Neil Crespin, Chairman, mcm creative group
Many small businesses are heavily reliant on business loans, overdrafts and flexibility from banks to run a successful venture that is fit for growth. As such, they are an invaluable community to the financial services sector but one that many banks struggle to engage with.
There are many ways in which banks can offer support to small businesses, but the power of live events can be decisive. Events not only give banks the opportunity to meet their customers face-to-face, but they also bring together a community of like-minded business people. By providing a networking opportunity for its customers, the bank is also being seen more as a connector or a facilitator and most importantly as a business partner.
A live events programme can take on many guises, from a single pivotal event each year to a series of smaller events across a longer period of time and covering a number of topics. Whatever the format, the benefits are many:
Learning: The educational component of attending a conference or live event is significant, and gives all involved the chance to learn from professionals in the field. The format encourages informal conversations between the bank and business owners, setting the foundation for open discussion.
In particular, speaker sessions and workshops are ideal for both client and customer. Interactive clinics also allow the event host to get feedback from its target business audience and, in the process, improve services and communication.
Recognition: Live events can offer the best forum to promote specific campaigns aimed at the business community. The host client has a captive audience and a platform on which to promote new campaigns and initiatives.
Branding: Hosting an event can strengthen your brand. As the organiser and an expert in your industry, it can set you apart from the competition. This is critical in the crowded financial services sector, where setting out the organisation’s ethos and successes can be a way of getting noticed.
Motivation: There is no better way to get inspired than through the sharing of ideas. Conferences and events are a great opportunity to involve your key audience and galvanise support around a common theme that your brand is leading.
Technology: We now live in a world of screen-based experiences, so their place in a live event has never been so important. Having an app at an event is no longer just a nice to have, it’s a prerequisite, although it’s essential that technology adds value.
Wherever in the world you want to do business, live events can create a platform for you to communicate to your target audiences. Even in the digital age, when information is so much easier to come by, businesses will always want to meet face-to-face, enjoy being immersed in your organisation and share its success.