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11 Tips and Trends for Your Next Pop-Up Event

Taylor Shaw |

2 girls taking a selfie with pink cotton candy in their hands If you’ve never attended or planned a pop-up, chances are, you’ve walked by one. As planners, you want to ensure that your pop-up or experiential event is top-notch, the kind that catches the attention of every passerby! Below are some of our top tricks and tips to help your next pop-ups popularity.

1. Get Sensory

If you’re getting experiential, you want to create an environment that engages with your audience and attendees in every way. Using the senses—especially scents—can have a lasting effect. Glade played to this attribute perfectly in its pop-up Museum of Feelings in NYC. With each thematic, technological, innovative room came a new associative scent for the feeling depicted. As someone who attended the event years ago (and even purchased a Joy-scented candle at the end of the pop-up) the memory still stands out.

2. Make it Instagrammable

Plenty of planners know the importance of social media, but with pop-ups and experiential events, the potential for sharing and online attention is through the roof. The more visually and aesthetically appealing your pop-up is, the more your attendees will want to share the experience with their followers, and the more online conversation you’ll create surrounding your brand and its image. Glossier, a beauty brand based on its social media curated beginnings, kept on brand with its feed and brought its aesthetic to life in its Summer Fridays Showroom.

3. Flower Power

While not every pop-up needs to be decked out in florals, the trend of natural-looking, vine-covered and bushels-of-petals-everywhere-you-turn exhibits has a summery certain draw to it. “Stop and smell the flowers” may just be a saying, but in the summer, many will pause to snap a pic of a colorful and graceful pop-up on their way to work. Even in the hustle and bustle of cities, exhibits like these draw the eye with their creativity, complexity and color.

4. Colors are Key

Speaking of colorful flower exhibits, color could be one of the biggest attractors to stumble-upon attendees of pop-ups in the summer. Take it from the color-coded experts themselves, Pantone. The brand created a pop-up cafe that branded everything—from drinks to chairs—with its well-known color swatches.

5. Artfully Done

In some spaces, art exhibits can come across as “high-brow,” but pop-ups provide planners with a great opportunity to incorporate art in approachable, tasteful and respectful ways. Additionally, if your brand can support and empower local and aspiring artists, why not?

6. Time it Right

Although every event planner pays attention to the time and place, venue and flow of his or her event, pop-up planners need to pay extra attention. While you might not want to set up an exhibit in the middle of Fifth Ave. during rush hour, you also probably wouldn’t want to set up shop in a far-off corner of the map. Finding the perfect balance of foot-traffic-without-trampling is crucial to any and all experiential events.

7. Play With Reality

If your brand isn’t exactly compatible with the generic pop-up style, don’t turn away from experiential events entirely. Virtual and augmented reality exhibitions have the ability to enhance your brand experience in terms of engagement and excitement. Simple spaces can be expanded into worlds that you’ve created to bring your brand to life.

8. Inclusive and Inspiring

It may seem simple, but in a time of polarization, distance and discrepancies, planners of pop-ups need to be especially careful to consider a variety of worldviews before launching an event. With temporality acting as both an advantage and disadvantage, experiential event planners must be diligent in creating inclusive environments.

9. Go Big or Go Home

If you’re going for a fully immersive experience, don’t cut corners on the small details. After all, the small details can make or break an experiential exhibit. If your event is all about aesthetics, but you can see outlets and wires cluttering the corners, it won’t have the same seamless effect you’re going for. Do your best to leave your attendees feeling a little like they’re stepping into--and then back out of--a whole new world.

10. Don’t Stray Too Far From Home

While being experiential, innovative and intriguing with your pop-ups, it is important to keep yourself grounded to your objective and brand. If you don’t keep your pop-up grounded, or stray too far in your brainstorming sessions, you run the risk of creating a great event that has absolutely no connection to your brand. At the end of the day, if you want measurable and successful ROI, you need to be sure that your pop-up event matches your brand image, event objective and mission statement.

11. Food for Thought, Soul and/or Stomach

A rule of thumb for pop-ups is to ask yourself how the attendee will feel leaving your event. Are you leaving them with food for thought? Soul? Stomach? A great example of a pop-up that tied all of these questions together is lean cuisine. Rather than simply focusing on weight loss, the company decided to focus on how to “Feed Your Phenomenal,” and used this pop-up to readjust brand image, and leave its attendees feeling fulfilled.

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This Post was Written by Taylor Shaw

Taylor is a summer marketing intern at Aventri. She is currently a rising senior at Fordham University, where she studies English and Marketing. On campus, she is the managing editor of The Fordham Ram, the university’s 100-year-old newspaper. She...

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