Like most marketing tactics, experiential marketing comes from humble beginnings. In its infancy, experiential meant taking a brand to the streets... literally. Brand ambassadors would stand on foot-traffic-heavy intersections handing out free samples, with the hope that passersby would choose the free product they received in their next purchasing decision. Not only were the results of sampling campaigns near impossible to calculate, but brands were ending their relationship with the consumer before it even had a chance to begin.
In August 2016, Instagram launched Stories -- a seemingly blatant copycat of Snapchat. Social media professionals and amateur enthusiasts worldwide scoffed at the play and mocked the knockoff filters (the infamous flower crown served as the public's first victim). Even with skepticism and cynicism, Instagram users tried it out. Then, just a year after its initial launch, Instagram Stories surpassed Snapchat's daily usage numbers. How did a photo sharing platform takeover the content world so quickly?
Technology was a hot addition to events in 2017. Virtual reality was everywhere from Comic-Con to Coachella and consumers didn't even have to attend IRL (in real life -- you'll see that come up a lot in this post...) events in order to get in on the action. Tech gadgets from Google, Samsung, and Sony allowed brands to connect to fans on an experiential level without ever leaving their homes. Will VR reign supreme in 2018? Will the tech trend bubble burst and be replaced by old school activations? Check out nine opinions from Pop2Life's best and brightest employees across departments to find out what will be the hottest event trends in 2018.
Walking around my neighborhood in Manhattan's Upper West Side, vacant storefronts are popping up left and right. The vegan soap shop? Gone. The place that only sold olive oil and mustard? Gone. The children's clothing boutique I politely power-walked out of after browsing through $300 cashmere sweaters for toddlers? Gone. However, this doesn't mean that retail has died. Instead, retail has evolved.
Why leave home and run errands when you can just order everything to your doorstep? Such is the genius logic behind the direct-to-consumer boom. No need to waste a precious Saturday morning shopping for items like clothes, razors, glasses, or even groceries when you can order everything on your phone without ever getting up from the couch. These brands disrupt traditional, inflated industries with competitive pricing and ease of use -- Uber didn't reinvent the car service, just as Casper didn't design a new type of mattress. They made the experience more user-friendly by cutting out the middle man and, in turn, cutting prices.
Fresh off of the hormone-fueled teen wonderland that is VidCon, the uniqueness of Gen Z has never been more apparent. At the annual digital content gathering, teens and preteens were glued to their smartphones - uploading, posting, sharing, tweeting, 'gramming, and snapping all of their adventures around the convention center as well as meeting "friends" they've made online for the very first time in person.
There's event management and then there's guest management. Contrary to years of these responsibilities falling under the same jurisdiction, they couldn't be more different. Project managers and event marketers need to focus on an event's planning and production, including venue walk throughs and bookings, researching and hiring vendors, planning and updating (and updating) budgets, signing and negotiating contracts, working through logistics, approving decor, and preparing for a never-ending stream of changes.
Describing your brand as "socially savvy" means nothing anymore. Every brand is tweeting, 'gramming, and Snapchatting, but is it working? Is a heavy social presence capturing consumers' attention and creating an increase in profit? Or are we all so numb to branded content that we've learned to ignore it on billboards, TV ads, and pre-roll before this?
Social media contests are supposed to be a fun, easy, and inexpensive way for brands to interact with their consumers in the weeks leading up to an event. Their followers should be clamoring to enter the contest, eager to hear the results, and singing your praises across every corner of the Internet. Then why aren't they? Why does no one seem interested in free tickets to your event, backstage passes, VIP upgrades, and everything in between? Because poor execution leads to an unsuccessful contest.
The annual conference in Austin, TX is infamous for its over-the-top parties, brand marketing activations, packed lecture halls, and enough BBQ to make you sick - a fact the Pop2Life team continues to test year after year. While always an inspiring and innovative event of the brightest minds in tech, marketing, design, film, comedy, style, and music, this year had a clear political undertone - as CEOs, big brands, and stars vowed allegiance to social issues.