Bringing brands to life is my focus as CEO of The Revel Group, Chicago’s only event-centric agency. Whether celebrating milestones or engaging with clients, companies large and small, startups and legacies alike, all have event needs along the way. With more than 15 years' experience in the industry, I want to share my strategies for getting the most out of your next event, meeting or product launch. Before you get started, ask yourself these questions.
1. What type of event experience will best showcase my brand?
Creating a memorable experience—as opposed to just printing your logo on cocktail napkins—is one of the most powerful ways to showcase your brand. Before getting knee-deep in developing an event, remember to keep your brand values at the core of your plans. If you run a young, modern tech company, make sure the environment reflects that, from venue to cuisine.
Consider all the different sensory options that an event can offer to help achieve your goals. If you're introducing a new product, let your guests see it, feel it, touch it and live it. If you're an innovator, push the limits with event technology or unexpected elements. Immersing guests in a customized experience is extremely powerful and memorable.
2. Who is my audience?
Events should vary based on audience demographics and overall purpose. Consider whether you're hosting an internal meeting or a consumer or client-facing event. This matters, as do your goals. Are you trying to build enthusiasm for a new product? Gain new clients? Support a nonprofit?
When hosting a business-to-consumer event, we usually start communications early and build audience excitement through strategic correspondence and teasers. We also develop a call to action that speaks to the event's desired results, and communication continues after the event is over.
Audience messaging should be planned for before, during and after the event. Using such strategic, targeted communications will make the event worth your time and your audience’s time.
3. Who will manage event planning and logistics?
Envisioning, planning and managing an event often seems like a project that can be handled in-house, but even small gatherings can easily overwhelm an inexperienced team.
Experienced planners, meanwhile, understand the logistical implications of creative decisions. It’s important to hire a planner who can become an extension of your team. In the end, a strong event planner could save your company time and money while allowing internal teams to focus on core responsibilities. To find an experienced planner, consult online event resources for recommendations or inquire with your local convention or visitors' bureau.
4. Will this event break through the clutter?
Events are a dime a dozen these days, so make sure you have an attention-catching message that tells people something new or gets them excited about a new product or service.
Last summer, we planned an event for an international airline’s inaugural flight from Chicago to Dubai. To engage with wide-ranging audiences and media outlets, we hosted multiple events in different locations with unique atmospheres over months leading up to the launch. Those included outreach receptions at both urban and suburban locations of the airline’s hotel partners in order to reach a cross-section of potential customers.
We then hosted a press conference at O’Hare International Airport and a gala event to mark the occasion. While the venues changed, the airline always held true to their primary value: first-class service. That intention shaped everything we did to create a consistent guest experience.
5. How will I measure ROI?
Hosting an event for your business means more than just throwing a party. Consider how you'll measure its success: number of products sold, funds raised or new clients gained? Set your anticipated standards during the planning process and stay true to them.
Metrics are also important when planning and improving upon annual events. We often help clients set goals and provide post-event feedback through audience surveys or other digital communications. Skilled planners value this kind of information in creating and planning ongoing events that meet your goals.
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