Events are more than just a way to engage with your clients, suppliers, and supporters—they can also be a way to market, promote a new product, and make your mark on the world. You’ll find they can be highly effective corporate branding tools if organized and executed correctly.
Remember: your “brand” is the perception that people have of you. To encourage a positive brand, you have to build positive emotions and feelings in your customers. Events give you the opportunity to do just that; after all, who wouldn’t feel positive toward a brand after enjoying a spectacular event?
But how can you make the most of your events to improve corporate branding? Here are a few tips that will help you do it right:
Take Advantage of Tech
There are so many tools you can use to increase brand awareness at your events—not only for your guests, but for those in their social networks.
- Set up a photo booth that includes your company logo. Give the printed pictures to your guests, and send them the digital images to upload and share.
- Create a #hashtag for your event. In order to be eligible for certain prizes, your guests will need to post/share that hashtag.
- Encourage guests to “check in” (on Facebook, Foursquare, etc.) to the event in exchange for a reward, prize, or bonus.
- Use QR codes to give your guests access to exclusive content.
- Use TweetWall to showcase the best social media posts around the event.
If you are catering to a tech-minded crowd, you will find that using these various technological tools can go a long way toward improving your brand visibility.
The event should be focused entirely on the purpose: awards dinner, ceremony, product launch party, commemoration, etc. Even if you’re promoting a new product or service, don’t make it too “in your face”. Your priority should be to give your guests a good time, and let the positive feelings produced by your enjoyable event do the marketing for you.
That means you need to keep the advertising and marketing subtle. Have well-placed reminders of what the event is for, but avoid overdoing it with branded swag, branded backdrops, branded napkins, and so on. No one will forget why they are there—let them enjoy their time without having the product or service being rammed down their throats.
Tell a Story
EVERYONE loves stories! The more relevant the story is to your audience, the more effective it will be.
Brand stories are a highly effective option for engaging users, as people will relate to a compelling story far more than they would with a useful product or reliable service. Use the story behind your brand or company to connect with your audience. Enhance the effectiveness of the story by adding visual elements that make your guests feel, think, act, and react. Stories are also far more likely to be shared and spread around, leading to better, wider engagement.
Let Your Product or Service Do the Talking
Are you rolling out a new app that will solve an important problem? Instead of droning on for hours about how well the app will work, use your event to showcase the functionality of the app. Are you launching a new product designed to meet a specific need? Don’t bore your audience with product specs, but let them test the product for themselves.
People are significantly more likely to get invested in a product they can touch, feel, taste, smell, and interact with. Don’t talk about your product—put the product in your guests’ hands and let it do the talking for you.
Provide Educational Value
People like to feel “in the know” about the latest and greatest in the world. The more you can educate through your event, the more positive association with your brand there will be in your guests’ minds.
You don’t have to turn a dinner party into a 3-hour seminar, but you should structure your event around providing educational value to your guests. Make sure they walk away from your event having learned something new, something that will benefit them in their daily lives.
Be Ready for Follow-Up
One of the worst mistakes you can make is failing to follow up on an audience that you primed and prepared through a great event. They’re ready to join, sign-up, download, buy, or try whatever you were promoting, but your lack of follow-up means those hot leads lead to nothing.
During the event, collect the email addresses and other pertinent information for your guests. After the event, send an email thanking them for attending. You can include photos of the event, a short recap of what happened or what was taught, and give them another action to take: click, download, join, sign-up, etc.
ALWAYS strike while the iron is hot, and it will never be hotter than after an amazing event!
Event marketing can bring a very high return on your investment if done correctly. You’ll find that a well-prepared event is a good way to not only introduce a new product or service, but it will help to improve the public’s perception of your brand. That positive association with your brand is worth more than all the clever advertisements and slogans in the world!
Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at Venueseeker, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 5 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.