27 Sep Creating Events for Brand Interactions
Creating events for brand interactions, or a series of events can generate a new revenue stream, but it can also create content for consumers, a new reason to visit and to give you ownership of new innovative content to share.
Reg&Co Ltd is a sponsorship, brand partnership, and fundraising consultancy, helping organisations realise commercial value.
Increasingly people are seeking out experiences, knowledge sharing, and meeting up with like-minded groups around shared interests. A study by Harris Group showed that 72% of millennials prefer to spend more money on experiences than on material things.
‘More than 3 in 4 millennials (78%) would choose to spend money on a desirable experience or event over buying something desirable, and 55% of millennials say they’re spending more on events and live experiences than ever before’.
The event industry is big business; in the UK there were 85 million event attendees in 2016 – not just festivals but corporate training and development such as conferences, workshops, seminars, talks, and educational events. It is estimated there are around 1.3 million business events held annually, and this number is set to grow. (Gallow Glass event crew company 2016). From festivals and live music performances to conferences, the events industry in the UK was estimated to be worth around £42 billion in 2016, and this figure is only expected to further grow over the next few years.
One example of an event helping an organisation achieve core goals, while also generating revenue is ABRSM, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Working with Reg&Co to commercialise their annual Teacher Conference, we were creating events as a series of assets around the core offer including brand partnerships with Casio. The Teacher Conference is a sold-out event providing CPD opportunities for music teachers from across the UK. For Allianz Musical Insurance, introduced as the headline partner from 2018 it offers an excellent opportunity to support and reach one of their key audiences. With a campaign of content jointly created around the conference with core themes of improving teaching and inspiring musicians, Allianz has seen a real return on their brand investment.
“We are delighted with our partnership with ABRSM, particularly with our headline sponsorship of the Music Teacher Conference. It has allowed us to authentically connect with a key target market, and with their networks. This sponsorship has positively displayed our commitment to the music industry and the development of music teachers, as well as musicians. We are greatly looking forward to this year’s event, where we have worked with ABRSM and Reg&Co to deliver an important presence at the event and has given us the opportunity to trial new methods of engaging with our customers.” Clarice Goff Marketing Manager, Allianz Insurance
In addition, Casio is able to promote and talk to influencers at the event and find out from their core audience thoughts and feedback about new developments around digital pianos. From exhibiting at the conference to creating a series of piano teacher’s workshops with ABRSM, across the country, Casio has again seen a tangible return.
Events are hard work, and it is important not to rely on a single revenue stream but look for several different income sources. Look to find sponsorship, ensure marketing the event can drive ticket revenue but also look to upsell the experience to attendees with VIP offers, meet and greet, exclusive access, merchandise, etc. Potentially have a programme for the event where you can sell advertising, or on the website, depending on the scale of the event.
Potentially sell opportunities for speakers as part of a sponsorship for organisations to get involved with the content of the event or pitches for partners/sponsors to retail or showcase their product. Having a breadth of income streams means you are mitigating risk from being reliant on sponsorship or ticket revenue alone. Being realistic with the value of the sponsorship and what people will pay to attend is also essential.
Running exit surveys can also give a brand or organisation more understanding about audiences and engage them in feedback about what else they’d like to see. Either from a BtoC or BtoB perspective, it is an excellent way to meet customers and potential new customers whilst building relationships through well-considered and relevant content.
Royal Parks, now a charitable organisation, cares for 5,000 acres in greater London, and raises approximately £10m per year through hosting and working with brand partners creating events from British Summer Time to Winter Wonderland and the Royal Parks Half Marathon. This accounts for 42% of annual income, a significant contribution to the overall budget, but also is an incredible way to celebrate the parks and provide enjoyment, sporting activity and a sense of community for millions each year, thus also helping achieve the core aim of the charity, ‘maintaining and conserving the parks for public enjoyment’.
“Our aim is to be a financially sustainable organisation. We benefit from a range of diverse sources of income, including fundraising, events, catering, grants, lottery funding, licenses, rental income, filming, and photography. We aim to continue to increase revenue from these sources while exploring new opportunities.” – CEO, Royal Parks.
Other charities also rely on events as a source of funding, from local and community based, to national. They raise funds from entry fees, sponsorship, participant fundraising and merchandising. Cancer Research created Race for Life in 1994.
The charity raised £634 m in 2017/18 with revenue from events at £49 million accounting for 12%, but as importantly over 400,000 people took part in CRUK events including Race for Life, Pretty Muddy, Shine Night Walk, and the Virgin Money London Marathon.
CRUK have also developed spin-off events for children, and Pretty Muddy along with merchandise for the events such as clothing and accessories to extend the income from participants. Critical also for CRUK is getting people active, creating tailored fitness and nutritional plans with advice for participants, which helps raise awareness about the impact of diet and exercise on cancer. Through event communications, CRUK can educate and thus achieve broader charitable aims alongside significant fundraising.
Awards events are also popular to create and can be a good source of revenue as well as positioning an organisation as a thought leader celebrating best practice. The Corporate IT Forum, a membership organisation for senior IT leaders from some of the UK’s most significant organisations created the Real IT Awards in 2004 and is attended by 400 senior professionals each year. Google Cloud, Streamsoft, Salesforce, and Planview have previously sponsored.
A final example is the creation of a Speaker Series to commemorate 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower across the Atlantic in partnership with transatlantic Law Firm, Womble Bond Dickinson. Destination Plymouth, a client of Reg&Co that has been tasked with commemorating the 400th anniversary in 2020 and were looking to explore and translate core themes that bring the Mayflower story to life. With the support of WBD Reg&Co created a series of engaging talks and events hosted by Debra Searle and Bronwen Maddox so far with Ranulph Fiennes and Terry Waite still to come in 2019. The collaboration will run until November 2020 with the year of events culminating in a historic moment to reflect on the past and look to the future. The sponsor is integral in co-creating the events and the themes, along with having shared input into the content and the look and feel of the films following the events.
Jonathan Blair, WBD’s Co-Chair and UK Managing Partner, commented:
“We’re delighted to support the Mayflower 400 anniversary and the Speaker Series, celebrating the key themes behind the historic voyage of this iconic ship: freedom, humanity, imagination and the future. These themes are an integral part of our collective heritage and remain highly relevant today, and we look forward to hearing a fascinating range of speakers bring them to life in a modern context. Four hundred years ago, the Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, where we have one of our long-established eight UK offices and landed in Boston, where we have one of our newest US offices. It’s fantastic to celebrate the close ties and ongoing relationship between the US and the UK with all of the benefits this brings.”
Please get in touch if you would like to hear more from clients of Reg&Co: Transport for London and Landsec on how they are diversifying revenue streams and adapting to meet current market challenges. Register here for our London event on 03rd October 2019, from 8 am – 10 am.