By Liza Manukian, Pollack Group Spring Intern
It’s finally that time of year again for the Coachella festival -- where music lovers, fashion bloggers, and celebrities collectively get together and party in 100-plus degree weather. It’s a huge cultural event annually, that is not to be ignored. Anyone with an Instagram account knows that for two weekends in April, feeds focus on selfies of these festival-goers, rocking boho-chic merchandise. Hashtag, desert vibes. Through the lens of social media, the festival is viewed by millions. Not surprisingly, Coachella has elevated itself above a music festival and into a multi-day outdoor event and fashion show, providing fashion companies and brands a vital avenue to engage with millennials and Generation Z.
Where does public relations and marketing fit in with Coachella? Well, festivals can have a major impact on fashion trends, so this presents an incredible brand opportunity. Top social influencers and major celebrities can be seen flocking around the fields of Indio, parading their latest sponsored products and fashion statements. Months before the festival even begins, there is endless buzz about the event. Photographers can be found everywhere. Coachella had a Media Impact Value (MIV) of nearly $116 million in 2018, reaching a total of 460,000 posts in the first weekend alone. Celebrity Kendall Jenner generated $1.4 million in MIV herself through an Instagram post sponsored by Revolve, a clothing brand affiliated with the top, trendiest designers. While not a household name, Revolve’s heavy investment in Coachella resulted in their #Revolvefestival hashtag having the highest average MIV over both weekend – proof of the power of influencer marketing.
Other sponsors like H&M (#HMLoveCoachella) also create opportunities for influencer sponsorships, in addition to endless brand opportunities. H&M was one of the top sponsors for Coachella in 2015, parlaying occurrences like a Gigi Hadid visit to their festival party into a 22 percent increase in YOY sales. Communicating a brand authentically, through real-life experiences, and thus jump-starting trends, has proven to be an effective form of marketing.
Coachella also presents environments where connecting and meeting new influencers becomes a reality. Additionally, with a potential “festival spokesperson” at Coachella, it becomes a fantastic opportunity for on-the-ground marketing efforts. In an environment where people are experimenting with fashion choices, on-site lifestyle events can be incredibly valuable for brands and companies to effectively speed-date potential influencers who can captivate the attention of young consumers.
There is no denying that festival season has become a huge cultural moment for marketing professionals and everyday consumers alike. The major takeaway: never underestimate the power of social media in providing opportunities for brands to authentically speak, sell, and grow their customer base.