Dear Colleagues:

Marketing budgets have been trimmed...OK slashed. Large scale events and entertainment are among the bigger ticket items that sometimes appear in marketing plans. While some such programs may have evaporated, many continue. So, how are events being used to market companies and products now and into the future?

Empire Entertainment's Adam Kahan provided his company's valuable experience to shed light on this timely topic for Marketing Coach. We'll explore what event strategies are in and what may be passé.

Then, read on for my commentary about the realities of event PR.


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In This Issue
Why Produce an Event?
Headliners Make Deals
Awards Shows Promote Sponsors
Event Talent in a Cautious Climate
Does Branding Affect Talent Selection?
A Peek at Event PR
"(... a concert with top headliners...) is a tool
that enables clients
to bring the most important people in their industry

Adam Kahan
Senior Vice President
Empire Entertainment
Event Marketing that Wows!
Why Produce an Event?

Events are valuable tactics in the marketing mix for both external and internal purposes. Today, events are often used to:

· Generate visibility directly with an audience or via media attention

· Launch a product -- whether to consumers or business customers

· Build relationships in the business development process

· Reward and incentivize sales people

· Raise money

Corporate Events

It's clear that events are still a powerful marketing tool for business development and client relationships.

Headliners Make Deals

Empire Entertainment, for example, continues to attract major financial services companies to produce conferences and major events to entertain their clients. "We are planning a concert with a top headliner for one evening of an investment banking conference. Our client does this because it is a tool that enables them to bring the most important people in their industry together," said Adam Kahan, Senior Vice President for Empire Entertainment. While there may be a couple of thousand people in attendance, the events are designed for the top 150-200 VIPs in the room. These major clients and prospects are seated very deliberately with top bank brass. "If one major deal is struck as a result of the conference, my clients would consider such an event to be a huge success."

Awards Shows Promote Sponsors

Among Empire's clients are several high end awards shows. This year, they will produce The Webbys and The Independent Film Awards (aka The Gothams). The Webbys has become a major celebration of the Internet community and the amazing creativity and work taking place online. This is a uniquely branded event. "The Webbys went from a small quirky event to a sophisticated counter-culture big name event that attracts celebrities and top corporate sponsors with 900 attendees at the upscale Cipriani Wall Street," explains Kahan. As the Award has developed more caché, high profile recipients and presenters have attended, such as Al Gore, Prince, Vint Cerf, Jimmy Fallon, Stephen Colbert, and Zach Galifinakis.

Event Talent in a Cautious Climate

According to Kahan, pricey acts for incentive programs, such as for top sales performers at insurance and financial services companies, have not been looked on favorably over the last two years.

Trends in entertainment expenditures:

· Booking headline talent as an event "extra" has decreased

· Fewer bookings of million dollar acts like Elton John and Bon Jovi

· Nevertheless, entertainment at private events is still about
the act that will help draw attendance and buzz for an event

· More bookings of Tribute bands, i.e. Springsteen, Beatles, U-2;
if there is a captive audience (your sale team is coming regardless),
you can put up a great performance rather than a big name

· More managers are being held accountable by senior supervisors for
event objectives and whether outcomes are met and expenses justified

Kahan sees more clients looking for content-driven keynote speakers as opposed to story tellers. "A couple of years ago, someone might have booked Giuliani to speak on leadership based on his 9/11 experience. Today they are more likely to book someone with concrete experience managing economic issues, business or political practices and policies - so listeners will take away something they can bring back to the office."

For product launches that aim to attract press, top clients or a strong presence from sales teams in the room, some are booking a headline performer, such as Lionel Richie in China, Duran Duran in London and Orlando, or high profile speakers like Bill Clinton, Richard Branson, Captain "Sully" Sullenberger or others on substantive topics.

Does Branding Affect Talent Selection?

It depends. For an awards show or public promotion, talent needs to express the brand's identity. Take the Webby Awards as an example. When they select their host each year, they look for someone quirky, edgy and relevant at the time of the event; last year it was B.J. Novak, Ryan Howard from NBC's hit, The Office.

The same for talent selection for entertaining clients. The performer typically reflects which entertainer best fits a company's brand.

However, for an internal event it is more about entertainment relevant to the audience demographic, and budget.

Peek at Event PR

From a PR perspective, I've found that media placement related to events is often external to the event itself. This means that while reporters will occasionally cover a major event with big news or big celebrities, generating stories about the speakers, awardees, institutions and their areas of expertise is largely a pre- and post- event activity. With massive cuts in news rooms, it is important to provide virtually publish-ready content (coy, video, photos, etc.).

It is smart and realistic to have a broad definition of the types of media coverage you seek to achieve and understand the importance of online media. While top tier placements include coverage and photos in The New York Times style section, People or Town & Country, this is not realistic for most events.

But, don't fret. It may be that your target audience is actually more focused on other media channels that are most relevant to them or that they look to when learning about events both prior to them and post-event publicity. A valuable and reliable way to promote your event is to secure placements on all event calendars that are relevant - be it news, business, social, community, trade or regional oriented media. Blogs and other online news outlets continue to grow in their importance to communicate with strategic audiences and contribute to the collective news and information space. Often, these new media have equal or greater value than "traditional," so work with your company and clients to be sure this is a vibrant component of your strategy.

While Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications does not focus on event publicity, we often promote events as part of a strategic PR, communications or branding program.

Marketing Coach is a publication of Ivy Cohen Corporate Communications, Inc.
ICCC helps companies
build reputations and differentiate in a competitive market.
To find out how ICCC might help you and your company build your reputation
contact ivy@ivycohen.com, call 212-399-0026 or visit www.ivycohen.com.

Special thanks for the expert input of Adam Kahan of Empire Entertainment,
a dynamic, full-service New York City and Tokyo-based event and entertainment
production company that designs and produces entertainment-driven projects
for corporations, associations, not-for-profits and private individuals.