11 Mar Gauging the Health of Your Event Brand
In the last blog, we talked about ways to measure the success of your event. Now let’s look a little deeper into how to determine the health of your event brand.
Association events have an inherent advantage when it comes to maintaining their health because they have a built-in audience and a clear value proposition; members clearly understand the association’s reason for existence. Having a well-defined purpose also gives associations a multitude of content ideas to draw from, which provides people a reason to attend their event year after year.
Corporate events face a more challenging proposition, because they don’t have that built-in audience of members and their purpose may not be as clear. For corporate events to thrive, they have to work to establish what they stand for (besides just turning a profit). What is the core purpose of their event? How can they meaningfully serve an industry? Defining that purpose and building it into their brand can help establish a loyal audience base and build a foundation on which they can create a strong content offering.
If your event has a clear reason for existence and a strong content offering, the next step in maintaining its health is to ensure that you’ve created an environment that fosters connections. The goal is to create bridges that support long-term relationships between key stakeholders: organizers, attendees, sponsors, vendors, and exhibitors. Understanding these networks can help ensure that the positive impact of your event continues its forward trajectory, and any negative trends are nipped in the bud.
Here are some of the ways those bonds can be built, strengthened, or renewed.
Fostering Connections Between Event Stakeholders
Organizer + Attendees
Event organizers want to know their money and energy were well spent, whether that’s through generating a bigger audience, increasing brand loyalty, or generating new leads and higher sales. The organizer may also be looking to further organizational goals, such as educating or advocating for a cause. Attendees, meanwhile, are looking for good content. They want to learn and grow, be engaged, and know that their time was well spent. They also show up to connect with others. If the organizer offers a strong, well-attended content lineup and sees healthy participant numbers onsite, chances are good that the organizer-attendee relationship is in a healthy place.
Analyzing social media is another excellent way to gauge whether the organizer-attendee relationship is healthy. Search for posts that mention the event, its speakers, or other stakeholders. Through these, you can see whether the event participants were engaged and took away meaningful information. Monitoring social channels may also include intervening if the event’s messaging threatens to derail.
Organizer + Exhibitors and Speakers
Exhibitors are there to showcase their products and services, and they also expect an ROI. Keep in touch with exhibitors after the event to find out whether their leads converted to sales. Their numbers can strengthen your numbers and, by keeping tabs on them, you can build on your relationship for the next event. To keep them coming back year after year, it’s also essential that you share post-event reports highlighting each event’s success, as well as positive feedback from any surveys, testimonials, or other follow-up that you gathered from attendees.
Similarly, engage your speakers after each event. What was their perspective on the sessions? Did they receive input from attendees or have meaningful opportunities to engage with them? Answers to questions like these can show you which components of the program had the biggest impact.
Organizer + Sponsors
Sponsors can be an organization’s lifeblood, so keeping them happy can be crucial for an event’s health. Reach out to them after your event has wrapped to determine whether the event led to new sales, new members or social media followers, or an increase in donations toward their cause. Don’t be shy about sharing those successes in your post-event communications or marketing messages for next year. Be sure to appropriately acknowledge sponsors after each event, too.
Exhibitors and Speakers + Attendees
You can learn what attendees thought about exhibitors and speakers by keeping a close eye on social media and asking their opinions in your post-event survey. Did they feel the content was valuable? Get specific: Ask whether they were able to use the content and, if so, how.
Organizer + Vendors
Having great vendors is invaluable to an organizer. Beyond the bottom line – the cost of suppliers’ services on the event’s profit and loss statement – what worked, what didn’t, what can be improved next time? Here again, monitoring social media can give you a sense of what attendees thought of your vendors. Did they post photos of your spectacular catering? Of the entertainment? Keep your ear to the ground onsite, too. If people aren’t satisfied with a vendor’s services, they will absolutely let you know, while they may not be as vocal about service that hums along like a well-oiled machine.
The bottom line
In the end, a healthy event is one at which all stakeholders derive value year after year. That value can be intensified by building a strong event brand, offering quality content, and actively nurturing the intricate web of connections between participants.