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Becky Walker, head of pitch strategy at Fresh, on how developing a more refined strategic approach to events can help support the mission of the brand

Here at Fresh we consider ourselves lucky to work in events – an industry that creates hands-on, total brand immersion and provides amazing opportunities for colleague and consumer engagement like no other communications channel.

However, the effectiveness of events is sometimes undervalued when faced with the squeeze on budgets and timescales, or where less focus and consideration is taken when we are talking to our internal colleagues as opposed to consumers. Yet every single event-based interaction provides an opportunity to create enthusiastic advocates who can support the mission of your brand.

So, why isn’t every event as effective as it could be? In an industry that seems to move at a million miles an hour, we sometimes need to step back and take a more considered, planned approach to event creation.

An event underpinned by strategy will not only help to achieve brand ambitions, but is also key in helping make project ‘pinch points’ (like time and budget) much more efficient.

We wanted to explore how strategy is being used within the wider world of events, so carried out research, speaking to over 150 senior stakeholders across the events industry. We found that only 25% of those surveyed currently include strategic objectives as part of their agency event brief, with 21% in need of support to draw up an events strategy with clear objectives.

A strategic approach helps to focus the brief around objectives that support the wider aims of your organisation – ensuring events remain a key part in the communication of the overall business strategy.

The most effective way to approach this is to start with gathering insight to better understand the brand and its event needs, the audience mind-set and the business strategy focus. Based on this insight, clear objectives should be defined which reflect the needs of the delegate or consumer audience, support the business in achieving their strategy and event goals, and bring their brand to life.

A clear single-minded proposition is then defined, based on the focus for the event along with creative principles to guide the event content and output. This is used to develop a creative thread and ensure all ideas are aligned with the objectives, whilst maximising delegate engagement. This ensures that across all our specialisms, effectiveness can be closely monitored and valuable learning can be drawn for all future events.

Our survey showed that 73% of respondents always measure the effectiveness of their events, 25% only occasionally do and 2% never do. This demonstrates an opportunity for those who don’t measure often, or who don’t measure the right variables, to prove the true worth of their events through a more all-round strategic approach.