High-profile flagship corporate events, like a conference for a Fortune 500 global salesforce or the premier professional gathering in an industry, have a lifecycle that goes way beyond the actual days of the live event. And to be sure all of that time, energy, and most important, money, isn’t wasted, a comprehensive, strategically crafted marketing and enablement digital experience campaign is absolutely essential.
Once the business objectives and messaging are set, the branding of the event in place, the attendees have to actually hear about the event and get excited, be able to register, learn about the event, make a schedule, attend, retain and access important material during and after the event, and provide feedback. And if all that goes well, they will look forward to the event again next year. In effect, a company can have the most inspiring, unifying, brand-equity-creating message and branding in the world. If the audience doesn’t have a seamless, customized, memorable journey for months before and after the actual event, it doesn’t matter. The audience has to be there, and not so frustrated by the tedium of digital roadblocks and pain points that the message gets lost, or worse, seems inauthentic.
That is, the lifespan of the event is much longer than the moment the participant experiences what they would identify as the event itself. And in the world today, the vast majority of these touchpoints are delivered digitally. These are massive integrated campaigns.
And we’re experts at digital experience (DX).
Here are some (far from all) of the digital assets we create to empower participants and set the stage for our clients to execute successful events year after year.
No one will come to an event if they don’t know about it. Even if an event is mandatory, things like when to book travel, when to register, why someone should be excited need to be communicated. In-person, virtual, or hybrid, an email will almost certainly be the first thing that makes a potential participant aware of an upcoming event.
Strategically, an email can have different purposes, which will affect its tone and voice, and it has to reinforce the verbal-visual branding. Whatever the purpose of an individual email, the personality, voice, and tone must match the wider company’s brand.
A typical slate of emails includes a save-the-date, an invitation when registration is available, often a registration reminder closer to the event (people are busy and the internet is full of distractions!), a hype email immediately prior to the event, and a post-event thank you and feedback email. There are often other reminders and mid-event communications thrown in.
Of course, these aren’t quickly typed out messages in an ordinary email client. They must be beautifully designed and strategically effective. The verbal-visual theme will be included and will already start to tell the story the company wants to convey at the actual event. People are short on attention and interest, so the copy must be engaging and exciting but also very brief. And the recipient must know exactly what they need to do next and be able to take that step, whether that means adding the event dates to their calendar or registering, quickly and very easily. Throughout the journey from email to next step, key messages need to be reinforced.
Throughout the entire sequence, pre to post event, messaging, voice, content, and design must all be on brand, both for the larger company and for the event itself. It’s a disciplined continuous narrative. And usually a well-designed and written email will push to the web.
Big events need a main portal for registered and potential participants. Again, a great event is nothing if people can’t sign up. Landing pages, linked to from the email or accessible by url, provide a space to learn more about the event, to dive deeper into the schedule and content, and critically, to register and learn next steps.
These landing pages, similar to the emails, will evolve as important information about participation is released, not so much to overwhelm, but not so static as to not convey key details at just the right moments. Also once again, the verbal-visual theme conveys the central story and messaging of the event. The copy here, all web copy, must be brief and yet has to be enticing enough that potential participants take that next step to become actual participants.
This is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle, and where participants are going to spend a lot of their time. The platform is the digital component of the event, the primary pillar of the digital experience. A great digital platform includes a wide variety of content and ways to engage. It will contain core information like sessions, schedules, and speakers as well as enhanced ways for attendees to get involved: gamification, social media, media sharing opportunities, archived media… the list can get very long.
The platform is also much more static than the touchpoints outlined above, but often include various event states, like pre-event and live-event. They are architecturally complex and must be functionally rock solid, visually exciting and on brand, and verbally clear and energizing at the same time.
All of these digital pieces have to be designed, connected, unified, considered in relation to one another. A massive event, in-person, virtual, or hybrid, can be made or broken by the accompanying digital experience and participant enablement campaign.
We empower clients to be able to focus on and convey their most important messages by making it possible for those who should be there to be. Every step of the way risks losing attention, confusing someone, losing sight of the core message or slipping out of the brand personality, tone, and voice.
It takes discipline, outstanding sleep-well project management, a strategically holistic cradle-to-grave approach to make these events as extraordinary as they can be. We make it possible for participants to get the information they need, navigate logistical and administrative necessities, and ultimately take away something really great, whether that’s the latest business strategy, knowledge about the most recent breakthrough innovation, or simply the reassurance that they’re in an important business relationship with the right company.