As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s time for us at Event Garde to reflect on the many things for which we’re thankful.
From education to content creation, we’ve had a successful year and have experienced tremendous growth.
And we owe much of that to you. Thank you for trusting us to help you learn, network and transfer differently. (See more on this below).
This year end report is just a smattering of the successes we’ve achieved. It’s hard to quantify those day-to-day “ah-ha” moments, but we hope you enjoy this glance at our 2015.
We look forward to spending 2016 with you, and can’t wait to see what’s in store!
Here’s a look at 2015:
Marketing and Communications
In September, Event Garde held a marketing and communications retreat in which we discussed our communications strategy and marketing goals. With so many moving parts and pieces throughout the last year, it was time to reflect on our brand.
So we asked ourselves: What have we become? How are we different from our competitors?
Thus the birth of our new tagline: Learn. Network. Transfer.
Learn – We are educators and we are educated. As responsible contributors to our industry, we participate in professional development while also planning it.
Network – We plan events and programs with an emphasis on providing networking environments and opportunities for program attendees and participants. And individually, we belong to networks and organizations that enhance our personal and professional goals.
Transfer – We realize the needs and wants of an industry that experiences ups and downs and use our collective and individual experiences and knowledge to foster performance improvement.
As for personality, here’s a list of words we think describes us:
Next month, we’ll be discussing how to implement our marketing and communications plan. So stay tuned.
This year, Aaron spent many hours on an airplane for speaking engagements. From Atlanta to Florida to Michigan, Aaron spoke at 25 events on a range of topics. Audience size varied from three to 144, but in total, Aaron spoke to more than 1,200 people. Some of the topics: learning/how the brain learns; how to improve conferences and events; and membership.
And here’s what some people had to say:
“Aaron is knowledgeable and engaging.”
“This is the first webinar I actually paid attention to throughout the whole hour.”
“Very engaging, personable, knowledgeable, understood his market, well prepared, very good at herding cats, great content, well-presented. Kept us engaged and moving.”
Professional development and community engagement
As stated above, we’re lifelong learners, so the staff of Event Garde attended 28 professional development sessions this year, with topics ranging from instructional design to volunteer training to conference presentations.
At the same time, we value the communities in which we live, work and play. And we understand the importance of giving back. So again this year, Event Garde sponsored a Relay for Life team, walking 24 hours around the track at East Lansing High School in recognition of those fighting cancer, in honor of those who’ve triumphed and in remembrance of those who’ve lost their battles.
In 2015, Event Garde produced 50 blog posts. Kristen Parker contributed most of the content, but Aaron wrote posts at the beginning of each month and each month we featured guest bloggers.
On average, blog posts received about 220 views and the site averaged about 200 visitors per month. Topics of the posts varied, but the most popular seemed to be those focused on hotels – rates and room blocks, specifically.
In addition, Event Garde published a newsletter each month, with an average open rate of 600. As an education resource, each newsletter included links to stories or blog posts we found inspiring and informative. In addition, we featured “bright ideas,” in each newsletter and, of course, an Event Garde-ian of the Month.
Throughout the year, niche media publications re-printed blog posts from Kristen and Aaron, quoted Aaron as expert or included written pieces by Aaron. Key media hits include Michigan Meetings + Events, Naylor Publications, Associations Now, Biz Bash, MSAE Association Impact and TSAE Association News.
Here’s a look at some of the media hits:
And finally… Event Garde got a new headquarters this year!
Aaron bought a new house in Kalamazoo, which will serve as Event Garde’s new home.