With the return of the seventh London Cocktail Week, the Spider consumer team headed down to Spitalfields last week to see if we could spot any up-and-coming trends, experience the different brand activations and, of course, taste a few cocktails along the way!

As Spider currently work with both established and challenger brands, we wanted to determine the value for participating brands and whether it was a real ‘must-do’ event.

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Big Players and Small Challengers

Upon arrival, one aspect which immediately became clear to us, was the divide between brands that had high levels of investment versus brands who didn’t. To be clear, investment in this context describes the strategy, thought and effort that had gone into the stand – not just the pure cost.

The smaller stands were slightly dwarfed by the big players but with engaging staff, free samples and exciting activities, some of them were really able to make a big impact. A bartender throwing bottles in the air or a gregarious staff member really engaging with visitors made all the difference.

 

Staff are Key

One of the bigger stands, a surprisingly well-known brand, had all the makings to be a success however the staff let them down. Standing around looking uninterested with nothing particularly exciting to serve meant that the majority of the crowd just passed by.

Staffing is one of the most important elements to a stand and, as staff are often provided by an agency, proper briefing and training of those hired to be the face of the brand at an event should not be an afterthought.

 

Partner Up

Pairings worked well, whether it was within the cocktails or served alongside. Southern Comfort was serving their drinks with a side of deep fried chicken and, as there wasn’t a great selection of food at the event, they had a queue snaking around their stall.

Liqueur brand, Tia Maria, had partnered with Coffee Project and incorporated the art of coffee-making into the theatre of serving the cocktails.

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Make it Instagrammable

Tapping into the Instagram trend, Bailey’s was offering freak shakes in order to promote their new product and predictably, these went down a treat! Visitors were being welcomed to the stand with free tasters and a perfectly styled spot where they were able to place their freak shake for the ultimate #Instapic.

This stand was a clear success as their social media channels benefited massively and each visitor at the event was able to sample the new product.

 

Would we recommend it?

We all had a great time and key learning was that the consumer experience of a brand was of the utmost importance in a crowded space like this. The successful stands built this into their brand strategy – ensuring that their brand was the one that people remembered and talked about, whether via word of mouth or on social media.

The event is a fantastic opportunity to invite media, influencers and suppliers alike to showcase brand activity.

Overall, there is definitely more opportunity for creative, memorable stands that bring brands to life and should a client wish to invest and really commit to the event, London Cocktail Week 2017 would definitely be a recommendation!