Business events can be a powerful way to attract and engage customers while furthering your organization’s mission and presence.
“Events are a manifestation of your brand that people can interact with,” says Rebecca Linder, CEO and Founder of Linder Global Events in Washington, D.C.
Content versus context
Savvy marketing experts know that successful meetings can grow awareness and engage clients to become brand ambassadors, but Linder says one of the most common mistakes people make when planning an event is to place the same emphasis on content as they do on context, or how that content is delivered.
“Context is almost always more important than the information being shared, because the venue, level of comfort guests feel, and ability to be engaged directly impact how information is received,” she explains.
To achieve maximum success, she says it’s important to engage event attendees in your mission by making it relevant, meaningful and even touchable. For example, for a product-centric event, let them use and handle the product. If it’s general brand buy-in, show attendees how your organization has an impact on their lives.
“If it’s a general vision, create something tangible that attendees can take with them that directly relates to the mission,” she suggests.
Room for debate
Linder says other ways to ignite your audience include creating an engaging seating environment, leveraging internal experts and allowing time for people to self-identify as experts in order to allow others to resolve questions and perpetuate a larger discussion. Technology, including social media and event-specific apps, can also promote flexibility for pop-up discussions and interaction.
To further promote your brand and create new ambassadors, she also recommends including a clear call to action, such as asking attendees to call five people to tell them about organization or event, or having them sign up for your social media sites so they can share your brand online.
Linder says the key to determining whether you should plan your events in-house or outsource lies in determining whether planning the environment will take away from maximizing your desired outcomes.
“Don’t let planning the event detract from your bandwidth,” she advises.