5 Questions to Ask Before Hosting a Brand Event

Hosting and Planning Brand Events

It’s 2024. With the lockdowns of the pandemic a distant memory, you may be thinking it’s time to get people together in person and offer a hands-on experience with our brand. However, before jumping in and overspending on an event, consider these questions to make sure your activation is as effective as possible.

What is the goal?

At Double Forte, we are always asking our clients this question. A clear goal is the driving force behind all effective PR and marketing. Hosting an event is a tactic for achieving a larger goal. In developing your goal, consider why do you want to host an event? Is it to launch a new product? Are you looking to build general brand awareness? Is the event an opportunity to reconnect with industry and brand stakeholders? There are countless opportunities to expand and add to an event. With a clear goal and purpose, it becomes easier to refine and focus the activation.

Who is the audience?

Everyone (or is it just me?) has a deep rooted junior high school fear of throwing a party that no one attends. As you build out your event, knowing who is expected to attend will allow you shape the event to meet the needs of this audience. Is this a media only event? If so, perhaps it’s an exclusive intimate experience with the brand. Is the event open to consumers? If so, you may focus on securing a venue with a larger capacity and develop a plan for managing a line to get in.

Given the financial investment of creating and hosting an event, targeting multiple audience is one way to ensure broad success. The PR team can focus on media at the event. The social media team can leverage influencers at the event. The sales team can use the event to connect with buyers and industry contacts. Different types of attendees at the event can each serve a different purpose, while still aligning with the overarching goal.

What is the experience?

Before the pandemic, your event would only be competing with other events scheduled on the same day. Now there is more competition that ever to convince guest to attend an event. You’re not only competing against other events, but also against a swath of virtual events that don’t require attendees to go out, plus a general desire to stay home. Your event needs to be compelling.

More is expected from event experiences. A photo backdrop and cocktails are no longer enough to entice guests to attend. What unique activity can you offer? Is there something that can only be experienced by attending the event? Can you teach guests a new skill? This could be cocktail making, wine blending, flower arranging, painting, cooking… There are countless ways to may an event interactive. Do attendees get to create a personalized brand item? Everyone loves their name and having something special for them. Personalization is a great way to engage with attendees at an event. Can guests taste test or sample a new product or future product? Being the first to try something is strong draw for events. Also consider leveraging an expert or a personality to bring the event experience to life and engage with event attendees.

Where is the event?

Once you know who your target audience for the event is, consider what is a central location for those guests. Determining an event location is more than just the physical event space itself, but where it’s situated. Will your guests need to travel a long distance in order to attend your event? Is the venue accessible by public transit? Will it require guests to drive? Is parking near by? Will you have a valet?

Specifically for media and influencers, it is becoming common practice not only to invite them to events, but also to coordinate travel to and from events. This could be in the form of a car service or simply ride share credits.

Additionally, for alcohol brands, travel to and from an event is an important consideration along with the encouragement of responsible drinking. Providing ride share credits may be needed for all attendees to promote safe behavior and ultimate protect the brand identity. 

How can the event be leveraged beyond one night?

Events are a singular moment in time. Creating ways to expand on the experience allows the event to live on beyond just one night. Capturing photos and video from the event that can be leverage on social media and in marketing materials is one way of utilizing an event beyond one night. Consider repurposing the experience and elements from the event. Can the cocktails recipe from the event be leverage on your website and shared with influencers? Can personalized branded items from the event be mailed to priority buyers and media contacts who couldn’t attend the event? What data was captured at the event? Did 78% of event attendees prefer flavor X over flavor y? Can this inform a new product or launch? Extend the impact of an event beyond one night.

Events can be a powerful tool for connecting with priority audiences and allowing them to engage with your brand. Considering these questions will ensure greater success and keep you focused on the goal.