Reaching Consumers – On The High Street
This is our new instalment of Experiential Audience Guides, which this time looks at engaging with consumers. Our first instalment covers experiential activity on the high street leading on into other guides covering other key shopping locations including within shopping centres, inside stores and at out of town retail parks.
Where To Go?
Ok, we kind of answered our own question here! Yes, on the high street but the key question which we need to look at is where we can actually perform experiential activity, and that boils down to the type of promotion we are creating for our clients. Put simply, we have two off-the-shelf location options for high street campaigns: including using roaming street teams or utilising experiential event spaces.
Experiential Promotional Spaces
Let’s look at council or local authority spaces first. Kindly, the great people within local councils understand that businesses want to promote their products and services to members of the public, and they understand how lucrative the high street environment can be for a well thought through campaign. For that reason, the councils provide promotional event spaces within their high street areas, which put simply, are designated piece of council-owned land. These promotional spaces differ in terms of size, accessibility requirements, location and what you can do within this small piece of promotional space.
Usually, these locations are anywhere between 3X3m or over 5X5m square so what you can do within these spaces really depends on the location and the restrictions placed on that space by the council. The good news is that EXECUTIONAL deal with all the paperwork and red tape when we create the campaign -meaning you don’t have to worry about that side (and that includes all the required health and safety checks, risk assessments and of course the public liability insurance, etc). We will come on to what we can do within these spaces, but top line if you want a static event stand, a promotional vehicle or a product sampling rig, we will always have to look at booking experiential spaces.
Need something a little simpler? Then read on…
Roaming Street Teams
Ok, so we know we can place a promotion within an experiential event space, but what about if you simply want a street team: you are not planning to have an experiential event stand or a promotional vehicle and just want the promotional bodies on the ground? That’s our second (and pretty popular) option. There are few things to consider here, and again something that EXECUTIONAL arrange as part of our campaign planning. Namely, permission to promote on the street.
Many moons ago, the Clean Neighbourhood & Environment Act (a tweak later in its life) meant that any promotional activity taking place within designated urban areas across the UK required permits to be worn by the entire street team. So, if we are planning a piece of activity where you have a street team of promotional staff (doing something that involves giving away anything which features printing) we will need to arrange these permits. It’s no big deal, and EXECUTIONAL will usually have these arranged already but in some of the more obscure UK locations, we will always triple check to see if there have been any recent legislative changes relating to that council and of course advise accordingly. We don’t want you to look on roaming activity as the bad relation to experiential spaces as this type of activity has some real benefits:
- You avoid paying the experiential pitch fees
- The street team can move location matched to the highest footfall depending of time of day
- You can position the team to target specific demographics by cherry picking key locations within each town or city.
We have to be realistic here as roaming teams have no fixed base, meaning they are more suited to leafleting, ambient product sampling, or a data capture type activity. Don’t get us wrong, they would be supported by suitable logistical considerations, etc. but they are never going to be able to prepare cooked samples or conduct an elaborate product demonstration campaign.
The Best Of Both Worlds?
Ideally, yes – it is not uncommon for clients to have both a fixed, eye-catching event display and a roaming street team. This gives the opportunity of a fixed event area giving a greater scope of experiential activity within the stand, vehicle, etc. supported by promotional teams driving traffic to the event area and also promoting in their own right, potentially targeting key locations within the centre.
What To Do?
It is nearly impossible to cover what can be achieved within one of our bite-sized guides, so below is a list of popular services which take place broken down into the two most common approaches:
Experiential Promotional Spaces
For EXECUTIONAL, the key focus of an event space is providing a positive customer experience – something out of the ordinary and something that is unique, exciting and memorable. It doesn’t have to be exclusively about your product or service, and needs to be something that generates interest, dwell time and importantly drives visitors to your promotion.
- Product Sampling – cooked, chilled and ambient product sampling from a bespoke product sampling event rig.
- Product Demonstrations – bring your product or service to consumers outside of a retail environment.
- Customer Acquisition – sign-ups, customer contact information for future prospecting.
- Social Media Integration – encourage social interaction, social sharing, social recommendations.
Roaming Street Teams
- Leaflet Distribution – drive website traffic, event invitations, communicate offers or discounts through leafleting.
- Product Sampling – ambient product samples given to consumers throughout their shopping day.
When To Do It?
Timings are key here, we would advise that the focus of the activity takes place on Saturdays and Sundays, usually taking place between 10 am and 4 pm, for the peak consumer footfall. But to bring in a larger mix of professionals we would also advise looking at Thursday and Friday as an option.
“High Streets are busy locations, so it is important to make sure that your promotion stands out. Key to this is high quality branded clothing for the promotional team. Making sure that they stand out as promoters. That doesn’t need to be all – backpack signs, sail flags all aid your promotional team to stand out and bring something out of the ordinary to the local High Street”