Ludovic Rossignol is the co-founder of The London, Amsterdam and New York Coffee Festivals – he’s also the mastermind behind Balance Festival and The Balance Urban Triathlon. His vision is to create a cutting-edge portfolio of urban fitness and wellness festivals – and to inspire people from around the world to achieve a healthier lifestyle.
We met with Ludovic to find out the importance of brands having a presence at events like Balance, and how business owners can capitalise on the marketing and networking opportunities available to them.
1) When Balance Festival was created, what was the vision?
The vision behind Balance Festival was born out of a desire to make wellness more accessible and approachable to a wider audience. The health, fitness and wellness movement is still only in its infancy, so it’s exciting to have launched a festival that embodies the “live fit, healthy and happy” movement, as wellness captures the zeitgeist of our era.
From the beginning, we set out to create the world’s most exhilarating fitness and wellness festival. This goal remains at the core of everything we do. However, Balance now has the potential to play a much bigger role – inspiring individuals around the world to live a healthier, happier, more mindful and fulfilling life. For our industry to grow and positively impact the world, we need wellness to become much more mainstream. We believe Balance has the potential to convert late adopters into balance-seekers, and balance-seekers into wellness devotees.
At Balance, we strongly believe in the power of bio-individuality – the need to step outside of our comfort zone and try new things – and to ultimately find balance on our own terms. Trying new workouts, pushing ourselves to think differently and embracing new mindful practices has the potential to change our lives for the greater. But to make sustainable change, we need to find and adopt methods that are both beneficial and enjoyable. Embracing change mindfully is key.
2) What are the most important considerations for making the most out of exhibiting at a fitness or wellness event?
- Identify yourself and your reason for being in the wellness space. E.g. What is your why? What are your brand values and how do you communicate them?
- Set clear (SMART) objectives for the event. For example, is the aim to drive traffic onto the website, or to gain 5,000 new email addresses, or to win over 1 large retailer?
- Assess the event marketing landscape. Ask yourself: what channels can I benefit from? Are there opportunities for collaboration? How can I elevate my brand through pre-event promotions?
- Look at external channels, ambassadors and create a unique proposition for the event.
- Define the brand experience (start online and map out all touch points across all the different channels.) The best approach is to go for a single-minded proposition as events are very busy in terms of messages to consumers. You want to stand out and get a concise message across. In addition, it is key to be in tune with the event’s audience. At Balance, for instance, our audience is incredibly savvy, so tailoring your content to deliver actionable advice that add value to our visitor’s lifestyle is the way to go!
- Create momentum and excitement before the event, both in-store and online. Don’t underestimate the lead up. Create assets and content – quotes, merchandise, imagery, interviews with founder etc.
- Then the actual event experience is the icing on the cake! Build a story to tell and create a unique experience for the customers at the event. Make sure anything you are offering amplifies the overall brand message.
- Finally, post-event, use the objectives to measure the event’s success, note down anything to improve at the next event and follow-up on new leads/information gained from the event.
3) Why is it important for brands to build awareness offline, through live experience, as well as online?
Successful brands are built on authenticity. Telling a compelling story through live brand experiences is the most effective way to convert potential customers into engaged loyal advocates. Combined with a fully integrated digital campaign – event campaigns have the power to become catalyst for growth for brands.
4) How important is it to have a set strategy in place for event marketing?
Events should be looked at as an ecosystem with a huge amount of opportunities available to optimise marketing reach. Companies should have an entire event strategy in place, from start to finish, if they intend to fully capitalise on the event.
Brands should have a social media plan for the run-up to the event in order to start building awareness and excitement for the event, as well as a post-event plan with some measurable objectives set. If a plan is in place, it means that nothing will be left to the last minute or to chance, and everyone in the company will know exactly how the event will be used to grow the business – whether it’s to gain email addresses, spread the brand’s key messages or to advertise the latest campaign or product.
Established events will also have a strong online presence which can help to elevate brands by sharing their content before, during and after the event (Balance Festival has a highly engaged online Journal and TV – two marketing channels available for collaborations). If you are exhibiting at a festival like Balance, it is definitely advisable to explore cross-promotional opportunities with the event organisers to enhance your event marketing activities.