The Arc of Influence (Weekly Roundup: September 01)

Posted by Samantha Stallard on September 1, 2017
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Every Friday, the P2Blog will feature five industry articles that are trending, relevant, shocking, hilarious, or rediscovered. The Weekly Roundup is a curated list of what Pop2Life is sharing around the office - complete with our thoughts and on-point opinions (IMNSHO).

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1. 3 Ways Airlines are Leading the Experience Economy 

lufthansa_airlines experience economy.jpegPhoto courtesy: Pexels

Found in Pop2Life, written by Samantha Stallard
1. By providing entertainment: IcelandairIcelandair will put on a three-act play on a flight from London to New York via Iceland later this year, as part of an attempt to encourage even more transatlantic passengers to its airline. As apart of its Stopover Pass program and starring Icelandair staff and crew, and telling the story of the airline since 1937, it will see passengers experience Act 1 on the London to Iceland leg of the flight, Act 2 in the departure lounge in Iceland, and Act 3 on the New York leg. Icelandair partnered with an immersive theater group on the project.
2. By partnering with popular festivals and influencers: DeltaFor the third year in a row, Delta’s festival shuttle flew nearly 200 SXSW attendees from LAX to Austin as apart of their strategy to attract new flyers from diverse, high-profile industries. With the understanding that everyone will need to fly from LA to Austin, Delta set out to turn the flight into a networking event where attendees could discuss their industries, technology, and entertainment.
3. By surprising unsuspecting consumers: Air FranceAirline food is infamously horrible. Showing that they're in on the joke, and working to better their own offerings, Air France jumped on the food truck trend, touring a Gourmet Food Truck through NYC. Chefs from airline caterer Flying Food Servair handed out free food samples based on the recipes of Air France’s Michelin-starred chef Joël Robuchon.
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2. Harnessing the Power of Pop-Up Shops

Goop_pop_up.jpgPhoto courtesy: Giving Way

Found in Chain Store Age, written by Chris Francis
Focus on Shopper Needs. The pop-up retail environment not only offers flexibility to merchants, but it presents the opportunity to revamp the shopping journey for customers. Part of establishing brand awareness and engaging with shoppers through a pop-up shop is making sure shoppers walk away with an experience they won’t soon forget. Offering personalized promotions or equipping employees with tablets for looking up inventory, placing orders or even making payments will help merchants enhance their pop-up store offering. Adjusting marketing techniques and customer service tactics can also go a long way in enhancing the retail experience within pop-up environments. 
Keep Payments Simple. The size and format of pop-up shops can vary drastically depending on a variety of factors, including a merchant’s budget and design preferences. In many cases, having a traditional point-of-sale (POS) setup may not provide the flexibility needed to operate in a pop-up space. Rather than trying to incorporate traditional cash registers or checkout lines, many merchants are using pop-up locations as a way to experiment with modern payment options such as mobile wallets and tablet-based POS solutions.  
Get Experimental. Pop-up stores serve as a great way for merchants to test out new products or concepts. Whether a brand is looking to promote a new collection or showcase a unique collaboration, pop-ups create a sense of “limited time only” urgency that attracts and retains the attention of customers. By experimenting with new offerings within a pop-up, merchants also have the opportunity to get on-the-ground feedback and suggestions before taking on the risk of pushing out new products to a larger market. 
Our take:

In today's consumer-centric business culture, brands are expected to have a clear aesthetic, belief system, and voice from the very beginning. Consumers must feel drawn to these brands on an emotional, almost spiritual, level. More than a beautiful website, a fun logo, or a catchy tagline, there has to be a consistent user experience that resonates from the first click. 

So then how do direct-to-consumer brands connect with their audience beyond their website or social profiles? With no stores to walk into and no employees to interact with, how are trust and loyalty established? Can D2C brands be experiential or is that a marketing strategy reserved for a more traditional business model?

Of course, D2C brands can activate experiences -- and when they get experiential, consumers notice. Brand activations such as pop-up shops, product launch parties, influencer experiences, or space takeovers see high attendance and positive feedback because it is usually the first time, and often only time, consumers have to interact with these brands face-to-face. 

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3. The Vegas VIP Experience 

vegas vip experience.jpegPhoto courtesy: Pexels

Found in P2Blog, written by Samantha Stallard

As a company that champions remarkable experiences, we know there’s a lot to be learned from the way Vegas treats its guests. It’s the perfect place to find inspiration if you’re looking for ways to step up your guest experience game. We’ve pulled together some Sin City tricks of the trade that could work for any event to get you started.

A guest should feel they’ve been thought of ahead of time and that their presence is an important one. After all, few things make you feel more important than when little details were clearly designed with you in mind: your favorite music is playing when you check into your hotel room instead of stock smooth jazz; when you arrive at the theater, you are greeted by name and led to your seat with a smile; your massage chair relaxes you to the rhythm of whatever song you’re listening to (this is, of course, an actual thing in Vegas). Anything you can do to include someone’s name or personal preferences into their experience goes a long way in making them feel like a guest – not a number. This can be accomplished in communications, greeting during events, and in the way you prepare materials and spaces ahead of time.

