Take Your Events Global By Incorporating Local Elements

meetings Associations Now September/October 2014 By: Katie Bascuas

When developing your global event strategy, don't forget to include the local traditions and perspectives of the places where you are expanding.

Like it or not, there's no map or one-size-fits-all approach to expanding your brand globally. What works for some associations will not work for others.

One thing's for sure, though: The more adaptable an organization is to the local norms and nuances of different countries, the more successful it will be in launching an office, a chapter, or an event abroad.

That's the premise behind a new white paper from marketing agency Freeman XP, which recommends a "glocal" approach to global events. It combines a consistent brand strategy with the incorporation of local or regional elements to give audiences the best possible experience.

Here are three key elements of the "glocal" approach to help you maximize your international events:

1. Be Relevant

Understand the region—what makes it tick—and engage with local stakeholders from the get-go to determine how best to customize your message.

"Allowing for stakeholder involvement will help you to develop a blended approach that will better resonate with the market while providing a voice to your teams in the process," the white paper notes. "The key to building out relevancy is to know which aspects of your brand experience are off limits and which are OK to adapt."

2. Set Objectives

Identify measurable goals for your event. For example, you might measure customer satisfaction, media impressions, demo participation, or brand awareness.

Share these goals with local teams so they feel ownership in accomplishing them, too. And don't fall prey to measuring attendance alone, the report states: "Your events have more value than that—it's the quality of the attendees; the impact your experience has on the way they think about your brand, products, and services; and the quality of their takeaway."

3. Stand Out in the Crowd

To ensure attendees feel engaged, partner with local teams to design an experience they will not forget. Consider what you want attendees to think and feel during the event as well as what actions you want them to take, such as engaging more with your content.

"The more you bring the layering of your messaging to life in an experiential way," the report notes, "the more your messages will resonate to different audiences in different ways."

[This article was originally published in the Associations Now print edition, titled "Going 'Glocal.'"]

Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is an associate editor at Associations Now in Washington, DC.