In this white paper we explore the event planning and management journey, with tips, tricks and tools to create your most successful event yet.
June 19, 2021
What’s the best event you’ve ever been to? Whatever the event, the fact you are remembering it right now is what counts. This is the power of event marketing - it delivers what our subconscious craves; human emotion, connection and long-term positive memories. In this white paper we explore every stage of the event planning and management journey, and provide you with tips, tricks and tools to create your most successful event yet.
In this white paper we explore the event planning and management journey, with tips, tricks and tools to create your most successful event yet.
What’s the best event you’ve ever been to? Was it a prestigious awards show, a cocktail party on a luxury yacht or VIP hospitality at the Grand Prix? A child’s graduation from Oxbridge, a birthday extravaganza at a 6-star hotel or a friend’s tropical island wedding. Perhaps you were lucky enough to secure tickets to a James Bond premiere, an Adele gig or a box at a Premier League football team game?
Whatever the event, the fact you are remembering it right now is what counts, especially when, we’re guessing, it’s been a while since you have been to a live event?
This is the power of event marketing. No other marketing form can trigger the intensity of human emotion, the strength of connection and entrench long-term positive memories as effectively as a well-planned, impeccably-run and perfectly-executed event. That’s because events deliver what our subconscious craves: that vivid, bright, new and unexpected entertainment which has entranced our minds since we were kids.
From dazzling interactive live art installations to incredible VR-infused gamified interactions, events have all the necessary ingredients to enthuse our minds, satisfy our curiosity and leave a lasting impression. It’s no wonder that most marketing executives consider events the most effective marketing channel; they’re the cherry on top of the marketing cake.
However, not all events are equal (as anyone who’s endured endless Covid-enforced webinars can attest to). With the right objective, strategy, message and execution, an event – be it virtual or live – can revolutionise a brand’s image, awareness, engagement and bottom line. On the flip side, not giving an event adequate consideration can cost a brand unnecessary time and money.
To succeed, events must be crafted with purpose and vision, curated with scientific backing and carried out with meticulous enthusiasm. In this step-by-step guide, Rebel & Soul will reveal the secrets to excellent event planning and management during and post a pandemic, because we believe that now is the time to start reconnecting with people, in person and we will dish up all the safety considerations to do so. We’ll also talk about the essential role of memory-making in event marketing and the importance of hiring the right event marketing professionals. Buckle up, it’s going to be one memorable ride.
First, some context: marketing is all about making memories. Embedding a positive brand association or forging a strong consumer-brand connection in the long-term memory is the marketing holy grail. But why, we hear you say. And how do you do it?
Well, in 2003, one of the godfathers of neuromarketing, Gerald Zaltman, asserted that 95% of human cognition takes place in the subconscious mind. That’s 95% of behaviours, habits and emotions. 95% of our responses to products and services. 95% of our response to all forms of marketing. 95% of what makes you, you is non-conscious. From a marketing perspective, it was quite the bombshell; proof that targeting the subconscious was the best way to influence consumer behaviour.
Zaltman’s findings also proved that what we say we like (conscious) and what we actually like (subconscious) are two very different things. It was therefore pointless for marketers to go after consumers’ conscious desires with a flashy advert that would go in one ear, out the other. Instead, marketers needed to specifically design marketing campaigns, which spoke to consumers’ subconscious desires.
That’s why at Rebel & Soul, we blended the latest memory-making neuroscience insight to develop an award-winning methodology, INVOLVE®. We apply INVOLVE® to the design of every marketing campaign to create what we like to call ‘neuroexperiences’. From exploding chocolate desserts at star-studded client appreciation galas to scent-infused boutique cinemas with interactive branded content, our neuroexperiences are designed to stir the subconscious and imprint positive brand message memories.
The eight-stage events management process
From pinpointing the event objective all the way through to post-event communications, events are a thrilling journey. At Rebel & Soul, our eight-stage process ensures we’re with you every step of the way.
