Event planning may seem like a business-related activity that has little do with a CEO or business owner’s primary responsibilities. In fact, a high-profile business event can significantly affect the quality of a company’s brand recognition efforts—in itself, a top priority for any business leader. So it’s important that an event that represents your business be planned and executed with the right commitment to quality and value.
Events are an extension of a company’s broad-range marketing efforts and can exert considerable influence among existing and prospective customers. In order to achieve the most from your event planning efforts, keep these factors in mind:
Decide what your key objectives are. If the event features a new product launch, the overall goal is likely to be alerting the world at large about this dynamic new offering. If the event centers around customer appreciation, different goals around retention would be at the forefront. Whatever the theme, you should have a clear idea of the desired end-result as the planning process gets underway.
Highlight the experiential factor. Event program specialist Ben Hindman emphasizes the “experience” factor behind every successful event. This often starts with the right selection of venue, he says, adding that “if your venue doesn’t excite your guests, neither will your company or product.”
Other valuable roadshow event tips Hindman offers include:
Identify your “feeling” goal. Know what sentiment you want event participants to come away with. If the objective is to make your guests “feel like they’re part of something exclusive, then be diligent in making sure everything reflects that, from the invitation to the event photos.”
Go for emotion, no hard sell. A truly memorable event is one in which attendees make new connections and have a favorable emotional experience. Avoid blatant promotion of your product, which is “tacky and a huge turnoff” for most people. Instead, “design an event around the most relevant, interesting theme, idea or debate in your industry.”
Harness social media to get attendees excited in advance. Who have you invited to attend your event and/or plan to highlight as “guest speakers”? If these individuals have large and enthusiastic numbers of followers on social media, encourage them to post news and updates about the event well ahead of time. This helps build that all-important buzz, which spreads awareness and excitement among event participants. Also, have your own event planners stay active on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks to boost awareness and keep your company brand top-of-mind among followers.
Position the CEO or business owner as a thought leader. If you have some speaking engagement experience, consider highlighting your company’s event as a guest speaker—with the goal of boosting your reputation as an industry thought leader. This means setting aside blatant self-promotion and/or internal sales quotas, focusing instead on offering insights into your industry that event attendees will profit from. In this way, your reputation will grow as a perceptive and generous thought leader—further enhancing your company’s brand in the process.
With the right focus and planning, your company can host an event that generates renewed interest and excitement in your brand. Yes, expenses are involved, but when dedicated to the right areas—venue, refreshments, compelling guest speakers—the experience will be one that people remember for a long time, and which they associate in a highly favorable way with your business overall.