Whether you’re located in China or the West, you’ve probably heard of influencers attending some brand’s product launch party. Around the world, holding a product launch party has become a quintessential way for brands to personally engage with influencers.
With numerous companies vying for the attention of influencers, these events can foster personal bonds between them and brands. Over time, they might even become loyal advocates.
The significance of events as a way to connect with influencers — and tap into their followers — shouldn’t be understated.
Yet, that being said, simply hosting a party does not guarantee success.
So, what does it take to get influencers to attend? And, what makes a product launch party fun and memorable?
We interviewed several Chinese influencers to find out.
How do influencers decide whether or not to attend a product launch party?
The influencers we interviewed generally enjoy events, seeing them as opportunities to better understand brands, develop relationships with employees, and meet other influencers.
When asked how they decide which events to attend, the overwhelming response was they attend events from brands they like.
However, it’s not that simple.
We asked this follow up question: “Do you require a fee?”
All of them responded that they did. In reality, personal affinity is one requirement, besides payment.
Attendance fees are common practice among Chinese influencers and are derived from the custom of paying journalists to come to press conferences.
“As influencers, we need to focus on creating content. This is our bread-and-butter and we need to put all of our energy and creativity into it. If we are being asked to take time to do something else, there is an opportunity cost as we could be using that time to create sponsored content. Therefore we should be paid for the time and energy it takes to attend a product launch party and post about it.”
He also mentioned that it’s very important that the brand aligns with his personal style and content. Otherwise, the event is not worth attending.
In contrast, fragrance-focused Weibo KOL @initialscent is less likely to give new brands a try. “If the brand hosting the event is relatively unknown or I’ve never come in contact with it before, then I probably won’t go.”
What do influencers expect from events?
Influencers want events to be experiential. That may seem redundant, but it’s shocking how many events are just hosts talking at people.
It was clear from our interviews that influencers want to learn about brands and products, but they don’t want to receive information passively. In short, they don’t want to be talked at.
“I prefer interactive events with interesting activities that help me understand the brand culture and their products,” explained @Aaron小宇哥. “One of the most memorable events I’ve been to was a product launch party for a new car. Besides being able to experience the car at the event, the brand also gave us the opportunity to borrow one and try it out at a later date.”
“Some of the most memorable events have been when I get to travel somewhere to truly experience the brand culture,” shared @initialscent.
@initialscent agrees. “Honestly, a lot of events just need to be more high-end.”
How can brands create a shareable experience influencers want to post about?
For influencers to post about the event, space needs to be specifically designed to maximise exposure. That means eye-catching, on-brand décor and numerous photo opportunities. Influencers are willing to share photos of events, but you need to give them something worth sharing. “I prefer events that have beautiful décor that make it easy to take pictures,” commented @钟恩淇.
Influencers will want to take their own photos that fit their style, “I only share photos that I’ve personally taken at events, not the generic photos provided by the brand,” explained @initialscent. “Mine will capture my audience’s attention and not come off as too promotional.”
It doesn’t hurt to ask influencers for their opinions
“Brands often act like the purpose of an event is to give influencers the chance to create content, but really they should focus on interacting with the influencers and listening to us,” explained @Aaron小宇哥.
“Events are not only an opportunity to teach us about your brand but an opportunity for you to ask us our opinions and learn about our audience. If a brand incorporates our feedback into the products or into future events, that will automatically increase our affinity for the brand and make it easier for us to naturally incorporate the brand into our content.”
To summarise, a superficial product launch party will not move the needle. Brands need to stop holding events for the sake of holding events and instead create unique, valuable, meaningful experiences that will leave a long-lasting impression on the influencers in attendance. These will create excitement to work with your brand in the future.