Why and how to create a stand-out event for your brand in 2023 – in the aftermath of the pandemic and in looming tougher economic times.

As we head back to the office after the holiday festivities, we’re shifting our focus to planning mode for marketing in 2023. How do we make 2023 our biggest year yet – in a flooded market, with digital content overload, and with the looming threat of a possible recession? 

One strategy often forgotten or put into the ‘too-hard’ or ‘too expensive’ basket is events.  

But as we distance ourselves further and further from the memory of COVID and the dreaded Zoom meetings and virtual events, it’s time to stop looking at events as merely a ‘nice to have’ and start considering them as a must-have in your 2023 marketing strategy.  

Marketing teams and agencies have viewed events purely as an expense, seeing minimal value in their output and favouring more traditional marketing activities. 

Yet studies continue to show events can see higher investment returns and achieve better marketing goals than traditional campaigns. An Event Track study in 2019 found over ‘98% of users stated they felt more inclined to purchase a product after attending an activation’. 

So how can you create a stand-out event for your brand in 2023? Let’s look at four ways to maximise your investment: 

1.Create Events that Hones In On Your “Why” and Drives Leads

Events have the incomparable benefit of an engaged target audience in one room, ready to experience your new brand or next product in a way no digital experience can. 

Creating an event that’s interactive, fun, memorable and showcases every part of your product or service, and most importantly, your ‘why’ or purpose as a brand is fundamental for 2023.

Events get you connecting with your audience on a deeper emotional level, building relationships that last long after that next click. 

With engagement rates online at an all-time low, can your five likes on your latest Instagram post really compete with this? 

Having seen first-hand the direct impacts of this with a Charity event last year we worked on raising over $100,00 in one night, breaking records of what was raised in the entire previous year. Capturing the already engaged room with stories from those that directly benefit from the charity, got attendees digging deep and quickly to support. 

2. Give Your Loyal Brand Fans Love 

In a similar vein, creating events to celebrate those VIP or existing customers is one of most powerful ways to boost loyalty, keep them coming back for more and build your community. 

As Maya Angelou says ‘people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

Make your customers feel involved and important, leaving them with a memory of an incredible event – and part of your brand family. 

Bumble’s most recent activation got their community chatting as they discussed dating trends for 2023. 

Engaging professionals in their field to speak to their community about what they all want answers to, ‘how to date in 2023?’ sparking a new wave of confidence and ‘what if’ in the platform. 

So, think about an event you can do that’s just for your VIP community – they’re of course, your most loyal brand lovers, powerful referral base and creating customers for life.

3. Events that “Break the Internet” – Events that spark UCG

The modern-day word of mouth recommendations – user-generate content is of course one of the biggest drivers of leads.  So how do you use events to leverage UCG? 

Contests, brand development/collaboration opportunities, product personalisation and leveraging influencer marketing are just a few great examples which give consumers a unique and hands on opportunity to participate in your brand’s growth instead of passively viewing it from the sidelines. 

With its organic delivery, raw nature, and community spirit, UGC is the perfect form of content to show off your brand is a more authentic and inclusive way which comes across as a less intrusive form of marketing your product or service. 

Just like Kim K broke the internet with her infamous champagne bottle photo, brands like Petal and Pup are constantly all over our feeds with images from beautiful launch events for their influencer collab fashion lines.

Their most recent micro launch event with Georgie Stevenson, with only roughly 15 attendees, saw them tagged 16 posts with a combined organic reach of over 728,000 followers. 

And it’s also a key driver to deepen audience/business relationships which in turn creates more brand loyalty. So, get ready to see a boost in community engagement folks.  

You’ll create new brand advocates shouting your name from the Uber drive home and get you breaking the internet. 

4. Drive that bottom dollar

Of course, sales are what most of us marketers and business owners care about at the end of the day, especially in a year that’s all about watching our spending. 

While the true power of events may not always be directly and instantly measurable, more often than not, events will prove to be your biggest, immediate driver of sales, and there are many ways you can make it directly measurable.

Forbes states that more than 93% of customers have reported being more influenced to purchase by in-person events than by what they see on their screens. 

The numbers speak for themselves. Just look at brands like Country Road and Aje. who are already reguarly using community based events to activate their stores through drink and donut carts. 

Research by Shopify suggests over 75% of consumers are more convinced to shop in a store because of an instore activation, and 93% are likely to make repeat purchases in future. 

Let’s do this

So make 2023 your biggest year bringing to life a powerful event that drives your marketing strategy.  

It’s your trump card to not just surviving but thriving in the aftermath of the pandemic and in looming tougher economic times – and building a rock-solid community long after 2023.