I was invited on a brand immersion trip to San Diego by Kia. Kia paid my expenses but did not require me to post and all opinions are my own. #TheNewKia
As a blogger, I have been fortunate to attend a few press trips. These trips have been for all types of brands and while every experience was different and unique, I’ve never experienced brand events like those thrown by Kia Motors America. I recently arrived home from San Diego where Kia held one of their biggest Brand Immersion events, including their Eco-Dynamics line of cars. That being said, the experience helped me answer questions from other influencers like, “How is a Kia event different from other brands?” So, I began trying to put my thoughts into words and those words on this page. It’s hard because I always love to connect with the talented people that each and every brand brings together but simply said, a Kia event isn’t friends getting together, it’s FAMILY getting together. That statement is leading off my tips on How to Host a Successful Brand Trip.
We are Family:
When your influencers arrive, they should feel at home. Creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed and loved right away is a must. Tips from the #TheNewKia event is to give your guests an all-access backstage pass in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. We don’t only want to see the faces of the PR team, either. Sure, we love talking to them every day, but how cool is it to have all the key executives and product managers on hand to answer any questions the influencers have?! It definitely makes us feel more like a family unit and connected with the brand because we then meet and spend time with the people who influence brand decisions at the top level.
There are good ships
and there are wood ships
and the ships that sail the sea…
but the best ships are friendships
and may they always be.
Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.” – John Denver
Taking the Scenic Route:
Wherever you go, the location should help tell the brand story. A city with a history your brand can connect to, and a hotel that has a history or meaning. Be sure wherever it is, it can help tell your client or brand’s story. Maybe it’s a trip to the place that inspired your client’s latest collection or where your client’s business or brand was originally founded.
Kia chose San Diego because it’s one of the most vibrant, hip, diverse and downright fun cities on the continent. Plus, it has a rich history to boot. And let’s be real, what better venue than the Hard Rock San Diego to host a rockin’ VIP experience.
On a personal level, can I please beg you to stop saying “breakfast is provided” when we show up and it’s a table full of pastries? Nothing upsets me more than seeing that first thing in the morning. Give your influencers some real food to get them through the day you have planned. And variety is a must. I’m 99% sure you’ll have someone on the trip with an allergy, food sensitivity, or dietary needs, so please make sure you are able to meet those needs.
The Main Event:
Let’s face it, you’re bringing influencers to learn about your brand, but it doesn’t have to be boring. A cool environment with slides, videos, and ending with a Q&A helps influencers get the most out of what you’re giving to us. If you are bringing influencers on-site giving them an insider tour is always welcomed and appreciated.
Throw in Some Surprises:
We are there to work but who doesn’t like to have a little fun? Plus, it helps lighten the mood around the joint. Pedicabs to dinner? Heck yes! A Hospitality Suite to relax in between events with a game room? You bet! How about throwing an out-of-control live band Rock Out Karaoke ending celebration for your influencers to thank them for joining you that week? An astounding yes. Okay, so maybe you don’t have the budget to go all out like this but do something to thank you influencers for their time. We are leaving our families and even jobs to give you our full attention, so it’s nice to know we’re appreciated.
Whatever direction you choose, have your brand and influencers in mind during the entire process. Have fun and enjoy yourself too. It’s a time to meet people from all walks of life that come togetherto highlight your message. Passion for your brand is contagious, especially in a social environment, so start planning your next event and start building a greater presence!
*Photos provided by Cielo Roth Photography. Used with permission.