Ian Bamford of Foundry12 on building a compelling comms plan for your event.
Our audiences get bombarded, don’t they? Really bombarded.
Especially with good old email. If exhibitor numbers are low, if pre-reg is behind, hit ‘em with another email. Give them the same message as before, and the same as everyone else – the biggest, the leading, the most innovative or disruptive. But send it again anyway, that’s the answer. It’s not.
For an event to be successful and grow, audiences need to be convinced that exhibiting/attending is the best use of their time (and cash) because being there will help them grow their business. That’s right isn’t it? But convincing your audience doesn’t come from bombarding them with the same show-centric rather than customer-centric messages time after time. Convincing them is born out of thinking ‘audience first’ and asking what will actually help them, what are they really looking for?
Answering these questions is all about taking the time to understand clearly the issues each audience faces and identifying the different ways your event helps them solve those issues. Do so and you’ll not only identify your competitive advantage, you’ll develop a strong point of view on exactly how you help. From here you can build a compelling comms plan. One where each different way you help is a stand-alone, focused message delivered with clarity and empathy.
Convincing your audience doesn’t come from bombarding them with the same show-centric rather than customer-centric messages
Why is empathy vital? Because decision-making isn’t purely rational, it’s an emotional thing. Our audiences want to see the understanding we have for their business challenges. If our message fails to demonstrate empathy with their situation, how are we helping them? Why will it convince them now when it hasn’t before?
So, let’s give them genuinely insightful, emotive reasons to trust us. Embrace the imaginative, emotionally intelligent messages full of empathy we’re all exposed to every day and don’t choose the easy, safe, messages we’ve all seen before. Because our audiences have as well. And they’re tiring of them.
Take those sleep people, Simba. Sorry, we might just call them a bed company. Anyway, they’re currently running an ad with the headline “The unrest is history.” It’s simple, single-minded, and in just four words demonstrates intelligent humour and possesses confidence, but most importantly I understand what it’s offering me.
It isn’t shouting ‘our beds are great, believe us because we say so’, it taps into a truth we all recognise about the need for a good night’s sleep.
Which is exactly what event comms should do, shift the emphasis from saying how great we are, to articulating what that means for our audiences.
Which brings me back to having a strong point of view. With audiences facing a bewildering array of messages every day, it’s hard to cut through the noise. But a strong point of view demonstrating genuine understanding of their needs and showing them where we fit into their business is how we stand out and cut through that noise.
So, focus on your message to deliver something different. Don’t settle for bland, ‘me to’ messaging that fails to stir a single soul and quickly becomes wallpaper because it’s devoid of any edge or single-minded focus.
Find that conviction for why your event is the one that’ll help your audiences grow their business and stand out amidst all that other noise. They’ll understand how you can help them, they’ll see the value you offer, and they’ll be at your event.