So far all of your efforts have been dedicated to using branding for driving attendees to the event, and making sure their experience feels balanced and professional once they are at the event. Now how do you use the brand to keep the event, and its goals, in the minds of the attendees after they’ve left the event?
Not always an easy task. In most cases, the overall feeling and content of the event itself can do most of the work, and also by cleverly relating an important goal that the attendees may have in common while at the event. But we don’t want to solely rely on that. In our short attention span lives where we are constantly processing new things it is important to have triggers. Just make sure the leave behinds are worth keeping and make sense for the overlying message of the event.
Let’s face it though, unless you have an unlimited budget, these final items typically will fall close to the bottom of your “to do” list. And for most of us falls right off of that list by the time we get to it. Especially, I bet, for the organizers.
Let’s reuse a few points made in previous phases that could have much of the same value here.
Firstly, see if you can find an item already on your list of requirements that can be elevated and made archival. An example that comes to mind comes from a corporate client of mine that does an annual user conference. The centerpiece is an extensive booklet that holds not only all of the information about the various seminars and workshops, but also offsite activities, a map of the conference as well as sponsors and speaker profiles. While clearly a very inclusive and helpful guide, much effort in recent years has been made to weaved into the related sections of the guide copious photos of attendees while they are at the previous years conference. The reason for the effort is because it has been mentioned by folks that attend the conference year after year, that they love to see photos of fellow attendees they got to know and remember their experience. And I think secretly they also like it when they see themselves. Almost like a yearbook. Because of this sense of nostalgia, the attendees will keep the guides for years to come and it’s a good reminder and trigger when it comes up next year.
Fortunately this guide also serves a very important function at the conference, so the extra expense justifies itself. Having a nice central leave behind like this is not always an option or makes sense for an event. But this should begin to get the wheels turning in the area of considering what it is about your event that plays an important role like this and can also serve as memorabilia.
Another possibility, and probably most often the case, is to be functional with your leave behind. There are endless choices out there for inexpensive trinkets that you can get your logo printed on, and if you stick to some of the standards, like the ever faithful pens, there is a actually a decent chance they will have some shelf life in a desk drawer, but perhaps it’s time to think out of the box.
Pose yourself these questions:
- What is the event about, and what small inexpensive item might best represent that concept?
- What age group(s) is attending and what would they keep?
- What financial background do many of your attendees come from?
- And of course, can it be customized and mass-produced inexpensively enough to give away?
It’s a pretty obvious list in my mind, except perhaps the #3 item. Though even that one pops into most minds when considering incentives for anything. It’s unfortunate that you have to use commonalities like these to define your audience’s tastes, but it’s still probably the best way to make the best call.
And finally, be original. Be different. Be inventive. Just get outside the box. Find that voice that stands out from the crowd but still represents it. It’s a pretty chancy thing to do. But the reward of staying in the minds of your attendees could also be big. There’s no way to dwell on the endless possibilities of this, but put your head together with the organizer, really engage each other to identify with your audience, and see what falls out. Could be a key thing your audience ends up returning to year after year. Or the thing that made someone say, “That was totally clever or cool. These guys kind of get me, and I see myself wanting to support them.”