How to use video to win at festival marketing

16th June 2015

With Glastonbury just days away, it’s officially the start of the summer festival season. But this is so much more than muddy boots… Festivals and events offer lucrative opportunities for brands to make connections with key demographics, reinforce brand identity and raise awareness when people are ready and willing to share content. On the flip side, festival and event marketing teams also have to attract sponsors to their gigs, and ensure that their content is gaining the necessary reach and engagement to entice brands to get involved.

No matter the event, video content helps to bring it alive. After all it’s the second best thing to being there (and even if you are there, you still want to share the experience with your friends). But it is important to have a clear purpose for each video, and continue to seed content before, during and after your event to gain advocacy and maximise your ROI.

So, here are our top ways to maximise the power of video to engage audiences at festivals and events…

Creating a pre-event buzz

Video content is an effective way to give your audiences teasers about what they can expect at your event and encourage them to share with their friends. A preview video is worth creating which can be used in a variety of ways throughout your event marketing (check out this one we created for Encounters Short Film Festival). Here is the preview reel for Bestival introducing its Summer of Love theme. It’s nice and short at 31 seconds and has a clear call to action when tickets are on sale.

As video is likely to gain engagement and shares, it’s useful to seed key communications about your festival or event (for instance ticket sales opening, early bird rates, speaker or performer line-up). Take this example from The End of the Road festival which introduces their acts in a short video, which is well-targeted at their vinyl loving audience.

Content marketing is essential for festivals and events to reach relevant audiences and develop trust and credibility. We created a documentary, “Who’s Lenny?”, to help promote a street art festival, See No Evil, which we also seeded with the world’s top graffiti sites. For this audience, the documentary-style worked more effectively than a promo which may have felt to much like an advert.

Social media video on Vine and Instagram can also be used to make announcements. Take this fun play on the #unboxing hashtag – used in retail marketing – to build last-minute excitement for Coachella.

Behind the scenes footage works well to raise anticipation levels about an event as well as help your audience feel involved. Vine and Instagram video come into their own here as quick ways to get updates out there. You can even use timelapse effects in order to build momentum.

Take advantage of the new live streaming apps, such as Periscope and Meerkat, to raise awareness of you event and give your audience a sense of belonging, by interviewing band members or speakers.

Integrate your content

Video content will work even harder for your brand if it is integrated in your wider marketing campaign. We created a 3D video for an engineering firm to use at an industry event. Before the event, we mailed a teaser 3D anaglyph on DVD and 3D glasses with more details about how to attend their stand. In the crowded exhibition space, this mailout attracted visitors to the stand, whilst the 3D film held their attention.

At the festival or event

Ensure that you have a clear plan of the video content you need before the festival or event; once it starts your marketing team will not have the time. You will probably need to be thinking about content for next year’s promo and you should try to get some customer and sponsor testimonials to prove your credentials when you need to attract sponsors next time.

Live streaming is becoming popular for festivals and events. Coachella for instance was streamed by T-Mobile. The videos included the hashtag #musicfreedom which encouraged viewers to start conversations on social media and to promote their webcast. Live streaming helps your festival or event extend reach and makes you more attractive to sponsors. Filming whole sessions or acts provides lots of content, which could be drip-fed to your audiences in festival downtime in order to remind them about your event.

New to the scene, live stream social media apps can be effective too. You could use it to give a commentary on your event, set up interviews or go behind the scenes. It is definitely worth testing these new methods to reach out to people.

Strong customer service is vital at festivals and events to minimise any negative word of mouth. Why not draw on video here too? Create a video with information about your events and details about attendance. This could reduce customer service enquiries as people may be encouraged to watch short videos for further information rather than reading FAQs

During an event, attendees will be having conversations via social media anyway, and so it’s important to get a share of this for your event and sponsors. Ask your audience to post their experiences at your event with a well-promoted hashtag, which is added to video content where possible. Then encourage your guests to create their own content. For instance user-generated videos from the Coachella music festival had more than 40 million views in just three days.

A US energy company, NRG created a strong integrated campaign at Coachella which used experiential marketing, social media, influencers and videos. They enlisted the band, Tennis, for their video promoting the campaign and sustainability. At the event, they set up a campsite made from old shipping containers with DJs playing on solar powered decks, a giant hamster wheel which charged mobiles, and solar panels on the toilets to provide charging stations 24/7. They encouraged people to share content with #CoachellaNRG; each time this hashtag was shared they would change these into renewable energy credits to help make California more sustainable.

This brand really understands their identity and thought about what the audience would want – content from performers, places to charge their phones – and used that to extend their brand mentions and get across a message about energy consumption.

Post festival marketing

Video content should play a leading role post-event to continue to engage fans, who will hopefully act as brand advocates and share with their followers – potential customers to your next event.

You can schedule your video content to go out in an editorial calendar to keep your festival brand in customers’ minds. Coachella created a thank you video which is shareable post-event and builds a community.

Take-aways

  • Plan your content for each stage of your event
  • Integrate your video content into wider marketing plans
  • Have a clear purpose for each video and add a call to action where relevant
  • Encourage your attendees to use your hashtags and build campaigns around UGC
  • Continue communications with your audience in the downtime to build advocacy
  • Track and analyse in order to show your value to sponsors and improve next time

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