Top 10 Summer Promo Best Practices

The summer season provides numerous unique opportunities for consumer-focused promotions. Properly utilizing the warm summer temperatures to your advantage is key to creating successful brand engagements.

The summertime often conjures up images of backyard barbecues, dipping in the pool and relaxing on the beach. For most sales and marketing folks, it also conjures up dollar signs as the summer is often referred to as the “peak season” for getting in front of consumers who are out-and-about enjoying the warmer weather while attending festivals, sporting events and other large gatherings where their target consumers often congregate. While setting up a booth at one of these larger events may seem like a simple solution to increasing your consumer brand exposure, as with all experiential activations, planning and executing a successful event involves managing numerous logistical issues and external factors, not just the weather.

1. The Heat Is Great, But It’s Also A Problem You Can Solve Most consumers who attend large outdoor events enjoy the summer heat; however, like all good things, moderation is the key. Too often even the most sun-soaked event attendees will need a break or at least something refreshing to cool them off. Outfit your activation to allow your attendees to cool down, such as an air-conditioned tent or pavilion or perhaps set up fans or large mist machines. If that is above your budget, providing branded ice cream bars, cold drinks and bottled water will do the job as well.

2. Take Care Of Your Promo Team As with any activation with multiple staff working several hours a day, providing a few essentials that go above and beyond will ensure that your team is not only safe but feeling up to enthusiastically representing your brands. If your team members are in the sun all day, be sure to provide hats, sunscreen, drinks, rest breaks in shaded areas and other summer outdoor essentials.

3. Theme Your Promotional Display To The Summer The summer is its own established brand, so be sure to incorporate summer elements into your display. Setting up lawn chairs on sand, having a DJ spin some tropical tunes and serving summer drinks are just a few ways to throw a splash of summer into your promotional display.

4. Get People Moving Nobody likes to stand around in the heat, especially in long lines. Be sure to incorporate some interactive elements into your display, such as cornhole and other skill-based games. Offer branded prizes, product and other incentives as rewards for participating.

5. Schedule a Rain Date, Or At Least Make Sure One Is Available When participating in any type of outdoor activity in a rented space, such as a sporting venue or as a booth exhibitor, make sure there’s a provision for inclement weather built into your contract. Also, be sure to communicate any potential changes in your brand’s participation in your social media and other advertising to prevent unhappy attendees who didn’t find out until too late that your festival is postponed.

6. Make Sure Your Product Can Take The Heat If you’re expecting to leave your product out in the open sun for several hours, make sure that the materials can withstand hot temperatures for several hours. Food spoils, plastics and rubbers can get warped and melt and metals get extremely hot. Make sure you rotate your inventory or keep out only the minimum necessary when presenting to consumers.

7. Diversify Your Outdoor Experiences The summer presents a multitude of potential event opportunities for your brands. Some are common, such as sporting events and summer concerts, while others are less so, such as high-traffic business districts, outside of major stores, summer concerts as well as food and drink festivals. Do some research to determine what events, festivals and other large public gatherings are open to exhibitors.

8. Make Sure Your Brand And Promotion Match The Summer Theme While almost every brand can exhibit at a summer event, ones that are designed for colder temperatures, such as heating companies, cold-weather event services and winter clothing manufacturers, will need to carefully pivot their message to ensure that their brand is relevant now for when their services are needed in the colder months.

9. Always Provide Quality, Relevant Merch If you’ve followed my top ten lists, you’ll notice that I’m always preaching the value of providing promotional collateral that not only matches with your brand identity but also is going to be useful to the consumer and not tossed in the nearest trash can. There are plenty of branded summer merch items that you can provide for giveaway, such as water bottles, koozies, battery powered fans and hats, but also larger items for raffles and contests such as branded outdoor tents, pool floats and grilling utensils.

10. Host Summer Themed Events Instead of exhibiting at festivals, sporting events and other outdoor gatherings, host your own. If you brand sells small quantities of higher-priced, low volume products or services, host a summer themed buyer show for your best customers and some prospective ones. If you own a brick and mortar location, host outdoor gatherings for your consumers complete with all of the games, food and drink and other amenities that we’ve mentioned before.  

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