Reader Rant: Brands letting themselves down at face-to-face events

Purity MD Rob Quinn believes poor live brand communication is all too common at events.

Brands letting themselves down at face-to-face events
Brands letting themselves down at face-to-face events

Despite huge investment in image, brands all too often let themselves down when they are face-to-face with delegates in the conference and incentive arena. In today's world there is a fine line between success and failure in this sector and with the growing influence and ubiquity of access to online comments through social media and the power of advocacy, getting it right is more essential than ever.

Arguably, the biggest cardinal sin, when it comes to event planning, is failing to recognise the influence brand and corporate representatives have to play, followed closely by a 'one size fits all' mentality.

I have witnessed meticulously planned projects unravelling before my eyes. Months of planning, creative sessions and late-night meetings undone by an ill-judged or ill-timed comment by a staff member working at an event. At best this can confuse; at worst, not only alienate delegates, but go viral.

Staff recruitment and training is as fundamental as a Pantone reference, trademark positioning or logo size and should be addressed at the planning stage, ensuring representatives can deliver the user experience the client and agency have worked so hard to create.

The devil is not only in the detail that comes with staffing but also in the detail that runs through every element. Each event and venue is unique and a tailored approach is needed every time. A cursory nod to the corporate or brand message with a couple of strap-lines and an off-the-peg format is just lazy planning. Live communication must engage and create a user experience that is unique to the brand or business. This is as important at a small gathering of delegates or a staff conference as it is at a trade exhibition or a major global event.

It frustrates me when I see poor live brand communication. But (rant over)... there are brands, corporate planners and agencies out there who get it right and then the experience takes on a whole new dynamic.

Rob Quinn is managing director of brand engagement agency Purity

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