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The lure of cultural tentpoles is nearly impossible for brands to ignore. What is a cultural tentpole? "A major happening that captures the public imagination before and after the main event, with an apex in the middle. A graph drawn of this trajectory will look a bit like...a tentpole," according to Braze.

By activating at such well-known events, marketers can make massive inroads with tens of thousands of attendees at once—that is, if they understand how to craft, deliver, and spread the right message.

At big events such as the Cannes Film Festival, Comic-Con, and Coachella, audiences are looking at brands to add value to their experiences. According to "EventTrack 2018," one-third of consumers said they'd actually paid for the chance to attend at least one branded event in the last year. But don't be surprised when they ignore brands that fail to provide personalized, relevant experiences.

The Event Marketing 2019: Benchmarks and Trends report found that between 2017 and 2018 the number of brands organizing 20-plus events a year increased 17%. And the competition is heating up. The same report states that the most successful brands are spending nearly twice the average marketing budget on their live events, and more than 60% of marketers said they plan on spending more on live events in the future.

Accordingly, breaking through the noise is harder than ever. Brands have to home in on audience members' wants—and deliver on those desires with events that offer real, memorable value, no matter where those events take place.

Audiences want special opportunities, such as exclusive access to branded areas. They want to engage with influencers in the spheres of the tentpoles they attend. And they want a good reason to share their experience afterward. In short, they expect more.

To multiply the engagement of in-person attendees into larger, more lasting interest, marry experiential tactics with social extensions before, during, and after your next cultural tentpole activation.

1. Before: Set up the story with a social strategy

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image of Brett Hyman

Brett Hyman is the president of NVE Experience Agency, an experience-marketing agency and event-production company guided by the principle that the right moment will transform someone forever.

LinkedIn: Brett Hyman

Twitter: @bretthyman