How to Brand Your Event Through Personalization

When we think about an event, we think of the product itself — the final destination after many months, sometimes years, of planning and preparation. We think about the education, the exhibits, and the networking with fellow attendees, but that is only half of it. As event producers, we must think about all these things, while also focusing on the who and the how. Who are the event attendees and how do we promote all the aspects of our show to connect with that audience?

 

Defining the audience is key in creating a brand personality for your event, and it’s the first step in the process. Let’s picture an event as a gathering place where you want to position your show as a trusted industry expert pertaining to a specific community, and even an extension of it. Once you have your industry, focus the microscope a little closer to establish key demographic details. What is the average age range of your audience? How do they communicate with each other, with casual language or formal? Where, digitally, do they gather? If your audience is comprised of Gen Z young adults, you may want to brush up on your internet humor and TikTok skills. If you’re trying to draw a more experienced generation of academics or professionals, LinkedIn might be your focus. Once you’ve established where your audience can be found and the way they connect and communicate with each other, translate that into your brand’s unique voice.

 

Creating Your Event’s Brand Voice

It’s time to stop thinking about your event or service as inanimate and start thinking about it as a persona — a character who would be a part of your desired community. Your character may have a sense of humor in their writing if your audience does, or they may be technical and informative in their language. Perhaps it’s somewhere in between. Your brand’s voice is this character and should be incorporated into every written aspect of your event’s brand across website, social media, graphics and ads, and even onsite signage. Personality and branding are everything for today’s consumers and will help create a vivid image and understanding of what your event is and who it’s for.

 

Visualizing Your Event’s Brand

Once you’ve established your audience and your voice, what does that look like? These aspects should affect all other details of the brand, from your name to your colors to the imagery used. Is your voice light and fun? Then the name of your event should be short, snappy, trendy and, perhaps, leave a little to the imagination to be mysterious but also desirable.

 

For example, if your persona is catering to, say, Gen Z-ers, those audiences tend to be more drawn to clever and creative branding than to the details. Draw them in first with a clever name and captivating imagery, then hit them with specifics. An example of this would be MCI Strategic Events, Meetings & Incentives’ (SEM&I) Investment and Management Partnership event Lift & Co. The name is short, trendy, and offers an enticing air of mystery. When catering to a more professional-oriented, experienced audience, you may want to start with the specifics. That trait should be reflected in your name as something longer yet to the point and informative. An example of this would be MCI SEM&I’s Strategic Event Management client OCEANS Conference & Exposition. The name reflects exactly what it is but also changes year after year to reflect additional details: OCEANS 2022 Hampton Roads.

 

To select your brand’s color palette, you will need to research your industry and competitors. Certain colors are reflective of various industries on an allegorical and symbolic level, often associated with moods and elements of technology and nature. To better understand this, research color symbolism to select the best colors to represent the emotions and story you want your brand to convey. Brainstorm how you can use these colors and their connotations to your advantage and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

 

When getting started selecting a brand palette, create a mood board of visuals that are reflective of your company persona and industry. Choose stock photos that convey the emotions you want your audience to connect to. Then take this mood board image and upload it to Adobe Color Wheel under the Extract Theme tab. This tool will take your photo collage and pick out coordinating colors from it, offering you sample brand palettes. This is an excellent way to form ideas of what you want your color palette to look like based on the mood and visual story you wish to convey.

 

No matter your industry or audience, you’ll always want to see how you can be timelier and more relevant than your competitors. In terms of colors and visuals, you should always be aware of what is on-trend. If your audience is not aware of branding trends, then you can almost guarantee your competitors might not find trendiness to be a priority, but it will certainly set you apart and could even help draw additional audiences outside your longstanding demographic.

 

Current trends we are seeing with branding across all products and services are:

  • Simplistic designs that evoke elegance and ease.
  • Nostalgic designs are reminiscent of brand trends from decades past, which older audiences love to relive and younger audiences desire to make their own.
  • Humanization. This ties into voice but is relevant across all aspects of branding. Audiences crave a strong personality. Recent trends include the use of humor and memes, but it is important to be aware of how your audience reacts to and understands the current internet culture. For some demographics, a little personalization and unique character are all you need.
  • Video has become a key component to many brands and their digital presence, significantly more than still photos. Video is more personal and inviting.
  • Storytelling. Show the entire story of your event, visually and written.
  • Social responsibility. In this day and age, it is imperative that individuals and brands are aware of important social issues. Audiences today want to see that we are mindful of the current climate of the world and are respectful and accommodating of it.

 

Brand personality is key and a significant means of better connecting to your audience and drawing them in, inspiring brand loyalty and a community centered around your event. As event marketers, we want to show our attendees that we understand them and that we are one of them. Connect to your audience as a peer, and you will gain their trust while also positioning yourself as an industry leader in your field and a highly valued event in the desired community. Show your difference and the humanization behind the message, and the tickets will sell.

