Before a Gift Suite

It seems obvious that a successful gift suite starts with planning and yet over 90% of all brands create a plan that guarantees failure.  Don’t be one of those brands. 

Start at the End

We have worked with over 700 brands at well over 100 gift suites.  We’ve seen success and failure in many forms.  This article will focus on what we have learned from those who succeed and building their brands through properly-planned gift suites.  They all plan for what they need to get from the event long before the event.  We always tell our clients: “The end of the event is not your finish line. It is your starting line for marketing.” 

Unimportance of Press

Press is an important part of your marketing mix but strategy with press is critical. Take a minute to learn from the biggest brands and most successful brand managers when it comes to gift suite press. THEY DON’T WANT IT.  They do want press, but not directly from the gift suite. Why? Because most consumers don’t like the idea of celebrities, who tend to be wealthy, getting items for free when the general public has to pay. They do not associate someone getting free products the same as someone liking a product. Therefore getting press about “being in a gift suite” or “celebrity at a gift site” isn’t a good thing.    

Importance of Press

After bashing how press showing your brand at a gift suite it is important to note that getting press AFTER a gift suite is an important goal for top brand managers. There is a tremendous difference in value to a brand when it is done properly. After a gift suite is over successful brand managers will take pictures from the event and send them to various press outlets talking about how the different celebrities are using their products and give quotes directly from the celebrities talking about the items. This can generate press about celebs liking a brand. The celebs could have started using the product from a store, showroom or as a gift but that doesn’t matter and shouldn’t be relevant. The focus for the press article is on the celebrities liking the brand.  Push for press in the weeks and months after the gift suite.  

Collecting Marketing Assets

The day after a gift suite is over you should evaluate what you have as your marketing assets from the event.  Do you have pictures? If so how many?  Do you have quotes? Videos?  Did you get any celebrities to post on THEIR social media? Did any of the celebrities ask about working as your brand ambassador?  With proper planning you can have all of these things. 

Taking Quality Photos 

What separates an effective celebrity photo from an ineffective photo has much more to do with the content of the photo than the quality of the camera.   A typical smart phone camera will take great photos. An elaborate camera setup is not necessary. 

What is necessary, if not critical, is the photo composition. Photos that look like a trade show are almost worthless. Pics with a big booth, lots of signage and a celeb holding a product next to their head as like Vanna White on Wheel of Fortune are beyond worthless. Unfortunately this is where most brands fail. The most effective photos are natural. Take a photo of a celebrity opening a your product’s box while sitting on a sofa or chair. If you sell shoes take a picture of the celebrity trying them on or walking in them. Don’t worry if the celebrity is not looking directly into the camera. It doesn’t matter and we will explain why in an upcoming article.  

Videos and Celebrity Quotes 

If video is allowed then take some videos. Setup a camera and let it run.  Don’t throw a camera in the face of a celebrity guest at your booth. That usually goes badly. Just set one up in front of your booth and let it run all day. You may get a few nuggets of useful video. It will also be a critical part of recording celebrity quotes.

Getting Celebrities to Post on Their Social Media 

For some brands this is the holy grail of gift suite success. It is much easier to do than you may think.  We call it the “gift site upsell” and here is how it works:  You have your standard gift to give a celebrity when they take a picture. Once they take the picture you can offer them a much bigger gift if they are willing to take another picture, this time with their own camera, and post it on social media.  It is that simple. Try this technique. It works.

Getting Brand Ambassadors 

If you have a brand ambassador program this is a great time to get celebrities signed up.  Get your pitch ready and make it extremely short and sweet. Tell the celebrity what you want them to do and how they will get paid. 

Summary

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”  Your goal is to build your brand to increase sales. Make a plan and you can get there.

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