A few years ago, I was talking with one of my old high-school buddies when I realized a whole year had gone by since we last got together. Not all that unusual – except that we only live about one hour away from each other. Sadly, I find it’s so easy these days to let the demands of everyday work and family life usurp some of the less frequent, special occasions in life, like spending time with old friends. If you get energized from special moments like these the way I do, you might want to consider using your event marketing skills to create a Perennial Event that brings you and your friends together once a year, regardless of competing priorities.
Introducing, The Beamish Cup!
The first order of business is to find an activity that you and your friends are passionate about. Since my friends and I all like golf, but never seem to get out enough, I decided to kill two birds with one stone by creating an annual golf tournament. Next, you’ll need to decide what you’ll be playing for. In my case, I thought a ‘trophy’ would give the event some heritage and permanency, so I purchased a ceramic beer mug and engraved the event name on it (much like The Stanley Cup, the winner gets to celebrate with it and keep it in his house for the following year). Lastly, you’ll need to settle on an event brand name to personalize the event for your friends and make it feel exclusive to them. Since my high-school buddy’s last name is ‘Beamish’ (an appropriately authentic name from the birthplace of golf), I decided to brand the event and the trophy as ‘The Beamish Cup’.
Your tournament structure and winner-selection rules should be driven by your target group (ie., you and your friends). Since golf performance – for most of us – tends to be erratic, I created a contest structure that rewards a moment of golf brilliance more than an entire round of golf consistency. Effectively, the Beamish Cup is awarded to the golfer who makes the best shot – or collection of shots – on a single hole. For guys who play a handful of times each year, this format keeps interest and involvement high right down to the last couple holes. In my experience, this kind of event is compelling enough that you can plan an entire day around it, including dinner and drinks afterwards. Now that’s the kind of event your friends will make time for.
Rules for Winner Selection
Winner-selection rules should be created to support the tournament structure. Try to make rules as objective as possible. When you get it right, the winner should be self-evident to everyone. Here’s the rules we use for The Beamish Cup:
- Best shot wins, as agreed by 75% of the players in the group. If a single shot wins, then some subjectivity in selecting the winning shot does come into play (in Rules 2 and 3, where a collection of shots wins, winner selection is much more objective). Obviously, this approach works best with a foursome of golfers who see every shot. Larger groups may require a followup round with winners playing off against each other, which would work well for a 2-day weekend event with up to 16 players.
- Best collection of shots on a single hole beats a single shot. In this case, a par beats a single shot, a birdie beats a par, and an eagle beats a birdie. Worth noting, a birdie on a longer hole (like a Par 5) beats a birdie on a shorter hole (like a Par 3). Same for eagles and pars on longer/shorter holes.
- In cases of an apparent tie (eg., where two players have a birdie on Par 4 holes), use the hole ratings on the scorecard to determine which is the more difficult/winning birdie (eg., the birdie on the Par 4 hole with the lower rating is the harder/better birdie and therefore the tournament winner).
Ten Great Golf Gambling Games, Ron Kaspriske, GolfDigest.com
Golf Games back for More, Adam Barr, TheGolfChannel.com
How to Brand your Meetings and Events, Catherine Kaputa, EvanCarmichael.com
The Art of Experiential Marketing, ianmcg, ExperientialMarketing20.com
Are You Experienced? Seven Ideas for Engaging your Audience, ianmcg, ExperientialMarketing20.com