Music festivals, sporting festivals, cultural events and organised community events are bigger than ever. Why? Because they engage their followers, their community and, mixed with social media, they allow organisers to build a brand big enough to keep on coming back year after year.
From the early days of Woodstock in 1969 when an estimated (they stopped selling tickets) half million people turned up for a 3 day music festival to modern day events across the globe, people have always flocked to events that strike accord with their interests and passions. Nowadays, Social Media also fosters an element of FOMO (fear of missing out) and this too drives ticket and merchandise sales.
Souvenirs and Keepsakes
These festivals keep growing because their followers ‘buy in’ to the brand and what it stands for. This drives future ticket sales as well as event merchandise and clothing sales. Wearing the clothes and carrying the towel, bag or water bottle shows belonging and afterwards, when you’re back home in your everyday life, they provide reminders of a time well had and a prompt for others to engage in conversation.
A spokeperson from the Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association said that in 2016, sales of music related merch alone hit $3.1 billion, a 10 percent increase from the year before so merchandise isn’t going anywhere.
Planning Is Key
Like the event itself, there’s a lot of work involved in planning a successful merchandise campaign and, again like the event itself, failure to plan can be fatal. Even prior to finalised event branding being locked in, event organisers start reviewing product samples – looking for those products that reflect and support the event and engage with festival goers.
Colours are important, as are styles and sizes. No point running out of a popular size an hour after opening. Nowadays, most festival organisers utilise companies like Red Energy Promotions to manage merchandise from whoa to go, including online event merchandise pre sales. The beauty of pre sales is that it gives organisers a chance to see how certain items sell and allows time to order more in time for the event itself.
Experience Pays Off
It’s often said that ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ and this is especially true for first time event organisers. Having an understanding of what products and styles work for certain events gives you a big advantage when it comes to setting your merch range. No one wants a warehouse full of lavender tee shirts ‘year branded’ for an event. Getting advice or engaging an event merchandise specialist like RED helps short circuit most of those issues because it’s typically not their first rodeo and they can at least advise on staples that should be popular for that style of event.
Event organisers, understandably, have a huge amount on their minds. The logistics alone of organising and running any kind of large sporting, music or cultural event takes up huge amount of time and head space. Leaving merchandise with a specialised supplier, who simply engages with organisers at key stages, takes the stress away and results in much healthier sales and profit margins. Managing online pre sales, manning live event sales and even post event sales to clear left over stock is a major logistical challenge in itself and shouldn’t detract from the event itself.
That Word Again – Planning
No matter the event, the planning structure for branded clothing and merchandise pretty much follows the same timeline and, the one thing that never changes is – you can never start planning too early!
Our regular event merchandise clients, especially a lot of the bigger ones, debrief with us at the conclusion of each event as part of planning for the next. What worked, what didn’t, were the merch sales locations good, what sold best online and a myriad of other considerations. Like all businesses, the more you can measure, the better you can manage, so our systems provide full reporting at every level.
Take walk through our event merchandise planning guide below to get a clear picture of what’s required to make the merch at your next event a booming success then, give us a call to start the ball rolling!