clues and visit individual sponsors to get the better swag. The game can add other conditions like revealing the brand in some creative manner when they check in with the sponsor to receive the additional swag.
Your event appl can be used for such gamification of the swag experience. You can even keep score as attendees check in with sponsors and provide additional prizes for those who check in with all or the most sponsors at the festival. Sponsors can contribute to creating such VIP prizes for the game.
The gamification of the swag collecting process adds both excitement and engagement to participants. It’s a creative approach to a long-held sponsorship asset. For an explanation of gamification, you can go here to learn more.
In addition to the traditional goody bag, you can also offer a digital one as well to sponsors. Your website or better yet, your event app is the way for sponsors to offer promotions before, during, and after your event. The event app extends the time that sponsors can connect with both potential and actual attendees. This digital goody bag provides more chances for sponsor asset activations and allows them to collect meaningful data to measure alongside their goals for the event.
One of the great things about swag or goody “bags” used as part of the inventory of festival sponsorship assets is that they have a guaranteed reach as everybody entering or leaving your events can be given a swag bag.
- Virtual/Augmented Reality: As the world of digital technologies continues to rapidly evolve, one often overlooked asset that you might consider as part of your festival sponsorship assets inventory is providing augmented or virtual reality experiences at your festival. Whether you do so must include your targeted audience in that deliberation.
Both attendees and sponsors are looking for more high-tech options when looking for festival sponsorship assets. Blending the real and virtual worlds or escaping to a virtual world is becoming increasingly popular for many audiences that may be targeted by your festival. We are in the early stages of what this could mean for sponsorships. Think about the ways you could immerse your audience into the digital world and provide potential sponsors with way to integrate with it.
- Social Media Reach/branded hashtags: Social media is a key part of making an impression of your festival to a much larger audience. Whether it’s getting the word out about your event or getting people talking and engaging with it, social media can have a massive reach. Social media lends itself to creating a number of festival sponsorship assets.
- Campaign Sponsorships: You can use social media to promote sponsors’ brands with a strong social media presence. You can offer businesses the ability to sponsor for a set period your cross-platform social media campaign with links to their site’s landing page whenever possible. Be sure to use exclusive event hashtags for your campaigns.
- User-generated posts: Create an extensive set of tags that your audience can use to post on their social media accounts as well as the event’s website and event app. Think about the reach of the event on social media if those attending use your hashtag in their posts. Also encourage your audience to tag your sponsors. You can also encourage their posting by offering prizes. One approach to gamification of sponsor engagement was addressed under Swag/Goody Bags. Be creative in your approach to user-generated festival sponsorship assets.
- Social Media Displays: Building upon the above, consider offering a social media display as a sponsorship asset. Social media displays feature photos and posts that are tagged with your event’s hashtag on social media networks. User generated content can be a major attraction. We all know how creative people can be when posting on social media. Display boards are a chance for their work to be seen by others at the event. Sponsors can control how fast the posts display and can insert their own promotional content in the display. What’s more is that the attendees do all the work of generating the content for the displays.
These displays can be a fully interactive wall that engages the audience via social media in real time. A lower tech option is using a large monitor or LED wall to display social media posts about the event. They will attract large numbers to see what they and others have posted about the event. Remember the event’s hashtag is key.
- Wayfinding/Interactive walls: Larger festivals with a myriad of events and activity locations can use this popular asset for festival sponsorship. It’s difficult for attendees to find their way to where they want to go. Expansive festivals and fairs sites can be difficult during the day but are even more difficult to traverse at night.
That’s why signposts draw a lot of eyeballs and can be an effective sponsorship asset for festivals or fairs. Whether it’s using words, phrases, or symbols, they are one of the festival sponsorship assets that are part of your inventory. Here’s another example where your event app can shine. Event apps offer a map of the event siteand where the user can find particular events, food, restrooms, etc. The app allows a company to sponsor the event map display as one of its assets.
- Larger than Life Props: Using oversized props as one of your festival sponsorship assets can be a fun approach to branding. They engage people in a playful way and your audience will love taking photos and videos with these props. Not only can such props be a focal point of social media user-generated content, but they can also be a great sponsorship asset in of themselves.
By now, you may have seen those huge rocking chairs at events. People are anxious to have someone take their photo sitting in them. Posting them on social media with the sponsor’s brand and the event’s hashtag is a great way to get eyes on the sponsor. This is just one example of how you can employ larger than life props for your event. It’s also a favored guerilla marketing tactic as well because of all the attention such props get as people find them unexpectedly. Making the props larger than life intrigues the audience and draws them in to engage with them. Get your sponsoring brand to get involved with creating these props to highlight their brand.
- Raffle/Giveaways: Consider adopting a raffle as one of your festival sponsorship assets. There are a number of ways you can incorporate a raffle into your event. You can give tickets away as people arrive at the event or pass them out during the event. The raffle could take place at the end of the event, which would encourage people to stay at the event, giving them more opportunities to interact with sponsors and activities.
Another option is to make it a part of the gamification of your event. Those that complete certain activities are entered into a raffle to win a prize. That prize must be worth the effort. It should be something that will be valued by the attendee long after the event. Think of a sponsored raffle to incentivize people to take the actions you want. You can even use multiple raffles that take place at specific locations to get more people there for the sponsored activities. The key is being creative. That’s what will draw brands to consider sponsorship.
There are many more possible assets that a festival could add to their inventory. The 15 festival sponsorship assets discussed in this two-part article are certainly not the be all, end all. Many festivals will have unique characteristics that lend themselves to unique sponsorship assets.
The question for festivals and events is: Why should your sponsors settle for mediocre sponsorship assets when you could be offering them cutting-edge assets and activations. Find a way to elevate sponsoring brands presence at your festival in ways that leave a lasting impression on their potential customers. Invest in innovative sponsorship assets for your future events. Remember though. It’s all about alignment. Even the best assets are of no value if they don’t align with the brand’s audience and culture.