So what was that all about? In events it’s imperative to have clear cut goals, says Alicia Beachley.

Have you ever been to an event and felt like you have been duped about the organiser’s intention, or walked away wondering what they were trying to achieve?

The disconnect might well be in the messaging. It’s a critical part of any event, setting the expectations for attendees as well as being the avenue to effectively communicate your brand.

Like ads, events need to have recall; they need to be clear in their messages and the take-outs so that they are memorable long after the event has finished. I have talked before about setting clear objectives for your events, and this also applies to how you communicate. While there must be synergy with the over-arching key brand messaging, the messaging for each event can be purpose driven to meet the specific objectives of that launch, conference, drinks function, etc.

It’s in the tone and the language used, it’s about clearly defining what you want to say, how you are going to say it and then making sure your message stands out amongst the crowd (especially if you are part of a crowd at a trade show). How are your messages going to resonate with your audience, what are you wanting them to do/say/feel/remember? If you want attendees to do something, is there a call to action? If you want them to remember you, have you done something to be memorable, even in a small way?

Looking at trade shows in more depth, you have a few microseconds to capture the audience’s attention, to make them stop at your stand and not just dip their head and walk past. While many of you are experts in the event space, it can often be worthwhile to go back to basics so that nothing is missed. With this in mind, what are the things that make potential buyers stop for more than that microsecond glance?

Areas to think about are:

  • Is your stand appealing and does it clearly communicate your brand?
  • Think about what you are saying (or not saying) through your collateral and on stand messages.
  • Are you hidden behind a desk on the stand or standing out the front looking like you want to be there?
  • Do you have engaging staff on the stand that are knowledgeable and can answer customer queries?
  • Are you offering something of interest? Is there an avenue to capture details?
  • What have you done prior to the event to drive people to your stand?
  • Can you involve a relevant guest/guest speaker?
  • Can you give something away? Perhaps organise a coffee cart or similar.
  • What are you planning to do post event to communicate with attendees?
  • Have you planned time to follow up leads?

Events and trade shows can be expensive to conduct and attend. If you are going to make the investment it’s vital to think about how you want to communicate to your audience and how that translates to your messaging. If you don’t do that from the outset, your investment will not be maximised and it can mean well-earned money goes down the drain.

When you are planning your event or attendance, think about what has worked for you in the past (and what hasn’t). Plan to change what has not! If you are new to events, think about the sort of events you have been to in the past where you have thought ‘wow, that was amazing’, or clever, or interesting.

Communication and messages can differentiate you from the crowded space of events. They can also drive the right audience to your events and create an opportunity to interact positively with potential prospects/clients.  Be sure to plan your communication and your messages just as you do your event stand and people, and set measurable communication objectives from the start.

Have a clear strategy for pre, during and post event and make your messaging memorable. That way there will be no confusion, attendees will feel inspired and they will be far more likely to engage with your brand.

Alicia Beachley is CEO of April5. She can be contacted via email – Alicia@april5.com.au.

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