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Wasting an Activation

This weekend I was walking around the “Centre MK” (yes I’m from the land of roundabouts and concrete cows but don’t hold that against me) and I noticed something really frustrating. In the middle of a space was an automotive manufacturer and some hybrid cars. Despite the shopping centre being busy, in the 10 minutes that I observed the stand there were just two people that got close to the cars. When there’s a throughput of hundreds (if not thousands) an hour, that’s a disappointingly low number.

What I find annoying is the absolute waste of investing time and money into that display with little to no return. There was no real attempt to engage with their audience at all. The stand looked great, really well designed, and yet hardly anyone cared at all. This stand was more than likely costing this manufacturer thousands of pounds per day and yet they probably shouldn’t have wasted their budget. What is the point in spending that money if you’re not going to invest in a way of engaging with your potential customers? Sure, you get a little bit of brand awareness but that’s pretty limited when people walk straight past you.

When we visit exhibitions and to provide an engaging activity, we can really see which stands are doing it right. The ones with a VR experience, a racing simulator, an interactive touchscreen or some other engaging activity are always much busier.

So why spend even more money on engagement activities? I mean, you’ve already spent thousands on stand design, logistics, electricity fees etc. Because engagement with your stand will open up your potential clients – they will be open to conversations whilst they observe and wait. You can talk about your message and they will be more than likely be open and receptive if you’re offering something they’re currently interested in, at least in my experience.

If your engagement can be part of a competition then even better. A recent VR simulator experience we ran for Davanti Tyres at Silverstone had a laptime leaderboard that was updated regularly on social media and the team encouraged everyone waiting to have a go (there were queues in excess of 30 minutes at times!) to follow Davanti’s social media platforms.

In short, don’t scrimp and save on your brand awareness. You’ll get probably 10x the return if you invest wisely in getting your potential customers onto your stand by using an engaging activity.

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