 

Written By:

Juliana Pearce is a marketing specialist in MCI USA’s Strategic Events, Meetings & Incentives business unit. She has been with MCI for three years and continues to develop marketing materials, campaigns, and creative content for both SEM&I event clients and MCI. She is based out of the Dallas office. In her free time, she loves to explore creative writing, photography, travel, and cooking.

The Importance of a One-Stop-Shop for All Registration Needs

A Unified Platform – For Attendees, Exhibitors, and More! 

For organizations and associations wanting to streamline the registration process for all their registration types, a unified process is the first step in the process. Registration Services offer individuals a one-stop shop where they can register, book hotels, and modify records directly on the organization’s custom website. This process is customized to the rules of the event and provides automated confirmation at the completion of their booking or modification. Bulk registrations can also be completed by a single user within a group registration process. The group registration is also customized to the event and business rules. User experience can vary from a “round robin, single pay” style experience to a single flow where multiple names and registrations can be purchased at once. Registrations can be created and imported via an API connected to other systems. The process for group registration includes an Exhibitor Management Console (EMC) designed for exhibitors or specialty group registrations that are managed by one contact and offer custom details specific to groups and exhibitor needs. The Registration Services system would connect to the remote system through API using MCI’s DataHub, a centralized integration engine. Customization is everything to the registration services offered to clients, and the entire process, from pre-production to post, should be tailored to the organization’s specific needs and wants. 

The Details Should Matter. An all-encompassing registration application should adapt to the organization’s most complicated business rules. It should program and adjust itsfully mobile responsiveregistration flow to the event’s specific needs for all registration types. Experience-driven features include eligible discounts able to be added, sharing data with third-party systems, almost unlimited registration types/session types/categories/promo codes/pricing tiers/sessions/ merchandise/etc., virtual badges, and survey questions. Registration services should and will offer clients a registration websitethat ismobileresponsive, carrythe look and feel of their branded home or eventwebsite , and links seamlessly toother websites of ASCO’s choice.With registration services, immediate email confirmations are generated upon payment confirmation, andattendees can self-manage modifications and cancelations. 

The Importance of a Dedicated Registration Service 

From the perspective of an event attendee, registration can be difficult. There are many factors in securing one’s place at a conference, and user experience is everything to your potential attendees and exhibitors. Customer service not only affects the onsite experience but translates to every aspect of pre-conference as well.  Having a dedicated registration service provider can eliminate a lot of the nuances consumers face when registering or attending an event.

Advantages that Span from Pre to Post-Production 

A top advantage of a streamlined process for registration many organizations depend on is the ability to take advantage of the custom unified platform that can be fully integrated with the Housing Service web application and a robust reporting platform. This allows attendees to solidify their entire stay at a conference in one check-out process!  

Another major advantage of Registration Services is the approach using custom implementations, thus allowing registration to build exactly what is required for an event. This focused approach reduces limitations and user frustrations. Whether it is upselling, specialized business rules, or a unified housing and registration experience, registration services can do it!A registration service’s strength lies in its partnerships with other well-known platforms like Cvent as well as an in-house platform allowing the process and registration services platforms to offer organizations a wide variety of system capabilities. 

Organizations also benefit from customer service teams available for any and all questions and support through an in-house call center with custom phone lines, email, fax, and chat capabilities. 

Health and safety solutions are also an added advantage for a very different type of registration process should the need to pivot to hybrid or virtual arise and registration services can accommodate this by offering multiple top-performing and vetted digital platforms. 

Onsite support includes anything from badge printing and scanning, training and coordinating temporary staff, and a dedicated team to serve at an onsite registration desk to assist the entire onsite process and needs. 

Benefits Both Organizations and Attendees 

For organizations and associations seeking a streamlined, unified, and custom, full-serviced registration platform to service their attendees and exhibitors, Registration Services are the answer. Attendees, exhibitors, and other registration types also benefit from the user-friendly platform and customer support from start to finish. Streamline your registration process today. MCI offers Registration Services including all the above and more. Contact us today to get started working with a valued partner. 

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Increase ROI with Association Investment Partnerships

What we do!

Association Investment Partners is a unique group of industry professionals that believe in one mission – to help organizations innovate faster and maximize their impact. AIP provides business models, and sound financial advice, and evaluates every possible potential to grow your business. Our best practices will deliver successful results that you can measure over time. You will learn how to innovate better, enhance your relevance, and grow more revenue.  

Association Investment Partners work closely with board members and executive staff to develop relationships, understand the association’s needs, and cure those needs with solutions. The Investment and Management partners direct and finance new growth opportunities for associations and together, construct investment strategies around strengths.  

Why Invest?

Associations will be faced with challenges as they develop over time. Certain obstacles within association industries may hinder production. Our Investment & Management Partners handle your challenges with you. We provide a clear concise plan to help navigate any association through the process.   

First, we learn the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, then build investment strategies that communicate how we will amplify strengths and highlight areas of improvement. This process helps associations learn where to finance, hence creating opportunities for business development. 

Bring on the Benefits!

Areas of opportunities include hybrid revenues, geographic growth, productization, replicability, community, and mergers and acquisitions. The possibilities for generating growth are endless.  

