With hyperstimulating activations happening one after the other, it takes more and more these days to capture a customer’s attention. Over the years, I’ve found that there are four critical steps to ensure your event will be memorable: Come up with your and your audience’s objectives. Enable your audience to be active with your brand. Build connections at the event itself, and follow up with resources to help them achieve their goals.
Have a clear understanding of your objectives as well as your audience’s. Are you trying to generate brand awareness? Promote an upcoming service? Sell a specific product? Whatever it may be, brainstorm a clear idea of what you’re trying to get out of this event and what you need to do to get there. Then, take some time to think about who will use your products or services. What are they doing in their day-to-day life and how does your brand help them reach their goals? When you link what you’re promoting to a specific lifestyle, it gives consumers a chance to feel more connected to your brand because they can see how it fits their needs.
Once you’ve specified the audience you want to target, take time to curate a guest list. The event should be geared toward people you know will be interested in the product or service you’re promoting. When it comes to reaching out, go digital with e-newsletters leading up to the event (not too many, though — just stick to an invite and a reminder the day of). If you’re trying to open this to a larger audience, your social media channels are a great way to get more people engaged. Using social and email channels to ask your audience questions and get a sense of what they’re looking for in an activation is a simple and immediate way to see how you can tailor your activation to fit their needs.
Make It Active
Once you’ve established everyone’s objectives, think about how you can build activities at the event itself that are centered around their goals, rather than just telling them information. Steer away from trendy photo ops, and instead lean into multisensory experiences that immerse your guests in your brand. For example, we hosted a nail polish company that had several different stations for guests to explore. There was a manicure station, which was obviously relevant to the product, but then there were other stations such as a palm-reading station and a toy-grab machine. All of these stations involved using or showing their hands, so attendees got a chance to see their new nails that matched the bright and playful environment they were in.
Help Build Connections
Another great way to make sure your event leaves a lasting impression even after it’s over is to help your guests build new connections. Think about any particular influencers, educators or brand ambassadors who would be a good fit for this event. Consider the lifestyle you’re targeting, and see if there is someone who embodies that. Is there a blogger who has a really strong knowledge base about the type of event you’re promoting? Make sure they are credible and that their audience trusts them. If a special guest is out of the budget, see if you can create moments at your event that encourage guests to interact with one another and make new connections. This may be through networking stations, games or even interesting seating arrangements.
Finally, use the follow-up opportunity as a way to provide your attendees with resources for how they can continue to reach their goals. This may be through sharing a newsletter that includes thought leadership articles, resources they can use and tips for how to optimize your product or service. Using the nail polish example, sending out a thank-you note to your attendees with some articles attached, such as “How to Maintain Healthy Nails” or “Top 5 Colors for Fall,” is an easy way to keep them excited about your product.
While it isn’t necessary to focus the entire event on special photo ops, having an instant camera at the event gives a physical item to take home from the event to commemorate it.
By establishing a strong understanding of who your audience is, you can pull from their lifestyle as inspiration to create events and connections that are meaningful to them.
If you’re spending a lot of money on things that look cool and unique but have no correlation to how they respond to your audience’s needs, then it’s important to reconsider. Whatever features you use, they need to work in a way that helps your customers reach their goals rather than distracting them. No matter the budget or scale of your event, crafting a highly personal narrative for these activations is imperative.