We all love a little something extra, don’t we? A complimentary upgrade we didn’t expect, a personal tasting of a new dish the chef is trying out, or early access to, well, anything. It’s a little like winning the experience lottery because you always expect what you planned and paid for, but the extras are the most exciting. Even if those exclusive pieces are paid for, that is what sets their experience apart from everyone else’s. Try adding in tiers to your event, so guests can choose to upgrade their own experience if they have the budget. You can also plan ahead for upgrades, extras, or surprises that you present to VIPs, influencers or other guests for free – this way, you’ve budgeted for it and they still get the surprise of a complimentary perk!

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4. Using Event Tech to Acquire Micro-Influencers

bizbash micro influencers.jpegPhoto courtesy: Surkus

Found in BizBash, written by Surkus

Celebrity endorsements have always been a go-to for savvy event marketers, but as consumers become inured to a constant barrage of #sponsored Instagram posts, the impact of these celebrities has diminished. Event marketers should consider stepping out of the box and avoiding the million-follower influencers for people who seem more “real” and obtainable - the micro-influencer.

Micro-influencers are people who have a smaller, more niche following, and because they likely have participated in fewer sponsored posts in the past, feel more authentic than their more well-known counterparts. This is even more true for events, as micro-influencers are more likely to have a following of people in their geographic area, rather than a celebrity with fans all over the world.

Your strategy should start with figuring out what type of person is best for your event. Typically, they'd represent your ideal attendee. Next, define how much the attendance of a micro-influencer and a subsequent social media post is worth to you. 

Our take:

Micro-influencers are a cost effective and successful way to tap into the niche audience of your event's attendees. Sprinkled throughout the crowd, they give your event a feeling of sophistication and exclusivity, but, based on their rising star, are still ready, willing, and able to mingle among the crowd effortlessly.

These social media celebrities have built their personal brands on a personalized strategy and vision. Whether they define themselves as fashionista, a foodie, a fitness guru, or a travel expert, they have a clearly-defined image and brand messaging that you can align with your activation. Authenticity is the most important factor when choosing which micro-influencers to work with. If they're presence makes no sense other than the fact that they're being compensated for their time, don't include them.

Don't see this as paying someone to attend your event, but more as a marketing cost that will drive awareness and engagement in an authentic way. During your event, it's easy to keep your attendees engaged. Since you already know you've brought your ideal crowd, the micro-influencers should be immersed in the activities happening in your venue.

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5. Social Media Photo-Sharing Backpacks A Hit At New York Mets Game

mets fans backpacks.jpgPhoto courtesy: Sport Techie

Found Sport Techie, written by Logan Bradley

M-ND, an experiential marketing company, last week rolled out a brand new activation at the New York Mets game. They did so through a partnership with the B+ Foundation, an organization that supports children fighting cancer. In hopes of making the night more special for the kids, M-ND unveiled their social media photo-sharing backpacks.

Once your photo is uploaded all you need to do is find a portable printing backpack. Every post with the hashtag will show up in an aggregate feed where you can then select your picture. From here you can print the image as a 2×3 photo-sticker with custom overlays such as the B+ logo or Mets colors.

The activation’s goal was to bring awareness to the B+ mission and highlight a member-event on social media. Once the night ended M-ND measured the potential social reach at just under 20,000 people — not bad for a few hours. While the backpacks were primarily meant for the kids, Suen mentioned that other Mets fans became drawn in by the tech.

Our take:

Similar to our partnership with TINT, this activation is designed to hold consumers attention during the activation. When we send event attendees home with an ask, like share using this hashtag or download your photos, they usually don't do it. The big problem out there that we’re trying to solve is that 92% of consumers trust real people more than brands. With today’s technology, we’re bombarded with advertisements and it’s difficult to know who, or what, to trust. There are tons of people already talking about your brand online.

Brands can implement TINT to find this content that already exists, then sift through all of the posts and find relative content, whether it’s posted from influencers or regular people just showing off a brand’s product. TINT allows brands to find the best content that’s already created by the people that other people trust. Brands then take that curated content and display it across all of their marketing channels, generating additional value.

When you’re walking around in New York City, you will sometimes see a poster with just a hashtag on it. People walking by don’t know why they’re supposed to post with that hashtag, how to get involved, or what the meaning is. My biggest piece of advice is, you have to ingrain TINT in other types of marketing strategies. Consumers need to be able to see a piece of content and understand what it is, how they can get involved, and why they should get involved. When someone sees your brand, understands your message, and is moved to act, that’s the best thing we can ask for.  Just displaying social media messages on a screen or a web page is not going to be as effective.

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Topics: pop culture, news, experiential marketing, events

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