Before I get into this… It’s important that we understand 1 thing: Our lives, our health, and the future of Small Businesses in America is far more important than the events that have been impacted by COVID-19.
I will leave the issues of health, social separation, and economic relief to the experts in those fields. Things I can offer some insight into are event-planning and communications.
We do a lot of event planning. So we figure it’s helpful to offer some insight into how to handle your events in these uncertain times.
COVID-19 has led to some drastic measures, and many events have been either canceled or postponed. Some of these events are critical for raising funds for operating budgets.
For these events, it’s important that you take the right steps during and after the decision to cancel/postpone. Here are a few things to consider:
The decision-making process
For social events, the decision is easy – cancel or postpone. Buy for events that make up a large portion of operating funds, it’s much harder. Your consideration needs to weigh who will be impacted, and to what extent. Can you still operate without these funds? Will your supporters attend if the event is at a different time? What other events will you compete with if you postpone to a different date? Can you even consider holding the event (government forced closures are growing every day)?
Remember to put yourself in your patron’s mindset. What will they think if you hold the event? Will your cause still be relevant after the crisis is over?
Something else you may want to consider is a modified event where social distancing and use of web/digital solutions replace the normal “gathering” type of event.
Either way – put your supporters first, and the decision will become clear.
Communicate with Stake Holders
Who are the main players for your event? Sponsors, venue, caterers, entertainers, etc… all play a key role. Communicate with them early and often. Get their feedback and ideas. If you are moving your event – find a new date ASAP and make sure all the players can make that happen. You want to postpone the event, not plan it all over again.
Also, make sure to negotiate down or try to eliminate cancellation fees. Most people are willing to work with you given the current situation.
Take the time to reconfirm your sponsors and ensure they are comfortable with your decision. They will appreciate the honesty. Maybe even consider adding additional value to their sponsorship. Without them, the event isn’t possible, no matter when you hold it.
Communicate with your guests & supporters
Don’t assume they know. They have a lot of things on their mind so it’s important that you are clear and concise. If you communicate early and often, you stay top of mind, assuring that your postponed event will have the same support later in the year.
You need to use several communication methods. Email is good, but consider adding social media and direct phone calls as well. You can never over-communicate, but the moment you realize that you didn’t communicate enough, it’s too late.
Update all of your event details on your website, social media, and ticketing services. This is critical – because if you forget, then people will be reading contradictory information, and that’s a bad look.
Create a responsible refund policy
None of this is ideal. You will have guests that simply can’t attend your event. You will need to have a refund policy, and you need to communicate it clearly. Outline the details of how refunds will be handled. Don’t specifically offer a refund, but make it clear how someone can request and receive one.
Be ready for feedback
Some people may not like your decision, and some will love it. Be ready for a back and forth with all of these people. Social media is a great platform for open communication. Use it to your benefit. By giving people the ability to speak with you, it creates an atmosphere of inclusion, and that breeds long-term loyalty.
So – in short, consider your partners and your patrons, and communicate clearly and often. It sounds simple, but needs some serious attention. If you need help, RyCOM is offering FREE PR Consulting while the COVID-19 Crisis remains an issue. Hit us up.
We are excited to announce that Ryan Rydell has been named to the Rockford Chamber’s 2019 list of 40 Leaders Under 40. The Chamber announced the list at a reception in Rockford on Nov. 7th. Ryan received the award after numerous nominations were sent in his honor, citing his contributions to the community and his professional success over the last decade.
In addition to being the fearless leader here at RyCOM, Ryan serves his community in numerous capacities. He is head of Stateline Baseball, a community baseball league for youth between 4 and 15 years old. He has grown the league into a year-round program with over 800 participants. At HCHS, Ryan works with the IncubatorEDU program as a coach and mentor and sits on the strategic planning committee. He served on the Rockton Chamber board for 4 years, with his vision and leadership helping to form the Stateline Chamber in Jan. 2016, where he served as VP for 2 more years and remains an Ex-Officio member of the board and volunteers on several committees.
In discussing the creation of the Stateline Chamber, Ryan said:
“Merging the Rockton and Roscoe Chambers was one of the toughest things I’ve done. I did my research on what stopped the two previous attempts and learned it was an issue of personalities and failed expectations. We had to make sure everyone knew their voice was heard. I am happy to have been a part of the team that made it happen. The merger was long overdue.”
Ryan’s efforts with Stateline Baseball can sometimes go under-appreciated, but he sees things differently:
“During spring and summer months, it’s by no exaggeration a second full- time job for me. The pay? The look of excitement when players walk on the field for the first time. It doesn’t get better than that.”
