1. Events are all about being visual
As planners, we are always looking to visualize the event from every angle. Once you have created a theme, scout for a suitable event venue and find a feature area which will “wow” your guests as soon as they walk in.
2. A moment can transform an experience.
The secret ingredient of a memorable event is building an emotional connection with your guests.
Experiences should evolve throughout the event, touching the guests five senses, a little at a time and ending with impact. Technology should be used enhance your story and not be the story itself.
3. Service is the name of the game.
It’s more than a coincidence that American Express is known for providing its cardholders with great customer service while the company’s events team is a top innovator; it topped BizBash’s annual Top 10 Innovative Brands list earlier this year.
The idea of delivering top-notch service is valued throughout the company, explained Deborah Curtis, vice president of global experiential marketing and partnerships at American Express.
“American Express was the first company to give customers early on-sale tickets,” she stated. “Why? Because we listened. For nearly 30 years, we’ve had an unrelenting focus on service and what customers yearn for, using our credit card as a gateway. We put service in the palm of customers’ hands.”
That mindset carried over, said Curtis. At this year’s U.S. Open, with which AMEX has been a partner for 24 years, “We wanted every fan to experience the event at every level. We created an ‘Air Open’ experience to have fans be immersed in it and have fun along the way, feeling the game like never before.”
What’s most important for planners, she explained, is to embrace their role. “We get to see the response to what we do on customers’ faces. Realize that you are in the happiness business.”
4. For experiential marketing, be authentic, create memories, and put audiences first.
Put your audience first and create a platform for real conversation. Knowing your brand and what you stand for is the first step, then knowing your audience and what makes them tick is the next step. The relationship must be a two-way dialogue. The beauty of experiential is being able to talk directly to the consumer and understand what’s important to them.
When it comes to creating memories, sometimes good old nostalgia works sans technology. Bringing back games played during our childhood works wonders in engaging guests.
5. For event security, start early and talk often, know your audience and speakers, and have a chain of command.
I attended the WIEF event in Kuching recently and because of the high profile speakers which included government officials, security levels were at its peak. Guests were informed beforehand that their name tag is super important and they won’t permitted in without it. This sets a level for guests to observe. GrabCars, GrabTaxi and Uber and private cars were only permitted to park away from the main event venue and roads were closed. Guests had to go through security check points throughout the three-day event.
Sam Sherman, vice president of planning and production for First—a global event management agency with clients including LG, Oath, and Kofax—offered a variety of event security tips and how to stay prepared, in the wake of event tragedies including the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas and the Manchester Arena bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in England.
“Start early and talk often,” said Sherman. “The moment you’re conceiving an event is the time to talk about what might happen at that event. Safety and security needs will differ if you’re inside four walls as opposed to being outside.”
Another piece of advice Sherman offered was getting to know the audience and speakers at any given event. She stressed the importance of having a conversation to understand a speaker’s security requirements. One example she gave is that celebrities often post about events where they’re speaking on their social media accounts, and that it’s beneficial for organizers to talk to them about their social media rules if they don’t want crowds showing up at a closed event.
Sherman also explained that it’s critical for organizers to have a chain of command and communicate the plan in case of an emergency. “Your chain of command could be multiple lines. Tell everyone who’s involved with the program, “ said Sherman. “And be prepared and be flexible. Trust that when someone asks for a change, it’s for a great reason.”
Article adapted from BizBash.com