Brand Activations At Essence Fest 2019

Depending on industry you likely spend a lot of time thinking about your “brand” and how it translates in social media and products.

Essence Festival and other events like it, provide a great opportunity to do some Research & Development (R & D) about how to translate your brand at events and through experiences.

I have had the opportunity to attend Essence Fest and never have I witnessed such creative brand activations. 2019 did not disappoint either! As you view the images, hopefully it inspires you to be more creative and intentional about how you represent your brand at face-to-face events and through brand sponsorship. Even if you have a vendor table or informational table, there is so much you can do to leave a lasting impression and to hopefully CONTINUE the conversation with potential customers, clients and sponsors.

Take a well known phrase, blow it up and make it a photo prop!

Take a well known phrase, blow it up and make it a photo prop!

Another view of the “Out Here Being Cute” Sign which was posted outside of the Izzy & Liv Pop Up Shop. This was a great way to extend the brand beyond the walls of the pop-up shop.

Another view of the “Out Here Being Cute” Sign which was posted outside of the Izzy & Liv Pop Up Shop. This was a great way to extend the brand beyond the walls of the pop-up shop.

Another super cute photo display. Also notice the social media handle at the bottom which will surely be posted with all of the pictures!

Another super cute photo display. Also notice the social media handle at the bottom which will surely be posted with all of the pictures!

When making photo displays it is important to think about levels! The flowers were also a nice touch.

When making photo displays it is important to think about levels! The flowers were also a nice touch.

Another beautiful branded photo booth. All you need is a stunning chair, a great prop (in this case the crown). My only critique here is that the font in yellow is a little difficult to read. Other than that, this is great!

Another beautiful branded photo booth. All you need is a stunning chair, a great prop (in this case the crown). My only critique here is that the font in yellow is a little difficult to read. Other than that, this is great!

Cantu combined an experience (the pool party) with these oversized product bottles that make the cutest photo opp. This is a great way to encourage brand ambassadorship and advocacy! Also notice the branded umbrellas, and the brand color balloons in the pool.

Cantu combined an experience (the pool party) with these oversized product bottles that make the cutest photo opp. This is a great way to encourage brand ambassadorship and advocacy! Also notice the branded umbrellas, and the brand color balloons in the pool.

Another example of a simple but beautiful brand activation. It is difficult to see the words on the tile (which looks like black soap, not sure what brand) but the “Black Don’t Crack” neon lights were PERFECT for Essence Fest.

Another example of a simple but beautiful brand activation. It is difficult to see the words on the tile (which looks like black soap, not sure what brand) but the “Black Don’t Crack” neon lights were PERFECT for Essence Fest.

Another example of a branded wall with a popular phrase “My Black is Beautiful” that really resonates with the target audience.

Another example of a branded wall with a popular phrase “My Black is Beautiful” that really resonates with the target audience.

Multiple’s of the same thing in different forms is always eye catching. Here we have the white pots, flanked by two larger trees with the “House of BET” logo on the wall. Notice how “House of BET” is also similar but different from the BET HER brand presentation.

Multiple’s of the same thing in different forms is always eye catching. Here we have the white pots, flanked by two larger trees with the “House of BET” logo on the wall. Notice how “House of BET” is also similar but different from the BET HER brand presentation.

This was an incredible brand experience activation! The “Ice Cream” truck picks up on Wu Tang’s lyrics and is decorated in a way that advertises the new Wu Tang Show on Hulu. The truck itself, is also a photo opp! Great job hitting multiple touchpoints Hulu with this one!

This was an incredible brand experience activation! The “Ice Cream” truck picks up on Wu Tang’s lyrics and is decorated in a way that advertises the new Wu Tang Show on Hulu. The truck itself, is also a photo opp! Great job hitting multiple touchpoints Hulu with this one!

This was an AMAZING translation of the brand. The chair screams radical, with it’s nod to Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party and the brand’s rug + neon lights really pop. Also, the name of the company itself is genius as it is an adjective that people can identify with and claim for themselves.

This was an AMAZING translation of the brand. The chair screams radical, with it’s nod to Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party and the brand’s rug + neon lights really pop. Also, the name of the company itself is genius as it is an adjective that people can identify with and claim for themselves.

One of my favorite things to see is how major “all-american” brands appeal to segments of the population. Coca cola nailed this. The platform that allows Girlfriends to take a photo in front of a coke bottle, which has long been associated with standards of beauty “the coca cola shape” was perfect. They also nailed it with the photos that could easily be any woman walking around Essence.

One of my favorite things to see is how major “all-american” brands appeal to segments of the population. Coca cola nailed this. The platform that allows Girlfriends to take a photo in front of a coke bottle, which has long been associated with standards of beauty “the coca cola shape” was perfect. They also nailed it with the photos that could easily be any woman walking around Essence.

Video activations are pretty cool and I have witnessed them pop up. AT & T linked with @boogiebothnola to create this Wakanda-esque activation.

Video activations are pretty cool and I have witnessed them pop up. AT & T linked with @boogiebothnola to create this Wakanda-esque activation.

This Brand Activation involves advocacy and has a clear Call to Action, to sign a petition. Also notice the participatory cards that are placed on the wall. Dove did a great job representing their brand visually but also connecting with an issue that the Essence Audience cares about - hair discrimination.

This Brand Activation involves advocacy and has a clear Call to Action, to sign a petition. Also notice the participatory cards that are placed on the wall. Dove did a great job representing their brand visually but also connecting with an issue that the Essence Audience cares about - hair discrimination.

Another beautiful photo op activation using words that resonate with the target audience. The chair is also beautiful!

Another beautiful photo op activation using words that resonate with the target audience. The chair is also beautiful!

Entrances are exists are wonderful places to place brand activations. This doorway is stunning! They added an arch and a window decal.

Entrances are exists are wonderful places to place brand activations. This doorway is stunning! They added an arch and a window decal.

Another view of the Cantu Brand Activation at Essence

Another view of the Cantu Brand Activation at Essence

I absolutely loved how Essence played on the “C” Suite with the “E” Suite, offering talks and other career related content. It’s always a good idea to take something well known and “tweak” it to fit within your brand. I am certain this won’t be the last time we hear about the “E” Suite. I also love how this hospitality bar has been branded, and made a great photo opp for festival attendees.

I absolutely loved how Essence played on the “C” Suite with the “E” Suite, offering talks and other career related content. It’s always a good idea to take something well known and “tweak” it to fit within your brand. I am certain this won’t be the last time we hear about the “E” Suite. I also love how this hospitality bar has been branded, and made a great photo opp for festival attendees.

As you are thinking about your brand consider:

(1) Experiences - Can you host an event or a pop-up at an existing event where you will find your Target Population.

(2) Partnerships - Can you partner with other brands to create cool activations or experiences?

(3) Photos - In 2019 when people go out they want photos! Create spaces in your event where people can whip out their phones and snap pictures to post to social media. Bonus points if these photo opps promote your business or campaign.

(4) Target Population - Who is your target population and what do they want to see, taste, touch, smell & hear? This will give you clues about how to better connect with them. As business owners it is our job to connect to our customers and clients. The burden is not on them.