Oliver Richardson

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Social plus live = marketing heaven

We’re always saying it – live events and social media are natural bedfellows.  For networking events this is because the opportunity to actually physically meet people you may have been conversing with or exchanging glib one-liners is somehow rather life-affirming.  But it also cuts the other way – using social to amplify a live event beyond the attending audience makes for powerful marketing indeed.

The problem is that so many brands remain utterly uninspired about how they actually achieve this.  Exhibitions are the biggest offenders, with scores of exhibitors flocking to twitter to announce they’re on stand x and come and see them.   Some really up the ante by adding that they have coffee.  Or cake.  Or giveaways.  As if that wasn’t lame enough, you’ll often see the same bland and meaningless message repeated several times throughout the day which starts to sound a bit desperate.

These brands are really missing a trick because not only are they not inspiring the existing audience at the event to connect with them, but there’s also zero chance that their message is going beyond the walls of the event.  If you want your message to be shared not just at the event but to your broader community who are “watching from home”, you need to add some showbiz and get creative – and it doesn’t have to be expensive, just a bit imaginative.

For example, we recently worked with a leading supplier of wellness and prescription brand petfoods , through their stand design agency, Worth Events.  Not a particularly sexy product and certainly not one for which you can offer your human audience a tasty free sample!  Instead, we set up a photobooth for them and they armed themselves with a hundred or so comedy props – from silly wigs, glasses, different animal ears and noses and a whole range of superhero themed paraphernalia.  They encouraged visitors to tap into their silly side, don an outfit and have their photo taken which was then added to a super-powers themed twitter wall displayed on their stand.  Visitors enjoyed the light-hearted humour and of course also shared their photos on twitter, whilst the show twitter-stream practically became a “sponsored by” opportunity as photo after photo, tagged to the show, emerged.  A daily prize for the silliest photo encouraged those who had seen the activity but not yet partaken to get involved, creating a real draw to the stand whilst also boosting their number of twitter followers and making their brand visible to a broader community beyond the event.

I wanted to share this with you because it’s such a simple example of how you can turn what seems like a non-opportunity into something really quite powerful.  Having a bit of fun like this creates attraction and engagement on the stand itself, but also allows you to push out beyond the show and it really isn’t expensive to do.  Our client used a superhero theme for the photos and this theme linked into other elements of their marketing.  It was silly, it was fun, it was memorable and the funny thing about memorable things – is people remember them!

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