When the Sundance Institute selected HaptX as an official selection of their 2018 festival, it presented a tremendous opportunity to launch our startup company to new heights. However, Sundance presented a unique marketing challenge: the festival organizers wanted to promote our experience, but not our company.
An example: They didn't want us to put our company name or logo next to the experience. They didn't want their exhibit space to feel like a trade show. This makes sense when you think about movies. The marquee will show the name of the film, and perhaps the lead actors and directors. It does not list the studio nor distribution company.
The solution: a series of posters to highlight the story and interactions of our VR experience. These posters snuck in our company name and logo without feeling garish, and provided a splash of our brand colors.
I kept this as a low budget project: I personally designed the posters in about a week's time. The printing, mounting, and shipping collectively cost under a thousand dollars.
These went a long way: In addition to branding our demo space, we plastered the posters throughout Park City. We shared them on social media, and gave a limited number to VIPs who tried our demo on opening weekend.
Although HaptX a B2B company, I knew that Instagram would be a major social media platform among influencers at the festival. For this reason, I created our Instagram account weeks before Sundance, and populated it with our posters and branded artwork.
We wound up getting tagged in posts and stories from people including The Black Eyed Peas, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame, and comedian/musician Reggie Watts.
People loved them so much that we repurposed them for events like SXSW. We have the original Sundance posters hanging in the entry to our office.