1. The ‘why’
Every event journey should start with a simple question: why? This question has never been so pertinent than now, the time when ‘social’ has a closer affinity to the word ‘distance’ than it does to drinking or dancing. Face-to-face events are still one of the most powerful ways for brands to reach their target audience, but they first need to work out why they’re interacting in the first place. Do you need to boost brand loyalty amongst your existing customers or promote a new product to millennials (three-quarters of whom prefer experiences over things)? Brands need to choose realistic and achievable reasons and objectives for hosting an event. Not only will this shed light on whether an event is the best marketing channel for your campaign and guide decisions on event type, but also help you define success (KPIs), provide strategic direction, enable accurate execution and, ultimately, realise those pre-determined aims. Finalising the ‘why’ is the cog that sets every other wheel in motion, lighting the fuse and starting the countdown to an incredible event launch. Read on for some more tips to get the ball rolling.
2. The brief
Brands should think about their own requirements, KPIs and means, and work with an event management company (ahem Rebel & Soul) to build these into a detailed event brief. The foundations of the brief are objective and budget: knowing why you are planning an event and how much you have to spend will define the event’s scope and scale (whether the event will be a futuristic light show across the Golden Gate Bridge or a VIP sunset safari at London Zoo, for example). From there, it’s important to consider location, date, attendees, target audience reach and any entertainment or event channel preferences you have, as well as the learnings from previous events you’ve hosted. Top of your consideration list now should also be safety and ensuring that your guests can have incredible experiences in a pandemic proof way. Sharing this information with event professionals as early as possible increases your chances of booking your ideal venue and date (the hottest spots, dates and entertainment are naturally the most in-demand) and also helps them build a memorable, impact-targeted event that blends agency know-how and vision with brand ideas and parameters.
3. The strategy
Like any journey, sometimes you just want to hit the open road, but taking the time to plan out a strategic route for your event ensures you don’t deviate from its primary purpose. Coming up with an event strategy is a data-supported exercise. Working in tandem with event professionals, brands should first look internally to see what part of their business the event can boost (e.g. awareness of the awesome jetpack services you’ve started providing). Next, it’s all about analysing previous event data (e.g. demographics and attendance rates), scraping external sources (e.g. social media trends) and extracting the key insights to work out what your target audience is craving. Meanwhile, planners should align the event with a brand’s wider corporate strategy and messaging, while also making it impossible for attendees to say no. Bundle all that brand insight, consumer data, key objectives and professional knowledge into a strategy and you’ve got a one way ticket to memory town.
4. The concept
The concept is the creative event idea that delivers a brand’s message. Winding back to the question posed at the beginning of this article – ‘what’s the best event you’ve ever been to?’ – there’s a good reason you didn’t think of a tedious seminar or standard networking event: our brains are hardwired to remember the new and exciting, the intriguing and engaging, the vivid and the varied. Yet, while our subconscious remembers the compelling and uses these memories to influence our future behaviour, it also deals with thousands of stimuli per day (60,000-80,000 according to some estimates), so to make an indelible mark, an event has to stand out. That’s why at Rebel & Soul we apply our neuroscience-based INVOLVE® methodology at the concept stage (and all other stages from concept to execution) to help create and deliver eye-popping, heart-pumping, memory-inducing ideas that of course, are also achievable, on brand and within budget.
5. The campaign
It’s campaign time. After weeks of planning, it’s time to harness that creative energy and mould your dream event. While every event will have a unique style and focus, there are some pre-production stages that are common to all. We call them the five Ps: Plan, Partner, Place, Practice, Permission. Plan: that’s choosing event professionals and curating an event plan with realistic timelines and deadlines. Partner: that’s partnering with a variety of incredible suppliers, such as carpenters to build a one-of-a-kind revolving stage or securing a contract with a new drinks brand to provide limited edition smoking cocktails. Place: that’s visiting the site on multiple occasions, double-checking facilities, ensuring space for Covid testing and applying for licences. Practice: that’s rehearsing the event with a skeleton crew, directing the performances, drafting the emcee script and ensuring production runs to schedule. Permission: that’s getting permits for any (financial and operational) changes, providing the finishing touches and preparing to go full steam ahead. That’s, in short, working with Rebel & Soul.
6. The event production
Lights, camera, action. Organising a live event production is like conducting an orchestra: bringing together all the event elements in jaw-dropping, sense-overriding harmony. At Rebel & Soul, we meticulously plan, rehearse and fine-tune the production and then synchronise the timing, equipment and personnel on the day to ensure a five-star Covid safe performance. For timing, that’s considering things like second-by-second production schedules, streamlined logistics and live run sheets. For the team, it’s about having the right calibre and skillset of staff, briefing them, looking after them, making them feel valued and ensuring they all know their roles inside-out. With a watertight production plan in place, we’re also ready to embrace the unexpected and improvise any hiccup (i.e. the band gets Covid) into a thumbs up (i.e. swooping in a replacement music act in record time).
