What do Mud, Metallica, Magners and Music have in common? Integrated Marketing!


Flock Associates Festivals and Integrated Marketing

Being in the aftermath of the festival season, we bring you some of the industry parallels between music festivals and effective marketing integration.

Glastonbury, Loves Saves the Day, Hideout, Creamfields, Love Box, Secret Garden, and Bestival. These events are thriving and continue to do so regardless of the economy. 40% of UK festival-goers said that the economic crisis did not impact their festival plans at all, see full report here.

As in marketing, a festival needs to have the best resources in place to deliver the job. The basics are, of course having the right artists in the line-up, the right venue, the right dates… but what will set a festival apart from the others? The organising idea. Many marketers overlook these basics and therefore never get to the right idea. They do not have the right strategy, the right team, the right agencies, the right technology, or the right measures of success… How can they expect to deliver the best integrated campaigns?

1.     The organising idea

This is an element that many festivals do brilliantly! A story and an idea can be integrated in a number of ways. That is exactly why Bestival 2013 was a Flock favourite in terms of marketing. To mark its 10th anniversary Bestival celebrated the nautical ‘HMS Bestival.’ A new stage ‘The Port’ was brought in and was actually a named ship, everyone was encouraged to dress up, and there was a parade and competitions. Following on from that, this year the theme has allowed them to branch off with the “Desert Island Disco” idea. See the beautifully told Bestival Story here to understand why this is a favourite.

However. Integration is not only about having an idea. Once the idea is in the bag, it needs to be delivered across all relevant media, on and off-line… But most importantly it needs to be focused on the consumer.

2.     Adapting your services to the consumer

Understanding your audience and demographics. Festivals started with a tent and a stage plonked in a field – which to some had its appeal. Now the offerings are extensive. Festivals have introduced a number of pathways that will appeal to a broad range of customers. ‘Glamping’, camping, day passes, 2 days, 3 days, 4 days, performing arts, parades, different food choices, different music choices, size of stage… This has allowed festivals to pull in a much wider audience, from young to old… Even knowing that they might actually be able to have a hot shower and a sleep… boring, we know!

Festivals have also furthered their offering by introducing payment plans on their tickets. For example, you can pay as little as £5 a week over a 30 week period for your Bestival ticket. Some might say it is practically a free ticket! The businesses have identified their target audience, which might be students or young people with lower incomes, and come up with this way of simulating the market and making sure their festival is remaining appealing.

This is something businesses and especially marketers should do more of. There needs to be multiple ways in for a consumer to connect with a brand. One of our favourite’s integrated case histories is this one. ‘Josh’s Band’ a campaign made for T-Mobile by Saatchi & Saatchi. A very simple idea that becomes a big movement. The idea needs resourcefulness and imagination to come alive and thanks to free texts, internet, a guy called Josh and his imagination, it happens.

3.     Social Media and Festivals

Festivals are naturally good at social media…. Because they enable the public to do a lot of it for them. People want to share their excitements, plans or gather friends together on social media and therefore often use the ‘#festivalhashtag. People want to talk about it, share experiences. People want other people to see they are talking about it… The holy grail being to get a reply from the festival itself or even a celeb! And that is the secret power of an integrated idea. Consumers actually become part of the content creation process. The dream – User Generated Content – is alive. From festivals come the music, photos, videos, blogs, fashion; all of which can be shared extensively. The festivals have merely just put on the stage for it all to happen.

So why do not more marketers give their consumers a reason to do the social media with them and for them? Because a lot of marketers lack the organising idea that will allow this to happen, and probably also lack the resources to engage that audience.

4.     Brand Sponsorship

Brand sponsorship has become a core component of festival marketing. It is a vital income stream but is it increasing brand activation? Festivals and brands are working together to create added value that should improve a festival-goers’ overall experience… but does it?

During your slot with “Bathing under the stars” you get access to hot tubs/saunas/towels/hair dryers and mobile phone chargers all with a glass of champagne in hand! Garnier (L’Oreal) teamed up with the festival Bonnaroo in the US, which not only delighted their customers but also drove social traffic as they asked visitors to pose with music props after and sent them the photos to share. A great example of sponsorship and social media integration.

Although we are sure festival-goers appreciate the branded treats, does it influence a consumer in any way? Apparently not that much! 56.9% of festivalgoers say that it did not improve their enjoyment of the festival. So how could they engage more and increase brand activation without smothering people who are there to listen to the music?

And lastly, some might say, that a festival is the ultimate integration of individuals! People from all walks of life, all ages, all different demographics, coming together for one common denominator. Get in touch here to discuss how Flock can help you get your marketing into festival shape.

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