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Bernadette Jiwa once said “Whoever gets closest to their customer wins” and it is a quote that has stuck with me since I first heard it. It reminds me of the importance of staying close to your customers as a part of your brand strategy. There are so many benefits to staying close to your customer.

It lets you understand them on a personal level.

What their needs are.

What your brand means to them.

It gives you the most clarity on how you can serve them better, faster and with less friction than your competitors.

More importantly, it allows you to build meaningful and memorable connection between your customers and your brand. If cultivating a personal connection between your brand and your customers isn’t a part of your strategy yet, make sure you check out last week’s post on building that connection. 

Workshop at Venn Innovation. Photo by Chris Geworsky.

One particularly powerful way to develop a strong connection with your customer is through live, in-person events. This might mean speaking at conferences, teaching workshops, or hosting your very own event. No matter which path makes the most sense for your brand, you are able to create an opportunity to get super close to your customer.

One particularly powerful way to develop a strong connection with your customer is through live, in-person events. Learn how to implement this strategy for your brand with these top tips from @brandingbybritt. Click To Tweet

In this post, I’m going to explore different ways you can leverage in-person events to create connection between your customers and your brand.

For those of you who may be cringing and getting ready to hit the ‘exit’ button, hold it right there! While speaking may not be your thing, yet, there are some hot takeaways that I’ve come up with just for you 😉.

 

Why use live events & workshops to build your brand?

Have you ever left a networking event wishing you had met more people? Or learned a little more about something that peaked your interest? Maybe you had hoped for a chance to get into deeper, more purposeful conversations?

These kind of regrets don’t happen when you’re the main attraction. When you’re speaking in front of a group at a conference or workshop, you have a whole room full of people learning about who you are and what you offer. They get access to the wealth of knowledge you offer in your industry and you get to create close relationships with a larger number of prospects at once.

Within minutes, everyone attending the event will get a feel for:

  • your personality, through your choice of words and tone of voice
  • your style, through your body language, presentation, and wardrobe
  • your knowledge and opinions about your industry
  • how you make them feel when you’re speaking with them

These are all things that take only seconds to find out in person that might take years to understand through online interactions.  Also, the connections that you can make through presenting can become qualified leads for your business.

Here are a few suggestions I offer to help my clients incorporate live events into their brand strategy:

1. Look for free, local speaking events to get started

In Halifax, we have a wonderful event at the beginning of each year called Podcamp, that provides information on a broad range of subjects. This event is known for it’s open and friendly community, with some of the most supportive attendees of any event in Halifax.

Podcamp has been the first step to launching the careers for many Halifamous public speakers, like Ross Simmonds and Kayla Short. This event provided them with a warm, friendly community which helped them to hone the craft of public speaking when they were first getting started.

For your first-ever shot at public speaking, keep your eyes peeled for free and friendly events, like Podcamp, in your city.

2. Become a member of a professional business organization or networking group

Another way to add public speaking to your repertoire is to seek out opportunities to speak for professional business organizations or networking groups.

Many of these organizations or groups need high value, educational content that will equip their members with the knowledge they need to successfully achieve their business goals. Can your unique skill set and industry insights help other business owners to grow or improve their business? Of course!  No matter where you feel your skill level is at, there is a group of people who need your expertise and these organizations will help get you in front of your ideal group of people.

No matter where you feel your skill level is at, there is a group of people who need your expertise. Organizations like your local chamber of commerce will help you to get in front of your ideal group of customers. Click To Tweet

To find speaking engagements using this tactic, apply to become a member of your local chamber of commerce. If you are a woman in business or a visible minority, look for organizations that represent and support you in the business community and apply for speaking opportunities as they come up.

 

3. Find an industry partner to collaborate with

Workshop at Venn Innovation – Photo by Chris Geworsky

 

Something that I suggest to my clients as a brand-building tactic is to find mutually beneficial relationships with other businesses or organizations that will help to enrich both of your communities.

My recent partnership with Venn Innovation is a perfect example of that kind of collaboration.

Venn supports business owners who are in the technology and innovation sector in New Brunswick, Canada. They connect entrepreneurs with partners and resources who will help them to grow their companies.

I’m in the business of helping entrepreneurs to amplify their brand. It’s my passion to provide business owners with the tools to stand head and shoulders above their competitors, even within a saturated market.

When Venn approached me to host a couple workshops for them, it was an easy decision to say ‘yes’ and tailor a set of workshops for their audiences. We started with one workshop for start-up stage entrepreneurs on building a brand board, and included a second workshop about how to ‘power up your brand’, with a set of exercises for business owners to get clarity on their brand position.

While my skill set is advanced in branding and design, I was able to tailor content for both beginners and people looking to rebrand or amplify their businesses. Providing this flexibility let me help a larger group of people, and allowed my collaboration partner to offer something for both of their membership categories.

Workshop at Venn Innovation – Photo by Chris Geworsky

 

One thing to keep in mind when you collaborate with an industry partner is there should be a clear alignment between your businesses’ mission and vision. This makes it easiest to develop and deliver high-quality workshops or live events that provide valuable learning experiences for participants.

Not sure how to get started? Take a look at your business community to see if there are any membership-based groups that could use your expertise. If they have values that align with yours, reach out to see if there is a valuable partnership you can create together.

 

4. Attend a conference, or create your own conference

Attending conferences is one of the easiest, exciting, and effective ways to meet and connect with your customers. Knowing which conferences that your ideal customers will be at is a smart way to build strong, in person connections with your brand.

Speaking at conferences where your ideal customers are in attendance is even better. By doing this, you’re immediately positioning yourself as the go-to industry expert in the room, and you hold the desirable position of having your customer’s undivided attention.

If the thought of public speaking makes your palms sweat and your heart skip a beat, there is no need to force yourself. While it’s significantly more work, you can also create your own live event or conference as a way to build your brand.

A great example of creating your own event, is when Halifax Locals Anita Kirkbride and Linda Daley launched their live event last year called Social Media Day Halifax. They didn’t wait around for someone else to create an event in the area for business owners looking for advice on social media—they went ahead and developed it themselves!

The benefit of launching your own live event is that your brand becomes prominently associated with that event experience. Click To Tweet

The benefit of launching your own live event is that your brand becomes prominently associated with that event experience. You are firmly positioning yourself and your brand as a reputable leader and a rock solid competitor in that industry. This is an ultimate example of inbound marketing, where you are magnetizing prospects to come into your business.

If the idea of organizing a full day conference seems a bit daunting, start smaller with lunch & learns, morning meetups or weekend retreats instead.

 

5. Be where your customers are

At the end of the day, we all crave connection, and live events are a powerful tool you can use leverage for your brand. Even in one-on-one networking situations, the relationships you make with people in-person will always end up being stronger than those made online.

For me, teaching at live workshops in partnership with fantastic companies like Venn Innovation is an honour. Not only do I get to talk about something I’m deeply passionate about, but knowing that my audience will leave with the tools to improve their businesses’ brand is worth more than anything to me.

Not sure how to get started with incorporating a live event into your branding strategy? Click here to sign up for a free brand consult


 

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