Callum McLellan-Attfield explains how to curate a successful event, and why they are such a valuable marketing tool
When it comes to generating publicity, there are few things more powerful than a well-executed and well promoted event. Whatever the objective/end game/goal, the ability to engage with a target audience – both face-to-face or remotely – to enable an emotional connection in such a captivating and succinct way has become an established and valued tool used by leading brands all over the world.
Using an event as a proactive element of your marketing strategy can be a great deal of fun. At Fox Communications, whether an intimate dinner, a panel discussion or a stadium-filled spectacle, we see events as one of the most creative areas of marketing, giving our client the most potential for face-to-face interaction, a real opportunity to stand out and be different, while also providing the prime opportunity for them to see their product in action.
‘Most marketers (31%) believe that event marketing is the single-most effective marketing channel’
(Endless Events, 2018)
But, as military strategists know, wars are won not on the battlefield, but in the general’s tent. We believe the better planned an event is, and the clearer the objective, the more successful the outcome; preparation is key. As a strategic agency, our goal has always been to work with our clients and partners to clearly outline the purpose and goals the brand has for using an event as a marketing tactic
Once the concept has been finalised, the importance of communication and connections comes to the forefront. When selecting a brand-appropriate and well-located venue, the F&B, entertainment, brand activations, etc., creativity then becomes crucial. Ultimately, it comes down to how each partner can benefit from the event, both in terms of business and publicity, whilst providing a synergistic and memorable partnership.
At Hearst, 80 per cent of our attendees spent four-plus hours at one of our events, resulting in 74 per cent stating they had a more positive opinion of the company, brand or product being promoted as a result of it (Epicure, 2020)
One of the most difficult, and ultimately memorable parts of the event is the personal touch. With personal preference being so subjective, it is helpful to add personalisation where possible; individually crafted invitations or place cards, a thoughtful welcome gift in a room where an overnight stay is required, or an illustrator who captures a fabulous outfit in a keepsake sketch. For some more exclusive events, you might go as far as creating a completely one-off experience from start to finish.
People are more likely to trust content that is generated from an event by both the organiser and its attendees (US Marketing Society)
Finally, the guests. Whatever the ultimate objective for the event, ensuring its success is down to those who attend. Whether appropriate industry professionals or social media content creators, gaining maximum value and amplifying the brand messaging centres on the invite list. As a communications agency for both consumer and corporate style travel brands, an extensive network is the bread and butter of any successful event. And whether it be an audience of 2, 200 or 2,000, we ensure our clients are prepared to captivate and leave the guests wanting to know more.
Events with Fox Communications
At Fox Communications, we use events as effective tools for communication for a multitude of reasons. These might include thought leadership and brand activation/ partnerships and how we leverage our media connections to promote pre-existing events, particularly within the charity/ philanthropy sector.
When celebrating the launch of a product or service, a popular way of engaging with a target group – whether media or consumer – is a launch event. Whilst usually providing the opportunity to gather a group in a chic location, share a few drinks, some nibbles and a mingle, launch events provide the perfect platform to creatively showcase a product’s USPs whilst being able to open a chain of dialogue with a sample of the target demographic.
From a PR perspective, launch events are a great – and budget friendly – way to get a name out there and generate some initial interest and awareness in the product, especially when paired with incentives and/or gifting.
Thought leadership events come in many forms but are a great way of conveying industry knowledge whilst promoting a brand to a target group. Generally executed in the style of an informative presentation, panel discussion or interactive Q&A with an appropriate audience, thought leadership events are the perfect way to stay ahead of competitors by becoming the first point of contact on certain subjects.
In February this year, we worked with trend forecaster Globetrender and Digital Agency Verb Brands to both launch 5-year travel market forecast and engage over 100 high-profile industry professionals in topical discussion about the findings.
Brand Activation or Partnerships
Probably the most entertaining of the lot – brand partnership and activation events provide us with the opportunity to creatively showcase a brand, product or collaboration in an engaging way to a captive audience, driving a targeted buzz across all media channels, both short and longer term. All about the experience, these events can involve a number of entertaining activations providing interesting, engaging and succinct content.
From promotional events to event promotion, Fox Communications works on both sides of the coin. Should an event already be taking place, especially that with an overlying purpose – increasing awareness, fundraising or growing the business – devising a clear and conclusive strategy to effectively promote the event is key.
We have worked with the global WE Charity for the past two years, working with the team to leverage the charity’s key messages, alongside the emotional reasoning of the event (in this case, a day to celebrate social action amongst young people) to generate media , both pre and post two WE Day UK events and one regional WE Day Community Nottingham. Leveraging both current trends and some of the key note and celebrity speakers to discuss their ongoing partnership with the charity, we were able to secure nationwide media interest and resulting coverage across print, online and broadcast platforms, including ITV News, ITV This Morning, Good Morning Britain, Sky News FYI and BBC Newsround.