The Con Is Upon Us!
It’s that time of year again! Thousands upon thousands of heroes, villains, creatures, and more importantly costumers have descended upon downtown San Diego. They’re here to take in the sights and sounds of the city’s biggest annual economic event, San Diego Comic Con or SDCC for the veterans out there. Comic Con is without a doubt San Diego’s most attended event every year. It draws well over 100,000 visitors to the city, while also boosting the local economy with millions of tourism dollars. It’s a four-day convention that many companies prepare all year for. Thousands of people dressed as their favorite characters, and ready to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest greatest piece of collectible swag are walking the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter. It’s a time to be celebrated, but also to be leveraged. Businesses with either a brick & mortar location, online presence, or both can take advantage of this incredible event in some uniquely inventive ways. Here are a couple that we think stand out the most and that you can learn from whenever a big event affects your area of business.
This one may seem obvious, but that’s why it deserves a mention. Hundreds of companies have found inventive ways to represent their brand in front of Comic Con's legions of attendees. We’d like to highlight some of the more unique examples. Among these are trolley wraps. Marvel Television Studios and The Conan O'brien Show have shown that they can get their brand seen by tons of people every day by taking over one of the city’s most widely used public transportation options.
Another effective sponsorship tactic is buying into industry events or parties. This is a great way to have your logo plastered over all kinds of collateral, and also get samples of your product out to a large audience. Not only that, but there are tons of these events going on that offer varying levels of sponsorship. We suggest contacting the venue early and arranging the terms of your participation. Another option, if you have the space, would be to offer up your own venue and hold your own event (In which case you’ll want to be cautious of the insurance, liability, and attendance regulations). This can provide a great chance to get in front of a crowd who may not know about your business. Be sure to have a battle plan in place to make the most of the opportunity. If you need help creating one contact us!
One of the biggest reasons that people attend comic con is to collect rare swag. They pour into the city with back packs and swag bags ready to be stuffed with posters, pins, figurines and more. Their motivation may be to resell these items on Ebay the next week or to add them to their ever-growing collection. Either way, collectibles are highly coveted at the con. For this reason businesses of all shapes and sizes turn to their creative teams to produce some sort of meaningful trinket that they can get into people's hands. We suggest this tactic as a tangible way of spreading your brand message. If you have the budget, invest in the production of something like a bobble-head or figurine. Of course those can be more expensive, but they are also items that tend to have more lasting power. If you're more strapped for cash on the marketing side of things, t-shirts, posters and postcards are still very popular among the Comic Con crowd. Our friends at Industry Threadworks can help with the t-shirt production. All of these items can go a long way in producing a solid return on investment when distributed effectively. Be sure to include your logo, brand message and address, or website to drive traffic back to your space. Bonus points if you can secure a popular IP and utilize it for your collectible.
Yes, simple networking, but on a more grandiose scale. During comic con there are dozens if not hundreds of industry, sponsored, public, and invite-only events where you can get in some serious power networking. You may think that the people attending these events may not be your company's target audience, and to that I say, So What! What happens when you as a business runner get a picture with some highly recognizable celebrity while sporting your brand? I'll tell you what... Free Pub! That’s immediate recognition. In addition, ability to interact with the massive audience that Comic Con brings is something that you would have to invest thousands of dollars in into otherwise accomplish. At Comic Con you have this option for free. Simply take some time out during the week, target the events where you feel you’ll get the most traction, and head on over! To get the most out of this tactic we suggest bringing a ton of business cards, loading up on product samples (based on your business), wearing company branded clothing (depending on the event), and having your camera phone ready for action. Be strategic, and make sure you are not misrepresenting your company. If executed properly you may be able to gain brand ambassadors in places you never imagined.
Those are just a couple of the tactics that we believe are effective in taking advantage of the Comic Con buzz in order to generate benefit for your business. Can you think of any more? What are some interesting methods that you have seen businesses use to benefit from a huge local event? We’re all ears!