7. The post-production
Even before the last guests have left the building, it’s time to roll-out the post-production plan. Post-event is primetime for reinforcing a brand’s message and making long-term positive memories. First, the event organiser should produce a wrap-up report, collating feedback from wider operations teams and gathering any pre-agreed last-minute budgetary changes to help prepare the final reconciled budget. This will simplify event analysis and also help produce case studies for sharing online or entering into awards. Next, brands would do well to harness the power of FOMO and share awesome content online – think photos of the firework display, videos of the live circus performance and testimonials from awe-filled attendees. This is an easy (and free of charge) way to spread the event message to a wider target audience. Finally, brands should also consider seeking award recognition and look at how to connect with attendees going forward.
8. The return on investment (ROI)
Now for the number-crunching. Measuring and evaluating the success of an event can be easy – for example, the number of sign-ups to a loyalty scheme post-event – or tricky, such as improved consumer sentiment towards your brand. For most events, it’s a mixture of the two and that’s why calculating event marketing ROI is crucial. From quantifying and sharing base metrics that best suit the event objectives to analysing changes at various touchpoints, there are many methods to work out ROI (we sometimes add ROI-measuring tools such as cool wearable tech, interactive biometrics and hidden camera systems to our neuroexperiences). Then it’s all about weighing up the data that’s most important and coming up with a tangible success rate (KPI targets) like the number of attendees, engagements, ticket sales, sign ups or ongoing sales as a result of the event(s) and percentage growth. At Rebel & Soul, we naturally have a formula to quantify the memories made too.
The event management dilemma: going solo
Events are fun. Events are easy. Events are just booking a venue, sending a few invites and clinking a few champagne flutes, right? Well, not exactly. There’s a reason that a worldwide events industry exists: they’re not as easy as many people think. From managing multiple partner relationships, suppliers and internationally-based colleagues to hiring venues with complex contractual requirements, entertainment with very detailed needs, Covid safe regulations and security and caterers who need managing by the second, events can be time-consuming and expensive. That’s why even large corporations with full-time events coordinators don’t do it on their own.
Whether in New York, Paris or Singapore, event management companies can also perform event miracles. Here’s a few of examples of where our trusty Rebel supplier directory has come in handy:
For those still wondering what difference an event management company can make, just remember the words of one of the organisers of the infamous Fyre Festival, the ‘luxury’ music festival that was cancelled due to poor (read ‘dire’) planning: “We thought we were ready, but then everyone arrived. The team was overwhelmed. The airport was jam-packed. The buses couldn’t handle the load. And the wind from rough weather took down half of the tents on the morning our guests were scheduled to arrive.”
The events management dilemma: going pro
Ok, ok. Yes, we’re an events management company highlighting the benefits of using an events management company, but for good reason: hosting an event is a proven channel for successfully engaging with clients and achieving wider company goals. It’s no accident that the experience economy is set to reach $8 trillion by 2030. With that in mind, it pays to have the best on board. Here’s a few reason why:
Reach out to the memory-makers
There’s event marketing companies, then there’s Rebel & Soul. As master memory-makers, we don’t just plan events, we INVOLVE® them ensuring our neuroexperiences live long in the memory of your target audience. But, don’t just take our word for it. From reaching 12.5 million people with Heineken’s ‘Can you see music’ and achieving 79.5x industry ROI for HSBC’s Origins of Luxury to devising a three day immersive experience for Land Rover and delivering 11 live experiences across five days for Glenfiddich Grand Cru, we not only know the why, the who, the when and the how, we get the results and positive customer feedback too. “Everything was premium, seamless, easy and provided a true luxury experience,” said David North, Global Head of Brand Advocacy at William Grant & Sons Brands Ltd of the Glenfiddich event. “The feedback from our guests has been overwhelmingly positive. It genuinely was the best launch I’ve been involved in.”
With positive vaccine news on the horizon and consumers itching for something new, why don’t you come and make some memories with us?
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