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After the meeting: Keeping brand awareness, momentum and energy going

By March 21, 2024Projection

In our first few posts in this series about strategic meeting design, Projection’s Director of Creative Services, Joe Faulder, and I discussed:

This line of thinking around strategically planning and executing meetings today is crucial to meet attendees’ evolving demands, deliver the kinds of experiences attendees want more of, and create a community around an association’s brand.

In our last and final post, we’re going to look at what associations can do to keep that momentum and energy going after attendees have left the building and returned home.

Post-event planning should start early

In his first post, Joe spoke of the importance of planning. While it can be overwhelming to think about the weeks and months after an event one year before the meeting actually starts, it’s vital to have the right people in the room to make a plan that includes the entire timeline – pre, during, and post. Consider: if the marketing team is involved during the planning stage, they can [plan to] integrate content generated during the meeting into their annual plan. By getting all parties involved early, resources from various departments can be shared, and each member of the team will have clear roles during and after the meeting.

While each organization and event are unique, consider having a plan for the following:

  • Content collection
    • Videos (e.g., general session)
    • Audio
    • Testimonials
    • Presentations
  • Attendee feedback
  • Re-purposing big on-site moments
  • Opportunities to infuse on-site energy throughout the year/between events
  • Pulling through the event vision

What value could each department, or stakeholder, derive from these opportunities?

Content collection

As we all know, content is critical – and front and center – at an association’s annual meeting. That’s why it’s so important to have a plan to leverage as much of that valuable content as possible after the event. While ways to re-purpose content are seemingly endless, here are a few ideas to help you get started.

  • Take videos that can be shared on social media.
    • Highlight speakers/members throughout the year, between events. For those members unable (or who chose not) to attend, they can see the kinds of speakers/content they missed. For those who did not speak, they may choose to submit sessions if they see the way the association highlights their colleagues. For members who did attend, they may get re-inspired and recall the incredible experience they had – maybe even sharing/re-posting on social media for other potential attendees to see.
  • Consider how audio can play a role in your brand.
    • The share of Americans who listen to podcasts has substantially increased over the last decade: In 2023, 42% of Americans ages 12 and older said they had listened to a podcast in the past month. With the popularity of podcasts, consider whether your members and community would benefit from interviews with speakers, other members and/or industry experts that attend your event. You could set up a dedicated room where those conversations take place and have an entire podcast season collected over the course of those days.
  • Leverage testimonials strategically.
    • Testimonials can help attract new attendees and remind previous attendees it’s time to register for next year’s event. Consider asking attendees why they attend, what they get from the community and how they leverage the community throughout the year. Those insights can be shared as short videos on social media as part of your association’s registration campaign.

Attendee feedback

Every organization tries to gather the right insights that can help them make the next event more successful and engaging than before. While the feedback gathered from a post-event survey (consider this list of 29 survey questions from MeetingsNet) should absolutely be integrated into planning for next year’s meeting, consider also how it can be used to demonstrate community and engagement. For example, blog and/or social media posts that highlight survey feedback and – this is important – how the association is integrating that feedback to improve the attendee/member experience.

Re-purposing big on-site moments 

If you designed a GS that had everyone talking, you want to find ways to keep that energy going. For example, The American Academy of Pediatrics hired Choir! Choir! Choir! to facilitate a sing-along during their annual GS. By the end, the entire ballroom was singing, laughing, and even holding hands; everyone had a great time. When moments like that happen, it’s so important to collect them on video and share after the event, so people who were there can be transported back to that moment of comradery, community, and fun. While it may be hard to plan for all moments like this since some may come about spontaneously, it’s important to plot out those you anticipate will become moments to remember.

Opportunities to infuse on-site energy throughout the year/between events

One of the top requests we receive after an event is for the playlist. After all, it was carefully curated to create a certain energy throughout the event, and to bring the vision to life through music. Consider sharing a link to the Spotify playlist as a follow-up so attendees can re-live the experience as they go about their days. Doing so will keep their time at your meeting – and your association’s brand – top of mind throughout their year.

Pulling through the event vision

In all three of our previous posts on strategic meeting design, we’ve discussed the importance of having a vision, and purposefully designing experiences and creating content that weaves that vision throughout the entire meeting. Without it, an attendee could go from the GS to breakout sessions with an inconsistent experience, easily forgetting where they are, and why they are there. On the other side, with a clearly-defined and executed vision, attendees are connecting and engaging with your brand in thoughtful and purposeful ways. Therefore, it’s important to identify ways you can weave that vision into all post-event activities – the feedback you collect, content you share and videos you post. That way, every attendee who interacts with your brand can feel a connection to their on-site experience, and recall (even if subconsciously) why they are part of your organization.

From all vantage points, it seems as though 2024 is poised to be an incredible year for events. People are excited to meet face-to-face, new technology and innovations are enabling some really interesting and engaging in-person experiences, and brands are recognizing the unmatched power of events. The brands that stand apart will be those that not only design and execute the best on-site experiences, but find unique ways to keep those experiences alive between events.

More from our strategic meeting design series

[Part One] The Importance of Thinking Strategically About Your Meeting – and How to Get Started
[Part Two] Why Your General Session Should Serve as the First Step to a More Strategic Meeting
[Part Three] Beyond the General Session: Designing a Consistent Attendee Experience Throughout Your Event