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5 Ways to Stand Out with Outdoor Events

It may be some time before large-scale events return, even outside, but there are innovative ways to execute outdoor events now and in the coming months. And, those outdoor events could solve some current business challenges.

Do you need an alternative way to engage that audience that used to visit you at tradeshows? Maybe you have a top tier of customers that you can’t ignore just because of pandemic restrictions? Or maybe you are trying to safely reach consumers with a new product launch, samples or a philanthropic initiative?

While being outside does not make everything safe, there is a lot to be said for why these are the first types of events to return. Without the indoor space restrictions, it is easier to implement social distancing practices and the number of touchable surfaces (door handles for example) can be reduced. Owning an outdoor footprint means less common areas, such as shared entryways or restrooms in a conference center or hotel.

And there are benefits beyond the safety aspect. Outdoor events are highly visible. Consumers are becoming accustomed to seeing food trucks and special event tents outside in parking lots and there’s always that instinct to make sure you aren’t missing out on something!

Here are just a few ways to start planning for an outdoor

event in the next 12 months.

1. Drive-In & Drive-Up

From drive-in concert broadcasts to drive-up sampling, there are plenty of examples of these types of events already in progress. Drive-in movie theaters and restaurants may have struggled to survive over the past 20 years, but they are now the ultimate social-distanced experience.

Photo by whereslugo on Unsplash

2. Roadshow-style

For many companies, trade shows have been a way to not only interact with their audience, but to immerse the attendees in a brand experience that they control. By creating an exhibit, brands are not just promoting a message, but are also creating a vibe and a lasting impression. That same effect can be enjoyed by taking a modified set up on the road and reaching out to key customers where they are based. Offer “open house” hours (with maximum capacities) or schedule time slots to control the foot traffic.

3. VIP & Invitation Only

Understand that you potentially can’t reach all the audience that you could with traditional events and create a VIP or invitation only event for the most valuable relationships. This will limit numbers, and of course, cost as well.

4. Pop-up

With less live marketing activity right now, a controlled and safely-run pop-up event will stand out in the marketplace. Keep the environment simple and replicate it in key regions or create an outstanding and unique set up that can be toured to different locations.

5. Audience-free

A live event without an audience? Yes, staging a live event that large numbers of people will want to see is a great way to minimize contact and liability, while still creating buzz. Partner with a celebrity or influencer, create a crazy stunt or offer a unique learning experience. Fully leverage the digital assets by streaming live, offering on-demand viewing and sharing on social media.

Live events need to be carefully considered, not just to meet your goals and keep your attendees safe, but also to comply with the ever-changing guidelines from states and individual cities. We are making it a priority to take that workload from our clients by staying on top of changes and doing the necessary research and outreach to determine viability of an event.

We dream of a day when our industry can come back full force, but in the meantime, we hope to assist some of our brands in their efforts to survive and thrive.

Karen Walne


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