The problem with being a supplier of luxury goods is that whilst everyone wants what you have, for many people it is beyond their financial reach. This is the same for brands. We get numerous enquiries each week from brands that want to buy the most luxurious, sophisticated, custom-built showcase – all singing, all dancing. And when the conversation moves to how much this mobile extravaganza is likely to cost, there is a slight back-tracking followed by an apologetic email a few days later saying the project is on ice due to budget restrictions.
This is fine. We understand that budgets need to be met. Sometimes clients continue the conversation with another company and we find out a few months later that we lost the business. The product purchased was not the product discussed in our original conversation. But, the budget was met. But it’s my personal opinion that for some brands that require a mobile event structure the smart strategy is to rent.
Why Renting Isn’t Money Down The Drain
It’s always nice to know what you have is bought and paid for. The feeling you get when you pay your last mortgage installment is always good. However, sometimes it makes more sense to rent. I rent my car now but the first car I bought was an Audi A4 Cabriolet which I bought in cash. Looking back, that was probably not a smart move. In hindsight, I should have put the £28,000 towards a deposit on a property and that £28,000 would have easily tripled in value since 2004.
At The Clear Idea we have a reputation for working with some of the most premium brands in the world across several industries. Often people think these brands have pots of money to splash around making themselves look good. The reality of the matter is that isn’t normally the case. It’s often the more mainstream brands with the big wallets.
When it comes to taking brands on the road companies tend to either use their event structures either for an intensive seasonal roadshow or at different, sporadic events throughout the year. Either way, most event structures are not used enough to justify the cost of ownership. I know of an automotive brand that invested £250,000 in two very average mobile event structures. For the same investment they could have rented two luxury showcases for two years. In year three, instead of having to make do with their unit which is now becoming old and tired they just hire another new structure (it is exactly what I do with my car nowadays). In the long run it will probably cost the same but the company that rents a great unit will be delivering a better experience than the company that purchases an average unit. The likelihood is that the company that buys cheap, buys twice anyway.
Many niche luxury brands do not have budgets the size of their mass market competitors. But there is still the need to deliver quality and to look the part. Renting a high-quality product then spending the budget customising it to make it look like a custom-build is the smart strategy. The production items can be removed and put in storage until the next event.
The problem is that most rental units are tired. Even with the best will in the world an expensive make-over will obviously still be mutton masquerading as lamb. To make the renting experience fit for purpose the event industry needs to dramatically improve the stock available to rent. Too many times I have a seen prestigious car brands being represented at the County Fair with a poor mobile trailer.
To quote Adam Judge, author of The Little Black Book Of Design;
“The alternative to good design is always bad design. There is no such thing as no design.”
I think this philosophy extends into brand. Either brands are building brand or eroding brand. Brands are either doing it right or doing it wrong.
Here’s my top 4 tips for luxury brands looking to rent an event showcase;
- Work with suppliers that understand that your brand is important and that can meet the exacting standards you require. If the supplier website looks terrible, look elsewhere.
- Hunt out best-in-class mobile structures and book early. My father once told me be careful when you buy the last of anything as there’s usually something wrong with it. The people that are the most disorganised get what the organised people didn’t want.
- Invest in audience recognition tech – maximise the ROI of your event by incorporating best-in-class audience recognition technology and build this into your customer experience. Not only will you capture more data, you’ll also deliver a wow factor to your customers when you can greet them by name. A good event solution provider should be able to guide you as to what’s available.
- Maximise the PR – invest in photographers / videographers to capture imagery that can be leveraged across other channels to communicate with an audience beyond the event. Get the iconic shot in front of the landmark building or capture the words of a delighted customer
If you’re looking to rent a premium showcase, please visit www.theclearidea.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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