Creating-a-lasting-impression-with-your-event-why-you-should-keep-the-conversation-going

Whether it be through the number of attendees, volume of direct sales or the social outreach generated, discerning the success or failure of a staged event is a top priority for any organiser or marketer. Metrics are one thing, but is the industry in too much of a rush to calculate before the job is done?

During my time supporting the events industry, I’ve noticed that companies are often very quick to wrap up one successful project, and then move straight onto the next one. Rather than exploiting every opportunity – even after the doors shut on the physical event – the focus often shifts to the next biggest and brightest thing. Sadly, this ‘launch and leave’ culture is costing companies a great deal of value from each event they host.

Think about how much it costs to begin a brand new conversation with one consumer. If you are someone who regularly puts on large-scale, consumer events, then it’s likely you already know. Now, think about how much less effort it requires to keep an existing conversation going with an already engaged individual. This is where technology can come to the fore and help keep your customers engaged long after the lights go out.

Today’s technology can offer brands the opportunity to bridge the gap with its consumers. When used effectively, it gives attendees the opportunity to interact live with their favourite event or brand on an almost one to one level. This personalisation gives customers a sense of affinity with the event and, by extension, the brand hosting. No consumer wants to feel like just one of many faces in the crowd, and this is where technology can play to its strengths.

Practical campaign ideas might include creating content to be used post-event, which has been personalised using photos or comments from the individual, to make them feel part of something bigger. Collating videos into a user-generated review is another underused but highly engaging route for consumer facing brands. Awarding the best photo from the activation is a great way of running a post-event competition and continuing to generate a buzz around the event. These simple strategies that can often lead to sustainable relationships with consumers maximise ROI from an event.

O2’s recent ‘Wear the Rose’ England Rugby sponsorship activation was a great example of this. O2’s ambition was to start a nationwide dialogue of national pride, which commenced with a live event with Take That and the England Rugby team. To extend the reach of the engagement, O2 beamed tweets of support from customers onto the roof of The O2 in North Greenwich, among other locations throughout the country. As well as engaging the attendees of the event itself, the stunt allowed for a social media dialogue with fans and customers, which O2 was able to continue long after the event was over.

This, in my opinion, is where the real value from events lies. Engaging with consumers and turning them into empowered ambassadors for your brand is as important as getting them to the event in the first place. If you provide an experience that is innovative enough to get people talking and sharing, then you have a platform to open a dialogue with your audience. It is then, and only then, that you can really make the most of the opportunity.

While incorporating technology into events is now almost universally expected, I would encourage anyone planning their next brand event or marketing campaign to think more tactically about this integration. This forethought will not only improve levels of social interaction, but also greatly increase event ROI. Is the technology you’re using a ‘nice to have’, or does it have the potential to facilitate the creation of sustainable customer relationships? Don’t fall into the trap of launching and leaving. It’s time for your brand to harness technology and create a lasting impression, one customer at a time.

Blog post published on Digital Marketing Magazine

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From the Olympics to the Super Bowl, the Ryder Cup to the World Cup, there’s nothing like an international sporting event to get people talking: Crowd Voice Amplification

The Telegraph recently revealed just how many people have been engaging with this year’s Rugby World Cup, and the figures are staggering. An average of 3.2 million people have watched ITV’s coverage of the opening eight games, up by 2.4 million on the same period for the 2007 tournament.

Even more impressively, over the first five days, there were more than two million Rugby World Cup related mentions from around the globe on Twitter alone, ten times as many as for the last tournament four years ago. With the world’s eyes on England 2015, the big question for brands – and particularly those traditionally associated with the game – is how to steal some of the attention.

Take O2, for example. The telecoms giant has now sponsored the England National rugby team for 20 years, creating a lasting bond on behalf of its customers. Indeed, as no official team sponsor has ever been allowed to display their logo on team shirts at the Rugby World Cup, O2, along with brands such as Admiral and Three, have become accustomed to trying to find more innovative, creative ways to engage consumers in their sponsorship activation.

This year, O2 has executed a number of creative brand activation events. The Rose on the Roof, powered by EventsTag, is a prime example of this. In an effort to galvanise support for the national team, O2 gave fans the opportunity to post messages of support directly onto the roof of The O2 Arena in North Greenwich. While this not only gained national press coverage, it also allowed customers to engage directly with the brand and the tournament via the hashtag #WearTheRose, ensuring O2 gained its fair share of the vast attention paid to the World Cup.

This is where other sporting sponsors could look and learn. Paying over the odds for an advert at the Super Bowl or sponsoring an event like the Olympics is all well and good, but to truly become a relevant part of the conversation, you need to give your consumers a voice. Allow fans to become your brand ambassadors. Engage with the public on a more meaningful level. It’s the only way to make sure your voice is heard amongst the crowd.
This blog post is published on Brand Republic Blog.

Getting the most for your money from live events

Guaranteeing return on investment (ROI) for any event is challenging, but fundamental. Over the past couple of months, in my role as Marketing Director at EventsTag, I’ve had the opportunity to see first hand what works and what doesn’t. We provide social media feeds for the live events of some of the world’s largest brands, providing a digital centerpiece by curating messages, images and videos in real time. This allows consumers to engage directly, giving every attendee a voice.

I’ve now had the opportunity to work with brands including the likes of Coca-Cola, Nike, Starbucks and O2, all of whom have benefitted from embracing these tactics:

1. Prepare your customers in advance

If your customers are arriving to an event and you haven’t already begun engaging them, then you’ve lost the first battle. Creating a ‘buzz’ around your upcoming activation is key to ensuring maximum engagement on the day. EventsTag do this by creating a digital engagement campaign preceding the main activation.

