Content, events, PR, social impressions, partners, new business – they’re all living in the ecosystem of your next event. We spoke to Dynamic/MTL co-founder André Valle on how he placed content strategy at the center of his successful event series.
What are the benefits of events like yours for marketers?
Seeing as how an increasing number of brands bombard us with retargeting ads, product placements, and short video-loops on every social media channel possible, more and more audiences are rewarding experiences whose goal is to provide genuine value. Events are a great way to connect with target audiences on a personal level.
Paired with a thorough content and digital strategy, events can serve as a core content source that can later be distributed through different mediums, be it a podcast, video, blog posts, and so on.
Marketers beware, your efforts won’t be rewarded if you only give your audience a shiny polished sales pitch. Attendees can easily sniff out trap-events where they anticipate being sold to. Flat out. Your event should benefit your target audience, and as someone coming from the EdTech industry, I naturally gravitate towards creating educational experiences.
Can you speak to the content strategy you’ve built around events at Dynamic/MTL or elsewhere?
I created Dynamic/MTL with Art Director Max Kaplun in 2014 when I was working as Dynamo’s Content Strategist. The Canadian tech agency, which was acquired in 2017, built and implemented digital projects for hip startups such as Blue Bottle Coffee, LOLA, Goodfood and Sonder.
Even though the agency was based in Montreal for over 15 years, most of our clientele came from the U.S. and as a result there was an opportunity for us to become more visible in our hometown. Moreover, we believed that in a city that is smaller than São Paulo or New York for example, organizing a conference would give us direct access to local decision makers.
Ultimately, Dynamic/MTL was created so that it could provide Dynamo with a way to better connect with Montreal’s creative community, and strengthen the connections with our current and prospective clients in the U.S.
On a personal level, Dynamic/MTL responded my desire to network with Montrealers working in the startup and design spaces. One of the main challenges you face when moving to another city is losing your professional network. Additionally, as a recent graduate interning at Dynamo, I realized that working those extra hours for our clients would not do much for me so I created this rule: if I wanted to work weekends and go that extra mile, I’d work on something that would have a different purpose – inspiring Montrealers – and by proxy, help me grow professionally in Canada. With this motive, I reached out to Max Kaplun and together we came up with our plan: every three months a new Dynamic/MTL event would occur addressing topics relevant to Montreal’s creative and digital fields which would feature 2 international speakers and a local one. As a statement on Montreal’s first class work, the conference would be high level while remaining accessible (tickets are currently sold between $20 to $25).
Four years later, we are planning our 14th conference, and have brought to the stage brands such as IDEO, Droga5, Google Ventures, Pitchfork, SSENSE, Frank And Oak and Artsy.
The conference created a real opportunity to connect Dynamo with Montreal in a self-sustainable way. Since Dynamic/MTL was never at the core of Dynamo’s business, our goal was essentially to make sure we broke even while presenting the agency with a halo effect. The project quickly allowed Dynamo to reach interesting talent, connect with prospective clients, all the while becoming more visible to the design and entrepreneurial communities in Montreal.
How does content strategy contribute to a self-sustainable event platform?
Using content strategy for an event can be an enabler to your brand if it’s well-thought-out and seamless. No need to plug your brand every step of the way, but rather elegantly associate your brand to a content piece that benefits your audience.
I like to think of events as an opportunity to awe as many as you can and connect in person. In other words, your customers and those who have yet to be, but are about to join the choir of ambassadors who will elevate your brand. The payload itself will come later, in a different setting, and will be reinforced by a positive perception of your brand that you started with at your event.
How are brands leveraging events today?
Right now, it’s really easy for brands to create their own hyper-focused events on issues that matter to their audience. I specifically like Sophia Amoruso’s take with the Girl Boss Rally. It’s a great way to gather people around a brand while giving them a platform to connect, exchange, learn and so on.
It’s best to not create an event for the sake of it but rather to provide attendees with an experience that they can appropriate, and turn into something with which they identify.