Hybrid Revenues derive from events that are held in person or virtually. This combination of an event allows associations to place value on both styles of an event and provides participants with options during this current climate.  

Geographic Growth allows associations to be everywhere at once. We will grow your online presence where everyone is connected. Geographic growth enhances online access, increases online engagement, and provides an overall digital footprint. This plan births worldwide access for Associations that need to reach a broader audience.  

Productization is the process of promoting and educating associations on upgrading their online content to better communicate their products. By implementing online learning of one’s products, members and customers will gain a better understanding of what that product provides and how it operates.  

Replicability helps maximize the association’s reach by creating hybrid sub-specialty events. Sub-events are anything ranging from special sessions, speaking sessions, training, parties, or keynote activities of a particular specialty. 

Community has a new definition and the new kids on the block are not meeting face-to-face, but rather online. By developing online community platforms, associations will have audiences talking and engaging wherever they are located.  

Mergers and Acquisitions guidance is available for associations pursuing a merger or acquisition. AIP and the investment fund are here to help facilitate this process. Our team is here to help guide associations through each phase of growth. Benefits of mergers and acquisitions range from economies of scale, market competitive edge in the market, and even access to the best talent.  

How do we guarantee success? Our team of committed experts is dedicated to assisting you with your financial and managerial needs every step of the way. Get started now by contacting MCI USA.  

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Let’s Talk Incentive Travel

Incentive travel is the opportunity to motivate, incentivize, and reward sales teams and distribution networks with a planned trip. The international team provides and shares internal resources and networks with businesses who seek customized trips anywhere in the world.  

The Incentive Travel team is made up of travel professionals focused on motivating performance by creating magical experiences. It is a detail-driven business with lots of moving parts and deadlines. The team creates, writes, and executes, always original, programs for Corporate America.  

While some companies help clients write and track the incentive, our mission is to focus on supplying the reward. Once goals have been met, participants will travel to a chosen destination. Trips vary in size from luxury extravaganzas for 25 couples to more streamlined adventures (often executed in waves or buyouts) for thousands of earners and their guests. 

The Incentive Travel Treatment

By connecting with an Incentive Travel team, businesses receive dedicated worldwide services to meet their planning needs and motivate top producers as the travel team tailors budgets and customizes itineraries.  

The Incentive Travel team conceptualizes experiences based on location, and through that process, they capitalize on savings to keep your budget “in check” every step of the way. Working with our global team collectively gives your team access to first-class cultural knowledge, vendors, and resources that will benefit your goals.  

The incentive travel team manages your trip in phases that include design, pre-trip planning, custom web development, launch, creating and monitoring an action calendar, registration, execution of trip activities and events, and post-program reconciliation. We are your ombudsman with disputes and a single billing source. 

The trip design also supports your objectives in many ways by customizing a budget and planning the ins and outs from there. This includes the launch of creative communication to engage and inform your team members of the challenge.  

Once the announcement is in place, the team will build buzz and if desired, share engagement and performance results. The fun escalates as qualifying members register. This is when we tailor the experience by booking their pre-selected activities and travel and shipping a program-themed box of travel documents to their home. From here on out, the Incentive Travel team manages the on-site experience while you have all the fun!

Passport to Perks

Through the program, your organization will see an increase in sales, and establish camaraderie and esprit de corps. The process motivates performance as team members go above and beyond and provide a positive message of staying power through healthy competition.  

Your team will receive decades of experience at its fingertips, gain direct access to worldwide services, see savings in the budget through value-added offerings and limited outsourcing, and have peace of mind as the team manages critical dates and executes your program.  

Have more questions about Incentive Travel? Contact our Incentive Travel team now to learn more about our process. 

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Encouraging Attendees & Exhibitors to Book Within the Block with Housing Services

Housing Services Maximize In-Person Engagement and add Revenue to your Event 

Need a specialized team of housing professionals that are here to manage your housing process, every step of the way? Housing Services pairs you with strategic leaders in site selection and contract negotiations to collaborate with your team to understand your audience, meeting budget, primary goals and preferred destinations. Leveraging our buying power and industry partnerships on your behalf, housing services will help your organization find the best assortment of hotels for your event needs at the best possible rates. Housing professionals will analyze past conference pick-up patterns and recent trends across your events year to year or from comparable clients to assist in securing the correct number of room nights, per night in each event city. As part of the services, housing will arrange for these room blocks to be located within proximity to the convention center or meeting venue. 

 

Housing Services Encourage Attendees to Book with your Organization 

When it comes to encouraging attendees to book within the block, the first step taken is ensuring your housing platform is capable of unifying with registration for a seamless one-stop-shop process. On top of that, it should have a dynamic and user-friendly experience while also carrying the look and feel of your unique branded association or event website and is designed to link seamlessly from this official site. Nowadays, most of us browse the web and make purchases from our pocket devices. Housing services platforms should be fully mobile responsive, making it efficient for your attendees and exhibitors to book their rooms, in real-time, while on the go. Not only is the platform user-friendly, but it allows the ability to search availability and book multiple rooms in one booking session, offers automatically generated email confirmations upon purchase, and allows attendees to cancel or modify reservations. The website will also list official hotels and rates, hotel descriptions, high-resolution hotel photos, star ratings, and a full amenity list broken down by property. All this in addition to real-time reporting! Reports can be configured in innumerable formats to adapt to users’ needs and scheduled for distribution to appropriate team members at the necessary frequency. You can track every aspect of your show’s housing and registration data in real-time and post-event. 

