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How to… reach the right audience at the right time

Ross Murray-Jones, partnerships director at Yplan, discusses how to reach consumers at the right time, in a world cluttered with different messages and distractions.

Murray-Jones says it's important to fit into your audience's daily routine

It’s 7am on a Friday morning. David, a twenty-something Londoner hears his alarm go off. The first thing he does is reach for his phone to check all of his notifications: another DJ Khaled Story on Snapchat -#KeysToSuccess; 26 new followers after that Kygo clip was re-posted by @Kygomusic last night, – awesome; 11 Tinder matches? Good swiping game. Then, as he prepares for work, he opens Citymapper to see what time the bus arrives. Six minutes to grab breakfast?! With Apple Pay enabled that’s no bother as he’ll be less than a minute at Pret.

At lunch, David gets another notification. A french couple want to rent his room through Airbnb when he goes home this weekend. “That’ll pay for the train fare” he muses and accepts. He goes out for a bite and decides to take the stairs as he hasn’t done too much walking today. He knows this because of his Fitbit which monitors his activity.

As the end of the work day approaches, he knows he wants to do something, but isn’t 100% sure what that ‘something’ is. He’s looking for experiences in-line with his lifestyle, so he goes to YPlan. Just like Hotel Tonight or Uber, David trusts YPlan to tell him how to spend his free time and disposable income. Once he has found a great gig in Camden, he invites his friends through the app, books in a snap, and then makes his way over to North London with his paperless ticket.

Indeed, David isn’t alone. He a millennial – a generation that is embracing technology unlike any generation before. It’s hard to catch David’s attention, as he installs all kinds of ad-blocking programs and isn’t looking at traditional advertisements. What David wants is something real and authentic; he wants brands to engage him on his level.

On the flip side, brands are left wondering: How do I connect with this audience? How do I make sure my experiential campaign cuts through the noise and reaches the right person at the right time? You’ve been working tirelessly planning that awesome cocktail masterclass to appeal to that trendsetter, urbanite audience. You know this event is different – even special – but after all the hard work the PR team has spent exhausting traditional channels you’re left wondering who will show up? How do I make sure it’s full at all times?

The simple answer is: figure out where your audience is. Fit into their daily routine and you’ll get through. Go niche if you need to. What disruptive technology are they using? Who holds an authority in their life? Who do they trust when making decisions on where to go, what to wear and where to stay? Armed with that information, you’ll fit into their lifestyle on their terms, naturally targeting as you go. You’ll change the course of your audience by tapping into their way of doing things. It’s discovery, not advertising. And it’s that easy. Now back to that cocktail masterclass, when is it again?

How to… cater for branded events

David Ridgway, executive head chef at Smart Group, outlines the issues which need to be considered when it comes to catering for branded events.

Requirements that need to be met for branded events are massively different to standard occasions. Lots of research needs to be undertaken in order to produce completely bespoke menus. For standard events our menu bank would be used as these recipes already contain specifications and costing; for branded events it needs to be an original offering.

There are a number of challenges to be aware of, for example a frequent consideration is trying to understand what the client fully wants, and ensuring that all requirements can be met in a short space of time.

Controlling costs for themed events is difficult. The client is aiming for an incredible menu with an amazing design, however they’re sometimes surprised when presented with a pricey quote. Additionally, adding extra equipment to ensure the brief criteria are met can pose a logistical problem – it needs to be carefully planned to allow service to be go ahead as normal.

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Transferring a concept to the masses

An awareness of scalability and deliverability is essential. I have been in a situation where a ‘quirky’ product, delivered to 1,000 people, has had the reverse impact the client wanted; we prepared a full English breakfast as a dessert, it proved too tricky as it was too gimmicky for the event size, affecting the occasion negatively.

The most ambitious request we have had to date is when we were asked to deliver an À La Carte Menu to 100 people while stationed in the middle of a field, simultaneously trying to serve a flambé dish for each course. At another dinner, for 600 people, we were asked for dry ice to be poured onto the table centre, while also spraying an atomiser of pine. These actions, which were to represent a walk in the woods, were being performed while the fillet of beef was being served to the customers for the main course.

Two events which have particularly stood out for me were the Superdrug and Virgin Holidays activations. Superdrug wanted an art deco theme, to which we delivered the parfait starter with jam in toothpaste tubes and the dessert, a Knickerbocker Glory, in Campbell’s soup tins with ‘BOOM’ chocolate shards. Waitresses then served these on picture frames containing images of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe lip designs. For Virgin Holidays, fish cakes were served in baskets that were attached to flying hot air balloons, which were then placed in the centre of the tables for all the customers to enjoy.