Giving your event authenticity doesn’t have to be hard, but it can make a big difference to the experience it gives your participants, which will ultimately bring them back in years to come.
Once you’ve made it through all the important logistics of your event planning stage, such as confirming portaloo numbers, arranging your start line set up, made a good start on recruiting your volunteers and planned your route signage, it’s time to sit back and relax! Oops, not quite. Race directors know well there are always one hundred and one things on the to-do-list before race day. Giving your event authenticity doesn’t have to be hard, but it can make a big difference to the experience it gives your participants, which will ultimately bring them back in years to come. So making sure you incorporate it into your planning logistics can help you stay on schedule.
Here are some of our top tips to step it up one last time and make sure that the day of the event lives up to the hype. After all, you want the event to do justice to all of that planning and organising.
Your events can wow your participants and spectators by the atmosphere and the experience you give them. Although branding is important, it shouldn't be the focus of your event. An over carefully controlled brand image can mean that your event becomes more about the organisation than the audience. Invest in how your staff interacts with your participants, what you have on offer and how you manage user experiences, not just the overall image of your race. In doing this, your marketing can become more sincere to show that your event is about your participants and creating a meaningful experience, not about your organisation.
You can add to the experience you give others by interacting meaningfully with your race winners and other high profile athletes at your event, in a way that the rest of your audience notices. For example, giving out awards to the top 3 racers and hosting quick Q&A sessions with them, can provide great engagement to everyone aspiring for competitive times. This can spark conversations amongst athletes, people love to feel like they're getting special access to special people and your race will come to mind when remembering the connections they made. It will also generate great video and photo content for you to share on your social feeds, which will likely be shared by winners and those who have achieved something they’re proud of.
High profile athletes are a great marketing tool—if you let them be themselves.
See our guide for more on Using High Profile Athletes to Market Your Race. Creating an effective influencer campaign with athletes can do wonders for your entries, but it can be tempting to try control every aspect of it if, particularly if there’s costs involved. Partnering with the right influencers—which may not always the obvious person, can bring your event to life by adding a powerful personality as an advocate for your race. By finding someone that your potential participants have heard of and maybe look up to, you can create a more personal connection to your event rather than just through your branding. But remember, look carefully at their followers and see if they’re the right fit for you, if someone has an audience of gym bunnies, that's only good if they take part in races rather than just general fitness training. They have their following for a reason, let them be authentic with your content.
The importance of integrating sponsors in surprising and strategic ways makes a big difference to your ongoing partnerships and the return that you both get from it. Brand logos should not be “vomited all over an event”. Incorporate them in a way that feels authentic to both your race and has a touch of what their company is about. If understanding their company requires some more in depth connection than just handing out a snack bar, work with them to bring some of their team along to be present and talk to your participants. Provide slots for the race opening to give a quick talk, have a ‘chill zone’ where tired racers can come and sit down and read about the company for a while. For more on how to work with sponsors, see our guide on ‘What Can Your Race Offer a Sponsor’.
If your race is timed, and you can afford to spend some money on a decent timing system, make sure its one which acts fast. Theres nothing worse than missing your time when you cross that finish line, and having to wait a day before your official one. The quicker you can give people their official race time the better, via text preferably as no one checks their emails when the only thing they can think about is how much their legs ache. By giving them this information, they’ll be more willing to share it with others in the heat of the moment, via social media, in private messages or in person. Once the race is over the endorphins will wear off and they’ll just keep their time to themselves when it's received. Another good way of encouraging your racers to take photos is to have the time on your finishing arch, so that either your race photographer or their supporters can catch a shot with the time on it as they cross that line. Make the most out of your racers to generate user content while you can! See our guide for more on race timing solutions.
Making your event authentic isn’t easy in a year-round calendar full of races to compete with. But if we can give you one thing to take away from this guide, its to spend money on things that matter. Audiences—and especially sponsors—don’t want to see their money spent on lavish affairs. Don’t blow your budget on things like fancy gift bags, expensive entertainment, unnecessary single-use decor and more—unless it really furthers your event’s cause. Stay true to your organization—and your budget, but invest in the people who will create the atmosphere you want to experience.
The team at Eventrac are on hand to assist with all components of your event. From advice on promoting your event through low cost channels such as social media, to a guided tutorial on a specific feature of Eventrac. We are here to help.