By Njeri Kagwe
Events play a critical role in the life of any organization. Whether unveiling a new product, hosting a conference, celebrating a milestone, holding a seminar, or even participating in an industry expo, such gatherings have multiple benefits contributing to the overall success of an organization.
At such events, organizations have the opportunity to communicate their aspirations or achievements to their stakeholders. They significantly impact an organization’s agenda as they serve as the initial catalyst for publicity and play a pivotal role in attracting customers and brand ambassadors.
However, to derive maximum value, sustained communication before, during, and after the event is necessary. Unfortunately, event planners sometimes miss some critical steps along the way. Particularly, the post-event phase which is often neglected leading to an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” situation.
To ensure success, organizations must understand that events typically span from the very beginning of planning all the way to post-event strategizing- encompassing a pre-event, during-event, and post-event cycle.
The pre-event phase entails clearly defining the event’s key messaging and the development of critical communication material needed to support the agenda. For this, the goal of the event must be very clearly articulated.
During the event, key spokespersons disseminate carefully crafted messages to engage and resonate with the audience along with an inspiring call to action. This calls for the preparation of key speakers. IPre-testing the messages and delivery helps set the stage and make amendments where necessary.
After the event, messages can be reinforced through carefully selected media channels, thought leadership conversations, and follow-up engagements with the stakeholders to ensure there are tangible outcomes and preserve the impact of the event. Often, we find that the buzz on an event dies soon after the closing ceremony -in the case of a conference, only for the same to be picked up in the following year’s edition.
Even on a global scale, we see communication around major events often dissipating after the event concludes and conversations in such past events only resurface when the event recurs. This lack of continuous communication makes the appeal made to stakeholders short-lived, which is disheartening given the large number of people interested.
The lack of sustained communication leads to the rapid fading of event-related messages from the stakeholders’ consciousness. To salvage and capitalize on the opportunities presented by events, organizations should always engage communication professionals to ensure there are no instances of poorly implemented event communication plans or the non-existence of the same.
This would also bring closer focus on event issues management which is often forgotten, yet has the potential to draw audiences away from the agenda. It can be hard to identify issues that can escalate fast into a crisis but communication specialists can help to identify crisis-prone areas and mitigate these as they may divert the focus of the event.
Events are as one of the most effective channels to create brand awareness and build relationships with stakeholders – thus a crucial communication touchpoint for any organization. This underscores the need for effective event management that encompasses sustained communication efforts to ensure that an organization and its stakeholders are on the same page.
Njeri Kagwe is the Lead Communication Strategist at Communicis. [email protected]