Working with Emirates on its ‘Hello East’ campaign, we created a dedicated microsite for the airline, encouraging users to tweet and engage with the brand long before the first of their ‘Go East Festivals’ began. By incentivising users with the chance to win a pair of economy class return tickets, we were able to populate the microsite with users’ ‘Eastern inspired’ photos, building excitement and engagement for the event series. The microsite helped maximise the number of people posting inspiring images, which were subsequently used by Emirates throughout the activation.

2. Let your customers work on your behalf

At EventsTag, we firmly believe that there’s no better ambassador for your brand than your own customer. O2 and Nike are great examples of brands using social technology to turn consumers, fans and attendees into socially active brand curators and ambassadors. The passion that consumers bring to live events is something that can be so easily captured by companies for their brand benefit. Authentic and direct content creation on behalf of the very people you’re hoping to reach, is easily the most powerful and sincere endorsement a brand could hope for, and can multiply ROI for any given campaign.

Our first ‘We Own the Night’ campaign, for example, saw 8,000 people engage with our bespoke hashtag, leading to over 55,000,000 impressions. Consider for a second that every single one of those 55,000,000 impressions came, not from Nike, but from one of their consumers. At very little cost, and with little effort on their own behalf, Nike reached millions. That’s a pretty impressive return.

3. Develop a post event activation strategy

Many would be forgiven for thinking that, once the last person has left and clear up is well underway, that a marketer’s job is done. They’d be wrong. To ensure you maximise ROI, it’s essential to have a post event plan in place. Try to find an innovative way to keep the activation going. Hold a competition encouraging attendees to share their best pictures on social media. Put together a video of the best user generated content to distribute to attendees. Create personalised content or imagery for those tweeting about the event. All of these are relatively inexpensive ways to squeeze every last drop of return out of the activation.

When working with O2 on it’s ‘Wear the Rose Live’ Rugby World Cup activation, we ensured that #WearTheRose was at the forefront of every fan’s mind, by giving them a reason to engage with the hashtag, to have their voice heard over the crowd. This gave the brand a platform from which to galvanise national support, long after the event was over. This also helped increase brand awareness in a creative way, boosting ROI.

Hopefully these three points haven given you an idea, or at least a little inspiration, when it comes to boosting returns from your events. This is, however, just the tip of the iceberg. For that reason, I’d like to start a dialogue between industry leaders, with the aim of sharing event experiences and helping maximise ROI across the industry.

If you’d like to have your voice heard, simply search ‘Maximising ROI – Industry insights’ on LinkedIn and join the discussion.

This blog is also published on the Drum Magazine

planning-your-first-photography-exhibition

Whether it’s your first exhibition or your fifteenth, displaying your photography at an exhibition can be a nerve-wracking experience. Planning for such an occasion can be a daunting, time consuming process with the potential to end up costing you more than you might earn from one.

So, what can you do to ensure that your work stands out from the rest and helps you to generate clients and recognition at a minimal cost?

Build a portfolio of your best work
Before you think about exhibiting your work, you need to take a look at your portfolio and figure out which photographs are going to sell yourself the best. The key is to remember that you’re not merely displaying photographs, but that they represent what you can do for your potential clients. With this in mind, it’s important to decide whether you’re going to use old photographs, or take new shots solely for the purpose of exhibiting them.

Once you have a plan in place, you can begin to look for galleries who might consider displaying your work.

Finding a venue to showcase your work
This can be tricky, as you’re competing with every other photographer and artist who wants to have their work showcased and gain recognition for their work. Hopefully, your portfolio alone will be enough to stand out, but it’s important for you to stand out too – and that means making a strong and immediate impression.

Early in your career, there’s no need to aim for prestigious galleries. Start with local businesses – coffee shops, small cafes, libraries, and any other spaces that will do your work justice and would be happy to showcase it. Always approach these places in person, as they’ll receive calls like this quite frequently and, as is often the case, they’ll be quick to let you go. Be presentable, personable and ready to answer any questions they might have. Even if you secure a meeting and get rejected, always ask why – as this can be valuable information to have when approaching other venues in future.

Remember: you’re a photographer, so the only way you can prove that you’re worth their time is to visit them with your best work in your hand. Have a plan prepared of the show’s theme and details of how your work and the venue tie into this central concept.

Where to get your photographs printed
After you’ve secured exhibiting space and settled on a big idea, it’s time to get your photographs printed in the highest possible quality. Find a professional photo printing lab and discuss what you need. Most of the time, they’ll be able to help you find ways of framing your work so that it effectively reflects the overarching theme.

Going social with it
The final thing to do is to get your exhibition out there. If you’ve landed a deal with a major gallery, they’ll often help out – but if this is your first show, there’s no need to splash out on marketing. Use social media to your advantage – and if you’re not sure where to start, now is the time to learn!

Create digital posters and share them on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and any other platforms at your disposal – and always remember to capitalise on popular hashtags on Twitter and Facebook, networking online with groups of people who may be interested in seeing your work, as well as potential collaborators. Better yet, learn how to build a mailing list – that way, you can send direct updates to the people interested in your show and guarantee they have all the information they need.

Last but not least, build an online portfolio of your work to entice people to come to your show. Who knows? You might just be discovered by someone influential from the industry.

Contact Us To Supercharge Your Next Event

Author: Maz, from Digitalab

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