A great way to connect your brand with enthusiasts is through grassroots programs, local clubs and gatherings. Although year-round benefits are plentiful, the annual conventions are really something special. This week is the 48th BMW Car Club of America Oktoberfest in New Orleans, their annual convention and gathering of the membership to celebrate all things BMW.The BMW CCA moves their annual Oktoberfest to a different location throughout the country each year giving you access to various markets. Nearly every model and style of BMW will be on hand, a collection of about 400 cars accompanied by thousands of enthusiasts. There are seminars, vendor displays, presentations, tech talks, social events and of course, track days, where the members get to drive their cars to the limit.
For performance brands and services, a club’s annual convention is a massive opportunity to engage current and prospective audiences. The club’s region and chapter leaders come to the convention from around the country to learn about organizational and club-centric developments and what’s new on the horizon. With a concentrated collection of your audience in one place, it is a great opportunity to showcase products and services in front of them and the membership at large. The convention lasts for days and there is ample opportunity to reach the membership in a variety of ways.
5 highly efficient ways to activate your involvement:
Create a unique and must-see display area
Usually, the first couple days of the convention are a prime time to engage with the members. The members are a loyal bunch, so showcase what you have that will make their time better. Stay relevant and be targeted. Don’t bring collateral that has Chevrolet imagery when you are talking to the BMW members, for example.
Take advantage of any presentation time you can
Whether it’s a tech talk or other presentation, use this time to be a resource for the audience and answer questions they may have about your expertise. They want answers, so be the expert and provide useful information. Don’t overdue message points and or focus irrelevant facts. Because it is such a specific group of people, you can be equally specific in what you present.Align your brand with sponsorships available through the week. The convention has numerous opportunities for sponsorship. By bringing a targeted investment to the event, your brand can gain access to unique experiences that otherwise can't be bought. If your brand is in the fuel and oil category, be a part of the club’s rally or driving events. You can incorporate customers into the activities, such as using a station for a check point stop during a rally. If you focus on car care, you can become the official car care products of the club and activate with user-focused demonstrations throughout the week.
Support what members like and what makes them feel a part of the community. Don’t let messaging get in the way of showing off the fun side of your brand. Your association with a popular member social event will be appreciated and portray you as a “friendly” brand. Follow up after the event. Your brand team will learn a lot, meet many people and make valuable connections during the convention. Have a ready-to-go follow up plan that you can activate immediately after the event ends. This allows you to stay top of mind, provide extra value through quick access content, and even give you an opportunity to thank the members. With all that goes on during a car club convention, you can really be productive and engage those enthusiasts who care about what you do. But don’t forget the rest of the calendar year, as performance enthusiasts are active 24/7, 365 days a year!
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