Brands have been increasingly trying to find creative ways to break through the noise of their respective crowded markets. But how can they set themselves apart from competitors to elevate their own brand offerings?
The answer is experiential events.
Constructing your own cultural moment is crucial to achieving awareness and consumer interest, and helps build a reputation that aims to strengthen existing and new relationships with brand loyalists. Big or small is up to the brand and what works for its budget—whether this is slated alongside a larger tentpole event or festival, such as SXSW, Sundance, ComicCon, or a regional push in a high-traffic market.
By highlighting the brand and elevating key offerings, experiential events serve a public that’s hungry for meaningful interactions. A positive experience has the ability to translate directly into experiential consumption habits, ultimately driving consumer purchases.
Setting attainable objectives is the first step in the event marketing process for organizations of any size. ROI isn’t just tracked post-event; rather, it begins during the decision-making process of what your event will look like and its consumer journey.
Keeping budget and ROI top of mind, it’s essential to align your intentions for the event to what is achievable within those parameters. Focusing too much on superficial details and attendance numbers can often distract from the real goals.
Brand and product awareness, funneling potential consumers down the sales pipeline, or opening the door to future thought-leadership opportunities by establishing credibility and presence are all great initial goals for any event.
Creating a Narrative
Establishing a theme, coming up with campaign-inspired decorations and supplying inclusive refreshment options (i.e., non-dairy and/or non-gluten alternatives) can help in communicating both the personality of the brand and its quality.
A cohesive theme aids in outlining the brand story and the narrative you’re trying to emulate. Décor and cuisine help to unfold the story, while conveying the brand’s identity in the details.
As food and beverage is one creative way to express a brand’s thoughtfulness toward your target audience, it’s always meaningful to provide options that are accessible for those with dietary restrictions and preferences. Food and beverage can be considered a gift in itself, as you’re offering a complimentary meal to your guests.
Whether an event is on a grand scale or not, a decisive element is generating buzz around who you are and what you can offer the target audience. Working with an internal PR team, hiring a third-party agency or event marketing site to help get the word out to media and influencers can make or break the ultimate ROI of your event.
A seasoned public relations team can generate media and social coverage that aligns with the objectives of your event, ultimately aiding in telling your brand narrative. If your event’s objective is brand awareness, this could look like a media blitz with pre-, during and post-event coverage.
A sales-focused goal would have your PR team leaning into best practices with influencer marketing, fulfilling asks with their teams, such as creating content around the event and the host brand’s offerings, in order to grow the brand’s audience and increase sales once the event wraps.
Events aren’t over once attendees head home. Re-marketing is an important facet of any marketing event campaign.
The content captured during the experience can be shared with mailing lists, in a monthly newsletter, with media contacts or splashed across social media. Those who weren’t able to attend can still tune in from the palm of their hands, and will become more aware of the brand.
Experiential events are more than just a promotional business practice. A truly successful event creates conversation, raising the value and associations of an organization with their target audience.
Dwayne Barnett is Executive Vice President, 15|40 Productions