Sunday, February 8, 2015

Music Festivals: The ultimate way for your brand to reach a wider audience

Sasquatch! main stage, 2014

In honor of the Sasquatch! lineup coming out last Tuesday, I thought it would be fitting to analyze the array of opportunities for brand promotion at events like this. Each time I attend a festival, I am amazed by the emphasis of brands and companies represented everywhere. Like most entertainment or sporting events, there are sponsors.  

When looking at the Sasquatch! 2015 website, the five major sponsors are clearly defined: Bud Light, WA Health Plan Finder, Skype, Red Bull Sound Select and Do206. These brands have used the festival as an opportunity to promote their company by specifically focusing on the lifestyles and interests of their target audience: millennials who love music. You do not have to be a sponsor, however, to get your logo seen at a festivals or similar events.

For those of you who don’t know, Sasquatch! is a 4-day music festival at the Gorge Amphitheater. The main stage overlooks the Columbia River in rural central Washington. Attendees travel from all over the country to spend a weekend camping with friends and seeing a variety in alternative, electronic and rock shows. Compare it to Coachella, except people come to Sasquatch! for the music, atmosphere and outdoor experience. There is no nonsense and hype.

This is much different than Coachella, which entails two weekends in Palm Desert, where most attendees care more about the overall lifestyle than the festival and music itself. All companies with any credibility are present at the festival, and many exclusive guests choose not to spend $500 on a ticket. Instead, they spend their time at pool parties and after parties with elite people from the fashion and action sports industries. Take a look at this list of some of the hottest parties from last year, hosted by companies like Harper’s Bizarre, H&M, Lacoste and Vestal.

Coachella sunset, 2012

Vestal Village, for example, is one of Coachella’s most well known “après fest” events. It is located at a private campground about five minutes from the Coachella entrances. It is very exclusive, but since it is located so close to the event, invites aren’t too hard to come by. Check out this video of a friend of mine taking a beating on the slip-n-slide at Vestal Village.

While brands use exclusive events like this to market new products and give out free products, the average festival attendee cannot escape the advertising and PR heaven either. Aside from sponsors, startup companies use festivals to get their brand out there and stand out.

Last year, for instance, a family friend of mine had began a business making high-end headpieces called Krown. I ordered one, and she sent me a free one as well to wear around and spread the word. Just as she expected, I got compliments and was sure to give Krown credit every time someone asked where I got it. 

Me, left, wearing Krown headband at Sasquatch! 2014.
I have also experienced the other end of it. One minute you’re giving someone a compliment, and the next minute you’re holding a business card and following a new company on Twitter and Instagram.

So festivals like Sasquatch and Coachella can be great opportunities for businesses as large and Red Bull and as small as Krown to gain new customers and reach a new audience. When branding your company, think big.

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