Twelve Steps to Building Brand Connections with Engaging Events
Trade shows and events are rare opportunities to meet your target audience face-to-face. You can turn that meeting into a memorable brand connection with some careful planning, creativity and Swanson Russell’s 12-step process:
- Profile. Create a profile of your target audience. The better you can define this person’s personality, likes, dislikes, motivations and so on, the greater the likelihood that you will develop engaging ideas to attract their attention.
- Challenge. Define measureable goals. Think beyond selling product features and benefits. You want to create a memorable experience with your brand first, then sell your products within that context.
- Brainstorm. Look for traits or characteristics that your brand and your target audience share. Think of experiential ways to communicate your brand message and/or the primary benefit of your featured product.
- Explore. The best ideas are going to be the ones that “have legs,” meaning there are a lot of different things you can do with them. Once you’ve focused on a single idea, explore all its possibilities. (It’s like brainstorming again, but within the context of a single idea.)
- Simplify. Now go back and simplify everything. Make sure people can get through the event quickly if they are in a hurry, but also give them plenty of reasons to stick around. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.
- Package. The magic is in the presentation of the idea. Package it up with a catchy name, logo and other relevant support graphics. As a general rule for your event materials, think: “short messages”…“big graphics.”
- Plan. Divide your plan into three sections: Pre-Event, Event and Post-Event. Line-item every tactic and assign deadlines and responsibilities. Big ideas often fail because of poor planning and execution. Be sure to include contingency plans.
- Engage. When staffing your event, choose people who are naturally energetic and love to talk to people. Be open-minded about hiring support people from a talent agency, but only if you know they will properly represent your brand. The right personalities can transform a good event into a truly memorable one.
- Observe. During your event, look at the big picture. Are people smiling and talking? Are they creating memories? Is traffic flowing properly? What, if any, adjustments can you make? Do you need to execute any of your contingency plans?
- Capture. Document the experience with photos and videos, distributing them through your social media. Send people home with a photo, or email it to them after the event to strengthen the memory of their positive experience with your brand.
- Evaluate. After the event and talk about what worked and what didn’t. Did you reach your goals? If not, what were the roadblocks? If so, should you repeat the event again?
- Nurture. Use the event as a springboard to nurture your brand’s relationship with the attendees. Invite them to sign up for your company newsletter. Send them a special purchase offer. Offer a referral incentive. And be sure to invite them to your next event!
Looking for help developing an engaging event for your brand? Contact Brent Schott at Swanson Russell by email or call 402-437-6432. You can also see how this 12-step process came to life for one of our clients. Read A Knockout Event at the World of Concrete Show