While some companies still opt for traditional approaches, a growing number of organizations are embracing a fresh perspective when it comes to planning meetings or events. Hosted to increase brand awareness, engagement for product launches, or team building among various branches, events have also proven beneficial as PR material. An event can showcase your commitment to clients, partners, or employees, whilst attracting potential leads through its publicity.
Many companies don’t possess the resources to organize the events as those that tend to catch our eye. However, extensive reach and substantial budget don’t automatically equal success. You can draw inspiration from these lavish events and tailor the following aspects to align with your targets.
From networking to gamification, these inspiring events have exciting participatory options lined up. But you don’t need the latest technology or most influential speakers to impress your audience and build their trust. E.g. Tony Robbins, one of the most famous Life & Business Strategists, uses energizers during his events. To achieve extraordinary results, he uses music, lights, physical activity and even yelling to peak guests’ emotional state. It turns a regular conference into a transformational experience instead.
Inspiration can also be drawn from the Adobe Summit, incorporating workshops and labs for attendees to gain hands-on practice. Tailored to your available resources and catered to their various learning needs, your guests can take these new experiences and implement them into their business.
Events are opportunities for attendees to listen to or even participate in discussions regarding trends, questions, and challenges that add value to the current issues and innovations. E.g. the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting offers constructive, engaging, and forward-looking dialogues that help establish a greater understanding of solutions that attendees can take home. Connecting leaders from governments, businesses, and civil communities, inviting diverse panelists, and encouraging networking between the various groups, leads to new perspectives being considered and more holistically beneficial partnerships.
When looking at TED Talks, by providing experts from various fields and backgrounds to come together under the motto “any idea is worth sharing”, plus making these speeches freely available online, they’ve established thought leadership by providing a stage for any expert from any specialty to widely share their insights to reach whomever this information is relevant to.
Personalization at events has become a big aspect to include. Attendees have different needs and preferences, so offering a variety of options for them to choose from helps them feel special and in control of what to spend their limited time on during the event. For instance, the South by Southwest (SXSW) tech festival has been praised for its approach to personalizing the attendee experience. From customized networking opportunities to scheduling meetings among attendees and involving attendees in topic selection via voting, SXSW ensures the event’s content aligns with the interests of its audience.
To make your event even more accessible, you can consider creating a virtual option too. SaaStr’s virtual conference allows for a cheaper and eco-friendlier event, even providing a free two-day digital pass to access select live content. This is a great solution for starters in business who can’t afford the travel expenses or for those who are solely interested in a specific session or speaker.
Whether you’re launching a new product or creating a team building opportunity at an event, telling stories is an invaluable way of connecting with the audience and translating your brand for your guests to relate to. Apple has seamlessly incorporated storytelling at every event layer. Think of teasers leading up to the event, everything during the event, and the follow up approach, all were designed to create the ultimate Apple experience. In this way, repeatedly reflecting the brand’s values through an already familiar narrative, the company connects its products to its users’ emotions, creating brand loyalty.
TED Conference uses storytelling in a myriad of ways. Showcasing the importance of and interactions between research and ideas from all disciplines, this event includes fast-paced speeches, interviews, debates, workshops, activities, interactive exhibits; even musical performances and comedy. Meant to inspire, connect, and cross-fertilize, attendees and speakers can discover, understand, and later implement information they were unlikely to gain elsewhere. By gathering the stories of its community, TED spreads ideas to catalyze impact.
Giving back to the community
Dreamforce, an annual event organized by Salesforce, is a great example of this category. For years, Dreamforce has collected books, food and funds to donate to local charities. Additionally, throughout the conference, dedicated endeavors are undertaken daily to create a positive influence on local families, school children, the homeless, and the environment. By involving their attendees in social issues during their stay, these efforts are likely to ripple across the world when the attending business leaders return home to their communities with new ideas and inspiration.
hen giving to your community, be sure to pay attention to what they truly need. For the 6,000 homeless people attending Justin Baldoni’s Skid Row Carnival of Love, the facilities and program includes all kinds of fun and interactive activities, but most importantly provides stations to collect donated clothing, toiletries, toys, and other necessities. Going beyond donations, volunteers are paired one-on-one with an attendee to guide them through the Carnival for the full experience, including a spa area for mani/pedis, massages, haircuts and dog grooming spots. Justin plans to expand the concept so volunteers are given the tools to bring the event to their own communities.
Now that you have a better understanding of what to include in your event planning, where do you start? As with organizing any event, begin by establishing clear objectives, budget, and anticipated size. Afterward, conduct thorough research and design experiences that leave your attendees craving more of your brand. The program doesn’t need an extreme budget or the latest technology, capture the essence of these 5 points in whatever way befits your event and attendees. They’ll be sure to come back next year!
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