Five Ways to Refresh Long-Running Events

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Many brands have annual events that they’re not willing to give up. The strategy is on point, attendance is strong and the ROI is still rolling in. But to maintain the success of these programs while keeping pace with the volatile live events industry, modern brands need to embrace a little change. Here are five ways to bring a fresh perspective to your longest-running annual events while staying loyal to your brand message.


1. Incorporate Attendee Suggestions


One of the best ways to keep attendees engaged at perennial events is to ask them what should be improved following each iteration of the program. Post-event surveys are a simple and effective way to gain insights on what elements of the show worked, what flopped and how attendees experienced your brand. Step it up another level by asking those who did not attend your event to explain what held them back.


2. Play With the Format


Yes, your event’s format has always worked, but the human race’s shrinking attention span suggests it’s only a matter of time before that format feels stale. Adding more hands-on sessions or changing the seating arrangement of your keynote will give your event enough of a makeover to feel new without changing its structure too drastically.


3. Change up the Content


It may seem daunting, but mixing up the content is a great way to keep attendees coming back year after year to your annual events. Unless previously booked speakers have new data or insights to share, avoid adding them to the following year’s schedule. It’s likely that a large portion of your audience is comprised of return attendees, meaning they’ll expect new content and a fresh roster of speakers. Just ensure the changes you make remain relevant to your event’s overarching message.


4. Stick to Simplicity


Most of your attendees are familiar with your brand and its values, meaning they’ll see right through gimmicky tactics. Incorporating technology for technology’s sake or producing flashy but irrelevant engagements isn’t an effective way to spice up your event. Instead, begin with strong content that highlights your brand’s character, then ensure all other aspects of the event naturally align.


5. Create a New Theme


Implementing a new theme is a fun way to keep your events fresh and your attendees engrossed. Of course the motif will have to relate to your brand’s messaging and personality, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. Consider incorporating pop culture references or recreating an exotic destination. And be sure to keep the theme consistent across all elements of the event, from content to decor.


Bottom line: Whether it’s an inaugural event or the 30th anniversary of your flagship conference, maintaining a creative edge is a key component of any successful brand experience. So keep your creative juices flowing and your attendees guessing.



Posted by Jane Hawley | Request as a Speaker

Determined biz dev guru. Motivated by meeting new people. Inspired by the potential of all brands. Health nut. Wine enthusiast. Soothed by sand and sea.