This article was written by Dan McCarthy, Event Manager at Ultimate Experience.
Branding online has tremendous advantages; in fact, it has been the norm for the past decade or so. However, marketing over the Web has a severe limitation: it does not provide the raw experience of face-to-face interaction. This is why companies should still host occasional events where consumers can actually get together and meet the staff and one another in flesh and blood.
Corporate Events at a Glance
More SMBs and fortune 500 companies are realizing the potency of live events. In a 2017 survey, 58% of B2B marketers said they organized more than 50 events in a calendar year. The same participants also indicated that events on average consume anywhere from 11% to 50% of their clients’ total marketing budget.
Why bother with events at all given that it consumes so much overhead? The answer is simple: it promotes influencer engagement. You have a much better chance of converting high prospect clients, sponsors, and investors if you can meet them in person, shake their hand, and talk business face-to-face rather than through a computer screen. 45% of event planners indicated that they use live events as a strategy for increasing influencer engagement.
How to Brand an Event for Maximum ROI
1. Sell as Many Tickets as You Can
You want to maximize ticket sales for two reasons: to maximize revenue and promote brand awareness. The former is important; according to one statistic, ticket sales account for 50% of an event’s total revenue. In-event profit is important to recuperate the budget spent on the conference or workshop. You also want as many seats filled as possible because the more people there is the more they get to hear about your company or the launch of your latest product.
So how do you go about selling more tickets? You should begin early, preferably about eight weeks out and use social media to get people to RSVP. Offer early bird discounts or specials exclusive to loyalty members. In the final week or two, you can also implement the fear-of-missing-out tactic.
2. Get a Charismatic Speaker
Are guests nodding off or looking at their phones during the presentation? These are signs of an uncharismatic speaker. What are the hallmarks of someone that can captivate an audience? Here are some traits to look for:
- The speaker asks the audience questions or may even bring them on stage for a demo
- Breaks up the speech by injecting some humor
- Is verse in the psychology body and hand gestures
- Makes eye contact with the audience or camera and not at the podium or slide.
You can look at the TED channel on YouTube and randomly choose a video. Most of the presenters for these TED conferences exhibit the qualities of an engaging speaker.
3. Have a Heavy Social Media Presence
Many event planners rely heavily on social media for selling tickets. However, they tend to neglect social media while the event is in progress. Keep the discussions going. Use a Twitter wall to show tweets by guests using the event hashtag. Seeing posts pop up in real time will encourage other attendees to do the same and share their own tweets or selfies.
You should also use a tool like YouTube Live, Facebook Live, or Periscope to stream the main parts of the event for those unable to attend in person. This should help you receive a few hundred extra eyes and social media shares.
4. Don’t Be a Typical Event
For frequent event goers, events can all begin to feel the same. You need to find a way to incorporate the wow factor in some shape or form. Heavy use of technology is one way. Perhaps you can adorn the venue walls with 3D projection mapping.
You can also create a spectacle by adding a few interactive kiosks. This can be as simple as a branded photo booth, or more sophisticated and contain games that incorporate touchscreen or motion capture technology. These can be customized to include your logo or sponsor’s logo in the background.
Coca-Cola did this to perfection. During a campaign in South Korea, the beverage company set up a kiosk at a movie theater. Through motion capture, patrons can engage by mimicking the moves of an on-screen dancer. If completed successfully, the participant receives a free bottle of Coke from an adjacent vending machine. Can you achieve this level of wow factor for your own event?
Corporate events are all about putting your brand out there. However, if you’re going to make such a heavy investment, then you need to do it in a way that maximizes attendance, engagement, and positive feedback.
Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at Ultimate Experience and Mask, event companies part of Concerto Group, 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.