Corporate clients are asking more from their events today. Instead of looking for one memorable moment, they are instead requiring their events to meet more goals and to reach beyond the guests at the event itself. A popular trend among several segments, multipurpose or dual-purpose events allow clients to hold events that serve more than one purpose or activity. Such events provide clients with the key to engage prospects and large event attendees with “both social and business value,” explains Cathi Culbertson, executive director of event marketing and protocol for Forbes Media.

As an example, Forbes’ Women’s Summit addresses how a new generation of women can redefine power and “ join forces with more traditional leaders to help solve society’s most difficult problems,” Culbertson says. Social value, aligned with market segmentation and branding, serves as a cost-efficient strategy to address more than one corporate goal while making event dollars go further in a socially responsible manner.

'Deep Reach' Events

Brands such as Target, Condé Nast Publications and Samsung look for “creative ways to tap right into the people that buy their products,” says Cara Kleinhaut, owner/CEO of Caravents of Beverly Hills, Calif.

"For these types of events, we select a location with high foot traffic, high visibility, parking close by, and other retail in the area,” those places where consumers will be out strolling and shopping, according to Kleinhaut. The point, she adds, is to reach as many consumers as possible so that if “one person has their photo taken, posts a status saying they visited the XYZ lounge or pop-up experience, then we have reached out not just to that one consumer, but all of his or her friends/fans/followers.”

Experiential Branding

High-end, premium events that offer irresistible engagement top the list for Patron Spirits Co. Director of events Pam Dzierzanowski chooses only those events that can be “100 percent experiential,” she says, so the consumer is “immersed in the brand.”

At a recent Maxim Super Bowl Party sponsored by Patron, the "God & Goddess" theme included a scenario photo shoot, the ability to embellish a Patron chalice or make “god wear,” such as Greek crowns and headpieces. For other events, Patron has created a “make your own margarita” tutorial bar and a tasting wall.

Whatever the event, Patron aims to explore the sensory interactive experiences and build relationships, Dzierzanowski says.

Social Media Integration

Increasingly, corporate planners strive to engage and integrate social media in their events with tools that drive leads, such RFID (radio frequency ID) bracelets. Multiple brand engagement points make this an extremely valuable way to spend event dollars, as the reach is deep, Kleinhaut says.

“If all guests have an RFID bracelet or pin, we give them five different areas to use it in that are fun, branded and engaging, such as a photo moment, a voting element, a check-in or status update--all with preprogrammed hashtags and handles, ” she adds. The benefit? “They are sharing their experience in the event live, with the tap of a wrist.”

Kleinhaut connects the dots: “So if we engage 500 people and they each have 1,000 friends/fans/ followers across the social feeds, we have now reached 500,000 people who are heavily influenced by the original 500.”

See the full story in the March-April issue of Special Events, available to ISES members and subscribers. Not a subscriber yet? We can fix that; just click here.