Achieving event success in food and beverage: five tips
By Becca Shanks, Creative Services Director, Sledge
The warmer weather represents a key time for brands in the food and beverage space to connect with their customers face-to-face, and it’s also where festive showcases reign supreme.
However, with marketing budgets being cut and the cost of living continuing to rise, the challenges are no doubt aplenty when it comes to curating creative experiences that engage audiences.
So, below are five tips to keep in mind when it comes to planning and executing events in the food and beverage sector this year – and potentially beyond.
Flex your creative muscles
Rather than approaching budget reductions and the current costs crisis as a hindrance, aim to flip the script and consider them as an opportunity to really push the creative envelope.
This is something we champion here at Sledge, and are dialling up the consultative service we provide to our clients, to help them develop unique creative concepts that are supported by a robust strategy, and also reflect their budget.
Creativity in this sense might mean looking to alternative solutions, moving away from the expected and coming at the brief with a fresh approach, looking to less traditional event spaces, and focusing on smaller scale, yet more frequent experiences in different locations – which are also great for continuing the buzz.
Share product stories in interactive ways
Consumers are increasingly interested in the carbon footprint involved in food and beverage production, including the sustainable production throughout your supply chains.
Events represent an opportunity to reflect on these stories, by revealing how you create your products, and inviting producer partners to deliver educational sessions, where they showcase how their product is grown or made at different stages.
Masterclasses are also a great way to share how food or drink items can be prepared and enjoyed in the home and other settings. Looking at current trends and public interests, this could take the form of mini cooking classes and stations, or product demonstrations, followed by interactive Q&As.
Repurpose event content
We always recommend capturing live event content, from both a photography and videography perspective, due to its amplification opportunities.
Opening a live streaming element for product reveals, event teasers and exclusive access will allow other consumers to join in on the action and generate interest. Meanwhile, sharing edited highlights via social media platforms, your website, email marketing, and with media outlets can ensure the news reaches a much wider audience.
Sensitivity and accessibility are key
The live stream option is also a great way to be sensitive to the fact that not all guests are able to attend events in person. It reduces any travel and accommodation costs and time spent away from work, while ensuring they don’t miss your updates.
If your event is designed for a particular audience, such as journalists and influencers, there’s also the option to create bespoke platforms and dedicated logins for them. With personalisation so key now and people busier than ever, this allows them to not only access the content in real time, but also on demand at a time that complements their schedule.
Curate the attendee journey
Aim to surprise and delight your audience before the event even begins via compelling communications, and then incorporate these into event entry points, and throughout the experience.
This might mean developing an installation on arrival that immerses them in your new food or beverage product, and then taking them on a journey through its production process and supplier partners, through to its serving suggestions.
The same goes for the launch of a wider range, such as a festive season offering. The journey could begin with starters and paired beverages, followed by mains and desserts, where spaces have their own unique look and feel, while also remaining on brand.
There are many considerations to keep in mind when hosting an event in the food and beverage sector today, and it’s important to note that peoples’ expectations are always changing.
So, be sure to adopt a strategic approach from the outset, ladder your creative up so that it complements it, and take the time to understand the wants, needs and expectations of your audience.
This combined approach will help to ensure success across your events, whether that’s a product launch, press showcase, consumer-facing pop up, or other.