Every April, hundreds of thousands of festival-goers venture into a desert valley for days worth of music and art at Coachella. Famous for its parties and celebrities, Coachella is a massive opportunity for brands and influencers to engage with audiences in an environment that emphasizes seeing and being seen.
Like SXSW, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and other massive music festivals, marketing at Coachella is a chance for brands to not only sponsor the festival (and thereby appear on banners, programming schedules, marketing materials, T-shirts, etc.), but brand activations like tents, parties, branded experiences, and far-reaching top influencer posts from Coachella. Because festivals like this are built around the experience, brands that find a way to improve the overall festival going experience add value to their marketing campaigns, which is critical for reaching and engaging with Millennials.
Drawing nearly 100,000 attendees each day of the festival, Coachella brings in a huge and engaged audience, made up largely of Millennials. Notoriously popular with trendsetters and influencers, Coachella is a prime opportunity for brands to get exposure in the eyes of a prime demographic with tons of purchasing power. About 80% of Coachella attendees purchased something to prepare for the festival. Of those purchasers, half bought shoes and two-thirds bought clothes. Coachella attendees are ready to spend, and directing their attention has the potential to be very lucrative for brands.
A recent survey found that festival-goer response to brands that were involved in or sponsored music events and festivals was very positive. 93% said they liked brands sponsoring, 80% felt they were more likely to recommend a brand on social media after seeing it a festival, and 55% felt that they were more likely to spend money on a product from a brand they’d encountered at a music festival.
Gone are the days of using traditional marketing campaigns alone. Marketing today requires an integrated approach that builds not only brand awareness, but elevates brand interaction to an experiential level. Festivals are ideal for tapping into this specific kind of marketing power because they allow brands to capitalize on the level of excitement surrounding the event.
Furthermore, presence at major festivals and events — whether by way of brand activation, sponsorship, or influencer involvement — gives brands the opportunity to establish themselves as an entity that caters and appeals to an audience of trendsetters.
It’s not just those attending the festival who are valuable to brands, either. Coachella and festivals like it have enormous reach outside of the festival grounds thanks to social media like Snapchat and Instagram, and so too do the brands who know how to take advantage of that reach, interest, and engagement. Coachella’s Snapchat story reached over 40 million people during the festival in 2016, creating an unparalleled chance for brand exposure. Even a moment onscreen reaching that many people could have far-reaching effects for a brand in terms of awareness and exposure.
But perhaps most significantly is the effect that top social media influencers can have on marketing efforts through festivals. Because so many influencers attend festivals and post the best content from those festivals, brands who seek out influencers for sponsored posts and partnerships can piggyback on the excitement and aesthetic of the festival without being an official festival sponsor or buying presence at the event itself by way of tents, stands or parties. Instead, brands can speak through influencers as they share their festival experiences.
Brands like American Express, Revolve, Lokai, and Ray Ban leveraged the presence and the power of influencers to make themselves a part of the Coachella conversation in a way that’s personal. One of the core pillars of influencer marketing is authenticity, and by foregrounding that authenticity and becoming a part of the festival experience through social media, brands have been able to benefit from Coachella.
Through a variety of different methods, brands are finding ways to become a part of the festival experience. And considering the massive audience and the purchasing power of its core demographic, that involvement promises to be an opportunity for profound engagement and exposure.