Brand managers, make the most of your event marketing strategy and execution the first time. The cost and competition for consumer and media attention are too high to leave your next big (or small) event to chance. In my experience, attention to detail and delivering a unique guest experience are the two most important ingredients of a memorable event. But there’s much more going on behind the scenes before the lights go up. Here are five tips to ensure your next event is a success.
1. Bring Out the Whiteboard – There is nothing memorable about doing an event that everyone has been to before. Start from scratch and think about providing a unique experience for your guests. This starts with the venue. Be non-traditional in your selection and give thought to the interplay between the space, experience and purpose of the event. Sure, access and capacity are determining factors, but give greater weight to the guest-brand experience when selecting a venue rather than geography or trendiness.
2. Invest In A Quality Support Team – The human element can make or break a great event experience. You may have the best location, but if all of your event staff interacting with the guests are sour, uninformed and useless then you’ve failed to create a great guest experience. Invest in good support staff and training for them. They are your front line representatives, essentially assuming the personality of your brand. They should speak as you speak, know what you know and be as professional as you would expect your brand spokesperson to be.
3. Know When to Quit – Just as bigger is not always better, an event that runs too long can kill the good vibe and energy. Your goal is to engage the guest from the moment she arrives to the moment she leaves. In between then, they better be having fun, learning, playing… you get the idea. A two-hour event may be twice as good as a four-hour hors d’oeuvre parade.
4. Create an Experience – If your goal is to introduce, or re-introduce, a brand to a consumer, make sure they get the full monty. Express the brand through various touch points. People consume and internalize material in different ways – some are aural, others visual and a few are tactile. Deliver an experience that shares the brand essence with the guest in as many (appropriate) ways as possible. For example, our client Johnnie Walker always presents its whisky to event guests in three ways. Guests are told to observe and compare the amber color of the drink. They are presented with special glassware to smell the oaky aromas, and finally they get to taste the beverage. All the while a well-trained staffer is describing in entertaining detail the brand heritage to the guest.
5. Continue the Conversation – Don’t let the brand experience end at the exit doors. Continue the conversation and experience online and through appropriate social media channels. Creating a social media hub for newly minted brand advocates provides them with tools to more effectively share their experience. This increases the program’s ROI and decreases cost per touch.