Promotional models are more than just window dressing: they give your brand an attractive look and a human face. Event models can be an essential part of your extended marketing team, and they can get your message through to your potential customers like nothing else.
Promotional models expand your reach without over-extending your budget. They can be critical partners in getting your product and message in front of your potential customers in a way that’s warm and inviting. Models are the human face your product needs to succeed in a crowded marketplace.
Many don’t recognize the importance of the promotional model’s role, while others dismiss it completely, claiming definitively that “booth babes” don’t work. In truth, some companies still use models in this limited capacity. But today, the job of the promotional model often goes far beyond just standing near a car or a computer while looking good. Increasingly, they are part of the marketing team, and have a very specialized and demanding role. They play a crucial role when it comes to planning an event.
There have been some complaints in the media that the use of promo models is encouraging the objectification of women. Some critics have insisted they are used solely for their looks. Modeling agencies and their clients have responded by demanding more from their models. Models today often must not only look good, but also be able to think on their feet and stay ready to answer questions about the products they represent.
Even today, promo models might be asked by a client to just show up and look good. They might be asked – at most – to distribute literature and promotional items. Some of their assignments are not much more involved than making a good visual impression. But increasingly, they’re also required to memorize slogans, specifications, and sales contact scripts. These days they are often expected to develop an awareness of the product, the customers, and the industry as a whole. Thanks to our global marketplace today, it’s more frequently required that they be bilingual.
Thus, promotional models have become an all-purpose part of a company’s marketing team. After accepting an assignment, models are oftentimes required to quickly memorize product facts and learn about competitors and the culture of the industry they’re representing. These days, it’s rarely enough to just stand there and look pretty.
Successful presenters use models as a stand-in for the potential buyer. These models represent the type of person a customer might imagine the product could make them, or attract to them. They are commercial dramatists. They are living sculptures. They are stories-in-the-flesh. They are the brand ambassadors who communicate directly to customers in a way nothing else can.
That’s what makes promotional models so effective as brand-building and sales tools. Models are the foot-in-the-door you’ve been looking for. They ensure the message gets through to your intended target, and they make it stick.
Models Increase Leads and Awareness
At a typical trade show, staff from the exhibiting company is usually limited to only two or three people. These skilled sales and marketing types are kept busy doing demonstrations, qualifying leads, and even (hopefully) closing deals on the spot.
While they’re busy, who’s minding the store? Who’s gaining the attention of passers-by, engaging them in conversation and grabbing their interest? Who’s distributing literature and promo items? Who’s collecting contact information?
Many potential customers have only basic questions at first. There’s no reason a promo model can’t field these questions, thus setting company staffers free for more in-depth discussion of customer needs. Promotional models are the first line in the process of pre-qualifying leads.
An investment in promotional models further leverages the investment a company makes in attending the trade show, which can be considerable. Models increase reach, and thus ensure that an impression gets made on as many attendees as possible.
Models Humanize Your Brand
Every product needs a human face to relate it to potential customers. The cars, appliances, computers, software, phones and any other product on display at an event are all intended for use by human beings. Each product serves a human need. Thus, it helps to have a human being visibly associated with it – an attractive human being. Models help attendees relate the products on display to their own lives.
This seems obvious, but many still seem to not understand. An attractive model humanizes the product. A beautiful face invites show attendees to imagine your blender, motorcycle, or magazine is used by attractive, successful people. Who doesn’t want to be attractive and successful?
Promotional modeling is not just easy money in exchange for having a pretty face: It’s a demanding, professional occupation. Models who specialize in certain industries are well-compensated, and develop important connections that benefit them during and after their modeling careers. Some later go on to work in the industries they represent as sales or marketing professionals.
Promo Models Can Work a Variety of Events
Promotional models find work at trade shows, media events, gatherings, and as members of “street teams” in nightclubs and bars. This gives them the opportunity to get to know your brand more intimately. Some will even go on to represent their clients in print and television ads, becoming the worldwide face of the brand.
Increasingly, companies in almost every industry are seeking out promotional models to help their product or service gain buzz and stature. A single image from a trade show or event can be shared on Instagram or Facebook and go viral, making millions of impressions. This is free advertising of the sort few companies can resist.
More and more, companies are leveraging product release parties and sponsored “rooms” or “tents” at festivals or sporting events. Customers (and potential customers) love the exclusivity of invites to these functions. However, an expensive event can fall flat if all that greets attendees is a table full of appetizers, an open bar, and a few account managers in stiff polo shirts bearing the company logo. A smartly-dressed array of promotional models can act as hosts/hostesses and brand ambassadors. They can encourage interaction, loosening up customers to enjoy their surroundings. Models can help maximize your investment in expensive corporate events like this. They can turn a so-so event into one that a customer will remember for a lifetime, with stories to share among everyone they know.
Promotional models can also make the rounds at bars and nightclubs, offering promotional items and free samples of beverages and food, as well as more personal products. These street teams draw interest from real customers currently using the products they promote, and can raise brand awareness and profile at the businesses they visit. The “boost” remains even after the model’s brief appearance. Bar customers tend to warmly remember the free beer glass they got from the “Coors Girl” long after she’s moved on to the next stop.
In-store product demonstration can also be a great occasion to use promotional models. L’Oreal in particular has called on the help of promotional models for in-store product launches for decades. These models need to combine flawless looks with flawless presentation and sales moxie.
Cultural festivals like ComicCon and SXSW have gained serious marketing influence. ComicCon in San Diego alone drew a total of over 150,000 attendees in 2015. These festivals are a great opportunity to boost brand image through the use of professional promotional models. The festival environment is perfectly suited to an array of attractive models – sometimes dressed in character – strolling through the aisles and offering information, coupons, and promotional items.
Brand ambassadors joining sports celebrities at victory celebrations are a time-honored institution. Some of them have turned into institutions, themselves. Linda Vaughn started as a promotional model for Hurst Performance, Incorporated. By joining winning NASCAR drivers on the podium after each race, she became the face of the brand through the 1960s into the 1980s. She supported brand image and drove sales for decades.
Finding the Right Model
Here are some points to consider before hiring a promo model:
- What sort of image should the model convey? It’s understood the model should be attractive, but attractiveness comes in many flavors. An exotic, “sexy” model might not have the right tone for your product. Is a “sporty” or “wholesome” look better than elegant beauty for the brand image you want to establish?
- What duties will you require from your models? Should they be able to deliver a sales pitch in a convincing manner? If so, in which languages? Will they need to be trained on information-gathering devices like handheld computers? Are you ready to train them?
- What is the experience and reputation of the agency you will use? Do they have a long history of supplying models for successful events? A good agency should manage the model almost transparently to you as a client.
- Has your staff been briefed on what the models will do, and how they will be expected to coordinate with the models’ work? Does your staff buy-in to the concept?
- Do you have the uniforms, costumes, and other parts of the “look” down for the models? Some models will gladly wear their own clothing, but likely, you as a client will need to invest in something like a uniform to make a strong brand impression at an event.
With the help of an experienced modeling agency like BEST Agency, models can help establish the brand image you’re looking for.
Promotional models (the “booth babes” you hear so much about) have changed with the times, but they remain the ideal way of getting your story through to your potential customers in a way that will last for a lifetime. There is no equal to the quality and depth of impression a model can make. Models are the most direct way of giving your brand an attractive image.
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