Hosting a conference in today’s modern times can seem daunting, but with ample planning and attention to simple details, you can succeed in organizing, marketing and executing your event.
While your main form of promotion for the conference may be brochures, mailers and social media, consider creating a standalone website, which allows you to tailor the site to the event theme and thus strengthen branding. If it is a recurring event, keep the site active year round and post updates and news. A standalone event website can also increase your SEO, especially if you provide a banner or links to the event site on your main web page.
For registration, use an online registration tool such as Eventbrite, which provides easy ticket and event management. The built-in analytics allow you to track which promotional efforts are directing the most traffic to the registration site. For day-of registration, use a tool such as Square, which can be connected to any smartphone or tablet to take credit card payments. Have an attendee list ready, which can be provided by Eventbrite, and make name badges using Eventbrite’s name badge tool. Bring a label maker so you can print name tags on the spot for those who register at the door (and so they don’t have to use handwritten name tags).
One crucial aspect of both the promotion and execution stages of your conference is creating a hashtag to represent your conference – something easy to remember and type. This will allow attendees as well as people not at the conference to follow along and virtually connect with one another. It will also help your event to be searchable and visible on social media platforms, creating a simple way to share updates and track feedback and opinions on the conference. Throughout the conference, remind people through signage and slides to use the conference’s hashtag with their tweets, Facebook posts and other social media updates. Set up a scrolling screen to display tweets with the conference hashtag.
At the conference, make sure you have free (and fast!) Wi-Fi. Your Wi-Fi should be designed to accommodate the maximum device load at any given time; plan for each attendee to bring at least two devices (laptop and smartphone). With this number in mind, you may want to set up more than one network depending on the number of attendees. Think one high-quality network for every 150-200 attendees. You also need to make sure you have plenty of power strips – line them up at every table and have extras ready for the attendees who need to charge up their devices during sessions or workshops. This may seem like a small detail, but the convenience of charging will make a huge difference to attendees.
One final thing to keep in mind is a follow-up survey or evaluation. Platforms such as Survey Monkey allow users to easily set up and send out an email survey to lists or groups of people. Use these surveys to get feedback from your attendees on what they liked or didn’t like, what they learned and things they would change. Listening to feedback and implementing changes can add to your success for your next conference.
Kia recently introduced its 2015 Kia K900 luxury sedan, while Cadillac is trying to appease young people with its new logo. Both brands are facing uphill battles as they begin the early stages of re-branding themselves in the auto industry.
For example, Kia is known for selling economy cars ranging from $14,000-$25,000. Kia has now brought a $65,000 luxury sedan, the Kia K900, to the market. Here’s the Super Bowl commercial:
One of the biggest challenges Kia faces is getting traditional luxury shoppers to consider its brand in competition to the luxurious cars of BMW, Mercedes and Audi.
It’s not enough for a company to say it’s now in a different market segment. The company also must change consumer perceptions and experiences with the brand.
One way Kia may be able to do this is by promoting test drives and having consumers rate their experience either through their own channels (e.g. Facebook) or through Kia’s channels (e.g. collateral, commercials, etc.). The third-party endorsements could go a long way.
Meanwhile, Cadillac is taking a different approach in its campaign to re-brand its image. Rather than coming out with a new model to re-brand itself, Cadillac decided to come out with a new sleek logo (top right) to appeal to younger demographics.
The challenge that Cadillac faces is trying to no longer be recognized as a manufacturer of cars for older people; rather, to be thought of as a sleek car for younger crowds.
I think the logo is more appealing to a younger demographic and is a step forward, but Cadillac must do more in its re-branding efforts. For example, it’s going to have to appeal to early, influential adopters within YP crowds. It also may need to position itself as having cars with cutting-edge technology. Finally, it’s going to have to deal with its price points, which may be too high for younger drivers.
Taylor Thomas started this week as the new PR counselor at Revelation. Similar to Brian, she comes from a sports PR background, having worked at places like the Big Ten Conference and the University of Illinois.
Taylor will work on our clients’ local and national PR efforts as well as manage their content marketing and social media.
University of Wisconsin senior and Life Sciences Communication major David Bartscher has joined Revelation as an intern. In addition to his strong writing background, David also has experience in video production and social media management.