the age of digital
a whole new meaning to digital download
We live in a digital age, but a digital festival?! We look at how digitising Download Festival led to increased customer satisfaction. The modern music festival has come a long way from the initial concept of watching a few bands in a field. These days, festivals are a huge industry in their own right and have started to use experimental digital innovations to offer a unique experience to visitors, far beyond the music, entertainment and side shows. Last month, I attended Download festival in Castle Donington. Download is a long standing fixture in the music calendar, dating back to 1980 when it was known as Monsters of Rock. Over the past 35 years, the festival has become one of the biggest in Europe and the place-to-be for rock lovers from across the globe.
The Lowdown on Download
In the past, Download has embraced numerous technological gimmicks. From something as simple as a penchant for SMS competitions in the early days to the ambitious stunt of offering a young band the chance to play a gig in their living room whilst being broadcasted live on the main stage. Download understand the importance of brand perception, and as such have tried a number of digital strategies to breathe a bit of fresh air into the muddy fields of Donington Park. What’s interesting about Download is that they listen to what the festival goers want, creating a burgeoning online forum that provides valuable feedback on each year’s highs and lows from the guests themselves. This forum has led to a number of valuable changes in the way that the festival is run, and was hugely responsible for this year’s latest digital advancement – a fully cashless festival experience. The cashless system banished the use of cash throughout the entire site, in favour of digital payments.
Less Cash, Less Crime, Less Stress
The most appealing aspect to the cashless system came from the possibility of reduced crime. Let’s face it, 85,000 mildly intoxicated people in one field over the course of 5 days can understandably lead to reports of money going missing and a heightened potential for crime, particularly in the campsite. Whilst crime figures have been steadily dropping for the past few years, the promoters decided to introduce cashless RFID technology to enable all vendors on site to accept digital payments for their goods instead of cash. Customers were asked to link their ticket number to a ‘Dog Tag’ which would be distributed to them upon entry and worn as part of the standard wristband; a novel idea and I’m sure that some of the younger attendees are still wearing them! The ‘Dog Tag’ could be topped up with additional funds in a number of ways, including a mobile app, the festival website and various top-up points scattered around festival site. The tag could then be used to scan against Point of Sale systems at every bar, food stall and merchandise outlet, giving real time balance details. Aside from the crime angle, this also ensured that all vendors on site stuck to the pricing strategy outlined by the organisers.
Safety, Security & Cider
Of course, some early technical issues were to be expected; this is understandable given the numbers involved. However, all glitches were ironed out during the first day and a successful weekend of spending and drinking was had by all! From what I’ve seen of feedback online, the majority of people have deemed it a success and it certainly led to a dramatic drop in crime numbers during the weekend. On the surface of things, you can’t argue with the result – a safer festival experience and great times had by all. For the organisers, the technology assisted with a variety of processes from real-time stock control to the ability to track who was buying what, which will lead to some great targeted marketing through the post. I personally look forward to receiving targeted marketing from Somersby Cider! I’d be very surprised if this system isn’t rolled out next year and at more events in the future.
Think like a festival-goer
Basically, the implementation of a digital strategy like this on such a large scale just goes to show that no matter what industry you’re in, you need to keep your eye on the ball when it comes to knowing what your customer wants. More brands need to realise that keeping things fresh can be hugely beneficial, particularly in terms of improving the overall experience for the customer. Of course, trialling something new is always going to have risks and it can be a bit of an ordeal to get everything in place, but the end result can be immeasurable in terms of customer satisfaction. Whether it’s a new website or a brand refresh, give us a call to find out how you can take a leaf out of Download’s book and improve customer satisfaction.
Digital Marketing, Technology