3 Benefits of Forming Direct Connections With Event Attendees
In the past few years, audiences experienced much more than just a pandemic (which would’ve been enough on its own). People also experienced extreme isolation, civil unrest, a worsening climate crisis and many moral dilemmas that changed their internal and external perceptions. As a result, event attendees have placed greater importance on values: what brands stand for, what stances they take on political and social issues, how they treat employees, whether their practices are sustainable and more. According to Ipsos, the link between consumer and brand values has grown significantly.
This trend has been amplified by the internet, where audiences are just a click away from endless information. Unfortunately, without an integrated digital and physical presence, it’s increasingly difficult for brands to stand out and demonstrate their purpose. Crowded markets, changing preferences, digital algorithm updates and emerging platforms with new strategies (like TikTok and Reels) are converging, making it even more challenging for brands to achieve the level of reach and engagement they previously had.
To boost engagement and reach moving forward, brands need to meet event attendees’ expectations, evaluate the entire customer journey and deliver integrated messaging and experiences. Only then will they achieve success and reap the benefits of forming connections.
While digital engagement is essential, there’s nothing like one-on-one experiences for building relationships with audiences. When attendees engage directly with brands at events, they can have valuable authentic and emotional experiences. These interactions build connections that provide a variety of benefits, including the following three.
1. Increased brand awareness
When a brand presents itself authentically, event attendees react positively. For example, Todd Hawkins, founder and president of the Todd Group, encourages nonprofits not to waste their event budgets on extravagant features like gift bags or expensive entertainment. Crafting a simple, to-the-point event would better showcase a nonprofit’s dedication to its cause. By prioritizing authenticity, a brand can drive more connections. And if a customer base is actively advocating for a brand, then it can boost awareness naturally.
2. Positive brand sentiment
The driving force of any brand is sales. Engagement improves brand sentiment, which increases that bottom line. If audiences don’t feel connected to a brand, the chances that they’ll purchase from it decrease. Sprout Social data reveals that 76% of consumers would rather go with the brand they feel connected to over a competitor that doesn’t engage them. Additionally, engaged event attendees are more likely to share content on social media, write positive reviews on purchasing platforms like Amazon, and recommend the brand to their friends and family.
3. Brand loyalty
Forrester research reveals that a strong emotional connection between consumers and brands drives loyalty. Additionally, loyal customers are 43% more likely to become repeat buyers. To develop this connection, brands have to effectively engage event attendees by highlighting their missions and core values. Although focusing on products or services might seem like a better approach, brands need to focus on meeting audience expectations and making themselves more identifiable.
In a growing digital world, it’s imperative for brands to solidify and integrate their online and physical presences. After years of isolation, event attendees are prioritizing authenticity and connection. If brands give them what they want, then they’ll keep coming back.