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Build Your Brand by Hosting Events
By: Beth M. Wood
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Brands invest their budgets in advertising, packaging, and promotion. But consider this: there is untold value in events as brand builders. Why consider investing in a consumer event? Where is the value? Here are four reasons to consider investing in events to build the brand.

1. Events, done well, make an emotional connection with the consumer. According to EM Institute, 99% of consumers exposed to a product will recommend that product to others after a positive experience. And 85% of consumers feel positive about a company or brand following an event.

2. Events can target highly specific subsets of your demographic. Invitation-only events offer a “VIP-only access” feel, making attendance more coveted and providing a way to select a specific audience (college students, young women, professional men, young moms, teens). Beyond the “enjoyment factor,” there are ways to track the success of events: Gather data on attendees to define the target consumer/audience, distribute samples and garner instant real-time feedback, distribute coupons and track the percentage used, and track post-event sales.

3. Events create an experience (memories) around the brand. A scent, a sound, a song, a feeling…all of these things evoke emotion. If consumers are given a positive, enjoyable experience in a fun, relaxed atmosphere — if they leave an event thinking “well, that was fun/different/cool” — then the event was a success. They’ll talk about it with their friends, they’ll hold the memory of it for years to come, and they’ll remember the brand that gave them the experience. 

4. Events allow for instant trial and feedback. Ninety-two percent of consumers are willing to give feedback at events if tied to an incentive, so take advantage of having them right there. Capture their first interaction with the product/brand on video, grab testimonials in real time, interact with the consumers one-on-one, and offer special discounts or a goodie bag just for stopping by. To keep the conversation going, invite them to join an exclusive online community and offer special discounts or product(s) in exchange for their feedback. 

While planning the marketing budget, keep in mind the vast possibilities that events hold. Consumers want an experience; great events give them something to remember.

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About the Author
Beth M. Wood is VP, Promotion & Events at SJI, Inc., a full-service marketing agency, where she also serves as Social Voice (and butterfly). As a writer and 14-year veteran of the industry, she has a unique left-brain, right-brain perspective on all things marketing. Follow along @SJI_Inc.
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