Jason Matheson and Alex Larson on Jason Show

Event on the Horizon? Three Tips for Maximizing Activations, as Told Through Ice Cream

Now that spring has final­ly arrived in Min­neso­ta, it’s safe to say that every­one is pret­ty darn excit­ed for the nice weath­er. And while it still seems far away, it won’t be long until we are cel­e­brat­ing the end-of-sum­mer tra­di­tion: the Min­neso­ta State Fair.

Many of the busi­ness­es who invest time and resources into par­tic­i­pat­ing in events like the State Fair often ask our team, “How do we build excite­ment and dri­ve vis­i­tors to our loca­tion – espe­cial­ly in a crowed space like the fair?” Tak­ing lessons learned from our work with client Mid­west Dairy, we want­ed to share three tips on how to cut through the noise and gen­er­ate aware­ness dur­ing any event, big or small.

1. Get cre­ative, and start the con­ver­sa­tion ear­ly. Want to stand out from the crowd? Find oppor­tu­ni­ties to start talk­ing about your prod­uct or ser­vice ahead of the event to cre­ate inter­est ear­ly on. A great exam­ple of this is Mid­west Dairy’s Fla­vor of the Fair con­test, which wrapped up its fourth year this week

Devel­oped as a way to gen­er­ate new excite­ment and encour­age even more vis­i­tors to make a stop at the Dairy Good­ness Bar at the State Fair, Mid­west Dairy decid­ed to intro­duce a spe­cial, lim­it­ed edi­tion Fla­vor of the Fair malt or sun­dae vari­ety that would be sold only at the fair that year. And even bet­ter, they enlist the public’s help to choose the fla­vor by ask­ing them to vote for one of three unique cre­ations. Fla­vor of the Fair has not only been an oppor­tu­ni­ty to get ahead of the con­ver­sa­tions about the lat­est State Fair foods, but it has also become an antic­i­pat­ed tra­di­tion that the media wants to cov­er year after year. Check out the WCCO seg­ment and Twin Cities Live seg­ment from this year.

2. Get oth­ers involved. For Fla­vor of the Fair, not only are the fla­vor vari­eties inter­est­ing and fun (which makes for great media cov­er­age) but adding the vot­ing ele­ment allows con­sumers to become cheer­lead­ers for the brand – shar­ing the news with friends and fam­i­lies via social media and encour­ag­ing them to vote for their favorite, as well. By involv­ing the pub­lic and ask­ing them to spread the word, your mes­sag­ing can reach an even larg­er audi­ence in an authen­tic and impact­ful way.

3. Find new ways to talk about what you’re doing again, and then again. Any­one who’s stud­ied mar­ket­ing knows that in order for a mes­sage to stick, it needs to be repeat­ed. This is espe­cial­ly true when it comes to a high-pro­file event like the State Fair that has lit­er­al­ly thou­sands of unique and inter­est­ing sto­ries to be told. The key to stand­ing out and hav­ing peo­ple remem­ber you? Find mul­ti­ple ways to keep telling your story.

For the Fla­vor of the Fair, Mid­west Dairy has done this by cre­at­ing a pro­gram that has mul­ti­ple oppor­tu­ni­ties for news. By announc­ing the three fla­vor com­bi­na­tions in April and then unveil­ing the win­ning fla­vor in June, these mul­ti­ple “hooks” allows Mid­west Dairy to get out in front of peo­ple well ahead of the flur­ry of oth­er State Fair news that ramps up as we approach August. The more you can talk about what you are doing ahead of the event, the more peo­ple are like­ly to remember.

We hope these tips are help­ful as you look for ways to break through the clut­ter of an event and ensure your mes­sage is heard, and have it lead to peo­ple clam­or­ing for your prod­uct or ser­vice – like an ice-cold malt on a hot August day.

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