Three Tips to Help Brands Win at Fan Expo
If you’ve ever been to Fan Expo, you’ll understand the depth of the phrase “don’t blink or you’ll miss it.” Literally thousands upon thousands of people are swarming around you at any given moment, the entrance and exit are both constant (albeit, calm) stampedes, and the costumes and people’s excitement are both equally as dazzling.
Needless to say, the whole weekend is one gigantic sensory overload. Add to this the observers with three eyes; two in their heads, one in their hands. Countless attendees are floating around, capturing as much information as they can with cell phones, cameras, GoPros, and anything else that has filming capabilities.
Enter: branding. What makes Fan Expo amazing for the fans (besides famous people) is what brands are offering at their booths throughout the weekend. Every booth wants to attract foot traffic, but no booth wants to feel like they’re begging. Solution: the following three tips for brands to succeed at Fan Expo. Brands are forced to find innovative ways to stand out in a crowd and catch the eye of potential visitors. To really win this unrelenting game of tug of war, it’s all about what you bring to the table, and trends this year suggest that the top pulls are social sharing opportunities, unique tech, and an audience-specific brand experience.
Tip 1: Hashtags
Fan Expo is a weekend to remember, and goers certainly never want to forget. And they also don’t want their followers to forget. About a thousand photos a minute are snapped, and anyone with a smartphone and any sort of presence on social media is ready to show the world the moment they get that coveted photo. Give your visitors something to say. Any purchase or giveaway will likely inspire your visitor to share it with the world; that’s a lost exposure opportunity if you don’t get your name in.
Less is more; a successful hashtag isn’t too clunky. Keep it short and sweet. A catchy hashtag is even better—guests might just unintentionally commit it to memory. It’s also beneficial because it’s exclusive; it centralizes online chatter so you can see how and how often it was used.
Our client, Hallmark, capitalized on the exclusivity angle—using #HallmarkFEC16 earned it 30.4 million impressions on Twitter alone.
Tip 2: Technology & Innovation
Everyone’s already seen everything. Coming in with something new, hot, and exciting is a surefire way to draw in more visitors. A great example of this is Objex Unlimited, who offered a full-body, 360 degree scan that is later used for an action figure print of the subject. Cartoon Network offered PowerPuff Girls prints on tote bags of a character each visitor got to create in their own likeness.
The lineups speak for themselves. People were ready to sacrifice hours of their lives for the chance to be wowed. The longest lines were for booths that offered cool, unique tech that no one else did. Conclusion: technology and innovation are key to Expo goers hearts.
Tip 3: Play to Your Audience
The most successful brands are those that recognize prominent cultures present at Fan Expo and cater to them. A hugely popular one is collector culture; it’s a goldmine that keeps on giving. Every year is a new opportunity to present collectors with items so exclusive there are only enough made to last the weekend. People want to own what will be three times the price on Kijiji the next morning, and they want it as fast as possible.
It is also important to recognize that not every person who stops by the booth will make a purchase. This is where the other generous goldmine comes in (and this time, the brand is the goldmine for the visitors): offer giveaways. Getting something free into the hands of a potential consumer is beneficial on multiple levels—firstly, people take laps around the booths. Not only that, but they often return for more than one day. A small gift from your brand to them serves as a reminder that you’re around and can encourage a return visit, which could drag a purchase in on its heels. Secondly, it gets people talking and sharing. The likelihood of a quick post on Twitter about “what I just got for free” is strong, and the potential exposure could end up valuing more than what the giveaway cost you.
Presenting consumers at Fan Expo with something worth buying, remembering, or returning to becomes more and more challenging each year. Brands feel pressure to step up their game, and tracking changes in trends is essential to getting ahead and staying there. Sure, you might get distracted from this analytical mission every now and again by fully-functioning robots and giant, furry, two-person unicorn suits, but that’s why we’re here.
Find out what’s driving your market and invest in developing something unique to your brand’s voice, whether it be digital (which we recommend, by the way), exclusive, or just very uniquely your own, there is serious potential for an unforgettable experience with your brand.
Until next year, Fan Expo fans!
This article was written by Account Coordinator Olivia Botros. Keep the conversation going with us @VeritasComm.