Thinking beyond star power to boost your next event: the key roles of strategy, content, and innovation: truly great meetings require a clear strategy, exceptional planning, compelling content, a smart communications strategy and flawless execution.

Author:French, Mark
Position::PLANNING FRANCHISE SYSTEM CONVENTIONS
 
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Meetings and events continue to be the most effective marketing channel for influencing behavior and connecting your company to franchisees and the marketplace. But the secret to success, is creating compelling, relevant events that build anticipation, engagement, and ultimately, bottom-line return on investment. Star speakers and entertainment are critical to this end, but they require an intelligent design, an innovative communications program, and creative execution. This year's economy has put enormous pressure on franchise companies to get the most from their meetings. While no one argues that live events maximize the potential for networking, relationship building, education, and business deals, they also are the most expensive form of media in terms of time away from the office, travel costs and direct expenses. This argues for careful planning to make certain resources are well-spent and deliver on your key priorities.

Intelligent design involves first identifying the major strategic objectives of your meeting and then wrapping around them everything that happens before, during and after the event. The speakers, entertainment, venue, activities and registration process, must all be aligned with one set of guiding principles. They must deliver results against your objectives and the expectations of your audience.

CEOs, CMOs, CFOs and CSOs, hear this: "Meetings need your personal attention and involvement." They are not just the province of your meeting planner. These are your highest-value opportunities to touch franchisees, customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders in a way like no other. To garner the best results, you and your leadership team need to be involved in providing real strategic direction.

Come Together

Gather your major internal and external stakeholders together and spend a day building a program that advances your key objectives and that is response to the different needs of segments within your audience. Set clear goals and create an environment, from the venue and registration process forward, that give you the best chance of success. Ideally, this will be led by an independent facilitator who can triangulate between your needs, the needs of your audience and best industry practices.

Content remains king, of course. A great program provides a common platform for connecting the audience. Securing great speakers and entertainment gives your audience a shared experience and way to...

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