As an agency, we get the pleasure of working with a variety of clients. From well-established enterprise companies to your friendly startup, our job is to dive in headfirst to launch and grow these brands. In doing so, we always keep the customer in mind. One way we increase customer engagement is through the art of organizing guerilla style events. While we don’t encourage graffiti artists to paint up the city walls (why not? I say.), branded stickers, sunglasses and Frisbees often have a similar, but more positive effect.

On the streets of San Francisco, we recently hosted an event with our client, Metromile, to help launch their services in California. By offering free car washes in exchange for signing up for Metromile’s free mobile app and connected device, we helped drive the most engaging event the client has seen to date. Though it wasn’t our first, we also helped with their launch in Illinois back in March with a similar street team effort in which we reimbursed driver’s street sweeping parking tickets on Michigan Ave.

With the goal of driving customer signups and building brand awareness, you’re likely wondering what it takes to host a successful street stunt. Here is a list of our top DOs and DON’Ts for throwing your next stunty street team event:  

 

DO your customer research; think like a local. Be sure to think about time and location. When are people engaged and when do they have free time to stop and listen to your pitch?

DON’T glob on to old trends. If it’s “trending” consider it old news. Pointed out in a recent Fast Company article, companies who are late to adopt internet Memes end up bombing and killing the fun for us all. Yes, this means no more flash mobs.

DO host your event in highly visible areas with lots of foot traffic. With smaller events, it’s definitely a strategic numbers game.

DON’T forget to check for zoning laws. You’ll thank us when you don’t have to shut down your diligently planned event due to setting up in what you thought was a “public area.”

DO have signs. Big, small; the more the merrier. Look official and let people know who you are and what you do before you approach them or vice versa.

DON’T rely on outside staffing. Get your company employees to staff the event at all costs, nothing says “I value you and our relationship” more than voluntarily giving up your Saturday afternoon.

DO provide food at your event. People. Love. Free. Food.

DON’T skimp out on the supplies. You can and will run out. Better to have more and plan an additional follow up event than to leave your customers disappointed on site.

DO your homework. Ensure those who are hosting are knowledgeable and friendly – your product is only as valuable as the people pitching it.

DON’T rush. With small scale events, take the time to talk with each customer to build trust. As a small company, your customers are your best salesmen, give them an experience they are willing to write home about. One of the quickest ways to establish brand trust is by honest, first-person recommendations.

DO promote your event. Check into local blogs and community event calendars to spread the word, you would be surprised how many people actually read them.

DON’T expect mountains of media coverage. Set your expectations prior to the event, these events are often deemed too promotional for local media to cover. The goal should focus on target audience engagement.

DO establish your goal/success metric beforehand. At the end of the day when all is said and done, it is nice to look back and see what you have accomplished.

DON’T forget to smile. A lot.