This year, the 141st Westminster Dog Show added cats, updating an event with a long-established reputation. It’s not uncommon to see brands shake things up to drive new interest. For example, the NFL Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star Game have tinkered with their format often after years of the same setup.
But the real question is does changing things up really work? We’ll take two looks at this - one from the events side and another from the brand perspective.
Benefits of tweaking your event
Unless your event is one that has withstood the test of time like The Masters or The Kentucky Derby, chances are it could use some tweaks to earn media buzz, get butts in seats or reach a new demographic. Promoters often switch gears on their events because it has become “the same dog and pony show,” which usually means people aren’t paying attention like they once did.
Good or bad, a change often has a layer of unpredictability that will motivate people to purchase tickets. It then becomes a question of the product on the field if consumers will be repeat customers in Year Two.
A tweak in the event could entice people to watch. In 2017, the NFL introduced the Skills Showdown during its Pro Bowl weekend that included mini games like dodgeball and best hands. After successful ratings this year, the NFL is likely to run it back in 2018, possibly in a primetime timeslot in hopes that it will draw viewership like the NBA Dunk Contest or MLB Home Run Derby.
Adding something new can improve your event in a major way, but does that mean adding just anything new is the right call?
Aligning the new idea with your brand
“New” can get headlines and generate social chatter, but consider what new idea you use. Bringing scantily clad models to a fan expo could be the right move for an edgier major league team looking to attract a younger, single audience. But, if the team prides itself on the family-friendly vibe of the ballpark, this new idea could damage their brand.
Before you move forward with a new idea, ask around the office, or poll a few long-time customers to see what they think. This can help give you valuable insight before you do something that doesn’t align with your brand and turns off more current customers than it adds.