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Creative Ways to Engage Event Guests With Your Brand

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Image courtesy of Luster 

By D. Channing Muller, Principal and Founder, DCM Communications

Anytime a company hosts, sponsors or exhibits at an event, there is a reason behind it. Whether it’s to drive sales, get more publicity, connect with customers, introduce a new product or simply increase brand awareness, there is one thing that is paramount to success: getting attendees engaged with said brand.

There are many ways to do this, but a few I’ve seen recently have stood out for their unique ties to the brand itself.

Example 1: Photo Booths … With a Twist

“Photo booths are so not new,” is what you may be thinking. And, to that end, you are correct. They’re not new. However, the way you approach them can make all the difference.

One of the reasons photo booths are so popular is because they work! Plain and simple. Guests love to take pictures with friends and share them directly on social media, so giving them that chance at your event is like shooting fish in a barrel.

However, let’s take that one step further as SmartMeetings magazine did at their recent IMEX activation in Las Vegas. What made it different? The props and printed photo put attendees directly on the cover of the magazine with a headline correlating to that of the actual issue: 2019 Planners of the Year.

SmartMeetings cover photo booth at IMEX.

Example 2: Make It Hands On (Literally)

VIBE Agency also did something similar when they took Hermés beauty advisers to Cancun for a multiday seminar to go over the newest products for the next season. Since sitting in a training seminar all day can easily make people’s eyes glaze over, VIBE’s Director Valerie Bihet set up an outdoor painting tent where attendees could paint their very own Hermés perfume bottle.

Hermés bottles (Courtesy of VIBE Agency)

“During those training moments, we always try to find a way to make it more fun and have people remember it in a more engaging way,” says Bihet, who added that each attendee took their customized bottle home as a souvenir.

Hermés bottles (Courtesy of VIBE Agency)

If you don’t have a tangible product, turn your guests into the product themselves with temporary tattoos. Las Vegas-based Champagne Creative Group offers a unique take on the standard airbrush tattoo with its Mystery Tattoo activation.

Also spotted at IMEX, the Mystery Tattoo has attendees put their arm in a hole cut out of a custom-designed backdrop tailored to your event. A temporary tattoo artist in the back then scans one of six custom-designed graphics onto the attendee. The designs can incorporate a brand’s logo and/or your event tagline or hashtag.

Champagne Creative Group tattoo wall (Courtesy of Champagne Creative Group)

Example 3: Fully Utilize the Power of Hashtags

Every event planner knows that you need to have a custom hashtag for your event to extend the reach beyond just those in the room. However, by taking advantage of Luster’s Hashtag Printers, you can add yet another engagement options to those in the room as well.

Luster printers (Courtesy of Luster)

It works like this: Attendees post an event pic on their Instagram or Twitter profiles using one of four predetermined hashtags. Luster’s technology receives the signal that the picture has been posted and mini printers deliver a photo that guests can take home with them.

The photos can also be used to create a larger mosaic image of your company logo, tagline or any other significant brand image on a designed wall of your event space.

“From personal experience, I can guarantee you, anyone who has contributed to the mosaic will be walking by regularly to watch its progress and guess what the final image will be,” says Melissa Park, a global event producer who has participated in the mosaic wall creation at multiple trade shows.

Example 4: Give Your Guests the Power

If you really want to get your guests to engage, give them the power to decide what happens next at the event via live polling. Turn your event into a Choose Your Own Adventure with a set of predetermined options (all of which your team is prepared to execute) and let guests vote which happens next. Think of it as a new twist on crowdsourcing your next step.

For instance, Park executed this via live polling at Dataworks Summit in Munich. She provided attendees of the multiday summit with the opportunity to choose what the company’s executive wore on stage during his keynote address. Options included a flamboyant Hawaiian shirt, character onesie or a pair of wacky socks.

“Because they felt part of it, our attendees filled the mobile app with images of the executive and his socks,” Park says. “The hashtag #crazysocks was even trending on Twitter that day.”

While this tactic is best suited for an all-day or multiday event logistically, it can also be applied to shorter timelines so long as your options are easy to change from one to another depending on what the crowd decides.

Mystery tattoo close up (Courtesy of Champagne Creative Group)

Whichever option you choose, the more you can provide ways for your attendees to truly connect with your brand, the more memorable your event will be along with any marketing and business purpose behind it.

D. Channing Muller is the principal and founder of DCM Communications, a marketing consulting firm based out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. She works primarily with event professionals and business owners to grow and scale their businesses through one-on-one and group coaching. She has over 15 years of experience in the communications industry, serving in top roles within marketing, magazine and web editorial, advertising and business development for a variety of media, software and PR companies in the United States and internationally. Follow her on Instagram @ChanningMuller.

Tags: event planning , live events , brand