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Finding Success with Brand Ambassadors: The C2E2 Edition

Each spring the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) makes its way to McCormick Place, attracting thousands of comic, movie, television, toy, anime, manga and videogame fans. While attendance for the 2017 show has yet to be released, the convention typically garners upwards of 70,000 attendees. With so many in attendance, it can be difficult for sponsoring brands and exhibitors to stand out from the crowd.

The show floor at C2E2 is always packed with fans in costumes ranging from a little face paint to elaborately handcrafted works of art, and this year’s convention was no different. The three-day event creates a unique experience for attendees — and part of what makes it so special is the interaction between the “fans” in the crowd, and the brand ambassadors they encounter on the showroom floor. For the fourth year in a row, some of those brand ambassadors — as well as some of the general workers at the convention — were staffed by Shiftgig.

We stopped by the convention floor to meet with some of those brand ambassadors to find out how to be successful at a large-scale convention like C2E2.

  • Experiences are everywhere. At an event like C2E2, everyone is vying for attention. This makes it increasingly difficult for brands and brand ambassadors to catch the attention of passersby.

Creating and planning the right experience for attendees requires a lot of research and creativity upfront, so ensuring an experience that will stand out from the crowd helps set brands on the right path for success.

But having a good marketing campaign in place isn’t everything you need to succeed; finding the right brand ambassadors to draw attendees in on the show floor is essential.

Click here to learn why Shiftgig’s specialists make great brand ambassadors.

  • Giveaways and freebies draw in the crowd. Attendees want to be able to bring their experience home with them, and one way to do this is by collecting a prize or souvenir during the show. We spotted nearly every C2E2 attendee carrying branded reusable bags to carry their freebies and swag around on the show floor.

Several brands also hosted a plethora of opportunities to win prizes by participating in scavenger hunts, or by scanning their registration badge at different touch points on the show floor.

By building their activation into the experience of the attendees rather than passively promoting it through signage or sponsorship, these brands matched the overall pace and enthusiasm on the floor for a more authentic experience.

  • The energy never dies. Shows like C2E2 can be grueling for all involved. Three days with almost nine hours of open floor time each day means you need to be prepped for the long haul. Finding brand ambassadors who show up prepared for these circumstances by being well-rested, wearing comfortable shoes and clothing, maintaining a great attitude, and having the resilience to get the job done right will help ensure that a brand’s campaign delivers the desired experience for the full duration of the show.
  • Mobile phones can enhance experiences. Between using the event app and snapping pictures of their experience, it was hard not to notice that attendees were always with their mobile phones in hand. Why not give them a reason to use it with things like branded Snapchat filters, hashtag contests, and other interactive experiences?

While every event is different, it’s important for brands to know their audience and implement a strategy that speaks to the needs of their specific audience.


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April 25, 2017 | Shelby Eversole