“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”
William Butler Yeats
As you set about creating the message of your event, you need to determine who you want your event to address and what message you want to communicate. For doing so, you begin by looking at the event from your target audience’s eyes to understand what will constitute a great experience for them. Let’s talk briefly about how you can establish who your target audience is and how you can effectively communicate with them across an array of events.
Create your event’s identity:
The first and foremost is to have a clear objective from the event in mind. Then you have to focus on creating an event identity before you can delve into the details of the specific messages to be communicated to the audience. For example, if it is a sales event with a view to creating new customers, your challenge will be to convince a targeted portion of your audience. The rest of the planning will revolve around this primary objective. Hence, you will need to build an event plan that checks all your content and experience.
Not only an event you organize needs to reflect your brand in the right light, but every event has its own brand too that you should be able to communicate to its target market. Depending on the nature of the event and your objective from it, you need to decide to what extent you want to build the event identity. For example, there are many highly popular events -like exhibitions, conferences, music festivals etc. – where most people don’t even know who the organizer is but the events still do their purpose for the organizers. Consider the message you want to communicate and how to bring it to life before the event and keep it alive after it. When you have to include several brands in your experience messaging, make sure to organize all the brands into an order in accordance with the primary objective of the event. In order to ensure a consistent brand message, establish clear brand guidelines for your event team – setting broad rules about what can be done and what can’t be done.
Check awareness of the audience: As you shape your message for the event, you need to consider how much does your audience already know and understand. For example, if they fully understand the product the event is promoting then your message needs to focus on ‘why us?’ instead of regurgitating the things that the audience already knows. Even in communicating the ‘why us?’ message in such a case, if your brand already has an equity with the audience then you need to focus less on brand awareness and more on product awareness in terms of its merit over the competition.
Develop your message: Once you understand your target audience’s awareness gap to address, you can then focus on what to tell your audience. For example, you may choose your message to focus straightaway on the differences of what you are offering from what the competition offers or from your own previous version of the same product or service.
Larger corporations, in particular, may also need to include a component that comprises the wider, strategic message of the company. This part offers great opportunities for including up-selling or cross-selling. This allows you to prioritize the action invoked in line with the sequence of the communication.
Once you have established the priority order of the communication, you need to think about the tenor, language, and syntax in which your message needs to be communicated to its intended audience. For example, if you are targeting young people, please do not preach to them. Instead they will be a lot more receptive to something that is projected as highly appealing to their peer groups. Also, any idea that renders their social networking easier is an instant hit with the youth today.
The content: Content is the most important factor in the experience you want to create for your audience. An event generally has several types of content. Work closely with your event team to achieve a clear common understanding of what you want your guests to experience at and after the event. Depending on the variety of contents your event comprises, you may have different teams working on different parts of the content. All content being created should be in line with the brand guidelines established for the event. Your choice of content will always be guided by who your audience is and what the venue offers. Some of the generic types of content are:
- Slides: Slides on a screen are one of the most common ways to communicate the message. These also serve well as prompts for the speakers to use. Check the screen size to be used and match your slides to it. Keep your slides brief and allow the audience sufficient time to read. Use images, charts, and graphics to convey your message. Slides are easy to use and can be amended till the last minute.
- Video: Videos are becoming increasingly popular and easy to use. Videos afford you a lot of room for creativity to make your message more unforgettable. Like slides, format your video in accordance with the screen.
- Booklets and Other Printed material: It is a common practice at events to provide the guests with some handouts that they can take with them. Producing high quality print content requires significant investment of time.
- Experiential Activity: The events targeting consumers usually make use of interactive experiences. Your team has to be creative to find engaging ways for the audience to get involved. Begetting the audience’s interest is a lot more important than creating some highly technically advanced content for interactivity.
- RFID: RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) can also be used to track a guest’s experience at your event. It involves inserting smart chips into gift passes or wrist bands. You can also install interactive screens at your event so that a sensor can detect each guest’s chip to give them access to the information that is relevant to them. As your visitors scan in and out of each of event’s experiences you can track their journey and gauge their interests to making improvements to their experience. However, the use of RFID for an event is expensive as it entails acquiring the software and the additional hardware needed.
- Projections: This involves projecting slides onto a stage with a projector mounted on the roof so that the guests’ movement does not block the projection. Projections are quite popular and you can also add a soundtrack to them. Some of the common types of projections include: 3D holographic video projections, Fog screen projections, and Video mapping.
- Fireworks: Fireworks, used at the right moments, can lend both drama and impact to your event.
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