When thinking of Comic-Con, people would think that it is a unique event, that brings the ever popular “nerd culture” of comics, video games, and technology all into a special convention center, for one special event. An all-out consumer pilgrimage of epic-nerd proportions, if you will. But, in actuality, Comic-Con is no different than any other tradeshow out there, be it the Consumer Electronic Show (CES), Outdoor Retailer (OR) Show or the United Fresh Convention and Expo. When you strip down both events, they are really just comprised of people interested in attending panels and browsing exhibits to learn about topics that they care about. In many ways, Comic-Con exemplifies the type of experiential content marketing that all event marketers aspire to achieve (granted most events aren’t filled with attendees that are dressed in superhero outfits).
One of the main reasons that a company can attract so many people to their booth is because they are providing items and/or experiences that interest the mass of pop culture attendees. In any type of exhibit hall, the ultimate truth is that people are not attending to learn about your company…they just want cool stuff. The “stuff” can range from collectible merchandise to freebies with company logos emblazoned on them. The secret is to give them stuff that they genuinely need. One example is an energy drink company that incorporated the simple strategy of giving out free samples to the attendees (which have to be on their feet for many hours during the event). Another strategy is to dress up your products in a way that peaks the interests of the attendees. This would involve the product packaging being decorated with popular superhero characters. One grill company, for example, shaped their grill into a replica Star Wars TIE Fighter. It is this understanding of the stuff that attendees want which will drive interest in your booth.
Other than free stuff, attendees want to be immersed in new or fun experiences – in other words, activation points that allow attendees to interact with your brand. If you think about it, Comic-Con operates as a massive activation opportunity for various types of companies. To give an example of an experience, an insurance company (who has no connection to comics or video games in any way) set up an area for attendees to play arcade games, memory challenge games, and a 3-D photo booth. Companies don’t need to incorporate such complex experiences to be memorable. One car company set up a fun photo booth for attendees to use on the convention floor.Successful companies will understand their audience, and have the attention to the audience wants. They will provide attendees with gifts and/or experiences that are fun, unique, and relevant to their current interests.
If you would like to know more about tradeshows, brand experiences and how Oster and Associates can help market your business, schedule a free consultation today.