It is finally here. The big product launch that you and your company have been building towards for weeks and months. Everything is in place – the venue is decked up, the guest list is confirmed, the insurance is settled, and even that hottest-new-band-in-town you hired to open your show is tuned up and ready to go.
Your event is an utter flop. You’ve neglected the pre-event. Here are 5 ideas that might help you avoid such a doomsday scenario.
If there is one thing that is true about humans since prehistory, it is that our species loves a good story. Most of our entertainment today still centers around this simple idea – a narrative.
In this video, David Copperfield does what I assume (*disclaimer: I’m no magician. Thanks YouTube tutorials) to be a pretty standard illusion. Many magicians have themselves performed it. What makes Copperfield such a master, though, is the way he frames the story. He makes you feel nostalgia, longing and wonder at the same time, turning a simple trick (*see disclaimer above) into a perfect finale act.
I am certain your main event will have a concept. Make sure your pre-event campaign is completely consistent with this. Plan every activity to be part of the whole story with teasers and tons of suspense for your main event. You know you hate a cliffhanger – your audience does too. Leave them so spellbound with your pre-event campaign that they have no choice but to pay attention to your main event.
Horizons of Expectations
Here are four statements:
- the audience has little or no expectations of your event
- the audience has high expectations of your event
- the quality of the event is low
- the quality of the event is world-class
Undoubtedly, b) + d) is the best possible outcome. A target audience that already has massive emotional or material investment in your event is rewarded with something beyond their expectations. You reap the rewards.
If the equation is a) + c), then neither party has lost too much in the final reckoning. Anything that exceeds a) leaves you a winner, though not as much as with b) + d).
The worst possible situation is b) + c). Your brand and credibility is hurt, possibly irreparably.
Basically, consider your own capabilities when it comes to the scale and nature of your pre-event campaign. If you are extremely confident and have the resources to ensure a high-quality event, then go all out and drum up the hype and publicity. If you are a small or new company, though, it might be better to manage expectations to your advantage. This is possible through the use of humor or by advertising with simpler and humbler concepts. The point is, always aim to exceed your target audiences’ expectations; that starts with managing what those expectations are.
It is now gospel that social media is crucial for politics, sporting rivalries, and, yes, for promoting your brand and event.
And Facebook has taken the lead in expanding upon our previously one-dimensional human emotions. Thanks Mark Zuckerberg! (Source: Hindustantimes.com)
It isn’t quite so simple anymore, however. Here you can see how the demographics for each social media platform have changed.
This means that pushing your pre-event campaign on the wrong network is going to be ineffective and counterproductive. Understand your audience and craft a campaign that is relevant through the appropriate channel.
As the demographics of each platform ages, it is only natural that younger people search out new platforms (to escape the prying eyes of their older relations). If you are targeting 18-34 year olds, reach them on primarily through Snapchat or Instagram instead of Facebook. Be abreast of how these trends are shifting and make yourself comfortable in the varying formats of these platforms when developing a message and pre-event strategy.
#hashtags and #trends are one of the most unique developments in the way people communicate. It gives you the opportunity to immediately join in global conversations and that gives you immense reach and marketing potential if you do it right.
No, Susan. Just, no. (Source: abc.net.au)
Keep tabs on trending topics and the latest lingo. (YOLO so wear that as your OOTD, LOL.) Do it tastefully and this is essentially free advertisement space. Your own unique hashtag means you are able to compile and keep tabs on everything related to your event. This helps you make adjustments, interact with your target audience, and with creativity can help you to develop a full-blown narrative.
Use of Personalities
Once again, this isn’t a new idea. Celebrity endorsements have been around ever since the first salesman has existed.
Hello from the other side. (Source: valenspoint.com)
Or, as is now common parlance, “influencers”. As with anything “social”, though, there are pitfalls to this and any missteps can be damaging to your event and brand.
Choose your influencers wisely. Research what they stand for, their personalities, and whether they are a good fit for your brand and event. The right one can help enhance all the points listed above and develop a wonderful pre-event campaign.
Always tell a story. Use your pre-event campaign to lay out the foundations and context on which and the climax (the event itself) can triumph. These 5 ideas don’t give you the formulas for event success; they do however help.