The problem with promotions, activations and branded events

by | Jul 22, 2013 | Market Research

There’s a lot that could go wrong when it comes to promotions, activations and branded events – and most importantly, there are no do overs or retakes.

An uncontrolled environment, poor planning, unrealistic itineraries and of course overpromising and under delivering all contribute to most of these being a recipe for disaster.

Now one can rationally explain the various factors that contribute to a bad experience during a live event or promotion… but when you’re in the middle of one of those experiences it isn’t quite so easy.

But life happens, and even if you have the best of intentions, not everyone is always happy. So how do you take something so unpredictable, and make it work for your brand?

Start with the objectives

Have a clear, simple guideline of what you would like the experience to be, as well as measurable objectives that you can actually use to benchmark how close you are to that experience.

Launching an event or activation, just like any other form of marketing -costs money. And while there is concrete strategy, objectives and measures behind each and every above the line campaign, this seems to be neglected somewhat when it comes down to events and live activations.

Having clear and specific objectives makes the event measurable. This means that your brand can actually gauge the financial return, and with the right kind of in-event research – you can do a lot more than that too.

Learn from it

Many Organisations simply don’t make use of in-event Research and it just doesn’t make sense to save pennies on research and lose pounds due to bad experience.

The other issue is only doing research once the window into an experience has closed. When you look at research done after the event has passed, any feedback that you may receive relies on an attendees recall and memory.

Memory can offer insight into issues relating to service delivery but it doesn’t quite grasp the emotional response that a person has had to the event, this must be captured in the moment.

We place importance on three things, accurate research, being conducted during the event, and data that is available to clients – in real time.

By accurate, we mean that it not only measures physical service delivery, but also more emotional factors; as well as a key element that can only be measured accurately during an event or activation

Basically, did attendees associate the event with your brand? Did the event elicit the desired emotional response?

If you were a youth brand launching a fresh and exciting new product for instance; did the event feel spontaneous, young, refreshing and entertaining?

What factors contributed to it not being that way? Were they specific to a given area or aspect of the event, and how did these factors affect the overall experience.

Having access to in-event research provides a wealth of insights and information. But the real cherry on top is the use of technology.

It means that highly specific, relevant data is available in real-time, which gives your brand the edge of not only knowledge, but the ability to improve factors that are detrimental to the experience that people are having at the event.

Fix it now, not next time.

One of the reasons that we as an organisation chose to develop the Onsite Insights Methodology, was to add value to our clients by empowering them to fix and troubleshoot an even while it is taking place.

The reason this is so important is that being able to fix a bad experience, is in itself, the provision of a good one.

If for instance, the food isn’t on par, the event is taking too long, or the music isn’t eliciting the intended response, you have to know about it to fix it.

This means that you have the power to make an event outstanding, and even further, you have the means to find out and improve the degree to which attendees associate the event with your brand.

Yes, mistakes happen but if you’re a brand that is willing to intercept and fix those mistakes… well that’s all the more reason to be loyal.

At the end of the day…

A simple plan is good. Clear objectives are great. Using research as a way of testing and measuring the experience you are providing – outstanding.

But it’s about purpose too. Don’t simply host an event or launch a promotion to gain sales. Think about what you actually want to achieve in terms of the customer.

Do you want to strengthen your relationship, give them more value, excite and delight them… or do you simply want a trending hash tag on twitter?

Feel free to leave your comments below…

If you’d like to find out more about our Onsite Insights methodology, click here.