Startup founders have a number of goals and dreams for their ventures, and planning a launch event to introduce those goals and dreams to their target consumer market can be an exciting part of their journey. However, ensuring all the details of the launch event have been properly accounted for can feel extremely daunting.
Event launches require a large amount of planning, organization, and labor to go off without a hitch. There are a number of ways that startup founders and employees can plan and execute a successful event launch, allowing them to engage with their target audience and promote their new brand on a large scale.
Here are 5 tips for successfully kicking off your event launch.
1. Have clear goals and a strong plan
Every successful event starts with clear organizational goals and a strong plan. The objectives for the event should be clearly outlined to all stakeholders and employees. All team members should understand why the event is happening, what its goals are, the metrics being used to measure its success, and what each team member’s individual role will be regarding the event planning and execution.
2. Personalize everything
Every startup is different, and that uniqueness is your brand’s “special sauce.” By personalizing your event, you set yourself apart from the competition and make your event memorable for attendees.
Whether through digital means — such as recommendations based on personal preferences powered by AI — or face-to-face connections made at the event itself, adding a personal touch will make your event stand out in the minds of everyone who attends. This personalization will lead to ongoing brand recognition long after your event is over.
3. Create “moments”
With so many events happening both in-person and virtually, you need your event launch to stand out and grab the attention of your target market. Personalization is one approach, but creating memorable “moments” is also a great way to set your event apart from the rest.
Hands-on entertainment, training, or smaller “events within the event” are a great way to get attendees involved and engaged with your product, service, or brand. For example, an essential oils company could host a candle-making class where attendees can use the essential oils to create custom candles. In this example, attendees use the product, see its benefits for themselves, and get something to take home, bringing the brand outside the event.
If attendees have a takeaway from the event, they will be likely to post about it online. This organic word-of-mouth exposure should be one of the goals set for the event planning team.
Unique VIP experiences can be another way to create moments for attendees, get people to attend the event, and connect with your brand on a more personal level. Depending on specific brand engagement, people can earn VIP experiences they can only access if they attend the event. Engagement can be tracked through social shares, interaction with your product or service, or total visits to your booth — all of which entice people to attend the event and become highly engaged consumers.
4. Foster networking
When brands want to bring people into their events, few things draw people in and make them want to stay more than networking opportunities. People have an innate fear of missing out, and if they believe there will be important people at your event with whom they want to connect, they will make an extra effort to attend the event.
Entertainment opportunities are important, but networking opportunities are essential for any event to ultimately be successful. Attendees want to feel grateful for being invited and included in this important moment, especially if it furthers their career or connection to their industry in some way. With networking placed as a focus of your event, attendees will feel as if it’s all about them, rather than a particular brand or product.
5. Harness technology
There has been a litany of technology introduced to make events easier to attend, more engaging, and even safer in the face of worldwide pandemics. Video conferencing and live-streaming are two tech advancements that allow for even greater engagement and even draw people’s attention pre-launch.
Live streaming is especially useful for bringing celebrities or big-name industry leaders into your event at a lower cost. Tying a big name to your event can increase the number of attendees and increase excitement and engagement, but it’s not always feasible to have a big name or celebrity show up live. If you’re on a tight budget, it can be easier to livestream the attendance of a big name and still leverage their name to draw people to the event.
Other tech advancements — such as virtual reality, AI, and video conferencing with breakout room capabilities — can allow people to experience your brand in a new way or attend your event from halfway around the world. Even if your company is just getting started and hesitant to spend money on technology, it can be advantageous to consider some infusion of technology to reach a wider audience and offer more options at the event.
Any event launch can be a time of great excitement and anxiety for a startup as they start to get their brand off the ground and carefully plan to ensure everything goes smoothly. By following these tips and keeping an eye on unique touches and solid planning, your event launch can be a brand-defining success.
Oana Borcoman is the CEO of EVOKE: An Experience Agency