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Festival Blog

What Students Expect from Brands at Exhibitions.

After 13 years of running the Freshers Festival across the UK, we have listened to thousands of 16-25 year olds give their opinion on what they expect to see from brands at live events. Most Universities and Colleges run fresher’s fairs with free pizza and plenty of pens but is it enough? Here are 3 quick tips on how to make your stand more engaging for students, from students.

1. Make Your Message Relevant

Hundreds of companies large and local exhibit at welcome weeks across the country however not everyone understands the audience they are speaking to. It isn’t enough just to assume that a student is going to stop by your stand because you are a well-known brand. Even if you are a national name, you have to think what it is you can do to get students to look up from their smartphones and engage with you.

Think about what you can say out loud that will stop a student in their tracks and encourage them to spend time talking to you. Of course, this message should be on brand but think about why they would be interested in what you are offering.

“There are so many companies at these events that it is hard to visit all the stands. Most of the time, unless their brand or stand is out there, I will probably walk past. Especially if it is a company I think that I already know.”

Photo from Freshers Festival London – Fika

2. “There’s So Much Room for Activities”

Now that you have managed to get the student to stop and talk to you, why not engage them with an activity? From the Domino’s spinwheel to the Deliveroo static bikes we have seen a lot of amazing experiences for students to interact with, so it is important to think outside the box and go big.

There are some things that you will always see at welcome weeks and freshers’ fairs like pens, pizza, totes and tumblers so MIX IT UP.  Make your activity or giveaway relevant to your company and what you do. For example, if you are a tech company why not hand out portable chargers or phone stands with your branding on?

“I’m not going to lie, most of the time if I attend events with loads of freebies, most of them end up in the bin when I get back. If it isn’t useful or cool, I stick it in a drawer and throw it away when cleaning my room out at the end of the year.”

Photo from Freshers Festival Glasgow – Deliveroo

3.Think Picture Perfect

There is a very large chance that students will be on their phones whilst walking around the event so why not take advantage of it? Encourage them to take a picture of your stand or to join a selfie competition and share it on their social media sites with a specific hashtag.

Make sure your stand is #ready. If you are a cosmetics brand, why not have live festival make up sessions complete with a photobooth? Or, if you are a drinks brand, why not turn your stand into a beach bar or VIP area?

Amazon is a great place to source last minute props on a budget, they are cheaper than party shops and have a huge selection of items.

“The best thing about meeting brands at events is seeing all the exciting things they have on offer. Taking part in online competitions is easy and I love growing my follower base by using event hashtags and seeing who else is taking part.”

Photo from Freshers Festival London – YADA Events

Categories
Student and Millennial Marketing Strategies

Get creative! 10 ways to boost engagement at events

Live events are becoming increasingly interactive. Gone are the days of simply pitching up a stall and handing out flyers or branded products to passerbys. Instead, event organisers are looking for new and unique ways for brands to engage with attendees. Guests are more likely to remember your brand when you offer them an experience or something that adds value to their time. So here are a few creative ways to engage attendees at your next event.

Photo from newsroom.almonds.com

Provide a phone charging station

No one wants their phone to run out of battery while out and about. You can help attendees out by proving a charging station at your booth. A charging station will not only save attendees from having to run out to buy a charger or frantically search for the nearest socket, but it will also increase foot traffic to your booth and guests will stay longer at your station. You can also choose a customisable kiosk charging station to showcase your company branding with logos, hashtags, QR codes or wrap around displays if you’d like.

Sponsor the event goodie bags

Attendees receive loads of freebies at live events, from gadgets to free food, drinks, stationery, marketing materials and more. You can give attendees somewhere to stash all their free swag by sponsoring the goodie bags for the event. Choosing an eco-friendly material for your swag bags like organic cotton or sustainable paper bags is also a great way to align your brand with a socially responsible cause.

 

Photo by ballieballerson.com

Create a games area 

Deep down, we’re all big kids at heart. Everyone loves to get stuck into a good game, so why not provide attendees a space to release their inner child and unwind by creating a play zone. There are tons of great igame ideas to get attendees in the spirit, from giant ball pits to giant Jenga, bottle ring tosses, tug of war and much more. Customise these with your company branding and attendees will remember you as the brand that bought fun and laughter to the event

Create a QR Code scavenger hunt

A scavenger hunt is the perfect way to introduce a fun element into an event while offering attendees a chance to learn more about your brand. For instance, you could get attendees to find answers to specific questions related to your company by scanning QR Codes around the venue that offer clues. The person with the most questions answered correctly could then head back to your booth for a special prize.

Show off your services

Does your company offer beauty treatments? Perhaps you offer craft workshops, mindfulness sessions, or photo printing? Whatever your service is, you can show it off to attendees by inviting them to experience what you offer at the event. Your brand will have a greater lasting impact on attendees if they leave the event with a special service that you offered to to them — whether it’s a free haircut, a newly fixed phone screen or henna tattoo —  the list goes on. You might even make a new customer.

Power the event with WiFi

Oh, WiFi. Life is almost unimaginable without it now. As so many of our modern gadgets (and modern live events) depend on it now, providing good quality WiFi for a live event is invaluable. You’ll essentially be powering the very life of en event, allowing attendees and brands alike to share photos, videos, websites, links and other important pieces of information that keeps a live event running. When users connect to your sponsored WiFi, you can use this as an opportunity to promote your brand with a splash page or an invitation for guests to follow you on social media.

Host a craft area

Leave your attendees with a long lasting reminder of what you do by giving them something to create and take home with them. Attendees are more likely to give you a shout out on social media if they can decorate or create something that will be a talking point among their friends. For instance, if your company sells makeup or perfume, you could invite attendees to create their own customisable makeup palette or fragrance. A great way to boost social media engagement is to encourage attendees to create visually stunning images with what they’ve made and share it while tagging you in. You can offer a special prize to the best photo to really get your attendees involved.

Sponsor a live stream

Of course, not everyone will be able to join the event. You can do them a big favour by providing a live streaming (or live tweeting) service to keep those in the loop who couldn’t make it. You’ll be popular among those who were experiencing FOMO and they definitely appreciate you thinking of them. Do make sure beforehand to make sure that your live streaming service is running smoothly, as you want to leave the best possible impression for those watching.

Give back

If your company supports a charity or good cause, then a live event is the perfect opportunity to connect with attendees over something positive. You can encourage attendees to get involved in a hassle free way by having a drop off centre at your stall where they can donate gifts like books, clothes, toys, toiletries, dry or canned goods or a monetary donation. Add a fun element too by hosting a raffle and donating the proceeds to your chosen charity. Your attendees will feel good about helping a good cause, and it will also boost your charitable status.

Connect everyone with an events app

Attendee engagement is a key goal for any event planner, hence the rising popularity of event apps in recent years. According to a study by Guidebook, 88% of event professionals found event apps to have a positive impact on attendee satisfaction. 86% of attendees also rated an event app among the top 3 enjoyable aspects of an event they attended.

When done right, event apps can be a great addition to any live event. They can provide a main source for interaction and a shared experience among guests. Event apps like YADA that offer a social element for guests to communicate, network and integrate with their social media accounts are great for creating a buzz at any event.