Imagine buying sweets from the “Honeydukes Sweet Shop” in Harry Potter or hula hooping for some Ben & Jerry’s or receiving free spa treatments.
BY ETHAN LYON
These are just a few memorable events companies have hosted to raise awareness of their new products and services. These events have been tremendously successful because they incorporate the brand and product into a unique and creative experience that has attendees saying wow the next day.
Although not all companies have the budget to host a floating Cirque de Soleil (read below), here are several ways to host an event and several successful events to draw inspiration from:
Identify roles and responsibilities
Hosting an event is certainly a team effort, so identifying strong leaders from the get-go can increase the probability your event is organized and put together. Along with the team in the background — making sure everything is going smoothly — also consider your “stars.” “Stars” can be thought leaders in the community or are renowned for other reasons. To feature its new line of autos, Fox cars invited young artists to paint over its new vehicles to entice its young demographic to the event.
Determine the type of event you’d like to host
What are the interests of people within your community? What they enjoy doing? Is is a sophisticated cocktail hour or something more adventuresome? Tailoring the event to the community’s interests will make your event more engaging and buzzworthy. While creativity is a huge plus when deciding the type of event, make sure it doesn’t interfere with your goals and expectations. For instance, the Harry Potter launch event was all about brand immersion. It featured the tasty sweets from the book’s fictional “Honeydukes Sweet Shop” to bring attendees into the world of Harry Potter.
Set an objective
What are the key takeaways of your event? Another way to look at it is, what do you want people to say about your event the next day over the water cooler? Do you want people to be entertained, intrigued, intellectually stimulated? There are any number of reasons you might want to bring people together. Sometimes you might have to reinvigorate a stale event. The “Taste of Lexus” annual event had become predictable and “museum-like” over the years. The event coordinator injected some life into the event with an upscale, exotic menu (including crab cakes with lemon kiwi relish) that imparted the “taste of luxury” arguably more than the brand. And the spa treatments and golf instructions didn’t hurt either. Certainly the guests had something to talk about the next day.
Publicize the event
“Good event marketing campaigns reflect the client’s core values,” says SpecialEvents.com. Your ability to generate awareness and excite community influencers can determine whether your event has the wherewithal to be an annually hosted. This again requires creativity to energize your community. Ben & Jerry’s deployed “Cone Samaritans” into “cone zones” to deliver free ice cream, in an effort to promote its event, “Random Acts of Cone-ess.”
Secure the resources you will need
Is the location a must have? Are the “stars” a must? Prioritize based on importance and the time and effort it will take to secure the resources you’ll be utilizing to ensure you don’t lose the most important part of the show. Typical first-things to nail down are venue, “stars” and catering usually places third. Or, for the new BMW 3 Series event in Ireland, the tent that appeared to float. EuroEvents, the event organizer, drained a section of Dublin’s River Liffey and set the tent on a platform and the river was then refilled to give the appearance the tent was floating.
Floating venues, free ice cream and exotic foods are just a few inspirations and directions you can take your event. Remember, it’s about blending imagination with the brand to create a wow experience that will have people talking the next day.