Beyond the Music: Why Connecting with Customers at Coachella is Key for Brands

By Patricia Rollins, Head of Marketing at Typeform

Customers are people, too. Rather than relying on traditional marketing channels to reach them, why not meet them where they’re at in real life? Every year, thousands of people flock to events like Coachella

– these events which epitomize the cultural zeitgeist, influencing and amplifying societal trends across music, fashion, culture, art and beyond.

For marketers, showing up at today’s hottest events humanizes your brand and embeds your company in the conversation – putting you in a prime position to engage with and learn directly from your audience. Armed with new insights, you can market to your audience in a fresh, relevant way that speaks to them not just as your customer, but as a whole person.

Whether it’s a street fair, film festival, music festival or conference, marketers can embrace these events as powerful platforms to learn more about their customers and become part of the cultural conversation.

Meeting People Where They Are Matters

Modern buyers expect a great brand experience – but the catch is they also expect companies to respect their privacy. 2024 research from Attest found 84% of Americans are concerned or very concerned about data privacy when interacting with brands online. Even digital natives aged 18-24 (82%) are uneasy with how their information is gathered by brands online. Capitalizing on events like Coachella offers a golden opportunity to gather data directly from the primary source through direct engagement with your customers. This method of gathering information, dubbed zero-party data collection, gets customers excited to share their insights proactively. Think of zero-party data as the ultimate backstage pass, granting brands exclusive access to customer insights.

People are more willing to engage with and support brands they trust. The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer Report shows when consumers trust a brand, they’re more likely to purchase products (59%), stay loyal to and advocate for the brand (67%). With authentic investment in culture-centered events over time, consumers will come to view your brand as a familiar “face” they know, like, and trust – giving you what you need to better understand them, so you can better serve them.

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Here are 3 ways brands can connect with their audience at events like Coachella

1. Interactive Experiences:

Brands should have fun while engaging customers at Global research from Oracle Fusion Cloud Customer Experience shows 88% of people surveyed are looking for new experiences to make them smile and laugh and 79% are focusing on personal connections.

An example of a brand who nails this at Coachella is Revolve. They seamlessly blend fashion into the festival, partnering with influencers, hosting exclusive events and creating an aspirational moment during the event that resonates with festival goers and fans enjoying vicariously through social media. Another example – Wrangler is looking to break records at Stagecoach this year, asking festival goers to wear denim on April 27 to break the Guinness World Record for “Largest Gathering of People Wearing Double Denim.”

2. Incentives & Contests:

It’s no surprise that offering exclusive content, rewards, promos, discounts, contests, giveaways and loyalty points can entice consumers to share their Per a

2023 Gartner Consumer Omnibus survey, 69% of consumers are likely to share their data if they are familiar with the brand/publisher or they are incentivized by cash rewards, coupons, discounts or loyalty points.

Think about how we’re all incentivized by great food – Postmates delivered at Coachella with The Sauce Bar, serving up fries and tots in celebration of the brand new The Secret Sauce by Postmates X Benny Blanco. And Cowboy boot brand Tecovas is said to be the “first-ever official boot partner with Stagecoach.” They created a sweepstake contest with the winner receiving two GA passes, two pairs of boots and $2,000 toward travel and accommodations. If you’re not incentivising consumers to engage with you, you’re looking at an uphill battle to convert consumers to customers.

3. Surveys:

By soliciting feedback, brands show they are committed to improving based on customer input. In fact, Attest research shows consumers would rather provide data to brands than have it collected via cookies with 48% stating they are more likely to “trust” brands collecting zero-party Furthermore, 47% say surveys are their preferred way for a brand to learn about them, while 27% like online forms.

This tried and true method of conducting on-site surveys with attendees to gather information about their preferences and interests has clear, tangible benefits. Specifically, they provide brands with valuable insights to better design and tailor their marketing strategies and products, while also giving customers a way to voice their opinions, building connection and inclusion.

An example of this is Vitamin Water reaching thirsty festival goers at Governor’s Ball by having attendees fill out a survey so they can receive free samples of the drink and be entered for prizes. Similarly, Amex held an immersive experience for its cardholders at Coachella this year where they could take a survey to receive a ‘fortune’ from Reneé Rapp, explore a retro snack bar, a night market, a cave-like tranquil room and receive “mystery merch!”

Forging Genuine Connections and Insights IRL

In today’s dynamic marketing world, brands need to understand their customers not just as consumers, but as people. Events like Coachella are touchpoints to forge genuine connections with consumers, learn from them, and become part of their cultural experience. By immersing your brand in their world, you can understand your customers at depth, enabling you to create personalized engagements that resonate beyond the event itself.

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Also catch, Episode 202 of The SalesStar Podcast: The Importance of Soft Skills in B2B sales with Thomas Hansen, President at Amplitude

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