Approachable Event Experience: Do You Need a Pink Party Bus?
Experiential events are exciting. They’re fun to write and read about, and they’re built to generate buzz.
You’re kind of competing with Disney.
Whether you’re organizing a 10-person meeting, a user conference, an association meeting, or a huge consumer event, your guests expect you to create a memorable experience. You’re competing with Disneyland. You’re competing with Red Bull’s massive all-city takeovers. People want to touch and play with things. They want to be dazzled.
You can play… even if you’re not a big brand.
Every event and meeting must embrace some form of experience–it’s what creates participation. But it’s more than that, too. Experiential events embrace and emphasize the emotional possibilities, and they increase engagement and memorability.
In the coming weeks I’ll be talking a lot about event marketing, experiential events, and ways to drive human interaction. Today, let’s do a little litmus test to see if you are embracing experience already!
Are guests taking selfies?
A wise gentleman once said to me, offhand: “If they’re not taking selfies, you’re not creating an experience.” If guests aren’t compelled to take pictures with attendees, or with a entertainment or interaction element that you provide, with the intention of sharing that with the world, your experience is falling flat.
Some brands address this in a direct way, with ‘selfie booths’ branded with sponsor logos, or with hashtag photo contests. You can try this yourself with minimal effort by letting your guests know that if they share photos to your meeting app they have a chance to win.
Are you matching the experience with the customer?
B2B events can embrace experience as well, but the onus is on the planner to make sure it doesn’t confuse or detract from the message. “We need to think about trust, competence, expertise, long decisional process and highly-technical content,” says Gabriele Cazzulini, Chief Digital Officer at EJC.
How do your guests engage already? Stick with experiences that enhance and entertain while keeping them in their comfort zone.
How flexible can you be?
This is the year of the pop-up. A pop-up event–one that takes place temporarily in a nontraditional location–can create an exciting experience simply because it’s a fresh change of scene.
Pop-up events also allow you to flexibly test a hypothesis: you can invest in a short-term experience and see how it performs, with the potential of turning it into a full-time program.
Best of all, a pop-up’s temporary, ad-hoc feel allows you a little wiggle room when something isn’t executed perfectly.
Benefit Cosmetics is executing a cool experience right now: they’ve created a bar/beauty parlor where patrons can book appointments, enjoy cocktails and cupcakes, and try out new products. When the bar closes next month they’ll take the concept on the road in a fully-branded mobile cocktail bar party bus.
Are you surprising sponsors?
Here’s how to tell if you’re giving your sponsors the best experience-driven opportunities: when the contracts are signed and it’s time to get assets from their team, are they sending over a standard logo package and the same old banners? Or are you working with their team to develop custom assets and a plan for engagement and follow-up? (Hint: the latter indicates that your sponsors are thoughtfully integrated into your event’s experience.)
Learn more about creative sponsor packages!
We’ll be talking more about event experiences in the next few weeks. Subscribe now so you don’t miss an article!