I am currently in the post-glow feeling of the 2018 Essence Fest even though it was a few weeks ago. I am still processing the event and the Black Girl Magic of it all. I recently read that it was the most-attended Essence Fest with over 500,000 attendees whom infiltrated New Orleans for a party like none other. I’ve been to the Essence Fest before, but this one was different.
I call it the Girls’ Trip Effect.
Women of color in the 21 century are professional, high earners, and oftentimes are the most coveted demographic group when it comes to setting trends. The world looks to us as leaders of the culture, and thus, we are making Money Moves and have power with our dollar.
During the event, I was in awe at the hugeness of it all and of the brands who attended and poured hundreds of thousands of dollars to get our attention.
The 2018 Essence Fest was a case-study of melanin magesticness and from a business standpoint, I was educated in so many ways. Pull up a chair and I will share with you the Five Business Lessons I Learned at the 2018 Essence Fest.
Strike while the iron is hot
Last year’s summer mega hit Girls’ Trip centered around a group of friends who try to re-bond and rekindle their relationships while at Essence Fest. This sparked a huge interest for women who wanted to recreate the hysterical chaos that ensued in the movie, making this year’s event a multi-million dollar making affair.
As business owners, we too, have to strike while the iron is hot. Did you have a video or status go viral? Seize that opportunity to tout your latest campaign or sale to the masses. Did you just have an event? Sell out your next one by having people buy tickets to it while they are in a positive afterglow of it all.
Don’t leave any money on the table.
Go big or go home
The brands at the 2018 Essence Fest came to court us, honey! Each booth was more elaborate than the last with a whole lot of bells and whistles aimed at getting our business. I participated as a paid influencer at the Dove/Unilever booth, and they played no games. Hand and foot massages, hair styling stations, and an interactive photo booth were just some of the offerings available in their area.
The Ford booth was focused on Boss Women who are power players.
This encouraged me to up the ante when it comes to my business as well. I can’t always play it safe—having an elaborate (and costly) call to action is an investment to get more clients and customers so it improves my bottom line.
Always be ready
Speaking of being a paid influencer for Dove/Unilever, I was brought into this activation last minute (like, the first day of Essence Fest). Luckily for me, I knew the asks and was able to complete them because I am a pro. You’ve always got to be ready—-especially when it results in a come up.
Make it easy as possible
Utilizing your services shouldn’t be hard. Enrolling and on-boarding new clients should be a breeze for the end user. Many of you have outdated business systems that are difficult for your customers.
Essence had a dope app that allowed us to know what was going on throughout the experience, and when you created an account on the app, it made it easy to utilize some of the extras at the festival. This took some of the stress out of attending, and thus, left me warm and fuzzy.
You want to also leave your customers, clients, and readers warm and fuzzy.
Branding is everything
I loved seeing my fellow bloggers and influencers during Essence, and I was impressed with my Blogger Boos. Everyone was on point with their brand, business cards ready, social media swag on 1000, and not only influencing, but truly standing out and making their mark.
Branding is everything—it is what people will remember about you long after you’ve left their presence. No matter if you are attending an event with 10 people or 500,000 people, brand, brand, brand.
The 2018 Essence Fest was everything and more and I cannot wait until next year, which will be the 25th anniversary of the festival. I hope you plan on being there.