Once you are able to negotiate a successful music event sponsorship you’ll need to activate the heck out of it. But what does that mean exactly? Well, we will tell you!

Settle on a theme that will resonate with the “cool kids.” Open up the channels of communication to engage with them in creative and delightful ways. Get their information, but in a way that’s not too pushy. Create a meaningful two-way dialogue that they intuitively understand. It’s about enhancing their event experience, not disrupting it.

Your on-site activation “Big Idea” should be designed to help you achieve your goals, but also to help enhance the experience for festivalgoers. Focus on the event’s unique attributes to make access feel exclusive and to create one-of-a-kind experiences. For example, if you are aiming for branding and maximum exposure, consider an enormous on-site signage installation, like a giant inflatable sign or custom-designed and branded trailer that doubles as a traveling billboard.

Whatever your activation plan, try not to do too much. Also make sure your agency, if you work with one, can deliver. Stay focused. If you don’t understand how it will all come together, then your audience won’t get it, either. Likewise, throwing too many things at fans, or asking them to do too much, is a frustrating turn-off; they’ll miss your message entirely.

When dealing with the higher level of involvement purchases where branding is key, create an experience that casts your product in a positive light. For example, with automotive sponsors there isn’t going to be that much that you can do with the product on-site at the event. Games involving product trivia, or using on-site displays as props can work; however, be careful. If you try to push the product too hard or be too literal (think product walk-arounds or the hard sales pitch), you will lose this audience completely. Worse yet, that coveted “street cred” will vanish.

For event marketers, nurturing a holistic customer communication strategy is a three-fold process:

  1. Invite existing brand followers in your target demo to your event.

  2. Recognize and speak to them on-site.

  3. Follow-up with them to learn about their experience, offer special incentives, and invite them to future events.

It all maps back to collect fans’ data on-site. A data capture component must therefore be incorporated into your event activation plan. Remember, it has to be a win-win for both fan and brand, like a contest or sweepstakes; digital artifacts like photos, videos, or GIFs; or registering to receive a free branded item. Giveaway items are excellent, as they carry your brand wherever the fan may go – they’re the gift that keeps on giving.

Finally, use the data to design creative ways to get festivalgoers to talk to you after the event. Whether it be to gain additional entries into a contest or redeem a prize or discount code, try to extend the conversation after the event with one more activity.

Speak to Millennials and Gen Z in a language they can understand. Keeping it real is crucial to gaining their buy-in, earning their trust, and building brand advocacy. One of the most valuable benefits of a sponsorship activation is the ability to create compelling content that relates directly to something your target audience loves.

Experiment with different types of content across various mediums. Play with different content topics. Is there a well-known YouTuber that aligns well with your sponsorship and connects with young fans? Does your audience care about behind-the-scenes scoops, artist interviews, bus tours, special performances, and fan photos? Again, test content topics in the first few days of touring, and adjust according to what gets the highest engagement rates.

Additionally, you can create an online hub to house content and allow virtual visitors to feel like they’re part of the on-site experience. Find ways to drive fans that visited you at the event to the hub, engaging with them through hashtag campaigns, photos, or videos taken on-site. Or, create games to play at the event and track progress or high scores exclusively on the hub.