Don’t Leave out These Four Essentials When Planning an Event
Originally published Avixa.org.
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed when planning a big event. After years of putting on events for Bluewater’s clients — in addition to hosting our own high-profile events — there’s still an emotional roller coaster that comes with watching the organized chaos unfold. It’s tough because you only get one shot, and with months or even years of planning, you can’t account for every possible complication.
Still, putting on a great event is incredibly satisfying, and whether it’s a monthly company town hall or the never-ending trade show circuit, I’ve found a couple universal essentials that help produce the biggest splash possible:
1. Content is the heart of every event. I’m using the word “content” broadly here to describe your brand messaging, communications, and the visual look and feel of the event. You’ll spend the most time and energy on developing the right content because sharing content creates connections with your target audience. It’s imperative to get it right. Thus, it makes sense to hire experts to help in this area.
Copywriters go a long way toward elevating your drafts and creating a stronger brand narrative, and teams of graphic designers can pinpoint the look you’re trying to achieve and make the event more visually appealing and consistent.
2. Capture your audience’s attention with sensory experiences. Whether in the form of a brand video before a presentation or a mesmerizing light show, appealing to the senses is critical. One of the best uses of light I’ve seen was on a Disney Cruise Line: A restaurant was 100 percent black and white upon entering but was bursting with color and sound by the end of the meal. Audio can also be a great and inexpensive addition to an event — sounds of wildlife or a cityscape can help create a more engaging environment.
The best sensory experiences are interactive, like custom games or other immersive content. Senses can heighten any experience and take an event from good to great, but it’s vital that they tie back to the brand in some way.
3. Create a connection between the event and your brand. This seems like a no-brainer, but we actually see a disconnect between the two fairly often. Brands often forget to tie aspects of the event, like sensory experiences, to the overall narrative. As a result, the audience forgets, too, and people might go home remembering a specific part of the event but not the brand itself.
At Bluewater, we know it’s better to leave an experience out rather than invest in something that doesn’t make sense to your brand or its story. Make sure event attractions support your mission and drive brand awareness and recall.
4. The perfect event requires frequent communication. At a conference, this might mean keeping a schedule published and up-to-date. At a trade show, information should be readily available for distribution. The statistics around how many leads receive minimal or no post-event follow-ups are staggering. The entire purpose behind an event is sharing a message, so make sure it doesn’t get lost in all the details.