Any company that offers a product or service should be in the practice of putting on live events. Being physically present in a space, especially in a larger city with many people, is the most direct way to attract attention and thus create exposure for the product.
Red Bull invests in their distribution cars and gives away drinks for free at university campuses and music festivals not because they feel generous, but because they know it works. Free samples, demonstrations, or even just presence in a booth creates a lasting memory for customers that will return to the brand in the future. Anyone who’s ever been to a Dutch Bros Coffee knows that a large part of the appeal is the friendly and approachable nature of the people that work there. Many people will make the decision to enter the drive thru instead of going home not because of the coffee, but because of the interaction.
This effect can be magnified by putting on an event specifically for your company or to showcase a new development. Whether your business is trying to make a name for itself in a new city, is releasing a new product, or wants to attract attention at a trade show, promo models are a must for any event.
What are Promo Models, and Why Should I Hire Them?
Promo models are charismatic and attractive staff that can perform whatever tasks you set out for them at your event. Whether that’s manning a booth, escorting guests and functioning as concierges, or performing service work like bartending, promo models should be able to add a spark to your event.
Promotional models with bartending or catering skills can function as on-site bartenders and caterers but will add another dimension to your event that typical service staff might not. Model concierges can be hired to assist high-profile guests or guest speakers with everything they need for the day while keeping them entertained.
Some promo models can be employed as general hosts, greeting guests at your event and pointing them in the right direction. Since this interaction may be the first one that event attendees have, you want to make sure that they start their time off right with someone who is cheerful and draws them in. Other more specialized models can be presenters, helping showcase a product or idea, or can even contribute to a themed party or event. Costuming and outfitting, a subject we’ll get to later, is a significant part of promo modeling and can enhance the overall look of your event.
Regardless of event, people love interacting with energetic and fun people, and happy attendees will spend more money and have more interest in your product. But where does one start when finding people to show off a product or staff an event? Here are some of the most important things to look out for.
It’s Who, not What
As great as any product or service may be, it can never completely speak for itself. The human touch is important, and is the whole reason for holding in-person events.
As good as something can look on the internet, being able to see and feel it in person makes a big difference. In online shopping, your product or brand may be listed right beside other competing offers, the digital equivalent of a tradeshow. If the particular image or description you have on the internet doesn’t catch the viewer at first glance, or if your product happens to be further down the totem pole of search results, you miss out on a potential buyer. Promo models let you grab consumer attention in a way you never could online.
Potential customers, even those already interested in what you’re selling, care who is selling to them. Even the best product presented without conviction or charisma may stay on the shelves. Promotional models bridge this gap between product and consumer.
The right promo models draw in passersby at trade shows who might otherwise have not given your company a second look. If the buying experience is fun and positive, clients are more inclined to buy/donate/contribute more. By putting people in a good mood, promo models can be a very smart investment for any company’s event.
Not All Promo Models are Created Equal
Being a good, professional promo model comes down to more than just the look.
Different promo models have experience in different fields. While some may be very comfortable at trade shows and large events, others may specialize in black-tie formal events, or even costumes for themed parties.
Make sure you identify the type of experience your event needs, and have a clear plan for the type of promotional model you want on your team. The more specific your indicated requirements for skillsets and experience are, the more fitting candidates you’ll find.
When you interview your promotional staff (which you should), make sure to have them elaborate on what kind of events they’ve been a part of in the past and the roles they’ve played. People working a similar event to ones they are used to will be more comfortable and cheerful than people outside their element.
Attitude, Then Expertise
Given that you’re looking for a specific skillset and type of event experience, you’ll most likely find at least a few seemingly ideal candidates. But be wary of tunnel vision when it comes to qualifications; attitude can be far more significant.
According to PUSH Agency, a promo modeling agency, attitude is paramount for their selection process, since a staff member that can’t work well in teams or isn’t eager to learn will never be as effective as a less experienced staff member with a better attitude.
Keep in mind, promo models will most likely be trained, prepped, and working all in a very short span of time. A desire to learn quickly and work well with others can go a long way, so make sure to gauge a model’s attitude through an interview or application.
Authenticity is Ideal
Another great interview facet to focus on is asking the potential candidate about your own product or service. Chances are, if they can’t tell you much about what they’re going to be promoting, they’re not the right person for the job.
