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Finding the link between brands, events and millennials

Posted on February 11th, 2020 in Brand Expression, Event News, Event Sponsorship, Experience Economy

Event organisers have lots of balls to juggle, but two of importance are brand partnerships and attracting new markets.

Thankfully, Secret Sounds has released the Love Song report that links the benefits of a strong brand experience with providing millennials with a great event experience.

Brands are benefitting from being at events

Post-event interviews held after Splendour in the Grass last year revealed that the audience not only enjoyed having brands involved in the festival, but they were more likely to buy from them in the future and were happily sharing brand experiences online.

The survey found:

– 69% of people said brand activations had a huge impact on driving positive attitudes towards brands

– 78% of people said they were likely to share their brand experiences with friends

– 84% of people said they were likely to buy from brands that had been present at the festival

These encouraging numbers are a joy to behold for sponsors and partners. Of course, these brands had been chosen carefully by event organisers — not every brand can have success at every event.

With events having such a clear benefit for brands, it’s clear that they should be a big part of a marketing strategy. Linda Tillman talks about how to integrate events into your marketing plan.

How do you find the right partner for your audience?

Event sponsorships and partnerships have developed beyond the simple exchange of cash for promotion.

Nowadays, event organisers have the chance to sell huge benefits to sponsors: the length of the event (versus a short TV ad, for example), the chance to be in front of their desired audience and a chance to really engage with them.

In return, sponsors get more if they provide more than just money. Working on contra deals or, more commonly, partners setting up experiences, means they can give in a more meaningful way.

Andy Walsh, business director at Secret Sounds who were responsible for the Love Song report, said, “For us, we’ve had such diverse sponsors be part of our festivals. The thing we always like to challenge brands on is to look at making a role that’s adding value or doing something that’s important to the audience. It’s those little things can drive alignment.”

“It’s been part of the evolution of marketing holistically. Sponsorship in simple terms went from logo placement to product integration to really immersive experiences. The audience we have during that time – Splendour runs for five, six days – there’s that period which is hyper-focussed and people are engaged at such a high level.”

Find a way that brands can help your audience

Once you’ve found partners who want to help, you need to work out the best way they can provide benefit to your audience.

At any music festival, drink tents are always popular, but that doesn’t mean they have to be basic. Over the years, Splendour has grown to incorporate brands to take their bars and drink tents to the next level.

Andy said, “At Splendour now, it’s something like 70% of the bars are sponsor bars, so partners — sometimes even non-alcoholic partners – are creating these immersive experiences. Rather than consumers just lining up at a tent to buy a drink, a very transactional relationship, we have brands who want to add to that.”

“At Splendour, consumers arrive on Wednesday and have a lot of time on their hands. They want to immerse and spend time with their friends – and brands actually create those experiences.”

“It’s not only the demand, it’s the value for brands to facilitate that which is really high.”

Creating new experiences

The overriding message of the report was that millennials live for experiences. It’s a generation that values what they can get from life, and no longer are material possessions key. They want to spend their money on memories.

If you have a long-running event, it’s time to start questioning the way you do it. While certain tactics worked in the past, and may attract older generations, if you want to attract millennials to your event you need to do something different. This starts with your marketing and goes all the way through to your post-event work.

CJ Holden, creator of s p a c e, warns though that you need to make sure that you deliver on your promises. He said, “The most common mistake is not living up to the brand promise or message. I’ve been to lots of different events that sell you it on one thing and when you attend it’s just like any other conference. That is so frustrating.”

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