Event management is a key discipline in any brand communication strategy; particularly where live. Events like product launches, conferencing or experiential “pop up” events can be the cornerstone of your campaign. There is nothing like the embrace of a live event experience to connect consumers with your brand and make tangible, what is otherwise only a virtual experience.

With the constraint of coronavirus still looming, events are largely run online – broadcasts via social media or other types of conferencing like Zoom. That doesn’t mean they can’t carry the same level of impact with the following at their core: presentation format, staging, creating audience connections and a commercial edge. In fact, some productions that have evolved from live events, are even more powerful and won’t be going anywhere post-Covid.

Completing your campaign with event management

You may not have thought about holding events as part of your wider campaigns but there are lots of reasons that you should. There are themes to strategies that work best at The Bank and one of those is definitely propelling buyer intent into taking action. Events are the number one way to do this, through physical product demonstration. We offer end to end event management services.

Typically you’ll be running a traditional media or digital advertising campaign to raise awareness of your brand – and at a deeper level your specific product or service. While this serves to build aspiration and opens up other channels, fuelled by the pursuit of information, it relies on the customer to seek out the information. What’s the price? What are other users saying? How does it solve my problem? All of this knowledge remains firmly set in a digital space or physical store.

So how are events different?

Events works differently, planting your product or service in front of attendees. It allows a tangible connection to the product. Think product displays in your local shopping centre, major exhibition events you may have attended or product launches set in a swanky setting. Each location is specifically selected for the volume or population; or how relevant the target market is. If you’re lucky enough to get an invite to a VIP event, it’s designed to put you in the lifestyle portrayed by the brand. The event is the show home, the test drive, the dressing room try on – it creates the yes, this is me moment. And that creates the sale!

It isn’t just physical products that can benefit by being in a physical space. Far from it. Digital platforms get arguably better results by moving into a physical zone when it comes to membership and subscription orientated models. Being exclusively online often relies too heavily on a hyper-competitive strategies. SEO or PPC advertising models tend to gain most traction. There are no “chance encounters” with these models however. When customers don’t know that they’re looking for your product or service – they’ll never know of your existence. Pulling that into a real world experience can really benefit SaaS and ecommerce marketing strategies.

This type of campaign requires a lot of vision and production coordination. Event management and production at The Bank have worked with several major brands. We’ve put on large consumer events – like product launches – and corporate events to support communication to internal audiences.

Virtual event management: creating real experiences online

Long before Covid, many B2B marketing professionals would run webinars to deliver messages to a dispersed audience of interested leads. It’s an established model. First, draw in your crowd, offering some initial value (often for free). Then connect those people into a demonstration held online. It gathers information on your prospects – lead generation – puts you in front of them and allows for follow up connections. This has been amplified by Covid and it will continue long after our vaccinations – because it works. Slow to the party, B2C marketers and less active B2B counterparts are desperately trying to catch up during the recent global lockdowns. But lets face it, Zoom and Teams calls suck. They aren’t an experience – or are they?

For those that rush into creating virtual events – or assuming it’s as simple as your ad hoc connections with colleagues – I’ve got news for you, nobody wants to see you in your loft talking for 45 minutes. The core touchpoints of any successful event need to be identified in advance, crafted into a positive narrative and staged for your audience to get the best impression of your brand. Event management done well, will create lasting impressions that can spread through their networks.

Let’s break parts of the event management process down a little –

The event management process

Staging

You go to a major product launch and are seated in front of a sweeping stage bedecked in branding and settle in for a keynote introduction from the company CEO – accompanied by others that give the product a real feeling. We’ve all seen those Apple product launches, let’s face it. Just think about that for a second: what if virtual event was filmed in a staged environment like that – what if it was a “proper” presentation with real people being broadcast to those that were remote. Wouldn’t it tell a better story?

Of course, facilities and budget may have a major influence on this decision. So thinking smaller, what about an iconic setting in your building – or even one simply in front of your best piece of branding. It may be something your clients would be familiar with; it may be entirely new but give a lot more WOW than your cubicle. Think real event, broadcast virtually. Think that even when your event can be in front of real people again.

Presentation Format

This doesn’t relate to what your Powerpoint looks like – although that may be a component. This is about narrative. If you’re running a virtual event, your brand must have a story to tell – otherwise, what’s the point? What is your story and who is best placed to tell it? That may be you – or you might just be the PT Barnum in your particular circus – the ringmaster who introduces, with the right degree of gravitas, the orators who are going to tell your story best and this may not be the chiefs bear in mind.

Just because an event is being held virtually means you have to rely on Powerpoint slides to get the message across. Video, animation and audio can hugely assist in getting you impact. They can also help hugely in taking the pressure off the “live” factor. Talking for half an hour is tough for anyone – let alone with passion and enthusiasm. Let pre-prepared sections take the heat. Good event management agencies work with stakeholders to ensure the delivery of your message.

Creating audience connections

Remember a presentation is supposed to be interactive so let it be so. Utilise your software’s Q&A or chat functionality, but make sure you’re equipped with an assistant to help with this inbound communication. You don’t want it to be a distraction. Ensuring each enquiry gets an answer – live, if time allows, or post-event – is crucial. Alternatively you can use hashtags to manage things live on social media. Pre-gathering questions from your invited audience is another great way to create connections. It also helps to create investment in your event.

During your event, leave a lasting impression that people can interact with. This could be something highly shareable on a slide that stays on screen while you talk through the next part of your narrative, like a quote or illustration. Make it easy – give the hashtag for your event, make it shareable instantly via a QR code, offer a prize competition that prompts social sharing for your event… and it’s replays!

The Bank are fully experienced at all elements of event production. Be it real-world, fully virtual or hybrids (we love hybrid!) In that time we’ve developed lots of production techniques that fully immerse your audience from the lead generation through to the event itself. We craft, hone and work with brand owners to build your narrative and then help you deliver it to the absolute maximum. That’s you – coaching you to find your voice – your materials and presentation format. We also create wrap-around element that makes your consumers want to share your content with their network. We produce lasting assets to put this experience on autopilot for your brand. To find out how, you’ll need to give us a call! Zoom will be fine…