The Housing Services database will have a consolidated list of registrants, housed attendees, and those that have registered but not yet booked housing. Housing services will work with the client to create campaigns that motivate the audience to always book within the block. An internal marketing team that specializes in maximizing housing block pickup can create a custom marketing plan to reach out to your exhibitors and attendees while accommodating your specific needs and goals as well as remaining consistent with your messaging and overall branding. This plan may include a calendar of dates for email campaigns, social media posts, and any other outreach. Segmented data is used to convert your registrants that typically book around the block into your room block. 

The Advantages of a Client-focused Service Plan 

Nothing is more imperative to the success of event production than customer service. A housing partnership with a client-focused organization is an extension of your team, offering full support along the way, from simple day-to-day to accomplishing major milestones for your team. It is imperative that housing professionals stay up to date on emerging trends in the technology and service offerings provided to clients, never out of date, and always innovative and thinking forward to anticipate the client’s needs and the needs of the market. Beginning the process of housing services, a detailed plan and course of action will be taken with your team, as well as an initial Discovery Meeting to outline the expectations of a successful housing partnership and the needs of your organization to help achieve a truly exemplary housing service experience for you and your attendees and exhibitors. An in-house Call Center provides a personalized experience by referencing the name of your meeting when answering your dedicated customer service phone numbers and responding to communications received through your dedicated email address. Onsite, the support from a housing service team never stops, with a full team sent to accompany you.  

Who benefits? 

We believe it is essential to encourage attendees and exhibitors to book within the block, not just for your organization, but for them to make the most out of an onsite event. Doing so not only places them in the center of the action at the headquarter or the official hotel of your event, but by staying amongst their peers, they will gain access to valuable networking and connections, even outside the convention center. Staying within the block offers attendees and exhibitors, and even your association staff, the lowest rates available with added amenities included. 

Let’s get started. MCI offers you all the above and more! Your goals are our goals – and together we can achieve something truly great. Contact us. 

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Adapt for the Future with Digital Event Solutions

Embrace the new digital age… 

Digital Solutions offer seamless interactive webinar/virtual event services, which include a custom online event & learning management platform that provides registration, live and pre-recorded sessions, online exams, certificates of completion, and video-on-demand capabilities. Digital capabilities expand the possibilities and reach of your events and provide solutions to transform your face-to-face meetings for the future. Digital solutions offer multiple platforms and technologies to best fit your needs with a design and build stylized in your brand with an in-person conference look and feel. Understand, design, and deliver, from kickoff and goal setting to project implementation and virtual live delivery to closure and measurement. 

Now, with the world slowly coming back to the in-person space, hybrid events have also taken center stage, offering attendees an option for in-person and virtual, tailoring options unique to our attendee’s preferences and comfort levels.  

Digital helps YOU keep the show running! 

Don’t just cancel or postpone and lose valuable audiences and revenue for the year. Not only will digital solutions maximize your attendee possibilities but adapt this new strategy to expand your connection with your members, sponsors, and other partners.  

Digital solutions help shape your tomorrow, taking your event business model to reinvent and redesign it. Digital engagement strategies help retain your audience’s attention and stimulate interactions beyond what you’ve experienced before, expanding your message for a longer period, capturing your audience for the long haul. By focusing on the design of your unique platform, we ensure your event is engaging for all audiences and learner types, creating an educational, memorable, and immersive digital event experience. We take everything you love and gain from an in-person event and transform it into a new medium, energizing and harnessing the power of digital engagement. 

Beginning in 2020, with COVID-19 making headlines, events across the world began to feel the effects, but MCI provided expert industry advice and an alternative to the difficult decision to cancel or postpone—through digital solutions. 

For companies and associations looking to expand their offerings in a post-pandemic world, digital solutions have you covered, whether you’re looking for a fully virtual or hybrid model. 

Invent and expand through the advantages of digital solutions. 

The main benefit of virtual and hybrid digital solutions is audience expansion, now anyone, no matter their circumstances can attend your event, gaining valuable networking and education from anywhere in the world. 

Digital solutions provide value and help you save. Shifting to a virtual or hybrid model allows you to protect revenues and maintain sponsorship income by not losing out on the constraints of an in-person event today. 

Who benefits? 

Not only do associations and organizations get the opportunity to keep the show running, but in-person attendees get access to the face-to-face connection they have been missing while virtual attendees are allowed a means to directly support the organization and stay connected safely and at a distance. 

Let’s get started… digital solutions await. 

The world has changed, and so has its outlook on events—it’s time to use face-to-face, hybrid and digital experiences, all as one. The show must go on. Interested in taking your event to the next level with MCI Events’ Digital Solutions? Contact us now. 

