5 unexpected benefits of hosting live events

Events expert Nicky Milligan reveals five positive outcomes your business could get from holding its own events

Think of the best sporting event, concert or festival you have ever been to: a spine-tingling experience that enthused and enthralled you, and very possibly left you with life-long memories of the occasion.

I think most people would agree there’s nothing like being involved in the moment as something special is happening. The same is true of live events.

Whether that’s brands and other organisations speaking to an audience of employees, customers or consumers, the chance to gather together people with a shared purpose is priceless.

Events are a significant opportunity for brands to drive face-to-face engagement with people from all walks of life across cultural, demographic and geographical boundaries.

They provide a fantastic platform to talk directly to active individuals who are eager to hear what you have to say.

It’s a chance to get your message across to a captive audience, adding something to people’s lives that they weren’t previously aware of, building their experience of your business.

Critically, holding an event allows you to identify and nurture the people you should pay the most attention to. They are the ones who are searching for solutions, committed to finding answers and willing to do what it takes to solve their problem.

More often than not, if you build an event focussing on these issues, people will happily come along.

There are many benefits to investing in events. They provide the opportunity to grow your network of customers and advocates, which can quickly lead to positive developments in areas including recruitment, lead generation, and identification of suppliers, partners and consultants.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Events provide a whole host of other positive outcomes, including:

1. Learning things you didn’t know about your market

The educational component of attending a conference is significant. There is no better way to generate ideas for your marketing campaigns or other business strategies than sharing ideas with other professionals in your field – or with the people who are buying your products or services, and ultimately helping the organisation to grow.

2. Recognition of your capabilities from stakeholders, employees and investors

A conference can be a great place to get recognition for your own ideas. This means showcasing the best campaigns and results to stakeholders, ranging from employees who may have missed the highlights of your operations during the previous year to investors who are willing to commit more money to a successful operation.

3. Branding that makes your business stand out against competitors

Hosting an event brands your business, and you as the organiser, as an expert in your industry. This is critical in a crowded marketplace where setting out the organisation’s ethos and successes can be a way of getting noticed.

4. Motivation for your entire team and the unsung heroes

There is no better way to get inspired than through the sharing of ideas. Conferences and events are a terrific opportunity to involve the whole workforce, from the creative genius of your marketing department to the quietly brilliant guys in IT, in debating and honing the future strategy of the business.

5. Technology that boosts engagement with your customers and prospects

Advancing technology means we live in a world of screen-based experiences, making live events even more important. This will remain a key way of building emotional connections between your brand and all of its audiences. Perhaps ironically, once you have your customers and prospects in a room, they will be expecting technology to enhance their experience. We spend two hours and 42 minutes per day, on average, on mobile devices – a large proportion of which is app usage. Having an event app is no longer just ‘nice to have’, it’s demanded.

Last September, we created and ran John Lewis’s 150th Anniversary event for all of the company’s employees. Some 8,000 Partners (employees) descended on Birmingham, while 2,000 watched the occasion via live screens in Edinburgh and Wembley.

The event’s three main objectives were to celebrate the business’s achievements, tell the John Lewis story in a theatrical and compelling way, and get Partners to think about and contribute to the future of the organisation.

It was built around an agenda of 50% enlightenment about the company and 50% engagement, to keep people engaged. Paloma Faith and Supergrass’s Gaz Coombes were among the performers and the show was hosted by Davina McCall.

The client hailed the event a success and received many letters of feedback from Partners sharing their pride in working for the business.

Wherever in the world you want to do business, live events can create a platform for you to communicate to your target audiences. Even in the digital age, when information is so much easier to come by, people will always want – and need – to meet face-to-face, enjoy being immersed in your organisation and share its success.

Nicky Milligan is the managing director of mcm Creative Group, which has worked with the likes of Marks & Spencer, Coca-Cola and John Lewis.

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