By Sally Rogers
America is in the midst of a new period: the Era of the Event. If you’ve been to a Six Degrees Society event, you’re probably an event aficionado! These days, event attendees are seeking genuine connection to others, social collateral, and family-friendly fun (mostly driven by millennials) and relish the joy of immersive, experiential and elevated events.
But if you’re planning an event, how do you keep up with the expectations of attendees? Your secret weapon is to work with the right partners. Unless you have an unlimited budget, it’s time to start thinking creatively about working in partnership with the best-aligned spaces, brands, influencers, or service providers. Follow these simple steps to make your event memorable by working with the right partners.
- Identify: What Does Your Event Stand For?
Any great partnership starts with an alignment of values. If you don’t know the value of your event, it’s going to be really hard to communicate that to your attendees. So take a step back and jot down exactly what you’re hoping to convey, share, build community around, etc. For a few quick tips on identifying what your event stands for, check out a recent blog that applies to brands and events alike. Hint: It comes down to knowing what you as the producer and your event stand for, as well as what your mission is.
- Conceptualize: What Exposure Will be Most Compelling For Your Partners?
If you’re producing an event, you’re likely at the helm of some kind of initiative tied to your company, a non-profit effort, a community activity, or other important theme. So what could you offer from that initiative to your potential partners in exchange for product, outreach, swag, the right speaker getting involved, etc.? Where can you place a logo, a promo code, a postcard, or a collaborative blog that will reach eyeballs and showcase your partnership before, during, and after the event? Consider what exposure and what channel you can offer to a potential partner to make the relationship compelling. Places to look include:
- Email list (# of emails, engagement rates)
- Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (# of followers, engagement rates)
- Your website/blog (# of unique visitors)
- Foot traffic at the event (# of attendees)
- Exposure at future events (# of attendees, future partners)
- Tickets to that event or future events ($ value)
- Printed/digital signage (# of attendees)
- Determine: What Do You Need to Elevate Your Event?
If you want to make the event memorable by working with the right partners, dig into the production of the event. Consider the below:
- Where are the nooks and crannies of the event during which you can surprise and delight your attendees? Is it the moment they arrive? Is it during a break-out session? Is it when they weed through their swag bag back at home? Pick a few times that would work to weave in memorable partnerships.
- What are your attendees going to appreciate? During the times you’ve picked to surprise and delight, consider what your attendees will find inspiring, unusual, on-brand, or expectation-exceeding. For example, If you’re working on a climate change panel event, your attendees are unlikely to appreciate excessive paper products or useless swag. Instead, you might pick the arrival time to encourage them to assess their carbon footprint via a software partner (we like Wren). Then they’ve got personalized info about their footprint to think about the rest of the event. Get creative by linking what your event stands for with products/services/influencers.
- Execute: Time to Partner Up!
Once you’ve identified what your attendees are going to appreciate and where they’ll fit into your event, it’s time to identify partners! This may take some good old-fashioned sleuthing, outreach,
DMs, and cold emails. You could also put your event out to the Parsnip community of 1000+ better-for-you brands if that fits with what your attendees are looking for. Use your communication to the potential partners to highlight the steps above:
- Articulate the value of your event and what your mission is.
- Share with them where you envision their product/service to be utilized during the event.
- Identify what exposure they’ll receive.
- Mention why they are the right partner for your event and what they’d be missing out on if they don’t get involved.
- Indicate exact next steps: you need to make it so easy for them to get going, so have the shared drive already set up with logistics info, space for their logo, etc.
Sally Rogers is the founder of Parsnip. They source innovative and emerging brands for product placement at events. With their network of over 1000 brands they have sourced product placement/swag at events like Summit LA and the NPR How I Built This with Guy Raz Summit. She loves all things good partnership, as evidenced by this blog post and supporting the SDS team! If you need any support identifying partners for your event, brainstorming nooks and crannies to make your event memorable, or getting your hands on a good checklist for what to do when working with a partner, hit them up on Parsnip!