From a “one shot” episode to a path that can last up to a few months. That’s how the corporate event assumes a fundamental role in the communication mix.
How to plan it? Which are the steps?
1. The world of events is changing its skin and its brain
The planning and organizational processes are changing, together with the management of technology, locations, budgets. But above of all, what is changing is the concept of the event. How do you fit it into the company communication mix? how do you evaluate the ROI? how to define the objectives and to balance the needs of the buyer and those of the public? how to make the messages more effective and memorable?
All of this is subject of constant reflection and debate in the companies and among the professionals.
2. From episode to process
An interesting growing trend is that of fitting the event in a process that starts long before it and finishes long after. This idea consents to reach three important goals:
- increases the sense of expectation of the event and encourages the appreciation of the company
- increases the efficiency of the contents channelling, because there’s literally more time to “sell” them to the participants.
- increases the results control: during the post-event it’s easy to understand what involved more or less the participants and to measure the success and effectiveness of the event.
In this path, the event is the peak point, preceded and followed by other, equally important, activities.
3. The pre-event
The pre-event phase is organized as a proper launch campaign. It can be realized with different inner and external communication instruments, isolated or coordinated, depending from the needs. One of the most important activities (very trendy today) is to create a website for the event, disclosing its contents (or a part of them) and a bit of organizational details.
Usually such a website is very simple when launched, say 4 months before the event, and the closer the event gets, it gets richer of contents and suggestions. In the most “evolved” cases, the website is designed to send emails to the participants, inviting them to surf its pages. This expedient “hooks” the participant and creates expectation on what is being prepared.
But that is not enough: nowadays the key word is “participation“. In the most effective cases, the pre-event campaign involves the public asking them to think about ideas and suggestions for the event, to make it useful and successful. But not only for the company: especially for each and every participant.
They are asked to get involved and to contribute to the contents creation. No one will be able to say “I didn’t receive anything from the event” if everyone helped with its implementation.
The public is often invited to write on virtual notice boards, to answer questions and to express their doubts in FAQ areas and to share opinions with their colleagues on themes connected – even if not closely – to the event. The editorial office of the website will treasure the information gathered and use it to create contents that are more suitable to the audience, with less rhetoric and closer to the expectations and needs of the spectators.
Professional bloggers, speakers and managers can help in this stage. “Friends” or “Groups” of the event can be registered on the most common social networks.
The pre-event can take advantage of other internal communication media as well: for example the website can be connected to the company newsletter, to the web tvs, to recreational and sportive activities, such as football games, sports tournaments , mini marathons and so on, the results of which can be showed on the website. Useless to say that the website can also have more “practical” uses: what kind of evening entertainment is being planned? what’s the dress code? is the gala dinner an actual gala dinner? do I have to rent a tux? when are we leaving? where from? and so on…
5. The event
The event will surely be a success, but we’ll talk about it in another article. Let’s focus on the post- now.
6. The post-event
The post-event is the moment for assessments and reflections. How did it go, what was memorized, how did the audience react to this and that? The best way to know is to ask them! How? But using the website of course, the moment the convention end, it in fact becomes the repository of information on the event’s success. The audience is thus invited to go back on the portal and to give their opinion: “How do you think it was? What did you think of the speeches? Did you like the buffet? And the show?”
It is common, to motivate the public in giving their opinion, to offer them to download the pictures or videos of the event.
7. From an event to the next one
On the most evolved websites, in those companies in which events are of fundamental importance, the post- phase on an event turns into the pre- phase for the next one. And different audiences can interact giving precious information to the event planners.
The pre- and post- phases can supply the company with an amount of invaluable information on the expectations and reactions of the participants. An appropriate use of this information allows to create an effective path that has the event as a topical point and that expands in time becoming unforgettable.