Event marketing…focus on the brand, not just the event

Over the past couple of weeks, I spent many hours planning and then managing a PGA golf event for my company.  For those of you “lucky” enough to have managed a big event for your company, I salute you.  

Since I am a marketer, I looked at the event in a different light than most non-marketers would.  Meaning, I viewed and managed it with our company brand in mind…not with just the “sale” in mind.  And, by doing this, I believe we had a much better presence at the Reno Tahoe Open this year then we have ever had.   

Here’s how:

  • Recruiting brand ambassadors rather than just volunteers—let’s face it, being the most competent employee doesn’t automatically qualify you as the best brand ambassador.  To ensure we had brand ambassadors, we made sure we had volunteers in our the 18th hole suite and our information booth that understood and could recite our brand promise and our elevator pitch.  That way we knew that everyone we encountered was receiving a consistent message about the company.
  • Focusing on the participant experience—since my focus was increasing brand awareness, understanding and equity, I had to make sure that every brand ambassador understood that their job each day was to make sure that the company’s brand experience is always positive—not just to provide information about the company, cleaning tables and/or getting people to buy our insurance. 
    • I impressed upon the brand ambassadors that they couldn’t have a bad day because the brand couldn’t afford to have a bad day—especially in this economy and in Nevada in particular (14% unemployment)!
  • Maximizing every opportunity to highlight the brand— we had to market our brand like our company’s success depends on it (because it does).  Thus, our folks focused on making the experience in our areas (the 18th hole suite and our information booth) a pleasurable one.  So, our folks weren’t just selling insurance, we were selling a brand experience to those with current and future potential. 
    • We also negotiated with the event organizer to ensure that we received the maximum brand exposure our sponsorship level would allow.  That meant checking and double checking that we received what were promised and many trips to the course before the event to check the progress of our requests.  

 So the next time you have the opportunity to sponsor an event (however small), remember to focus not only on the Return on Investment of your sponsorship, but your Return on Brand as well.

Happy Marketing!

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