Everyone, even the Scrooges of the world, want to feel valued, and event attendees are no exception.
At corporate events, they want to attend engaging breakout sessions where they’re served fresh content that’s relevant to their goals, wants and needs. Most audiences have seen it all… creating novelty is where it gets tricky.
Providing value and personalization through your event will break that barrier and help brands connect with their audiences.
When you connect with the audience, you enhance their experience, thus creating loyal brand advocates.
Rinse and repeat may connect with new audiences or a specific demographic, but it won’t serve as a holistic solution. Go the extra mile and follow these six ideas to dig deeper and really connect with attendees, make them feel valued and increase your ROI.
6 Ways to Deeply Connect with Your Attendees
1. Show Some Love
It may seem simple but showing your audience you care will have just as much an impact on you as it will on them. Get to know just who your audience is. Find out their challenges, their goals, their values. This can be done very easily: by including them from the beginning. Pre-event communication is key, so polls or surveys are an easy way to solve for this.
And, it doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve brought them into the planning process, respond suitably and let them know you took their feedback into consideration. When attendees see you asked the right questions and made them feel welcomed, it sets you apart from competition.
2. Get Involved in the Community
We love to have an impact on those around us. Attendees and consumers take a lot of joy from being involved in the community, but opportunities aren’t always readily available. Incorporating a “Give Back” service at your next event is an experiential way to channel love for your internal community by sharing its impact with the local community.
It’s easily one of the best ways to engage your audience. Not only does it build their connection with your brand, but it builds relationships between attendees and promotes networking.
3. Become Tech Savvy
I’m sure you’ve heard it all before. Technology is essential to engage your audience. But the power of technology is only truly realized when it’s used to create a personalized experience for the user. Treat each attendee’s experience like a snowflake. No two experiences will be the same. A “choose your own adventure” if you will…
When using an app for your event, make sure the attendee can favorite and mark what speakers they like best. Let them make the agenda their own. At live events, create encounters that encourage attendees to share their experience on social media. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another way where people can build a connection. By using an AI matchmaking engine or a chatbot, for example, people can receive personalized responses and recommendations based on social media data.
4. Bring in Social Media Influencers
Celebrities may have “wowed” attendees in the past, but they often seem out of reach to the audience. Their message has to stay far too high level to really connect with your niche audience.
Nowadays, anyone can become influential with social media. Finding a social media influencer within your industry can help connect with attendees and create brand awareness. By now, you should have gotten to know the interests and niches of your audience. Find an influencer who is dedicated to those interests and can provide a relevant, authentic experience for the audience.
Influencers will not only increase social media engagement but will amplify the attendee experience at a lower cost level.
5. Provide Break Time
Most employee mentalities are Go! Go! Go! There is little thought of relaxation or mindfulness in their daily lives… until they crash. Now you’ve lost them for the rest of the conference.
Include break-time at your corporate event to show attendees you care about their mental and physical health, not just their work or your brand. Break time can be fun, playful activities that stimulate brain creativity and relieve stress. Not to mention this will also help attendees build connections with others. These activities could include lawn games, a ping pong table, a ball pit, a photo booth, or even yoga and meditation.
6. Give a Tangible Experience
While technology and social media are beneficial for creating connection, putting down the screens is just as important.
You want your attendees to have a memorable experience at your event, engaging their senses and making them feel something real. People only remember 15% of what they hear, but they remember 85% from using their other senses. At your event, include activities that appeal to more senses than just sound or sight.
We love Stella Artois’ example of designing an immersive, multi-sensory dinner experience for their attendees with beer and cider, foraging for salads, morning dew aroma, music, and projected constellations. They hit them all; taste, touch, smell, sound, and sight.
The Power of Connection
Engaging your employees will surely keep their attention on your brand, but will it ensure the value of your brand resonates with them?
Connection is crucial for differentiating your brand and setting yourself apart from competitors who do not build relationships with their employees.
At your next event, establish relationships with attendees by providing an elevated, can’t-miss experience they’ll cherish, and you’ll set a foundation for brand loyalty and better productivity.