An Event is a brand too!

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAz5AAAAJDFmOGU0MTJmLWI0MGUtNDllZS1iMGI3LWIxMzBiMWM2MWEwMAFor the past 8 years I have been a marketeer in the Sport and Entertainment Industry, and I must say most of my time was skewed towards growing brands in the sport arena.

This is perfectly understandable as per the IEG report, sport has been occupying the lion share of sponsorship spend for a long time (I have presented this chart too many times).

But what I have also presented to many brands looking to grow, is that as per the chart below, festivals, fairs, annual events, the arts are important engagement platforms too!. They can affect the bottomline, positively.

The challenge however becomes with the myriad of events (a quick google search brings up the “top 50 music events in the world”), which one to sponsor? Which one to partner? Which one to work on?

The answer lies in, which event has understood that in order to attract patrons (B2C) and sponsors (B2B), they are also a BRAND. They must differentiate themselves! And it is in this area that I have focused my energy in the past 4 years.

Global Event brands that are top of mind include Coachella, Tomorrowland, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Ultra Music Festival.

Looking at our local South African landscape (focusing on the ones I have worked on either directly or through sponsorship), global lifestyle event brands include: The Standard Bank Joy of Jazz, The Cape Town international Jazz Festival, The Grahamstown National Arts Festival, The The Essence Festival Durban (still in its infancy), Innibos and more.

The winning formula has been the fact that we have adopted and implemented an integrated marketing communications (IMC) framework, where consistency is key! The messaging is consistent through out the customer journey! The creative theme is brought to life at the actual event!

Like FMCG brands, event brands that have stood the test of time and compete for the sponsorship spend and customer/patron’s share of wallet/attention, adopt the American Marketing Association (AMA) definition that integrated marketing communications (IMC) is the “planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.”

Thus my scope of work, an easier said than done task, has been building brands through integrating all parts of the marketing communications discipline, including, advertising (ATL and BTL), PR, direct marketing, digital marketing/social media and sales.

The results speak for themselves: festival attendance to capacity or as per objective (thus increase in sales), high audience (B2C and B2B) loyalty (seen through repeat customers and long term sponsorship/partnership deals).

Go on, differentiate your event, think brands.

By Judith Mugeni

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