Surekha Ragavan
Jul 19, 2018

“Why” more important than “what” for event planners: AMEX

“The ‘why’ of the brand should encapsulate not what it does, but how it will make its consumers feel"

Harley Davidson's Live Your Legend China Rally.
Harley Davidson's Live Your Legend China Rally.

In 2018, it's a given that attendee experience and engagement is key to ensure brands and corporates achieve their event and branding objectives. In AMEX’s Global Meetings Forecast, meeting planners across the globe agreed that if budgets were to increase, they would choose production and content as their preferred area of investment.

Based on a new AMEX whitepaper about the “why” of branding principles, an outcome-based approach is more effective to design a memorable event for attendees. The report comes at a time where event professionals are beginning to prioritise content and engagement over costs and more tangible ROIs.

According to the report, the “why” can help communicate the emotional and functional attributes of the brand. “The ‘why’ of the brand should encapsulate not what it does, but how it will make its consumers feel,” it said.

For instance, Harley Davidson wants their brand to fulfil the personal dreams of freedom for their riders and to evoke feelings of independence, authenticity and passion for being on the open road. These "feelings" should come through in events through content and design, with the former guiding the latter.

The first step to deciding what the “why” of the brand is to first determine the qualitative outcomes of a brand event. The report said that a good exercise for planners is to “define the behaviour change the event will impact”. This could include “improving new product knowledge”, “building customer loyalty” or “inspiring participants to engage”.

Thereon, it’s also key to get to know your participants in order to understanding how you want to make them feel at the event. Whether through mood boards or pre-event surveys, getting to know who’s attending your event could be what makes it a transformational experience for them.

Finally, the functional and design aspects of the event come into play. Still focusing on the “why”, planners should think about pre-event, on-site, and post-event elements that can improve experiences. These could range from invitations, registration, business matching, and continuous education long after the event is over.


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