In order for brands to create live experiences that resonate with consumers and leave a lasting impression, they need to create a strong brief which understands what it is they want to achieve, according to The Crystal London’s venue and events marketing manager, Natatsha Carr.
Ahead of The Drum Experience Awards, which The Crystal is sponsoring, we speak to Carr and Cecilia Lavin, regional sales manager for South of England on how invested marketers are in their corporate events, live experience opportunities and challenges for brands and why it’s important to map out objectives at the planning stage for an event.
The most successful companies are elevating events from a tactic to a critical strategy that involves many elements. What are the top trends of those elements in terms of food and drink?
Cecilia Lavin: Events is a very important part of any company’s sales and marketing strategy and as we are living in a digital age it has further highlighted the importance of people to interact face to face.
When producing an event, it is imperative to consider the experience guests will have and to remember how food and drink can elevate this. The catering is the part of the event that guests are most likely to remember. Food and drinks can indeed provide an experience by adding an interactive element, this is very popular, moreover an effective way to achieve event goals.
In this age of storytelling, how invested are marketers in their corporate events, when it comes to engaging with their audience?
CL: Events form a part of a marketing strategy and it is therefore incredibly important for the organiser to engage in the right way with their audience. This is something companies we work with put huge emphasis on, and therefore it is important for us to support these in various ways. We create a journey throughout the day or evening via our events, providing that ultimately experience, matching our clients vision.
What are some of the best examples you have come across this year where experience for customers has been core to a corporate event?
CL: Sometimes the key to make an event a memorable experience, lies within the small details. For example, the staff can wear specific clothes to relate to the theme or specific food can be produced using ingredients that relates to their products. People remember the things that are different and personalised and by telling them the story of how this relates to their brand creates an impact. It is important to consider each event, no matter how big or small it is, this is what guests remember and makes the experience a memorable one.
Live experiences are suddenly booming, and all brand owners want to be in the action. What are main opportunities and challenges for brands when it comes to live experiences within the events industry?
Natasha Carr: Live experiences are a great opportunity for brands to engage in a high effective, emotive, fun and memorable form of communication with customers which can be shared long after the event has passed using photography, video, press releases and social networking. They allow brands to add personality to their products and services and help their people engage with their captive audiences.
The challenges that experiential marketing brings are that you need to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and create a strong brief around this, fully understand the audience, without which the event will not succeed and ensure that you work with a proven experiential supplier who can deliver your vision professionally and effectively.
How easy or difficult is to measure success of a corporate event?
NC: It is important to map out objectives for an event in the planning stages so that you can be clear what you want to achieve and how this can be measured i.e. PR coverage, brand awareness, product trial or enquiries. The follow up stages are vital to gather feedback and activate potential leads that follow, this stage is often left behind when busy planning the next event. Always take time to review the plan, objectives and outcomes to ensure success is measured, lessons learnt for future events and positive outcomes celebrated.
The Crystal is a sponsor of The Drum Experience Awards. The finalists of these awards have been announced, you can purchase tickets to the event on 4 December at the Marriott Grosvenor Square London, now.