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The right experience

Stuart Wood asks leading creative agencies what planners should consider when choosing the right experiences for their delegates.

 

Brands are now more aware about the power of live events, and they are engaging with their audiences through experiential components like never before. CN spoke to a selection of professional experiential agencies, to find out what tips they can offer to event managers and brands in choosing the right kind of experiences for their delegates.

 

Michael Charles, creative director, Julia Charles Event Management

First, know your market – who are you targeting? With live events being ‘live’, it is harder to gain insight with post-event analytics than it is to monitor a social media campaign over the course of a few months. Who is your audience and, more importantly, what experience are they expecting from your brand? 

Consider the longevity of your experience, how much of an impression do you want to make? Make your mark and make it memorable. To be successful, the audience needs to be able to recall a feeling or a specific moment which stood out for them. 

Giveaways are a great way of allowing consumers to take a part of your brand with them, but think of something quirky and new; nobody wants to hear an attendee utter the dreaded words “oh these were at last week’s event too.” Is this your brand or someone else’s? It’s yours and yours alone, so stand out in the best way possible. 

 

Karen Kadin, co-founder, Brands at Work

Start with a ‘why?’ and a blank piece of paper. What is the story of your event? Know your audience and understand who you are trying to reach. Connect the audience with the story and make them the champions of the whole experience. 

Experiential is all about creating a sensory experience. There is a danger to be tempted by the latest gimmick or trend. Don’t get me wrong, there are some amazing gimmicks that can be effective, but they need to be thoughtfully considered and only used if you they will resonate with your audience and enable your objectives. 

Be inspired by your audience and the story you need to tell, don’t start with the gimmick and try to shoehorn it into the event, that’s just like letting the tail wag the dog. And pay attention to the smallest details, because the ‘little big’ things count – the nuances of the event are key in creating a truly immersive experiential event.

 

Mehram Sumray-Roots, product director and co-founder, YADA Events

Start by focusing in on your attendees – who are they, what will work best for them, what tech are they familiar with using, which social media channels do they use and how do they access them? 

Technology is often used to enhance events and create a more experiential experience for attendees. But remember that not every event has to use technology. There can be a tendency to throw everything at an event and bombard the audience with a different piece of technology for every process, but my advice would be to keep it simple - try to combine things into one platform because multiple tools can create a fragmented event and a clunky attendee experience. Take a step back and consider the bigger picture. 

 

Tim Collett, head of live, WRG, a division of The Creative Engagement Group

There are several issues that brands must address, from audience insight right through to ensuring that the event resonates through wider channels.

Start by getting to know your audience, developing a deep understanding of how, when and where is best to engage with them. This will deliver a knowledge of what people need to hear, rather than what you want to tell them. Making sure your audience is in the right frame of mind will dramatically enhance their receptiveness to your message. 

Then it’s time to focus on what live events do best, it’s a conversation not a broadcast. Make it authentic, give people a voice, and encourage them to live your brand.

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