Rydell is currently forming the Midwest Youth Baseball Council in an effort to bring area programs together so they can all learn & grow together by pooling their resources, ideas, and efforts. He also formed Roscoe/Rockton’s first Adult Softball league this past summer.
Other community contributions credited to Rydell include the rebranding of the Rockton Christmas Walk, helping plan and execute the Hanz Brew Fest, the creation of the Rockton River Market, and sitting on numerous referendum campaign committees. His work is even more inspiring when you find out that he has done all this after a 2009 fire destroyed his home, motivating him to start RyCOM in 2011 while helping to raise his 3 kids. All 3 of Ryan’s children are currently attending Hononegah Community High School.
The Rockford Chamber has presented this recognition only 2 other times in the last 10 years, 2010 and 2016. There are many amazing people that have received this honor over the years and we are truly proud to have Ryan among them.
For a full list of the 40 Leaders Under 40, visit https://www.rrstar.com/news/20191107/chamber-names-rockfords-40-leaders-under-40
How easy is it to get someone’s attention? Not very, if statistics are anything to go by. For instance, you have about eight seconds to get someone’s attention with a video. And it’s considerably less when talking about static visuals, such as marketing and advertising campaigns. Some suggest it is as few as fifty milliseconds!
If that seems overwhelming, don’t despair! Just because it can be difficult to capture someone’s attention doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.
In fact, we’re going to look at five different tricks that will help you to keep the attention of your audience beyond that first split second that statistics say you have.
Use Your Visuals to Tell a Story
Want to get your audience engaged and involved in your marketing?
Tell them a story.
Of course, we don’t mean this in a literal way. Starting your marketing off with “Once upon a time…” is only going to appeal to a select few.
But it is possible, and recommended, to tell a story by directly using your visuals. And it doesn’t have to be a complicated story. In fact, the simpler, the better. There’s not really any need to craft a compelling narrative beyond, “This person uses this product, and here is how they benefited.”
Everyone loves a happy ending, even if it’s just in their marketing.
In terms of quick tricks to grab attention, smart use of color is probably the most often recommended for visual design. After all, we often react to colors without even really taking the time to think about them; they tend to elicit an emotional reaction of some kind, as well.
The psychology of color tells us how the majority of people tend to react to certain colors. Red, for instance, is one of the most motivating, dynamic colors. That’s why red is so often used to get attention.
But for eye-catching colors, simply using a preponderance of a certain color, even if it is dynamic, isn’t really enough. Using too much of one color is potentially more likely to turn someone’s eyes away, rather than attract them.
An important aspect of color is the use of a palette that has already been established by the brand, such as colors in the company logo and other previously designed marketing materials.
The best way to use color to get attention is to include a pop of bright color along with accents, and thorough use of auxiliary colors like white, black, and gray as well. It takes caution and care to enhance the visual and avoid overwhelming the viewer.
Here’s a sad fact: people don’t really like to read. In fact, it’s much more likely that your viewers will simply look at the images and graphics included in your marketing, and base their impression on that alone.
But if you want to maximize the chances that your audience will actually be drawn into reading the textual content, then here are a few tips:
- Use highly legible, user-friendly fonts.
- Combine a few fonts together, including a heavier weight and a lighter weight.
A combination of typefaces is immediately more interesting and visually appealing than a single typeface on its own.
Include a Call to Action
Calls to action, or CTAs, are a common sight in marketing, but they don’t have to be as blatant as “Buy now!”
Effective CTAs use the perceived benefit to the viewer to motivate them to act. And that may be even more effective on a standalone piece of marketing.
It may be something like, “Get your free product now!” Or, for social media, it could be as simple as posting a trending hashtag, which in itself is an invitation for the viewer to repost or share and do the same. Because we are social animals, and love to be part of a trend, this is an effective way to both get the attention of your viewer and to involve them in marketing.
Brand Your Visuals
A final way to enhance your visual marketing and get your audience’s attention is to focus on branding. Include the name of the business, the company logo, the tagline, or some other aspect of branding within the marketing.
Not only should you make it clear who the marketing is for, the style of the design should also harmonize and blend well with the brand’s style as already established.
This helps to identify the marketing even without logos and brand marks, allowing customers to gain a sense of familiarity with the design. It also promotes the brand personality and aesthetic, adding each piece of visual marketing to a well-designed whole.
It’s true that there are a lot of pieces of marketing out there vying for the limited attention span of the audience. But there are definitely ways that you can up your game, and increase the likelihood of catching — and keeping — the interest of your viewers.
Sabrina Jackson is a content writer with experience in web content, blogging, sales copy and more. She writes with a passion to match her coffee color. Her favorite pass time is trying out new and unique tongue twisters.