Energy PR handles the communications for many leading events including Packaging Innovations, Luxury Property Show, StocExpo, Plant Based World, AntwerpXL and Toy Fair New York. The company recently completed a ground-breaking study into what determines whether a brand is loved. Louise Findlay-Wilson, managing director of Energy PR, walks us through the findings and considers what it takes to build a loved event brand…
According to research we conducted for our Brand Love report, people who love a brand are three times more likely to recommend it and twice as loyal. But how does an event go about establishing such love?
What Doesn’t Matter
Well first up, price and customer service, while important, aren’t the answers. Of course, price is a major lever of success when selling stand space. Equally, all those teams providing impeccable exhibitor and visitor support are fulfilling a crucial role. However, just 33 per cent of the 100 top marketers we interviewed for our report said value for money is important for brand greatness, and 34 per cent believe it is determined by customer support. Equally, only 11 per cent argue innovation matters.
Instead, they suggest we love brands with values which align with us (55 per cent), which are closely tied with our identity (38 per cent) and become part of our life (42 per cent). Let’s unpick a few of these and see what this means for an event brand.
This focus on identity has major implications for those trying to grow their event. When an exhibition is centred around a particular market or topic, people can easily identify with it as “theirs”. It’s much easier for the event to address their wants and needs and truly serve their community. It becomes closely tied with the audience’s identity. However, if you expand the event’s remit, yes you may well then have a show with a bigger audience and a bigger exhibitor base to target, but you potentially run the risk of being less special to anyone in particular. So, care needs to be taken as you grow.
Becoming part of someone’s life
There’s a real temptation to ramp up the communications during the build up to an event but not expend much effort (or money) during the down time. But you can’t be part of someone’s life if you only speak to them now and then.
Many event organisers now recognise this and are working hard to stay engaged with their community of exhibitors and visitors all year round. Indeed some are going to great lengths in this area, for instance, The Toy Association, which runs Toy Fair New York, has launched Toy Fair Everywhere, a B2B digital marketplace that lets both sellers and buyers do business every day from anywhere. This isn’t purely a lockdown initiative. It is aiming to become integral to its audience, with people checking into the portal as part of their daily routine.
The brands we love also have values that are in sync with our own. I appreciate that an event often has to be neutral in terms of its market stance, but that doesn’t preclude it from communicating a clear personality and values.
The last lesson for events brands who want to be a loved is don’t be complacent. In your bid for new business, don’t forget the customers you have. According to 58 per cent of marketers, this is the biggest mistake made on the road to greatness. That’s because it shatters trust, and trust above all else, is the most important attribute of a great, loved brand.