How to Energize, Excite and Engage Values-Driven Event Audiences

May 4, 2022

Today’s event attendees are less driven by product than they are by purpose. For instance, 85% of people around the world are making more sustainable purchases. As a result, 83% of organizations are taking sustainability into account when planning events. This audience shift toward values offers a tremendous opportunity for companies willing to be empathetic and transparent.

As an event marketer, you need to take this change seriously. You must determine how to communicate not just the features and benefits of your products during events, but also your company’s compassion and demonstrable values. And the communication must be consistent across all touchpoints. 

Is this an impossible task? It may seem that way. However, you just need to strategically plan how you’ll approach events moving forward. Here are three ways you can change your experiences to attract values-driven audiences

1. Take the time to listen to your target audience.

Event attendees aren’t exactly hiding what they’re looking for. Most are placing a strong emphasis on physical health, mental health, overall well-being and work-life balance. They expect brands to deliver what they need, when they need it. Brands that fail to align their experiences and messaging with audience expectations will be publicly called out or even boycotted.

It’s very important right now to take your audience’s pulse and figure out what you need to work on. For example, Generation Z is 1.4 times more likely to consider inclusivity an important factor when it comes to making a purchase. If your target audience falls into this group, you’ll need to spend extra time ensuring your events are diverse, inclusive and equitable. Your experiences have to reflect your target audiences' values. 

2. If you make a mistake, apologize and fix it.

We live in a world where people can (and will) publicly call out companies. Unless you’re ultra careful and lucky, you may end up making a mistake. When that happens, apologize and then fix it fast. Values-driven audiences are willing to forgive, but only if you make amends and put a plan in place to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.

Case in point: Pepsi’s commercial with Kendall Jenner fell flat several years ago because it appropriated a racial-justice protest. Pepsi apologized, learned how to respond better next time, and bounced back. About 49% of people equate honesty with transparency. Consequently, saying “we’re sorry” can go a long way toward boosting your brand image.

3. Aim to make the world a better place.

Your company can’t solve every problem on Earth. However, you can do something while crafting experiences to improve society or people’s quality of life. Let your event attendees know what that something is. Embed it in your goals, then communicate it via different brand channels.

Remember that audiences appreciate companies that lead with their values. You’ll need to bake your core values into all your event marketing efforts. For instance, let’s say your brand is committed to sustainability, which tends to hold extra sway with Gen Zers. If you’re serving food at an event, you may want to explore local vendors to decrease carbon emissions or use biodegradable plates and utensils.

Right now, audiences are being direct about what they want to see from their favorite brands. Your job as an event marketer is to take their motivations seriously and give them exactly what they need to feel good about your experiences.

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Partner Voices
Overview: The award-winning Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) goes the extra mile to make every day extraordinary by offering customer service excellence and industry-leading partnerships. From their dedicated in-house Rigging team to their robust Exhibitor Services, The Center of Hospitality brings your imagination to life by helping you host unforgettable meetings and events. With more than 2 million square feet of exhibit space, world-class services and a dream destination, we are committed to making even the most ambitious conventions a reality. In October 2023, the Orange County Board of County Commissioners voted to approve allocating Tourist Development Tax funding for the $560 million Phase 5A completion of the OCCC. The Convention Way Grand Concourse project will include enhancements to the North-South Building, featuring an additional 60,000 square feet of meeting space, an 80,000- square-foot ballroom and new entry to the North-South Building along Convention Way. “We are thrilled to begin work on completing our North-South Building which will allow us to meet the growing needs of our clients,” said OCCC Executive Director Mark Tester. “As an economic driver for the community, this project will provide the Center with connectivity and meeting space to host more events and continue to infuse the local economy with new money and expanding business opportunities.” Amenities: The Center of Hospitality goes above and beyond by offering world-class customer service and industry-leading partnerships. From the largest convention center Wi-Fi network to custom LAN/WAN design, the Center takes pride in enhancing exhibitor and customer experience.  The OCCC is the exclusive provider of electricity (24-hour power at no additional cost), aerial rigging and lighting, water, natural gas and propane, compressed air, and cable TV services. Convenience The Center is at the epicenter of the destination, with an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and attractions within walking distance. Pedestrian bridges connect both buildings to more than 5,200 rooms and is within a 15-minute drive from the Orlando International Airport. The convenience of the location goes hand-in-hand with top notch service to help meet an event’s every need. Gold Key Members The OCCC’s Gold Key Members represent the best of the best when it comes to exceptional service and exclusive benefits for clients, exhibitors and guests. The Center’s Gold Key memberships with Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Walt Disney World greatly enhance meeting planner and attendee experiences offering world-renowned venues, immersive experiences and creative resources for their events. OCCC Events: This fiscal year, the OCCC is projected to host 168 events, 1.7 million attendees, and $2.9 billion in economic impact.  The Center’s top five events during their 2022-2023 fiscal year included:  AAU Jr. National Volleyball Championships 2023 200,000 Attendees $257 Million in Economic Impact MEGACON 2023 160,000 Attendees $205 Million in Economic Impact Open Championship Series 2023 69,500 Attendees $89 Million in Economic Impact Sunshine Classic 2023 42,000 Attendees $54 Million in Economic Impact Premiere Orlando 2023 42,000 Attendees $108 Million in Economic Impact