Jeff Snyder is the founder and chief inspiration officer at Inspira Marketing Group, a brand experience agency headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., and New York City.
How to Energize, Excite and Engage Values-Driven Event Audiences
Today’s event attendees are less driven by product than they are by purpose. For instance, 85% of people around the world are making more sustainable purchases. As a result, 83% of organizations are taking sustainability into account when planning events. This audience shift toward values offers a tremendous opportunity for companies willing to be empathetic and transparent.
As an event marketer, you need to take this change seriously. You must determine how to communicate not just the features and benefits of your products during events, but also your company’s compassion and demonstrable values. And the communication must be consistent across all touchpoints.
Is this an impossible task? It may seem that way. However, you just need to strategically plan how you’ll approach events moving forward. Here are three ways you can change your experiences to attract values-driven audiences
1. Take the time to listen to your target audience.
Event attendees aren’t exactly hiding what they’re looking for. Most are placing a strong emphasis on physical health, mental health, overall well-being and work-life balance. They expect brands to deliver what they need, when they need it. Brands that fail to align their experiences and messaging with audience expectations will be publicly called out or even boycotted.
It’s very important right now to take your audience’s pulse and figure out what you need to work on. For example, Generation Z is 1.4 times more likely to consider inclusivity an important factor when it comes to making a purchase. If your target audience falls into this group, you’ll need to spend extra time ensuring your events are diverse, inclusive and equitable. Your experiences have to reflect your target audiences' values.
2. If you make a mistake, apologize and fix it.
We live in a world where people can (and will) publicly call out companies. Unless you’re ultra careful and lucky, you may end up making a mistake. When that happens, apologize and then fix it fast. Values-driven audiences are willing to forgive, but only if you make amends and put a plan in place to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.
Case in point: Pepsi’s commercial with Kendall Jenner fell flat several years ago because it appropriated a racial-justice protest. Pepsi apologized, learned how to respond better next time, and bounced back. About 49% of people equate honesty with transparency. Consequently, saying “we’re sorry” can go a long way toward boosting your brand image.
3. Aim to make the world a better place.
Your company can’t solve every problem on Earth. However, you can do something while crafting experiences to improve society or people’s quality of life. Let your event attendees know what that something is. Embed it in your goals, then communicate it via different brand channels.
Remember that audiences appreciate companies that lead with their values. You’ll need to bake your core values into all your event marketing efforts. For instance, let’s say your brand is committed to sustainability, which tends to hold extra sway with Gen Zers. If you’re serving food at an event, you may want to explore local vendors to decrease carbon emissions or use biodegradable plates and utensils.
Right now, audiences are being direct about what they want to see from their favorite brands. Your job as an event marketer is to take their motivations seriously and give them exactly what they need to feel good about your experiences.