“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
– George Bernhard Shaw
Events generate recognition for a business; they enable the business to show the market what it has to offer in terms of products and services. It is important to use events as an important tool of your marketing repertoire. Events can be of any type or nature but business events can be classified into two broad categories: One, trade shows or conferences and two, proprietary events hosted solely by you or you and your partners in a venture. Events are primarily aimed at making connections as they help you connect with your customers and other stakeholders on human level – personalizing a business to its customers in particular. An event is an opportunity to establish or reinforce a relationship that can be followed up with a phone call or action.
Image building is not just about getting your brand out there. Your image is the story that your name or your brand invokes. It is not just the live presence environment that conveys your image but also the minor details and or logistics around your event.
When your input into your event is lacking, then it is your own fault if the event does not meet your expectations. While overseeing events organization during my corporate roles, I would carefully review each touch point during the entire cycle of an event, making sure that everything from pre-event solicitation to onsite execution to post-event actions delivered the right image. This comprises both explicit branding of your logo or your name and more discreet branding focused on what image you want to project.
Here are some of the tips how you can use your events to communicate your image to the market:
Align it with your business objectives:
No matter how well organized it is, an event can only be called successful if it is fully aligned with your business objectives and your sales initiatives. It is more relational than merely strategic and starts with talking, listening, and making contacts. Talk to the business leaders within your business and establish your objectives from a particular event in the context of your overall business plans.
Create relationships with influencers:
Think about and understand your business imperatives for communicating and interacting with its customers, its target market, its suppliers and distributors, and your staff. Pay close attention to media and market analyses. Engage people, they love to talk, and learn by asking questions. Find people within your organization who can champion your business at different forums and levels. They are your own event network.
Integrate it with marketing:
Whether you work for a large corporation or a small business, marketing is about evangelizing, promoting, and backing your sale efforts. By integrating marketing into events, you are merely pushing the sales. Events cost a lot of money and would be a waste of it unless you get something out of them in sales. Your event must be aimed at adding vigour and recognition to the sales initiatives and business objectives of your company. Clearly identify how an Event Strategy or an individual event will support the company’s marketing initiatives and its PR drive. Once you understand this you will have the context to use the power of events to the fullest advantage of your business.
Engage your clients actively:
Every event you undertake is a communication opportunity to show your business in the best light. You have to make sure that your event entails an active flow of information and integrates the participants into the proceedings rather than treating them as passive attendees. When we engage clients at an event, the communication, positioning, program, optical signals, and the overall tenor must resound with the core objective we have in mind.
Connect it with branding:
Whether or not your event is a success in building the image you have in mind is up to you. Event planners are great at logistics but are often not strategic, they can only do a good job of delivering the pieces. Make sure that the event integrates your company’s image, which can be a simple logo or a wide range of product brands. Image building, or call it brand recognition as a fancier notion, is the primary objective of most business events. Branding is the main abiding connection between all your events, with each event branded to emphasize your image. Even the companies with strong market image need to work tirelessly to maintain their brand dominance and prestige.
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