No marketer should be complacent about branding. Even the most stable, long-lived brands can become irrelevant—and quickly. To remain vital, a brand must have a consistent flow of audience insight, gained through multiple touchpoints. One of the most effective: the live event.
Virtual events have grown popular as a means of connecting with target audiences as the technology behind them improves and as marketers look for ways to trim already-stretched event budgets. However, recent data disputes their effectiveness—or, at the very least, supports the importance of face-to-face networking.
Face-to-face meetings and events should be an anchor in any brand's marketing mix. When done right, live events are a successful technique for marketing, employee engagement, and networking. The problem is perception: So many organizations settle for outdated, unimaginative, and, quite frankly, boring events... that the reputation of live events has suffered.
Live events are still vital to the branding mix, but at many companies, they need to be reinvented. What's needed is an innovation mindset when approaching event design.
Advice abounds about the need for organizations to innovate (Amazon has 54,403 books on the subject). Executives are seeking ways to innovate employee benefits, products, and office layouts. Meetings and events must be added to that list.
The following five tips will help you and your organization think differently about events and break out of corporate brand paralysis.
1. Blow up your annual event
An event lifecycle is no different from that of a business or product. After the Maturity phase comes the Decline phase. No matter how traditionally popular, all events need an occasional refresh before they are in decline.