Commentary

Is Your Special Event Anything Special?

Every guest who shows up at an event is giving away hours of his/her time. Even a winning Powerball ticket won’t give back these moments if spent in pure waste. This is a big responsibility for event designers and producers. While clients are the ones paying for your services, never forget that an event is an investment for guests as well. 

22% of total spending is going to experiential marketing (source: NEXTECH 2019). Event marketing was once all about nice invitations, good food and good venues — closer to wedding planning than advertising. Not much was said about strategy, and event agencies weren't taken too seriously. 

That time is over. With more than $500 billion in the U.S. alone dedicated to event marketing (according to NEXTECH 2019), it has grown to become one of the most effective marketing tools to engage audiences. 

The two M’s of event marketing. Every event requires its own blend of creativity and pragmatism. Yet, successful events share two qualities: being meaningful and memorable.

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Firstly, events can never be gratuitous. They should embrace and serve the brand purpose and DNA. They should be meaningful, down to the smallest detail. 

Meaningful is crucial for the audience. Again, guests are paying big time -- with their time! So there should be no special event until these questions are answered: “Why would guests come to the event, or even care?” and “What value is the event adding to their lives?” 

The second M is memorable. The event can’t only be people gathering, listening to a speech, having a good time and going home. The assignment here is to engage emotionally with your audience. 

Creating an emotional connection could be anything from a beautiful storytelling video to sophisticated art installation -- it just needs to be relevant to the brand.

Sometimes it can be as simple as changing the color of the Empire State Building for one night.

Goosebumps are welcome. Move your guests. Surprise them. Make them feel emotionally connected to your brand. Goosebumps are welcome. 

Back in 2015, we had Lebron James on stage to introduce a limited edition luxury watch branded with his name. As huge as Lebron is, we thought we needed to dramatize his connection with the brand.Thanks to a technique called cine-theatre, Lebron placed his hand in a box, and the video screen behind him showed the watches being built on his wrist. This sensational and symbolic live showcase of the watchmaker’s craftsmanship was well worth a thousand words.

Either the event is special, or it’s not an event. To conclude on "special events,” it's funny how we professionals love to use redundant formulas. An event is always special -- it only happens once! Whatever the size or the budget, we won’t have a second chance to impress and leave our mark.

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