Events are a fundamental part of most marketing strategies, whether they are internal, B2B or consumer focused. Eventbrite’s head of marketing, Australia, Laura Huddle, shares her advice about how to use events to amplify marketing outcomes and boost brand loyalty.
When planning events, some marketers are ignoring an important and growing trend: Aussies want to ‘do things’ more than we want to ‘own things’.
According to recent national study by Eventbrite, 93 per cent of us have attended some form of live experience in the last 12 months, with 67 per cent saying ‘experiencing new things’ is more important to having a fulfilled life than money (34 per cent) or owning ‘nice things’ like designer clothes and cars (20 per cent).
As people seek to achieve a better work-life balance, two-thirds of Australians are planning to attend more live experiences in the next year, and 90 per cent plan to spend up to a quarter of their income on them.
As a bonus: ‘experiences’ or events are more likely to generate free brand publicity thanks to the increasing desire to share experiences via social networks; the survey found that the feeling of “FOMO” – fear of missing out – is far more acute in millennials.
One-fifth of those surveyed feel left out when friends post live experiences on social media – a rate over twice as high as the general population. ‘Social envy’ drives people to want their own piece of the action and start engaging with your brand.
Whether businesses are selling a product or service, or developing one, giving your customers an experience is key to growing awareness, and driving loyalty.
Here are four ways you can elevate your brand from a ‘thing’ to an engaging experience – and capture a whole new set of supporters.
1. Piggyback pop culture trends that align with your company
In less than five years, MakMak Macarons has become a Sydney icon. Capitalising early on Australia’s taste for gourmet (thanks to an onslaught of celebrity chefs and reality cooking shows), the business now employs a small army of pastry chefs charged with producing over 5000 handmade macarons a week.
But founder Carlos Heng and general manager Dan Pigott were also quick to recognise that the wave of macaron popularity generated by Zumbo on Masterchef didn’t stop at eating.
For over 18 months, MakMak has been running macaron baking workshops for the public. With little investment required aside from a few hours of the guys’ time, the workshops are able to generate up to $1000 per event in revenue.
Better still, the workshops help customers to understand their product can’t be mastered in two hours. People leave with a real appreciation for the craft and return as not only customers, but advocates for their brand.
2. Leverage bigger events around you
Although organising events is a common task in a marketer’s role, you don’t have to be an experienced event planner to create a brand experience to remember.
Whether it’s a music or food festival, a sports event or a national celebration, big events often attract a series of smaller satellite events. As a brand, there may be opportunities to partner with smaller organisers, or even create your own satellite event to capture the wider vide. Consider it a ready-made crowd that’s yours for the taking.
3. Ditch the business event status quo
Corporate and promotional events needn’t mean Death-by-PowerPoint.
While your typical event planning expo might include a room full of supplier displays and business flyers, the organisers of the recent BriteAdventures in Melbourne (an expo on event design) instead encouraged attendees to think outside the box in terms of event design.
The team enlisted head event designer of Theme at JAK events, Kerry Howell, to create an ‘Alice-in-Wonderland’ inspired room, together with a range of creative displays and staff in costume.
Event design is about much more than what looks good; and only by demonstrating it could they truly show what they can do. The event was a packed house, generating huge amounts of social media sharing for the brands involved.
Think outside the box and turn your event from ordinary to engaging with something interactive such as a live Instagram feed with an imbedded hashtag, a photo booth or unique projection displays.
4. Know what you stand for, and OWN it.
Despite numerous competitors selling similar sporting apparel, Canadian yoga wear retailer Lululemon has taken its business outside of the shop walls, regularly holding yoga-themed events such as yoga classes and music festivals to engage with customers and promote their brand as a leader in this fitness movement.
The result: Loyal supporters who feel a connection to the brand.
Stuffocation author, James Wallman, has identified a current cultural shift from materialism to experientialism. Smart brands will view our appetite to experience as an opportunity to engage with consumers and become a deeper part of their lifestyle, and evolve beyond just a “thing”.
Most Aussies believe that great live experiences make life-long memories. It’s easy for brands to build a loyal following by giving them a great experience that will win them over as lifelong fans, not just customers.