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
Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.