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What are Corporate Meetings & Events?

A corporate meeting or event will be sponsored by a company that focuses on its employees or clients. Our Corporate Meetings and Events team collaborates with companies that need fulfillment in executing a show strategically and in a timely manner.  

Our team handles housing, logistics, production, and communication services for a variety of associations and corporations. Additionally, we offer event registration and marketing for your production at MCI USA to keep you current every step of the way. Our many services ranging from financial management to successful meeting management.  

We assist with conferences, trade shows, award galas, and much more behind the scenes. Our portfolio includes pre-event planning, personalized event experience, event production, event attendee registration, and management, as well as marketing. 

WHY DO YOU NEED CORPORATE MEETINGS & EVENTS? 

By providing a multitude of services, you will unleash the maximum potential of your team’s power. Allowing you to have more time to focus on your everyday tasks. Each corporate entity hosts a variety of meetings or corporate events throughout the year. That said, corporate meetings and events differ from client to client; therefore, we collaborate with each client differently to meet their specific needs.  

WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF CORPORATE MEETINGS & EVENTS? 

Corporate events and meetings are hosted for various reasons that are beneficial across the board. They incentivize employees, strengthen company culture, and foster a sense of belonging. These events or meetings will also promote your brand externally and create a strong brand affinity in your industry market.  

We benefit our clients by solving their challenges so they can prepare for tomorrow. To achieve this, we provide an assortment of services applied with strategic solutions. MCI USA motivates employees, strengthens employee engagement, and builds brand loyalty. We assist personnel with the day-to-day details, allowing them to operate at maximum capacity. By working with our vendors closely, we work cohesively to receive the best pricing and service to execute your show.  

This practice helps us utilize the relationships that we have from the event and meeting world to develop your concept into a reality.  

Examples of events would be conferences, sales, retreats, sales incentive trips, thought leadership events/special events, conferences, product launches, presidents’ club trips, reward trips, board meetings, training seminars, training events, brand activations, multi-city events, virtual and hybrid experiences, and corporate meetings just to name of few. 

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM CORPORATE MEETINGS AND EVENTS? 

Corporations or businesses big or small that host corporate meetings, events, or brand activations (national or regional) may receive our services. We work with clients that may have titles such as ‘Meetings Director,’ ‘VP of Marketing,’ etc.  

Our clients derive from an assortment of industries such as automotive business, professional services, direct sales, energy, entertainment, finance and banking, food and beverage, healthcare information, communication and technology, retail, science and engineering, and sports.  

GET STARTED! 

MCI USA is dedicated to handling your vision with quality. When you partner with MCI USA, you partner with an unforgettable, positive experience! Contact our Corporate Meetings and Events team to learn how you can begin planning today.

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How the Growth of Influencers and Short-Form Videos Have Impacted Digital Marketing and Events

In the past few years, we have seen a shift in social media across all channels, starting as platforms promoting interpersonal connection and evolving into powerful vessels of consumerism, word of mouth, and B2C marketing.

Instagram was one of the pioneers in creating a new landscape for marketing and advertising, particularly in an avenue we are starting to see grow exponentially — influencer marketing. Large accounts that showcased their photography, art, and hobbies began to open up and allow followers to know the person behind the account, creating the invaluable marketing tool we now know as the “influencer.” Photographer and influencer Jaci Marie Smith recently posted a TikTok video on the evolution of Instagram, where she took a deep dive into her Instagram feed in 2014. She was solely a photographer at the time and most of her photos were of her subjects. Then, she noticed a trend. Out of all her curated, impersonal photography, a post of her eating lunch gained the most likes. “The reason that’s interesting is because, at this time, being a social media influencer wasn’t really a thing yet,” Smith said in the video. “Once I realized people were more interested in the person behind the lens, and their life, and following along with that, I started … working with brands and ‘becoming an influencer.’”

This speaks volumes to the rise of the new world of social media we marketers thrive in today. Instagrammers would start branding themselves for the masses, curating a lifestyle industry that their followers tuned in to daily. Consumers would buy products recommended by their favorite influencers because they trusted their opinion and wanted to recreate their personal brand for themselves. Brands and other businesses began to realize that word-of-mouth promotion was booming and began to work with influencers to promote products or services.

The next step in this evolution came with the creation of “Stories.” Snapchat was the first to implement Stories, a means of photo and video slideshows. Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter soon began to implement Stories on their platforms. Individual users would post throughout their day, curating a new sense of realism and romanticizing the mundane.

Since the creation of Stories, gone are the days of heavily stylized posts — consumers want to see a glimpse into the “behind the scenes” of daily life and brand authenticity. The key to Stories is their video capabilities. Brands and influencers can film themselves promoting a product or service and directly provide a link for their followers to access immediately. Brands have even sold out of a particular product within hours because a particular influencer posted a photo with it or filmed a story raving about it.

