Scott Steinberg is an award-winning professional speaker and one of today’s best-known trends experts and futurists. He is the bestselling author of The Business Etiquette Bible, Make Change Work for You: 10 Ways to Future-Proof Yourself, Fearlessly Innovate and Succeed Despite Uncertainty (TarcherPerigee, 2016). Among today’s leading providers of keynote speeches, workshops and seminars for Fortune 500 firms, his website is www.AKeynoteSpeaker.com.
Great stories are what make memorable movies, books and TV shows stand out from the crowd. Similarly, arresting tales and compelling narratives are what help us remember iconic events — and the businesses and brands behind them.
In the corporate world and event planning business, these yarns are constantly being spun in the form of marketing, advertising and promotional efforts. A brand’s story serves as a handy way to convey your company’s message, build credibility, establish an organization’s vision, motivate buyers and build lasting customer loyalty.
Looking to increase interest in your organization and attendance at your events?
Below are eight ways to help audiences better identify with the ideas and ideals you represent, and generate lasting enthusiasm and empathy for both your event-based programs and enterprise.
1. Offer case studies, insights and real-world examples. Connecting ideas with end results and demonstrating how challenges were overcome through applied effort and ingenuity can help build credibility and interest for your event business among customers. To this extent, consider presenting problem- and solution-based content, e.g., whitepapers, post-mortems and case studies, which (like client testimonials and behind-the-scenes examinations) can prove powerful ways to narrate tales of how real-life problems were overcome through ingenuity and insight. When paired with video clips, quotes and commentary from actual attendees, testimonial videos and other personal details, the practice helps put a more human face on both your events and your organization and build credibility in viewers’ eyes.
2. Take viewers behind the scenes and spotlight key teams or contributors. Another easy way to add a personal element to your online event or organization is to highlight the people and teams that make your programs and business so successful and unique. Consider letting real-life contributors with an authentic tale to which audiences can relate share their story, whether it involves personal insights, humorous anecdotes or accounting of recent professional exchanges that relate to your event/company’s mission or core competencies. Doing so not only helps put a more memorable and human face on your events and organization, it also helps others realize that your business is made up of unique individuals who share in similar interests, trials and triumphs.
3. Be an industry insider and subject matter expert. Another effective way to tell your event program or organization’s story is to reinforce your subject matter expertise and authority by serving as a source for advice, insight and innovation. Providing employees (and event contributors) with a public voice — e.g., by letting them pen industry-related blogs, film Q&A videos with leading experts or author whitepapers that showcase new developments and insights — that creates value for readers, listeners or viewers can help produce a vehicle through which to build a compelling content library and establish thought leadership. Doing so allows you to demonstrate your team’s unique perspective and talents, as well as reinforce its position of being on the cutting-edge of your chosen industry. Showcasing key data, research and findings, or providing headline-grabbing articles, video clips and visual assets can help add substance and credibility to your business’s event outreach efforts.
4. Find unique ways to recount and share your origins. Just as Tesla founder Elon Musk and Craigslist creator Craig Newmark are often fond of doing, look for new and novel ways to recount your event or organization’s humble beginnings, and show viewers how it all got started. Recounting your organization’s salad days and revealing some of the personal and professional struggles you’ve encountered puts a more personal face on the business. It also helps viewers better empathize with you and boosts likeability. Just be sure to be positive, straightforward and self-aware — the point isn’t shameless promotion or self-aggrandizement, but rather spinning a compelling yarn which millions can relate to and learn from.
5. Explore interactive and cutting-edge solutions. To make your event business or brand’s story truly stand out, try translating its ideals into more than mere words. Providing interactive options — e.g., apps, augmented reality tools, 3D maps and programs, video games, customizable visuals or videos, surveys, quizzes, user-generated content programs, etc. — may not only boost audience engagement. It may also enhance learning and retention, provide unique context and help customers better understand what your event or business is about. Giving attendees a way to contribute to the conversation by entering their own submissions (via voice, video, votes, visual contributions or otherwise) and allowing commenting/sharing on or remixing of official assets can also be a powerful vehicle for heightening interest and uptake in both event programs and organizations.
6. Don’t just focus on the past — discuss where you’re looking to go. Sometimes, it’s not enough to cover where your events or event business has been. How about sharing your vision with attendees/customers on where you want to go and what’s next on your business agenda? Likewise, consider soliciting their input and feedback — public opinion is the best focus group money can’t buy. All reinforce the point that you’re listening to showgoers and customers, value their opinion and create the impression that the best is yet to come.
7. Salute your community and your heroes. Everyone has someone they look up to — even businesses. Take some time to highlight key community members and fans that have supported you along your journey, and discuss the organizations and leaders who’ve influenced the way you and your events operate. Make sure to point out why you admire the individuals, companies or leaders in question, and how you’ve worked hard to adopt some of their thinking, strategies and principles into your operations today.
8. Speak about topics close to your heart. Touch upon something that drives or inspires you and use it to explain your event brand and organization’s positioning. For example, TOMS shoes was founded around the idea of donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for each pair of shoes purchased. This philanthropic outlook and mission not only drives the business’s core values and direction, but the tale behind it also indelibly wound its way into the public vernacular, where it’s become one of today’s most memorable case studies. Likewise, TED conferences were organized to promote “ideas worth spreading.” By speaking passionately about values and causes that are important to you and your organization, you may gain some new admirers, as well as inspire others to take action and support a cause they believe in, too. C&IT