Events are a leading marketing channel, and most of them are virtual right now. That makes virtual (and, in some regions, hybrid) events vital for businesses to stay alive. To put it simply, these events are the primary way for businesses to deliver experiences that will connect them uniquely to their audiences- and sustain those connections remotely over time. Because marketing is largely experiential, creating memorable events that stand out and make an emotional impact is newly challenging. That’s why many businesses- event and otherwise- are seeking out the help of marketing and experiential agencies. Even brands that have in-house marketing teams may struggle to navigate the fast-changing landscape of virtual events.
At the same time, events have been shown to lack diversity despite societal progress, and the industry is struggling to become more inclusive. Event planners quite literally have the weight of the world on their shoulders right now, so we’ve decided to provide a list of top event agencies- many of them black and female-owned. The necessary transition to virtual events has proved a turning point for this industry in many ways; COVID-19 has put millions of businesses on the brink of life and death. But within chaos lies opportunity for change and growth. Here’s a list of reputable marketing agencies that have put themselves on the pulse of this change.
1. Brazen Marketer
Brazen Marketer is a New York City-based marketing consultancy business. It’s first on our list because it specializes in helping small businesses and nonprofits win new clients with in-depth brand and marketing strategies. Some of its most notable services: remote consulting, group coaching, brand strategy, website services, and content marketing. The company also places emphasis on email and social media marketing, which is essentially the lifeblood of event marketing during a pandemic. Now more than ever, event professionals need to strengthen their engagement and build long-term, meaningful connections with their audiences. The main (sometimes only) channel of connection during a pandemic is the web.
Owner Vanessa Matthew has not only worked extensively with small businesses and nonprofits, but has research experience with some of the most famous corporations in the world. Among these are Dr. Pepper, PepsiCo, Snapple, Toshiba, Bentley, Weight Watchers, and more.
It’s worth mentioning that Brazen Marketer is a black and female-owned business. Why is it worth mentioning? Because in order to become more diverse and connect with broader remote audiences, event businesses need representation. And they need it from groups that are currently under-represented by the industry, including women and people of color.
26FIVE made our list because it’s a growth consulting firm powered internationally by creative and tech labs in North America, Aisa, and Europe. Because technology powers virtual and hybrid events, it’s worth noting that 25FIVE works with start-ups, VCs, and F100 organizations. Their speciality? Helping these businesses, which are so integral to adapting to a virtual world, reinvent themselves in a changing industry climate. VCs are of particular importance right now because many businesses- even larger ones- have been devastated by loss of revenue over the last several months; such businesses are in great need of venture capital to afford to adapt to a competitive virtual climate.
26FIVE assists organizations who essentially must reinvent or transform themselves. They put a strong focus on business acceleration, which the industry needs to make up for lost time, revenue, and customers. 26FIVE prioritizes branding to drive high returns.
3. BEYOND 8
BEYOND 8 is a progressive, highly experiential event agency that challenges existing creative boundaries. Its areas of expertise: Technology, art, music, fashion, and lifestyle industries. BEYOND 8’s talent for breaking barriers and fearlessly exploring new realms of expression have put them on the cutting edge of the industry. Their futuristic finger on the pulse of change also makes them ideal for navigating the rapidly shifting landscape of events. The company’s approach spotlights diversity and represents it through creative perspectives. This progressive strategy has put them on the public radar. It has also afforded them the opportunity to work with top brands like Gucci, Sephora, Nike, and Universal Studios.
In short, BEYOND 8 helps bring your unique vision for your event to life. In that vein, the company is an asset to branding during what is arguably the most competitive period the event industry has seen. And we hardly need to remind you- it has never been more important to stand out and create immersive experiences that leave an indelible mark on attendees’ memories.
Again, worth nothing- BEYOND 8 is a black-owned brand. Like the above agencies, they’re based in New York City.
4. Pop N’ Creative
Pop N’ Creative is another black-owned agency that emphasizes the importance of generating unique, high-quality event ideas that reach multicultural audiences. In fact, that aim is the cornerstone of who they are as an agency. Their strategy for executing such ideas involves memorable storytelling, which it uses to convey critical cultural and artistic insights. As we know, storytelling is a top strategy in an experiential market because it brings experiences to life and makes them relatable to diverse audiences.
Some famous brands who have benefited from Pop N’ Creative’s experiential storytelling: Aspire, TV One Represent, and Freeform.
5. All Terrain
All Terrain has been a certified women-owned, independently held brand activation expert since 1998. In their own words, “great ideas mean nothing if they can’t be brought to life”. Their team of industry experts optimize brand activation to maximize consumer connections, which are the lifeblood of any brand. They emphasize the importance of connecting to consumers in their own space to identify what matters most to them. This approach is ideal for delivering the kind of highly personalized experiences that make brands stand out and drive attendance in an experiential market.
All Terrain has provided their innovations to a diverse range of high-powered brands such as Maserati, Paris Presents Incorporated, Char-Broil, and Northstar Lottery Group. Being women-owned, the agency brings women’s experiences of the world to the forefront of the industry- and that facilitates much-needed growth.
6. Idlewild Experiential
Idlewild is an event agency with some significant (and exciting!) history. Back in the 1900s, the town of Idlewild, Michigan was known as the premier vacation idyll for affluent African-Americans. In fact, the town became so infamous as a black entertainment destination that it was known as the Black Eden. Idlewild Experiential continues to celebrate this legacy- and carry on its decadent spirit- by creating luxurious events that cater to diverse audiences.
Top brands like Weight Watchers and Walmart have recently taken notice of their signature extravagance, partnering with them for several events over the last several years. Idlewild is a full service agency that assists with event strategy and planning, conference production, and even securing sponsorship for all kinds of events.
7. Watson Creative
Here’s a top-notch agency that is fully equipped with everything you need to plan and market excellent virtual and hybrid events. As we are all learning, virtual events require special tools, technology, and a different kind of vision to succeed. Integrating creativity with technology to make a vision into reality is no small challenge. The experts at Watson Creative specialize in app design, gamification, and video production- all at the top of the priority lift for immersive, engaging virtual events.
They are also highly specialized in marketing virtual events. Their digital marketing expertise includes but is not limited to skilled web design, graphic design, and social media marketing. The company also incorporates loyalty programs that build strong consumer relationships into their brand strategy.
Because Watson Creative is a research-based creative studio, their effective marketing strategies are cutting edge of the industry. With their finger on the pulse of diverse current and future trends, this company has the research-based knowledge to help your brand create a lasting impact. We love that Watson Creative’s expertise services a wide range of events, from lifestyle and sporting brands to tech and startups to venture capitalists.
8. Meeting Tomorrow
In a case of saving (one of) the best for last, we present to you today’s #1 virtual event management and production company. As its very name suggests, Meeting Tomorrow is tapped into the virtual culture of webinars, conferences, and 3D virtual trade shows. According to the website, “virtual doesn’t have to mean distant”. Virtual conferences with Meeting Tomorrow deliver the same full service you would expect from an in-person conference: keynote speakers, breakout sessions, panels, and sponsorship opportunities, all integrated into a highly engaging virtual experience. It’s not easy to take that kind of vision and bring it to life virtually, but it’s what Meeting Tomorrow specializes in.