Attendee engagement is a journey. Brands strive to build an emotional connect with a consumer. It begins with powerful messaging. But brands can sustain this only by creating amazing experiences, and building a community.
Events are a high touch point channel for brand to connect with a highly activated audience.
The journey of a brand’s connect with its attendees begins with Brand visibility, and progresses towards Brand activation, then engagement and finally creating Brand Ambassadors.
Technology is a great enabler for consumer engagement whether it is in events or elsewhere. Social media and cross-channel marketing strategies are quite powerful in reaching out to potential consumers. But, often brand connect and social communities stay out of sync. It is important to have solutions that create a unified persona of the consumer across the different channels.
Also important, is the need to understand the consumer’s context, and target relevant content based on her location, interests and preferences.
At AIDA, we see this connect between brand and consumer evolve through 5 stages.
Introducing the Attendee Engagement Funnel
Guidance: When a brand initiates it’s connect with consumers, it is crucial to guide, educate and inform them.
This is the first step towards understanding what a brand stands for, and what the consumer can gain from the brand.
In the case of events, the program schedule, speaker list, venue etc. serve the purpose of guidance.
But, bringing in an interactive aspect to this information can change the way a consumer receives this. Structuring content such that it leads a consumer on a journey of discovery, can help make Guidance a fun way to connect to the consumer.
Simple interactions, such as RSVP on agenda, guided maps; chat to speakers etc. can go a long way in establishing the ground for the next stage of Engagement.
Engagement: As consumers embark on their journey of content discovery, they find more and more reasons to engage with the brands. Even asking for more information or expressing an opinion about the brand’s content can be gratifying.
This engagement sets the grounds for brands to initiate 2 way conversations with their consumers.
In events, many of these conversations are primarily face-to-face. Can technology complement these face-to-face conversations? The answer is a resounding Yes.
Polls, surveys, event activity walls, 1 on 1 chat with organizers/ event partners etc. are easy to use technology complements. Games such as Treasure Hunts are an effective way to activate your audience. They can have a great time while discovering brand content!
Community: When people have a good time, they tell others about it. They create their own communities, and share their experiences. This is a key social behavior that brands can leverage. Social media is a space where most of a brand’s community building happens today. But, social media is an open forum. A consumer needs to sift through a lot of noise before they can find relevant content.
There is a need today to create a channel that can seamlessly combine social media advantages with the private social context of a brand. White labeled mobile apps serve as a context aware channel for brands to achieve this.
Providing a space for attendees to connect to other delegates, share, like and comment on event activities, creating a social buzz in the context of the event, creating multi lingual content etc. can nudge even the passive attendee into being part of the larger event community.
Achievement: Sustaining the community connect, conversations is equally essential. Recognizing the influencers in the community, responding actively to the pulse of the community, identifying trending topics is a good way to begin. But, unless there is a sense of achievement that your consumer can realize from her engagement, this buzz is likely to die down.
Gamification is a great way to push the community engagement to the nest stage. Can you reward the active participants or even promote a healthy competition among the peers? Combine social conversations with in-venue gratification by launching in-venue gamified social walls. Plan a crowd sourced social activity that can result in a larger achievement or reward for the entire community. For instance, if 50 photos are posted under the event hashtag in the next 1 hour, everyone gets a free coupon!
Brands no more need to worry about creating content, since the community has started co-creating content for them.
Influence: When the community is so highly activated, everyone is a brand ambassador. Even the passive consumer, is now an active influencer for the brand.
In the case of events, this translates into extending these conversations over and beyond the event. Turning them into a year long conversation channel, and as a lead up to the next edition.
So, what are you waiting for? Start your journey with AIDA today. Activate your passive consumer into passionate brand ambassadors.