After influencers have well-dominated the social media marketing game, then came the rise of video within the last few years, specifically short-form videos. TikTok and Instagram Reels have been a game changer in terms of word-of-mouth marketing and user-generated content. Viral videos on TikTok have led to feta being sold out in grocery stores because of users attempting to recreate a popular pasta dish they saw. Certain makeup products have been sold out for months due to the popularity of one successful video, and the list keeps growing!

Not only is this platform a tool for creating influencers out of everyday TikTok users who inspire and promote brand loyalty with companies they love, but the companies themselves have hopped on the bandwagon with their own TikTok accounts. There, they create funny, snappy, engaging content that users love. Production studio Lionsgate is an excellent example of this, posting witty videos poking fun at their own films, especially ones that have cult followings. Followers want to see their favorite brands have personality, they want to see authenticity, and the best way to convey brand personality is through short video content.

If you’re wondering how this influencer and video-based marketing translates to events, it wouldn’t be much different. While we are not selling products at MCI, we sell experiences, and the world of quick, captivating video and influencer marketing is invaluable. We all remember the disaster of Fyre Festival, but why did it blow up to begin with? One could say a key participant in this false hype was that Kendall Jenner and other A-list influencers promoted the teaser video on their Instagram accounts.

When looking at more successful music festivals and events such as Coachella, a huge part of their popularity is that celebrities and music artists attend and film videos of themselves there or preparing to attend. Companies even pay for social media influencers to attend, sponsoring them with VIP passes, because they know they will document the entire experience by posting photos, creating daily Stories, and filming in-depth videos while there. This is a major part of the hype of these events. If it’s seen on social media as something desirable, the masses want to be part of it.

How does this translate to the events we work with at MCI? While we may not be marketing Coachella, every event has an audience and industry, and in every industry, there are influencers who are well-respected and widely followed by prospective attendees. Find them, connect with them, and use them to promote your event. Many potential attendees will register because a particular influencer tells them it is worth their time to do so.

In addition, consider your audience to have a short attention span before they lose interest and move on. They will glance at a photo and keep scrolling. Video begs them to hang on a little longer and watch engaging content to understand the full message. Video media is crucial nowadays. Everyone is watching something, whether it be a streaming service, scrolling through TikTok or Instagram Reels, or engaging with content on Stories. Video can capture attention faster than a photo, especially when scrolling through primarily photo-based social media feeds such as Instagram or Facebook. To the consumer, it feels more personal and authentic, and it is an excellent way to inspire brand loyalty through word-of-mouth and user-generated content, as well as establish your event’s personality.

Juliana Pearce is a marketing specialist in MCI USA’s Strategic Events, Meetings & Incentives business unit. She has been with MCI for three years and continues to develop marketing materials, campaigns, and creative content for both SEM&I event clients and MCI. She is based out of the Dallas office. In her free time, she loves to explore creative writing, photography, travel, and cooking — and of course, becoming an expert in all forms of social media!

5 Ways to Increase Event Attendance

Sell, sell, sell — that’s all we think about when wanting to increase event presence as much as possible. Not only is it a top goal, but it also creates a lot of pressure and can be a huge stressor for most event companies and marketers.

Let’s relieve some of that stress with these five tips on how you can increase event attendance right away.

1. Leverage your email list.

Email marketing is critical when promoting an upcoming event. Let’s start with personal invites. This is a great way to increase awareness, while also providing a human-centric touch. People want personalization in their emails; they want to feel special and to be seen as individuals. Personal invites also stand out in someone’s inbox as highly relevant, as they are tailored specifically to them. Use this tactic with your email list and encourage your sponsors, exhibitors, speakers, etc., to do the same.

Share your event in creative ways such as in a newsletter or through a video invite. Video can facilitate a more personal connection than written content and can be an emotional driver that helps increase sales and generate long-term customers.

Also, drive your content through list segmentation, which allows you to get granular with your content and the audience you are speaking to. Audience segmenting is a key driver for personalization as well. By dividing your audience into segments and tailoring your message to each one, you have a better chance of connecting with each customer, hitting them with information that’s specific to them.

2. Use ad retargeting and geofencing.

Retargeting can be used to reengage (or “retarget”) people who came to your website to buy a ticket or register for your event, but they never completed the transaction. This technique displays relevant ads to past website visitors while they’re browsing other sites online. Your ad should encourage them to revisit your site and finish their purchase. Don’t be afraid to generate a sense of urgency in your creative and messaging.

Geofencing is another great way to market your event to a particular group or audience around a specific targeted area. Geofencing allows you to set virtual boundaries around a geographic area. When someone enters that area, their mobile device sets off an action, such as a push notification, etc.

You can use geofencing in a few ways, but for building attendance, target competitor events. You can do this through the location, date, and time of the competitor’s event and then creating a value proposition to entice the person to click the ad.

3. Offer discounts.

Discounts are a great way to reward people for registering for an event. A small discount strategy can incentivize ticket purchases and drive sales. So, whether it’s early-bird rates, discount codes, or referral codes, you want to get inventive when applying discounts.

Discounts can be essential in developing your marketing strategy; however, if you don’t use discounts correctly, you risk losing your brand’s value.

