Create a memorable experience for your audience
How to use events in PR
Events and PR have been inseparable for decades. The question of whether events are still an effective tool for PR rises every now and then within the industry. It is obviously important to determine if events are an effective tool for your specific PR strategy and goals. And if they are still effective, to ask yourself if you are getting the most out of your events. How do you make sure your event supports your PR goals?
The Age of Experience
Over two decades after the introduction of the world wide web, the Information Age has come to an end. We have entered the Age of Experience, an age in which events are quite important. An event is a great way to provide your audiences with a special and engaging experience. This may be in real life or virtual, but the key is the audience has a valuable experience which they can connect to your brand in a positive way. Clients nowadays value experiences more than anything else. Events can be a great way to interact and connect with audiences on a personal and emotional level. This may not generate leads or boost sales, but it will definitely support your PR and brand image.
“Instead of waiting for happenstance to provide a situation in which the organization and its publics encounter one another and which may or may not turn out positively, they orchestrate a situation that occurs when the organization wants it to and proceeds in ways that favor the organization.”
With everybody and anybody jumping onto the bandwagon when it comes to creating experiences and reaching target audiences, it is important your event makes sense and adds value. Think about what you want to achieve and with who before anything else.
Events as a brand experience
Organizing just any event will not support your PR and business goals as much as you may like. The event should provide value to the target audience you are trying to reach. If you are asking people to clear time in their busy schedules to spend time at your event, you better make it worth it! What are the main obstacles your target audience is dealing with? Make sure you tackle this at your event using an engaging, entertaining and valuable program.
“An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props, to engage individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.”
The combination of your brand and your event needs to make sense. It needs to be an understandable part of your brand image, brand story, ethics and goals. In the end, you are trying to form a relationship with your audiences so they are willing to buy your goods and services. An event that has no relation to your product, service, brand story and core values will not support your PR and business goals. And that is a true waste of money.
How to create a successful event as part of my PR strategy?
Organizing a great event is not simple. There are quite some elements to keep in mind. Luckily there are some main questions you can ask yourself to get started. Who is your target audience, what is their main question or obstacle, and what PR of business goal do you want to support with this event? Answering these questions will easily narrow down what kind of event you will organize, what subjects you are going to cover and who will be invited to it. Perhaps a conference is your best option, maybe a contest will suit your goal better, or a media event is what you need. Determine these basic elements before you move ahead to the more ‘sexy’ elements of your event planning.
Source image: Welcome to the experience economy
As shown in the above image, an event can offer four kinds of experiences. By including all four categories in your event, you will hit the ‘sweet spot’. “Generally, we find that the richest experiences [...] encompass aspects of all four realms, forming a “sweet spot” around the area where the spectra meet” (Welcome to the experience economy). Think about the goal, audience and subjects you have defined for your event. Are there ways you can approach all the elements in your program to hit all four categories? Using a theme may help to bring all elements together in an understandable and memorable way. Addressing all five senses during your event, adding recognizable elements that trigger memories and adding little impressions throughout the event will help elevate your program and make it stand out to your audience.
“Even the smallest cue can aid the creation of a unique experience. When a restaurant host says, “Your table is ready,” no particular cue is given. But when a Rainforest Cafe host declares, “Your adventure is about to begin,” it sets the stage for something special.”
Think about the events you went to, which one made a lasting impression? What were the elements to ensure you will remember the event weeks, months or even years after it took place? You may not be able to copy exact elements to your own event, but it might give you some inspiration to think about your program a little bit differently. If you are aiming to create an experience for your audience, make it a good one!
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