If a potential promo model knows about your product or service, that can indicate two things. Potentially, the candidate did their research ahead of time and thus knows about the product already. This is the type of work effort that is desirable in any staff.
It’s also possible that the promo model has authentic and organic interest in what you’re promoting. This is absolutely the best-case scenario, since a genuine excitement in your product will come across to anyone interacting with your promotional staff. There is no substitute for someone selling and promoting a product or service they themselves use and are a fan of.
In either scenario, previous knowledge of your business indicates both professionalism and saves training time and background information teaching during the onboarding process. Having a promo model that loves your product will make potential clients love it even more.
Have a Budget and Stick To It
Hiring staff can be expensive, and some companies are tempted to try to recruit from within or hire subpar presenters or talent. However, that’s a precarious mistake to make.
For all the reasons mentioned earlier, investing in promotional staff will pay off. As reliable and hardworking as internal employees can be, they will not have the same event experience and ability to interact with people. Make sure to have enough room in your budget for the appropriate talent.
You can reach out to various national staffing agencies that can hire out in all parts of the country to ask for quotes. Keep in mind that depending on the specific attributes you desire, prices will vary, so be specific. If you need a bartender that can make basic cocktails but needs to be dressed in 20s era attire, put that in your quote request.
Specialized skills, specific costuming, and more labor intensive tasks will cost more, but are often worth the price. Instead of hiring a separate bartending service, consider saving that cost and instead hire promo models who can bartend as well. Sometimes, going through the same agency for all your needs is not only simpler and easier, but also gets you discounts.
Budgeting is an essential part of any venture; when it comes to staffing events, make sure to be realistic and prepared.
Training is Key
When people talk about nature vs. nurture, the general consensus is that a combination of both factors is what results in the end product.
When it comes to promo model staffing, the employee candidate is the “nature,” and your onboarding and training is the “nurture.” In order to make your event your own, your training must be focused and effective.
Based on the experience level of your promotional models, your training alone can make the difference between a skilled staff on event day and a disjointed one. This is another reason to spend a little bit more on expertise, since it saves you training time.
Most likely, you won’t have much in-person training time with any staff you hire for just one event, so it’s essentially to send out material ahead of time. Make an information packet for staff with any relevant instructions, maps, resources, and contacts that they may need. Promo models who receive some info ahead of time (though not a suffocating amount of info) will arrive more prepared and aware that you’re running your event professionally.
By prepping staff early, you can use any in-person time to get your vision across. Being very intentional and specific in your directions has two positive effects. First, it ensures that your staff will know their role and how to handle any unforeseen circumstances. Second, it will instill a sense of purpose and professionalism, and will add coherence among your team as a whole.
When looking for promo models, make sure that you are aware how many resources you can devote to training. If there is no possible way to meet with your staff for an hour before the event, hire promo models that have run the exact same style of event before and are highly qualified. If you have more room for training, feel free to broaden your standards a little bit and perhaps hire some motivated people with slightly less specialized experience.
This brings us to the last question: where do you actually find these magical people?
Where to Find Promo Models
In the digital world, it’s easy to find lots of options, but it can be hard to choose between them. When looking for promo models, the easiest way to staff your event is to work with a large staffing agency.
National staffing agencies have a database of thousands of promo models in many different cities. Not only do they save you time in your hiring search, but they care of a lot of the busywork. Background checks? Done. Resumes and headshots? Already there. Oftentimes, staffing agencies have their own support staff who you can explain your needs to so they can fill them.
National staffing agencies have the added benefit of cohesiveness when companies are looking to do several events in different cities. Instead of having to relay your event description and staffing needs to different agencies or job sites in different places, you can contact a national agency that can do it all at once.
Let’s say that your business wants to have an engaging presence at several trade shows. You may be targeting one in Los Angeles and another in Las Vegas. You can easily contact a national agency like PUSH and browse their Las Vegas trade show models, searching by city, skillset, height, etc.
While running an event or being a part of a trade show can be nerve-wracking, having good people on board can make the whole thing successful and enjoyable.
When looking for promo models, remember to have a clear vision of what and who you want. Determine your desired skillsets, personality traits, and general vibe, and then reach out to national staffing agencies to do most of the hard work for you.
Prepare your promotional staff well ahead of time without drowning them in paperwork, and communicate your priorities clearly during training. Plan your budget accordingly, and you should be able to add a dimension to your event that will make you extraordinary, at least for a day.