Pros for Using Discounts Cons for Using Discounts
Drives more sales volume

Brings in new customers

Builds relationships with loyal patrons

Creates buyer urgency

Helps people choose your event over competitors’

Can decrease profit margins

Can lower perceived worth of event

Showcasing to people who only value discounts

Shifts focus from event value to price

Competitive price war

Before you decide on a discount strategy, make sure you set your goals. Your objectives will define the type of discount you can offer. There are many ways to use discounts, and to avoid any uncertainty, map out a transparent approach. Having these options outlined gives you flexibility when it comes to ticketing, which will make it easier to sell at all stages of event promotion.

4. Develop lookalike audiences.

You have people who previously purchased tickets to your event, and now you want to find more just like them. A great way to do this is by creating lookalike audiences through mail lists and social channels.

A lookalike audience lets your ads reach new people who may be interested in your event because of their similarities to your current customers. Most social channels have the technology you need to find lookalike audiences.

5. Gather and analyze digital analytics from your event to learn from activity.

The more you know about how visitors found you, the more educated you are in making decisions to advocate in the right places online. Without this knowledge, you won’t know the potential problems your event’s online presence is facing or be able to make any important changes.

Web analytics is defined as “the measurement and analysis of data to inform an understanding of user behavior across web pages.” Analytics data shows whether your marketing is working and areas where you can improve. This type of insight can benefit your events.

Here are six ways to get started measuring digital analytics:

  • Choose an analytics platform that works for you and your current software. Google Analytics is a good and free place to start.
  • Set up tracking by placing pixels and integrating API on all pages of your website.
  • Create segments of your overall audience by collecting data from your pixels. As previously mentioned, segmenting your audience is a huge marketing benefit.
  • Track your progress. This is established by your analytics tool once it is configured and set up.
  • Report and analyze the data being provided by the analytics tool and grow your event.
  • Define and measure your goals by different variables.

Attendance marketing can be difficult; however, by implementing these five tips into your everyday marketing strategy, you are sure to be off to a great start. Remember, having a plan is key, and creating opportunities for personalization is a must.

Looking to grow your events audience? Contact us so we can help you grow! [fusion_button link=”https://mcievents.com/contact/” title=”” target=”_self” link_attributes=”” alignment_medium=”” alignment_small=”” alignment=”” modal=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” class=”” id=”” color=”default” button_gradient_top_color=”” hue=”” saturation=”” lightness=”” alpha=”” button_gradient_bottom_color=”” button_gradient_top_color_hover=”” button_gradient_bottom_color_hover=”” gradient_start_position=”” gradient_end_position=”” gradient_type=”” radial_direction=”” linear_angle=”180″ accent_color=”” accent_hover_color=”” type=”” bevel_color=”” bevel_color_hover=”” border_top=”” border_right=”” border_bottom=”” border_left=”” border_radius_top_left=”” border_radius_top_right=”” border_radius_bottom_right=”” border_radius_bottom_left=”” border_color=”” border_hover_color=”” size=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=”” fusion_font_family_button_font=”” fusion_font_variant_button_font=”” font_size=”” line_height=”” letter_spacing=”” text_transform=”” stretch=”default” margin_top=”” margin_right=”” margin_bottom=”” margin_left=”” icon=”” icon_position=”left” icon_divider=”no” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]Learn More[/fusion_button]

Jenn Karsner, senior marketing manager, Strategic Events, Meetings, and Incentives, comes to MCI USA with an entrepreneurial mindset that was sharpened by owning her own business. This spirit is coupled with the event experience she gained from more than 10 years of running and managing events and marketing. Jenn loves to travel and spend time with her son.

5 Topics Event Strategists Need to Have on Their Radar

Earlier this year, I participated in two events at the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) Convening Leaders conference in Las Vegas. The organization asked me to create a workshop on its “7 Change Actions” learning experience and to moderate the sessions that took place on the 7 Change Actions Stage. To do this, I first had to learn this innovative framework.

Developed by PCMA, the 7 Change Actions is a seven-module learning experience, designed to help event leaders navigate the challenging times we are living in. The course is comprised of amazing content that helps you think differently and/or use frameworks to help redesign your event or business.

For my workshop, I did a deep dive into three of the Change Actions — and what a learning experience it was! I also moderated five sessions on the stage, getting the opportunity to participate in thought-provoking conversations on topics that impact how all business-event strategists operate today.

These are the five topics that resonated with me the most during my experience at the event.

1. Collaboration

One of the 7 Change Actions I covered in my workshop was collaboration. I love and have studied this topic for years, so it was fun to bring some of my insights into the workshops.

