In the realm of marketing and brand strategy, events stand out as powerful tools for connecting with audiences and building communities. For organisations, brands and charities, integrating events into your community strategy can be a game-changer, addressing key pain points while fostering engagement and loyalty. Let’s explore how events can play a pivotal role in shaping and strengthening your brand’s community presence.
The key pain points mentioned here are gathered from the Digital Community Leaders Survey 2023. Surveying 66 digital community leaders, data collected included insights about organising and delivering events for community building.
Creating a seamless online and face-to-face experience
38.5% people in the digital community leaders report survey said this was one of the highest pain points.
Events serve as a bridge between the digital and physical realms, offering a seamless experience for attendees. Big brands can leverage hybrid events to unite online and face-to-face interactions, creating a cohesive brand experience that resonates with the community.
Creating a seamless experience means we need to consider the event from the attendee viewpoint and why they are attending the event? What are their expectations and what value do they want to gain from it? If we are considering the delegate journey it makes it much easier to deliver a seamless event.
Planning is the key to stress-free and smooth events. Time in advance to plan and spend time thinking and considering all the potential outcomes will hugely reduce the on the day crisis management.
Getting People to Attend (38.5%):
Events provide a tangible touchpoint for your audience. By strategically aligning event content with your brand\’s values and interests, you not only attract registrations but also ensure higher attendance rates. Exclusive perks, early access, and personalised invitations can further entice your community to actively participate.
Clear comms are key to attendee engagement, in our opinion you cannot over communicate where people need to be, by what time and what’s the easiest ways of them getting there or accessing the platform. We need to reduce the barrier to entry and assume that not everyone is going to read every communication. We also need to communicate via a variety of platforms as different platforms resonate with different people.
Managing Attendees Before, During, and After Events (32.3%):
Incorporating events into your community strategy allows for comprehensive attendee management. You can utilise event management tools to streamline registrations, provide real-time updates, and foster post-event engagement. Delegate management is a whole discipline and how we welcome people, generous hosting and how we interact with people as they leave (an event or a platform) is critical to the value of their event attendance. If we manage delegates well this enhances the overall experience, leaving a lasting impression on your community.
Finding a Suitable Venue (27.7%):
27.7% of respondents cited finding a suitable venue as a pain point. Big brands can turn events into community gatherings by selecting venues that resonate with their brand ethos. Whether it’s a flagship store, a unique pop-up space, or a virtual environment, the venue becomes an extension of the brand, creating a memorable atmosphere for community members. We really need to think outside of the usual spaces for gathering. People respond differently in creative environments or are more likely to attend if the venue is intriguing or somewhere they’ve always wanted to go.
It’s important to consider your values when selecting a venue – if sustainability is a top priority – choosing a venue that is close to a train station, has sustainable heating and power options, locally sourced plant based food and no requirement to ship in lots of equipment / supplies will all make a difference to the sustainability of your event.
It can be a big pain point if you don’t have established relationships with venues. A good relationship can help achieve smooth running on event delivery days.
Finding Diverse Speakers (24.6%):
Events provide a platform to showcase the diversity within your brand and community. Featuring speakers who represent various perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences enriches the event content and attendee experience. This also reinforces your commitment to inclusivity, fostering a sense of belonging within the community.
The DICE charter helps event organisers to curate events that are diverse and inclusive. Read one of our articles about Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.
Events for community building
For big brands, events are not just standalone occurrences; they are integral components of a robust community strategy. Establish your community strategy first and then add in your events strategy – see how it can be the golden thread through the community strategy for 1-3 years.
Strategically address common pain points and embrace the power of events to connect, inspire, and solidify your brand\’s position as a community leader. Events aren’t just moments in time; they’re the building blocks of a thriving and interconnected brand community.