Have you ever thought about planning events to build trust?
Usually, when we set up our goals for our upcoming brand or business events, we focus on things like attracting new leads or strengthening our existing clients’ loyalty.
However, we don’t tend to think in terms of trust.
We see event marketing as a brand-maximizing tool, limited to raising awareness or designing brand experiences. We aim to get more leads or diversify our relationships with our clients. Yet, we don’t do the groundwork, which consists of planning events to gain attendees’ trust and get them to believe in our brand.
Why is that important?
The ripple effect of trust
First, trust is crucial for retaining leads and transforming them into paying customers (which, in most cases, is your main goal when running brand events). Second, by building trust with your attendees, you’re getting them to pay attention to your messages, and actually engage with your brand. Finally, trust is the core element of a fruitful and long-lasting relationship, and in business, this is what puts you ahead of your competitors.
If your attendees will trust your brand (meaning your products or services), people who’ve never heard about you before will also trust you.
How is this possible?
Simon Sinek, famous author and entrepreneur, offers an explanation: “What do you trust more, a claim made in a piece of advertising or a recommendation from a friend? Whom do you trust more, the waiter who tells you, ‘Everything on the menu is great,’ or the waiter who tells you to avoid the chicken casserole? Are these questions too easy? Then how about this one: why should anyone trust you? Personal recommendations go a long way. We trust the judgement of others. It’s part of the fabric of strong cultures.”
If you can influence, inspire, and impact people to believe in your brand, they’ll turn around and do the same thing to their peers by talking about your company.
You’ll not only get leads or customers, but you’ll also enjoy the ripple effect of trust, which is spreading the word and (potentially) building an entire community around your brand.
So how you do that?
How do you plan an event that will help you position your company as trustworthy? Here are some ideas on how to plan an event that will get your guests to trust your brand’s value.
Fake it until you … won’t make it
There are so many “fake” brand events, meaning that their mere purpose is to just sell or falsely get attendees into believing that they need to buy something.
If your intention is to use trust just as a tool for manipulation, stop right there. That’s not the way to promote your company. Moreover, you’ll run the risk of people sensing your hidden agenda and developing a negative association with your brand.
You don’t want this to happen.
So if you don’t have your priorities straight, maybe you should refrain from planning a brand event and spend some time with your team rethinking your vision.
What’s the purpose, and most important, the value of your brand?
If your intentions to help your (future) clients aren’t genuine, you’ll fail to build an authentic and long-lasting trust. And although you might get some attendees to believe that your brand is trustworthy, you won’t gain momentum.
Find the RIGHT people for your event
According to Simon Sinek, “That we trust people with common values and beliefs is not, in itself, a profound assertion. There is a reason we’re not friends with everyone we meet. We’re friends with people who see the world the way we see it, who share our views and our belief set.”
The same thing happens with your buyer personas and attendees. You don’t want to appeal to everyone. You must carefully find those who relate to your brand’s identity and vision, so you can lay the foundation for a stronger connection.
Know who your attendees are and design actions that will appeal exclusively to them. Be specific. This strategy will help you focus on launching the right marketing actions to attract people who identify with your company’s values, so they’ll be more open to building a relationship based on trust with your brand.
Engage attendees in valuable brand experiences
There’s no shortage of resources on how to set up an attractive brand experience. From involving the attendees’ senses to planning extraordinary shows, you might go to great lengths just to get your attendees to experience some sort of brand awe.
Yet, how many of these “mise-en-scènes” are actually providing true value to your attendees? Or, a more important question: Is your event about your brand or your guests?
Showing how your product or service works will not add value to your audience. Providing answers and solutions to your attendees’ most burning problems and issues, on the other hand, will make them understand and trust your brand.
Nobody wants to be sold products or services, especially during events thinly masked as “brand experiences.” People are seeking real solutions, and if you can provide them with quick answers to their problems, you’ll be seen as a trustworthy company.
Help your attendees, instead of persuading them
We’ve come up with sophisticated marketing (aka manipulation) strategies to change our attendees’ minds and get them to buy things from us. We use different promotional tricks and tips to make our guests interested in what we have to offer.
We hide behind the word “persuasion” in our attempt to make people “believe” in our brand. But is this the right way to do it?
Things like persuasion or marketing manipulation usually work, but they won’t help you build real trust and convince attendees that your brand is honest and has a broader mission than just to sell products or services.
So stop relying on “persuasion.”
Instead, help your attendees to get out the most from your events, engage more with both other guests and the event content, and let them co-create their own experiences.
Do your best and offer them as much value as you can. Then, let them decide if your brand is trustworthy and can solve their problems.
Trust comes from things you can’t actually see
Last but not least, don’t forget that your event is the image of your brand and company. A careless attitude regarding the planning and event management can negatively impact your attendees’ trust.
That’s why you must put in the time and effort to actually design and run a flawless experience. It’s your responsibility to make sure that your guests have a friendly environment for learning and connection.
Apart from that, use the right tools to minimize your attendees’ logistic stress by transforming the event environment and attendance procedures into positive and effortless experiences.
Call to action
Running brand events is your chance to take the relationship with your potential leads and customers to a different level.
So instead of trying to sell company products or services at your events, focus on getting your attendees into believing your brand’s genuine desire to help and add value. Build trust first, then the rest will come.