Companies sponsoring events usually have one goal - to instill and brand awareness in any way possible. It is therefore a common practice to try to incorporate brand activation during events. However, it may not necessarily be a good idea as it often gives participants forced product introduction as opposed to smooth transition expected of events. Instead of soliciting for forced engagements, brands should be focusing on how to provide a cohesive and interactive experience for the event attendees which could turn into raving fans when activated and engaged with properly.
Failing through forced interaction
In a market plagued usually by the lack of authenticity, efficiency and innovation, event sponsorship should look into embracing innovation and constant reinvention. Instead of forcing brand interaction and activation, sponsors and event organizes should consider incorporating out of the box business practices such online ticketing and cohesive engagement experience. Such practices could potentially unlock great brand value and completely transform the dynamics of the event industry.
While it may be a common knowledge for those familiar with the industry that event sponsorship and "in-event" advertising is considered broken, it is quite challenging to fix it as current industry practices often add to the problem instead of addressing them. Examples of such issue is the fact that the industry is saturated with the same brands competing for the same event due to the difficulty of managing on-site activation.
Specific and targeted brand activations
However, it can be solved by taking event activation online and or to smaller events. With the advent of marketing on the smartphone, there open various opportunities for brand activation. Today, brands can post on different social media platforms and find innovative ways to integrate in-event experience. The only problem with social media platforms is that the signal-to-noise ratio is heavily skewed which means it is not easy to specifically target an event audience without appearing spammy and unauthentic.
In order to address this, many brands are constantly looking for cost-efficient and effective marketing channels that help drive significant market penetration. Hence the introduction of the “specific in-event” digital platforms or “event-apps”. Companies like Eventbase and Double Dutch are currently making interesting things in the "event-app" category. Just like with any other channels, however, the main problem is that it’s still limited in terms of driving compelling audience penetration because those apps are all second screen.
Good thing is, there is one industry that is strategically positioned to bring in great event audience penetration and help brands get into the next frontier of brand activation: ticketing. Purchasing tickets is the foremost step in an event’s lifecycle. The ticketing company would be the first to know and have access to the demographics of the audience and attendees along with their preferences and market behaviors. With the advent of technology, there are more ways for brands to communicate with consumers. Those who make it easier for attendees to download tickets from the event app instead of having to print them off will find themselves with goldmine of consumer data which could then be used to better serve them with relevant and more targeted messaging.
In order to fully maximize the advantage of this opportunity, ticketing must be aligned with technological progress and advancement. It should not be stacked with the same old technology which is often sluggish, difficult to navigate and lack any significant way to drive social engagement as well as deliver sponsor-branded content. It should be directed towards building app experience that is dynamic, cohesive and responsive enough to bring audience and sponsors together through interactive experiences. With this in mind, instead of pushing banners and other traditional ways to blast messages to event attendees, both sponsors and event organizers have the potential of extending the brand activation without necessarily becoming intrusive.
To do this, both sponsors and organizes need to think creatively about how to best execute the brand goals and the future of activation at their events. In order to fulfill that, ticketing needs to more interactive and not intrusive. Forget about the old ways and assumptions and continue to embrace the many possibilities by which messaging and brand interaction can be incorporated in the event experience, instead of disrupting them.