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Making an event of your business!

At Thrive, it’s always a treat to have member talks that allow us an insight into their working world but also could add value to our own businesses. So, we were thrilled to welcome event professional Barbara Reed of breed events to give us a lesson in how you can turn a micro-budget into big brand awareness for your company, using some simple and powerful strategies.

Barbara told us that the average budget for a small business marketing event is £12,626, a figure that would price out many start-ups. However, with some creative thinking, clever social media marketing and lateral ideas, you can bring those costs down significantly. As a start-up owner, Barbara put these ideas to the test with an event marketing campaign that would benefit a great charity, help her with a self-improvement goal and associate breed events with positive publicity too. By swimming 22 miles over 10 weeks (the length of the English Channel), Barbara wanted to raise £2,000 for Medicine San Frontieres, and raise the profile of breed events.

During Barbara’s Channel Challenge, she used social media to build an audience for the event. A serious of striking images and blog posts helped to tell her story in a variety of different ways, all designed to inspire people to donate and to raise awareness for MSF. On social media, Barbara used selfies to show her swimming journey, Facebook live to capture significant moments, and even got a Norwich City Footballer – defender Timm Klose – to join her to swim some lengths together.

Through her work, Barbara was creating awareness of her and her business, and showcasing her dedication and social conscience. As a result, her social media metrics went up, she aligned her brand with some great coverage and she appeared in the local paper. She created partnerships with other local businesses, got the UEA Sportspark to support her endeavour by giving her free access to the pool and publicising her challenge, putting breed events on the radar of a lot of people in her local area and beyond.

In short, Barbara created a story around her and her brand – a story people enjoyed following. The relatively low cost, PR wins and marketing gave her business a significant boost. Barbara hit many of the main reasons that businesses do event marketing in the first place: connected with her target audience, enhanced her brand awareness, engaged in networking and relationship building and created a memorable experience. It was a win for her charity and a great win for her business.

If you’d like to understand more about event marketing or want to hire a professional to stage an event for you, contact Barbara at or on 07910000570.

Thanks to

Kate White – Front Page Media

Joe Lenton – Joe Lenton Photography

If you want to keep up to date with networking hints and tips or would like to find out more about how to make business connections and networking in Norwich and Norfolk, please email or ring us on 01603 597727


Networking puts you in the position to connect with people with whom you want to do business and allows you to gain and grow good business relationships from the beginning. Networking isn’t just about making contacts and connections, it’s about making the right ones. Thrive is a forwarding thinking group of like-minded people who appreciate staying connected and helping each other.