No marketer should be complacent about branding. Even the most stable, long-lived brands can become irrelevant—and quickly. To remain vital, a brand must have a consistent flow of audience insight, gained through multiple touchpoints. One of the most effective: the live event. Face-to-face meetings and events should be an anchor in any brand’s marketing mix. When done right, live events are a successful technique for marketing, employee engagement, and networking.
The problem is perception: So many organizations settle for outdated, unimaginative, and, quite frankly, boring events… that the reputation of live events has suffered.
What’s needed is a guest-centric mindset when approaching event design. At TCG Events, we call this the EventSmarterTM approach. Every moment of a live event should be carefully examined from the guest experience point of view. Start at the moment of arrival and envision yourself as a guest. Your brand is “on stage” every step of the way.
- There are no “small” details. Even the most basic processes should be reviewed during the planning of an event. Checking people in sounds simple enough, but few get it right. A guest arrives and stands in a long line only to find her name missing from the list. She is asked to handwrite her name on a tag, setting her apart from 98% of the other guests with typed nametags. Not exactly the best first impression. Next she goes to the bar, where she also stands in a long line, and then it’s the valet—most of her night has been spent waiting in line.
- Your invitation is the first impression, make it count. Companies spend enormous amounts of money and resources on print ads, marketing, and websites. Many marketers forget the invitation is not only a marketing piece for the event, but also an important representation of the brand. Receiving an invitation is personal. The person who opens that envelope can be excited, annoyed, or apathetic. The invitation must be vetted for misspelled names, and the personal touch is demonstrated by invitations that are hand-stamped and are interesting enough to get through a gatekeeper. Part of that is the conveyance of the brand’s present and future, not its past. Keep it fresh!
- Invest in the guest experience. At the event itself, invest your budget where it counts: the guest experience. Depending on the size of the event, the traditional stage at the front of the room arrangement can leave some tables feeling like they’re in Siberia. Consider placing the stage/podium in the center of the room, with surrounding screens overhead so everyone has a great view.
This approach will help you design a unique, resonant experience and your brand will leave the impression you want, long after the event is over.