How to Create a Killer Experiential Event this Festival Season
Your ultimate guide to Experiential Festival Events - What, Why and How to create a festival Experiential event - including choosing a theme, technologies required, human resources needed, advantages and much more!
6 min read
The festive season is around the corner. With Dussehra, Diwali, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas lined up, the next quarter is the busiest of the year for festival celebrations. As an Event Manager, you might be looking for festival marketing idead to organise a great festival event. We are here to help you.
Whether it is a party, a Corporate meet, a social gathering or a communal event, creating festival themed events is no piece of cake. Integrating themes of the festival, juggling interests of stakeholders such as the Event Organisers, Sponsors and Participants, while ensuring the Event attendees have a great experience is a difficult task indeed.
WHAT is an Experiential Event?
The concept of an Experiential Event is derived from Experiential Marketing. An Experiential event engages the Event attendees, Organizers and Sponsors in a unified, meaningful way with the Event’s theme to generate an emotional response.
In an Experiential event, event participants engage with the event in a multi sensory fashion. This engagement is active, and requires the participants to take an action/series of actions. Often, latest technology is used to facilitate the engagement as per experiential marketing trends. Treasure hunts are an example of Experiential Events - ones that require active engagement (hunting) on part of the participant.
To give you an experiential marketing example - we created an Experiential Event themed around the team Royal challengers Bangalore to engage attendees for an Indian Premier League cricket match. You can consult our case study to see the detailed process of creating an Experiential Event.
WHY you should create an Experiential Event?
Experiential marketing helps your Event create a close bond with your Event participants, by engaging them in memorable and fun experiences.
The memorable and fun experience would involve interacting with content in an innovative way. It could also use immersive technologies like Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. Participants can also help create User Generated Content in the form of selfies and cinemagraphs.
Besides, Sponsors love Experiential Marketing events. By increasing audience engagement, you are able to create higher brand recall and more attention for your sponsors, who are often willing to pay a premium for it.
For eg. for Supersonic Music Festival 2016, we created an experiential marketing experience for Budweiser, in partnership with Vh1.
Since Experiential Events are a relatively new concept, local media organisations often find them intriguing. This can potentially create huge media coverage for your event, saving event marketing agencies thousands of dollars in event marketing costs.
Choosing a theme for the Event - THE THOUGHT
The first step is to choose a theme for your Experiential Event. For a festival themed event, the Experiential activation/activity must resonate with the spirit of the festival. An Experiential event for Diwali would focus on lights, prosperity and new beginnings; whereas for a Halloween party, the event would focus on fear, the supernatural and the dark.
Secondly, keep the sponsors’ objectives in mind. A sponsor seeking to increase brand awareness would focus on duration of audience engagement during an experiential marketing activation. The engagement might be of a lower quality, but higher duration. On the other hand, a sponsor seeking contact information of attendees would require a higher quality engagement, with the possibility of a reward, which an experiential marketing agency can keep in mind.
Third, keep in mind your objectives for User Generated Content. Your sponsors and organizers might want you to tailor the experience around creating relevant User Generated Content. Make sure the experience has an avenue for users to capture, edit and share photos/videos.
Also, keep in mind the interests of the Organizers and the Audience. For a Halloween party attended by 6-10 year old children, a talking Jack - O - Lantern might be more suitable, than a full fledged haunted house survivor experience;. A more mature audience would prefer the latter for the thrill.
For eg. for marketing our Mixed Reality solutions, we created an experiential marketing event - #WOWSOMEFriday. The audience comprised of working professionals, middle management and decision makers. To suit the audience, we created a Mixed Reality golf game.
Choosing the Experiential Activity - THE ACTION
Once you have chosen your theme and you have secured stakeholder buy-in, the next step would be choosing the right Experiential activation or activity.
Choosing the activity boils down to your sponsors, audience and the kind of experience you want to create. For a younger, energetic audience, you should ideally design a physically intensive activity that is designed to channel all that energy. This would work well for festivals that involve dancing, such as Navratri or Garba. This would also work well at dance events, parties and a young (possibly inebriated) audience.
For the Dussehra and Navratri festivals, we have created Experiential Event solutions that channel this energy into a festival themed interactive game. Check it out here.
For a more mature audience, try and avoid physically intensive activities;. Use interactive experiences that are simple, low effort and fun. For example, an Interactive Augmented Reality Game might be an ideal solution - high interactivity, low exertion. For DuPont Pexalon, we designed an Interactive, educational Mixed Reality game to engage farmers.
Finally, you can always use non-technological solutions. A simple act of tearing off a poster to uncover the message behind, or an old school treasure hunt might be sufficient to engage your audience. However, do consider integrating technology into your events to ensure maximum interactivity and engagement.
Technology and Human Resources required - THE EXECUTION
Once you have finalized the Experience you want to create , it is time to execute. First, you must choose technology solutions for your events. This includes the technology required to create the Experience itself. Augmented reality and Mixed Reality experiences would involve using Motion Sensors, Cameras and LED Displays. Experiences utilizing audio / touch would need IoT sensors, Haptic feedback sensors, embedded computers and microphones.
You also need photo-booths, still and video cameras and lead generation applications to create and distribute User Generated Content. Cloud based Content Management Systems would help you organize User Generated Content. Lead generation systems would help you gather data about your event participants - data useful for the Event organizers and sponsors.
You need supplementary technology for power, Internet and check-ins. Finally, crowd management, event check-in and an event control centre could help you conduct the activity in an organized, efficient and safe manner.
To smoothly conduct the event, you need to ensure you have a comprehensive support staff available. This includes volunteers for crowd control and check in, Emcees for entertainment, Security staff, Communication teams and Technical Support and troubleshooting staff.
You have decided to go with an Experiential event this festive season. You have chosen the theme, you have chosen the activity, you have identified the technology and human resources required. You have looked at experiential marketing examples. Now it is time to go out and execute. Go ahead and create an amazing Experiential marketing event, and bring smiles on your audience, sponsors’ and organizers’ faces.
Have a happy festive season !