How an Idea to Help a Community in Need Steered Toward Creating an Event Planning Division
Building brands is not a typical priority of most events and event-planning businesses. Appropriate corporate colors, marketing materials and corporate swag do their part, and the really good events convey an “energy,” or feel, that fits the corporate image, but the typical measurement of a successful event is a seamless one – it meets attendance, fundraising or lead generation goals.
Events come in many shapes. Organizations of all types are familiar with industry trade shows; some, such as trade associations, perform the major undertaking of planning and hosting them. They offer both planners and attendees the opportunity to introduce or augment other brand-building activities. Corporate retreats help build organizational “brand ambassadors” who, if done correctly, will actually perpetuate an organization’s brand in a stable and continuous fashion throughout their interactions with internal and external stakeholders.
Many companies also sponsor charity events — perhaps because the C-suite firmly believes in the cause, or believes it will boost organizational standing in the community. Both are good reasons but, as with any other event, should always be done with brand building firmly in mind.
The Importance of the Personal Brands in the Organization
Many organizations correctly view the organizational brand as a culmination of its identity. What’s missing from that narrow characterization is the concept of “personal branding” as being an integral piece of the overall brand. Each executive should think about his or her personal brand: the image, voice and standards that over time, become recognizable as germane to and a signature of that individual.
By doing so, individuals are able to more aptly align themselves with organizations with similar brand qualities. The advantages to this can include greater job satisfaction (thus perhaps lower turnover) among employees, and a smoother work process. After all, extreme dissension is less likely to emerge in organizations where the corporate identity is harmonious with the personal brands of the individuals within it. It can also create a magnetic pull between the organization and external stakeholders, attracting the attention of like-minded individuals.
But the other reason that personal branding is important is for stakeholder trust. An organization’s audiences are more likely to trust people, than a company. Personal interactions that portray and reflect the corporate brand can do more for an organization that an ad campaign ever could. Those interactions build trust, and rapport – two building blocks of corporate reputation. People don’t want to do business with companies – they want to do business with people.
And that is where events can play a crucial role in building the brand. For what better way to facilitate interactions than through sharing a meaningful experience.
The Case Study
Spring 2015 will go down in infamy for many in Central Texas. Historic floods, seemingly apocalyptic in nature, quite literally swept homes from their foundations and pillars designed to keep them above potential raging waters – some with families still trapped inside.
A few days later, Austin event producer and musician Clayton Corn got a phone call. It was from Thomas Graham, CEO and founder of Crosswind Media & Public Relations. It seems Thomas had been exploring ideas with colleagues on ways to help the flood victims. This was part of Thomas’s personal brand.
The following is Clayton’s personal account of the pieces that led to Flood Aid Texas 2015, and how it propelled Crosswind into using events to help build brands:
Answer The Phone:
The ten o’clock news was all bad. Hard to watch. Two days earlier an apocalyptic storm had swept through central Texas dropping more rain over the course of a few hours than we’d seen in the past two years. Bystanders watched as entire homes and the families within them were swept downstream into oblivion. Some were rescued, some weren’t.
As I watched the anchor droll on from one catastrophe to another, my phone rang. It was a local business leader with whom I’d had brief dealings in the past. He had been having drinks with other colleagues when the topic of ways to help the victims came up.
“Clay! How would you feel about throwing a concert on the banks of Lake Travis to benefit the victims of the floods?” he asked. “I’ve got the LCRA