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Do you really know your audience?

Planning an event is an art that requires meticulous attention to detail, and one of the key aspects that can make or break an event is understanding the audience. In a globalised world, where events often attract diverse participants, and organisations are opting for hybrid events that are live streamed, it becomes crucial to appreciate and respect cultural differences.

When organising an event, it’s important to remember these 3 things that will help you to plan an event that is engaging and accessible to your audience, whoever they are or wherever they may be:

Define your audience:

When planning an event, it's essential to customise the experience to meet the preferences and expectations of your audience which you can only do if you have first defined who your audience is.

A great way to do this is using Audience Personas – fictional representations of your target audience segments. They are constructed based on market research, demographic data and insights gathered from past interactions. These personas embody the characteristics, needs, goals and preferences of different groups within your audience, allowing you to tailor the event to meet their specific needs.

For example:

Alan Nolan has been Head of Marketing at Corporation H for 10 years and manages a team of seven. He travels into the office in central London from his home in Surrey twice a week and works remotely the rest of the week. He is passionate about technology and innovation, always staying updated on the latest trends and developments in marketing.

His goals and motivations include:

  • Professional growth – Alan is driven by a desire to continuously improve his knowledge in marketing technology. He seeks opportunities to attend events that offer valuable learning experiences, industry insights, and practical strategies he can implement in his role.

  • Networking – Alan values networking opportunities to expand his professional connections and build relationships with like-minded individuals.

His preferences include:

  • Digital Engagement – he is a tech-savvy professional and prefers events that leverage digital platforms for registration, communication, and networking. He appreciates event apps or online platforms that provide easy access to event information, schedules, speaker bios, event notifications, and interactive features.

  • Interactive Sessions – Alan enjoys interactive sessions, workshops, and panel discussions where he can actively participate, ask questions, and share his insights.

  • Convenient Location and Timing – given his busy schedule, Alan prefers events held in convenient locations easily accessible via public transport, or a live stream that he can access remotely. He also looks for events scheduled during weekdays, early morning, or evenings to accommodate his work commitments.

By understanding your Audience Personas background, goals, motivations, and preferences, event planners can tailor their marketing strategies, programme content, and event logistics to meet their needs effectively. This personalised approach increases the likelihood of attracting your Audience Personas to sign up for the event and ensure they have an enjoyable and valuable experience.

Cultural Sensitivity:

Cultural awareness is particularly crucial where events attract participants from diverse backgrounds. Being sensitive to cultural differences helps in avoiding unintentional misunderstandings or offensive content that might arise from a lack of awareness. It also demonstrates respect for your audience, enhancing the overall experience.

One example where this is particularly important is the Chinese culture. China is a country rich in history, traditions, and cultural nuances. When planning an event for a Chinese audience, you should consider the following aspects:

Hierarchy and Respect:

Chinese culture places a strong emphasis on hierarchy and respect for authority. Understanding the hierarchical structure within a group can influence how you organise seating arrangements, speaker introductions, and overall event protocol.

Face-saving Culture:

Chinese people value "face," meaning the preservation of dignity and reputation. Avoiding public embarrassment or criticism is crucial. Ensure that your event activities and interactions are designed to maintain a positive and respectful atmosphere.

Festivals and Holidays:

Be mindful of Chinese festivals and holidays, as they can significantly impact attendance and participation. Avoid scheduling events during major holidays, and if possible, incorporate elements of Chinese festivals into your event to create a familiar and comfortable environment.

Language Considerations:

Chinese business people mainly use Mandarin. While English is widely spoken, if you provide a translated website, bilingual signage, translated materials, or have Mandarin-speaking staff members available, it may help to connect with a Chinese audience.

Cultural Symbolism:

Be aware of cultural symbols and their meanings. Colours, numbers, and symbols can carry significant cultural connotations in China. Understanding and respecting these symbols will help you avoid unintentional cultural faux pas.

Live stream accessibility

One of the most difficult places to live stream an event to is China. Surrounded by the ‘Great Firewall of China’, Chinese internet users are more limited in what they can access due to the Chinese government’s strict restrictions.

In our latest free Guide, Live Streaming to Audiences in China, we take a deep dive into the nuances of planning an event for an audience located in China. From navigating the ‘Great Firewall of China’ to complying with Chinese regulations, it’s a must read for anyone planning to live stream their event in China. And it’s not just those living in China that you need to consider, your delegates may well be travelling within China at the time of the event.

Effective Communication:

Communication is the backbone of any successful event. Knowing your audience helps you fine-tune your communication strategy, ensuring that your message is clear, relatable, and culturally appropriate. Effective communication builds a connection between the event and the participants, fostering a positive experience.

Some tactics that you can employ to communicate and engage with your audience ahead of an event are:

  • Social Media Promotion – leverage the social media platforms that your target audience uses to create a buzz around the event. Share teaser posts, behind-the-scenes glimpses, speaker announcements, and interactive content such as polls or quizzes.

  • Personalised Emails – use segmentation based on your audience personas to tailor email content and increase relevance.

  • Countdown Campaign – launch countdown campaigns on social media, email, or your website to create a sense of urgency and excitement leading up to the event, with sneak peeks or exclusive content to keep your audience engaged.

  • Live Q&As – host pre-event live Q&A sessions with your speakers to provide a preview of what attendees can expect at the event.

In the dynamic world of event planning, success hinges on knowing your audience. Understanding cultural differences, especially when planning events for a Chinese audience, is a key element in creating a positive and memorable experience. By incorporating cultural sensitivity, effective communication, and a tailored approach, you can ensure that your event resonates with participants, fostering connections and leaving a lasting impression.

If you’d like help producing or live streaming your next event then get in touch.


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