Ag Voice | The Impact of Sponsorships on festivals
The dictionary definition of the word ‘Festival’: ‘a religious function, annual celebration, and / or a period or programme of cultural festive activities, and entertainment’. The definition I like the best though is ‘an atmosphere of unrestrained joy.’Unrestrained joy. And size of course. Glastonbury - 90 different stages, quarter of a million people. The tickets sell out in 26 minutes online. Its still too early in India’s Festival story to equal that achievement, and yet there have already been some very serious successes – NH7, Sunburn, India Bike Week, the Jaipur Literary Festival for example.
Each of them share three qualities : passion, community and, yes, un-restrained joy. Its pretty obvious why marketeers across the world take them so seriously.
The imperative from the promoter’s side is this. Create a smart, targeted Festival that combines an innovative ground experience – India Bike Week for example, the Zambhala Yoga, Wellness & Life Spirit Festival as another – package it beautifully, and involve the community, the industry, the practitioners and experts in filling it with content. Don’t forget to add in the all-important 4 months of pre event on-ground activation across 20 cities, the digital community building and social media content creation, the television, print and radio media barter-and-buy deals. If the IP is in its second or third year, prepare a serious RoI case for it – with India Bike Week, we literally wrote a book on it – detailing who came, from where and why, and, crucially, how old and rich they were. If you’re successful then :
The right Festival attracts an easily recognizeable and accountable demographic. It puts that demographic in one place at one time. A well chosen Festival drip feeds coolness on to the right sponsor to that demographic, cementing the association between the two brands. A clever Festival offers itself as a marketplace – and we’ve had multiple brands at India Bike Week that have outsold their Sponsorship fee through product sale and bookings.
Good Festivals are generally ahead of trend – what you see, from the partners involved and the community supporting it, should amaze you. I’ll define a good Festival as one where the Festival-goers themselves – the community - have taken over much of the look, feel, entertainment and energy of what is going on. India’s Bike Manufacturers at India Bike Week are regularly astonished at the creativity, mechanical & design ingenuity on display, sourced by us from bikers, designers and mechanics across the country.
The right Festival is an explosive generator of digital and social media content. It is the actual, on-ground, measurable link between experience, brand, friends and community. And finally, and perhaps most prosaically, a Festival is a finite, measurable peried in space and time. It’s ROI is wonderfully easy to calculate. It is an investment that is as nearly black and white as it is possible to achieve in today’s fractured media environment.
So, go ahead, take the plunge. And have fun doing it. | By Martin da Costa, Director – India Bike Week