By Dave Bushnell and Jacqui Olkin
A quick Google search shows pundits making dire predictions about the end of trade shows and annual conferences every year. But even in the face of challenges such as down economies, professionals have continually found value in attending face-to-face industry meetings. In fact, attendees have taken the utility of annual conferences into their own hands and left the sponsoring organizations with a unique branding challenge: to ensure that the organization stays at the center of the attendee’s conference experience and that the value they create at the conference accrues to the organization for the rest of the year.
Like rock stars and other celebrities with brands to keep in the public eye, organizations need to keep their biggest fans–conference attendees–involved year round. In order to ensure that the energy and positive experience of the conference isn’t gone as soon as attendees board their planes home, it’s critical to take explicit steps before, during, and after the event to convert attendees’ good feelings about the conference into brand equity for the organization.
Before the Conference
It’s easy to get so caught …