For decades, Hargrove has created all-encompassing experiential environments for events, trade shows and exhibits. We have kicked things up a notch with the addition of our own Experiential Marketing Production (XMP) line of business. Our XMP team works tirelessly with our agency clients to create captivating experiences that engage their audiences on all levels. When planning your next event, and even your next trade show or exhibit, think about every aspect of that environment, and how your audience will perceive the atmosphere. To help, our XMP team has provided a list of the top 10 considerations when planning an experiential marketing event:
1. Manage team responsibilities. Make sure everyone involved in your project is on the same page, as things in the experiential marketing world change fast and often. Designate one person from your team to pass along final information to your vendors and production team so nothing gets lost in email chains and phone conversations.
2. Be flexible. Experiential marketing environments are often designed and fabricated from scratch. Cables and wires that may have been hidden behind an indoor stage set will now need to be incorporated into your event design. Be open to the possibilities of design changes, especially when your production team is incorporating important factors such as emergency exits and ADA-compliable ramps like the ramps we incorporated during Oracle OpenWorld.
3. Think of each décor item and prop as a photo opportunity. With social media platforms and the power of viral social media posts, photo opps are so important! Your attendees will be snapping pictures left and right, so you don’t want to waste any space on décor items that don’t look picture perfect. *Bonus hint: Also think about what your event space looks like from above! Drones are becoming increasingly popular, and you want your experience set perfectly from all angles.
4. Remember the timing. What is the weather like in the location of your event during that specific time of the year? This is extremely important for outdoor events! Should you plan for rain or snow? What about wind speeds? Also keep in mind the other events that could be taking place in that location concurrently with your event. Our XMP crews had to work around dozens of other vendors during the Bud Light Super Bowl 50 activations in San Francisco!
5. Plan for permitting. You don’t want your event installation put on hold because you don’t have the necessary plans and permits. Get permits based on your designs, submit fire marshal, occupancy and life-safety plans. Attend town hall meetings to discuss your event plans if it could affect those in the area.
6. Signage is important. Everything needs to look in-place in your atmosphere. You don’t want to see a photo of your beautifully designed experience with a sign stating the Wi-Fi password sticking out like a sore thumb. Keep even the smallest signs on-brand, like we did with the Shock Top Saves Boston activation.
7. Build a relationship with the locals. Your event will have a huge effect on those in the area. Foster a good relationship with the town your event is taking place! When Hargrove’s XMP team took over Crested Butte, CO and Catalina Island, CA for Bud Light’s Whatever, USA events, this was extremely important and helpful. You never know what you may need, so befriend the townspeople, and be respectful of what else is occurring in their space during daily life.
8. Ask for samples of all materials you will be using. Pay attention to how these substrates and products look and feel up close because your event attendees will most likely be right next to these signs and props. Rely on your XMP designers and fabricators for advice on best materials. Our XMP team has the extensive knowledge of what materials look best in photos, how outdoor, natural lighting affects a substrate compared to indoor lights and other details you may not even think about!
9. Keep your event environment clean! Have cleaning crews available at the end of each day to remove the trash and set the space for a fresh start the following day. Have restrooms and trash cans nearby, and keep office trailers available for the crews to utilize.
10. Don’t forget about security and crowd control. Experiential marketing events are often open, outdoor environments. There won’t be an MC directing the event and instructing your attendees where to go and when. Hire a choreographed group of security to control the number of people in your event space, how often attendees can come and go and general safety concerns.
What additional tips do you have for planning experiential marketing events? Comment below!