Socialising Events.

My research as part of my B.Sc in Events Management revealed over-saturation of brands and marketing messages on social media, evidenced by interviewees as well as academic research on the subject. Only brands and organisations that invest in excellent customer care and effective, relevant content management stand out and foster long term positive relationships with their followers.

Although success is hard to measure in terms of drive to purchase and brand loyalty, there is clear evidence that social media creates brand exposure and is a successful relationship builder.

Co-creation as a core element of an experiential campaign is an area that should always be considered in the planning phase. This is not always possible due to campaign schedules or information embargo for a product launch, for example, but co-creation can enhance engagement, provide valuable information and encourage longer-term interaction with the audience.

Live streaming is a growing channel, especially with the launch of Facebook Live and Twitter Live. However, the use of live streaming should be carefully considered. Is the event generating suitable content that is in demand by the audience? Live streaming for the sake of using the platform could do more damage than good and divert budget away from more effective use.

Conversations on social media must always be relevant. They must always be present in the cultural moment. A carefully planned social calendar is as important as in-the-moment conversations that involve themselves in dominant, but relevant, social conversations at any one time. Consistency of personality and messaging is also key to being relevant and building a trustworthy and rewarding relationship.

Rewards and competitions are extremely important, especially in the context of events and experiences. Free tickets and exclusive content stimulate conversations and sharing, whilst placing a brand and an event at the heart of those actions.

The importance of a fully integrated advertising, PR, social and event strategy is widely acknowledged, but placing the event at the heart of the strategy can often be overlooked as budget allocation may divert attention away from the element of the campaign that is arguably the most interesting from the audiences point of view. Reach and awareness is intrinsically linked to relevant and engaging content; live consumer/public events and experiences are an effective way of creating that content in a way that other channels cannot replicate.


Getting excited about being bored.

Health and Safety are two words which put most people off their breakfast. Boring, they shout! It’s just red tape, they protest! It’s Health and Safety gone mad, they say! Throw in the word sustainability to the mix, and you’ve got a right old snoozefest on your hands.

And do you know what, most people are right. This area of event delivery can be extremely time-consuming and it can definitely involve the need to be meticulous with paperwork (in other words, it can be very boring). But not to everyone. In fact those of us who have delivered regular events for creative partners, we really understand the value of having strong health and safety – and sustainability – practices.

In essence, there is no point producing a highly immersive and creative experiential live event, if it’s not delivered safely. There’s no point bringing in guest celebrities to launch a product, if they are at risk of falling off the stage. There’s no point inviting the nation’s press to amplify your PR event, if the stand display falls over, or someone trips over a loose cable. You need your live events to be in safe and capable hands.

My favourite line when it comes to briefing the security and first aid teams at live events is “I really hope you guys are bored out of your minds today!” And what I mean by that is, for those of us who are responsible for safely erecting structures and sets, installing AV systems, managing crowds, looking after lost children, instigating first aid procedures and managing countless other safe event practices, we want boring. Boring is what we aim for. We dream of boring. We want an incident-free event with zero injuries, zero kids lost and zero H&S problems! Boring!

And sustainability is becoming increasingly central to your brand’s reputation too. All companies should have environmental and sustainability policies that are integrated into their daily operations. From using sustainable materials for manufacture, to recycling, to fair trade products, we should all work together to make the difference. Consumers increasingly want to buy into greener and more environmentally engaged brands, and those of you who lead the way, will reap the benefits. These things matter – to you and your audience.

One of the most misleading phrases in our industry is that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”. There definitely is. Good publicity is built on a foundation of safety as much as it is on creativity. Sustainability can be another positive brand story if woven into your vision and your events with commitment and purpose. Suddenly, that doesn’t sound so boring!


Brand Loyalty vs Brand Love

Consumers have become more demanding and competition has increased so products are quickly losing their ‘unique’ value. Due to contemporary changes in consumers brands must now focus on displaying their unique brand values and personality to form emotional attachments, rather than getting their brand name displayed in as many places as possible. Recent studies have shown that people are, on average, subjected to around 4000 marketing communications a day and it is believed that consumers now focus more on the brand values than the brand name.

Events are a very effective way of displaying a brands value as they involve an authentic experience designed to bring value to the consumer which in turn brings the brand’s personality to life. Many organisations are nowadays including events within their marketing strategies to communicate their values to their target audience, attempting to differentiate themselves from competitors. Hopper understands the importance of immersing the consumer within the brand and therefore design and produce events to suit the clients brand and personality.

Previously events aimed to create brand loyalty however recently there has been a lot of discussion around this term and whether it exists or if in fact it should be ‘brand love’. Marketing professionals are beginning to claim that consumers are inherently disloyal to brands but instead will have a repertoire and will ultimately base decisions on current offers. They do however still understand the importance of incorporating events within their marketing strategies as they can create ‘brand meaning’ which consumers can relate to and understand, in turn creating ‘brand love’. The point being, whether you’re aiming to gain ‘brand loyalty’ or ‘brand love’ events are one of the most effective ways of getting the consumers attention and connecting with them in a meaningful and memorable way.


The best way to learn about your audience, and yourself.

At Hopper, we believe that every live event and experience that we create is an opportunity to challenge ourselves and to find out more about us, our clients and about people.

It is the same for brands and organisations. Creating an event or experience to tell a story, generate content or communicate a message is as much about learning as it is about informing and entertaining others.

A live event or face-to-face interaction with a person or group is the ultimate way to communicate in both directions. Your audience is hungry for meaningful content and information and will reward a brave brand with good will and loyalty if it has. Your audience will also provide invaluable information, opinions and ideas at a live event that cannot be replicated in any other media or environment.

Hopper is proud to work with BBC Radio 1 Academy, CBBC, BBC Learning and CBeebies in creating and delivering a wide range of interactive public events across the UK. We see first hand how events excite, inform and inspire audiences of all backgrounds and interests, creating valuable and long lasting relationships with attendees. The flow of information and inspiration is not just one way. Our clients, and we at Hopper, also absorb a huge amount of ideas and information at each event by hearing, seeing and feeling what is happening around us as each event is happening. We experience how the real-time manifestation of a brand, campaign and content interacts with its audience.

Existing behind a media-only campaign is like having an online relationship or passing messages through a friend. Events must exist within a wider integrated strategy, we would argue they must take a leading role, because getting out there and meeting people is the only way to understand them, for them to understand you and for both parties to make a meaningful and rewarding connection.