As Albert Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” So, as part of looking to change business models, event strategies, etc., we need to first look at collaboration in new ways to help us get there. To start, we must determine how to fix the issues that inhibit collaboration and innovation. These issues include:

  • Functional goals superseding shared outcomes from the collaboration project
  • Unclear decision-making processes
  • Lack of effective rhythm for communicating, collaborating and learning
  • Lack of understanding concerning the function of other team members

There are several ways to fix these, but let’s focus on the difference between coordination, cooperation and collaboration. Coordination involves looking at the structure and architecture; alignment of activities and information; and mechanics of the project, team and meetings. Cooperation, on the other hand, focuses on creating a collaborative environment, aligning goals and human behavior, and creating motivation. And, finally, collaboration is working together to create something new in support of a shared vision. Both elements of coordination and cooperation need to be considered to ensure the collaboration can be successful.

2. Measurement

On the 7 Change Actions Stage, Nicole Moreo, EVP, head of U.S. Analytics at Ketchum, presented “The Return on Events: Measuring and Reporting Your Value.” Measurement is about counting or documenting results of a campaign, but the real magic happens by producing knowledge and insights that support real-time optimizations, future strategy and creative executions. Don’t fall for vanity metrics such as the number of butts in seats. You need to ask why you are tracking something in the first place — what is your “so what?” Start with the end in mind. What or who are you trying to influence? That is when you get into asking the right questions that can help you drive your event or business.

As Moreo says, “As problem-solvers, we are very eager to give the business/our boss/the client the right key we believe will fix their issue and cause the change they want to see. Every key in our toolbox is useless if we don’t find which lock we need to put it in first — the one that is ultimately responsible for changing the situation [or] behavior.”

As you know, there is an infinite number of things you can measure. The following framework from Ketchum is a great example of how you should think about what you should measure and why.


KPI Framework/Measurement Plan developed by Ketchum

Moreo, who is on the board of the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), said during her presentation that AMEC has free resources that provide additional frameworks to help you decide how you can and should be measuring your events. Check it out and see if you can use any of these tools to look like a rockstar!


Framework developed by the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC)

3. Focus on Storytelling

The second session I moderated on the stage, “Making More with Less: Content Hacks to Drive Engagement and ROI,” was led by Bob Hitchcock, senior director of content marketing at LegalZoom. First and foremost, Hitchcock is a storyteller, and he stressed that storytelling is really all about creating emotion. (He worked for Disney for 11 years in PR and content marketing, after all, so he knows what he is talking about.)

During the session, he told a story about how to make meaningful content using video. LegalZoom wanted to showcase how easy it is to start a business with the service, and they wanted to launch a video in conjunction with National Hispanic Heritage Month. Once they found a successful entrepreneur from the Latino community, Hitchcock went to work. This example showed how easy it was to create content that costs nothing, other than time to create some questions, and to film and edit (using free software) the video. Think about how you can easily create something that can evoke emotion without having a hefty expense hitting your P&L!

4. Skillsets and Ingenious Thinking

This session titled “Build the Event Team of the Future by Unlocking Cross-Functional Collaboration” was pretty fun and featured an engaging panel with Michael Guillory and Nicole O’Leary from The Expo Group and Jay Weintraub of Connectiv. In addition to the power of collaboration, they focused on skillsets of the team and ingenious thinking:

  • Skillsets: Project management, along with strategy and execution skills, will be in high demand. Hiring managers should look for talent who can work in the gray area (which we have been living in for the past two years) and are intuitive and diverse. Ask yourself: Are we hiring using those criteria, or are we just filling in the gaps left by the pandemic? Determine what your future looks like and hire for that need.
  • Ingenious thinking: Look for exponential versus incremental changes and growth. Lean into your partners. Use the “kill or keep” exercise to clean your slate of events. Determine what your clients/attendees need now and only keep those who meet the new need.

Part of the ingenious thinking discussion was discipline and focus. In my personal experience, if you have more than three to five KPIs or headline metrics, you have too many. Take the time to figure out what you are really trying to accomplish and focus only on those things. There are only so many resources to go around, so make sure they are focused on the right things.

Lastly, Weintraub said that one of the things that has made him successful in starting, building and selling events was “making everyone feel special” on his team. How cool is that? Is that a core value or mandate in your organization?

5. Delivering Value

One of the other 7 Change Actions I went over during my workshop was value delivery and creation. PCMA worked with Mark Payne of Fahrenheit 212 to help determine how to deliver value to your customers, while serving the needs of the business (aka generating revenue).

As event leaders, we are good at brainstorming ideas on all the things we could do to make things more fun or engaging or easy or…you get my point. What is generally missing is, how do you tie those new, innovative ideas into revenue-generating opportunities? The following framework is a good start. It looks at the needs of the consumer (or event attendee, exhibitor, etc.) and the needs of the business (or association/organization).

Make sure you are looking at both sides of this two-sided solution. You can check out this YouTube video to see some frameworks Payne created that you could use to help solve this problem.

The world is very different from what it was two years ago, and we need to look at new ways to learn about, and serve, our audiences or customers. The 7 Change Actions framework was built specifically for event professionals but can also apply to most business problems. It is a great resource if you want a methodology that can help you and your team think differently. But don’t forget to coordinate and cooperate before you collaborate and do your best to make people feel special!

Heidi (Voorhees) Haneberg, CAE, is the senior vice president of strategic projects at MCI USA.