Tag: engagement

Clients Don’t Buy What You Do. They Buy Why You Do It.

Clients Don’t Buy What You Do. They Buy Why You Do It.

Do you believe that events are the future? More importantly do your clients understand?

The importance of retaining a human connection externally with customers and clients and internally with staff and stakeholders, cannot be overstated. And successful connection is all about conversation, mutual understanding, and appreciation which all equals, you guessed it: Engagement.

So What Do We Mean By ‘Engagement’?

Clients Don’t Buy What You Do. They Buy Why You Do It.

Engagement is about adding value, building trust, and driving commitment. In doing so, brands and business are able to move their audiences from passive indifference to active participation.

It’s about creating authentic and meaningful interactions between people and the products and services with whom they choose to spend their valuable time. It’s no surprise to learn that the deepest connections between audiences and brands are formed through a process that takes people from watching and thinking, to feeling and doing.

Active participation at a personal level with a brand is key to establishing value and a lasting bond. So we need to get personal, get real, and start an authentic dialogue.

Social Net Worth Over Social Networks

Clients Don’t Buy What You Do. They Buy Why You Do It.

Engagement isn’t just about clicking on ads and responding to sales promotions.

Instead, we need to move away from social networking and focus on being social net worth kings – championing genuine, real connections and relationships with customers over just sticking something before them and asking them to care.

Reclaiming the people from the numbers, figures and follower counts. Because the human element that is missing from social media is experience. Real-life interaction and participation is comparable to none – and is the greatest marketing tool you could ever want or need.

That’s precisely what makes events so important. Events create the emotional energy behind the sale, the human experience element.

And no-one at all, including those in procurement, really choose a logical sales choice. They make emotional ones – buying ideas. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it, and the only way to truly engage people with that why, is to offer them a direct, human experience of your brand in real life.

Events: Power to the People

Clients Don’t Buy What You Do. They Buy Why You Do It.

Of course, there are still those who might think that the live experience is the soft option. But to do so is to miss the bigger picture. It’s only when we visit a live event that we start to understand what a brand feels like, and how it behaves.

Every touchpoint or element has been designed to represent the brand, allowing for rich, immersive and powerful engagement from start to finish. And it all begins with an understanding of the consumer’s world. Rather than telling audiences that we’re interested in the same things they are, we’re proving it – like I said, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Events build emotional energy which is the most important facet of human connection, which therefore creates engagement and ultimately generates sales and ensures growth.

Online, no real thought or effort has to go into communicating any more, and it’s the same with the way brands operate online. With an increase in the ease of communication, there’s a decrease in what it actually means – making the individual feel important.

In Conclusion

Humans are emotional beings and so the key to growth is generating an ethos and culture that is emotionally-driven that it allows consumers to become invested in why we do what we do. And that’s something that cannot be imitated, achieved only from real face-to-face human interaction.

And what better way to connect with people than a bit of a party, right? That’s why events will always be integral to the success of businesses, brands, and retaining the loyalty of those who believe in them.

  Read the original article

How To Organize A Fundraising Event

How To Organize A Fundraising Event

Fundraising events are a popular form of fundraising.  While they can be great money makers for an organization, they can also be time consuming and expensive.  The success of events depends on careful planning.

To help you ensure that your fundraising event is a winner, here are ten major components that you must incorporate into your event plan:

1. Purpose

Before doing anything else, you must decide what the purpose of your event is. Is this truly a fundraising event? Or does it have other goals? Perhaps your organization may be hoping to raise money at the event, but the main function of the event is to gain publicity, or reach out to a new network. Many charitable events have more than one goal. Figuring out the details for your event will depend on knowing what goals you are trying to achieve.

2. Fundraising Goal

In conjunction with the event host committee, organization staff, and key fundraisers, you must decide what amount of money you plan to raise at the event. If this is truly a fundraising event, then everything in the event plan will be geared to raising this specific amount of money. The amount you choose should be what you hope to net, that is, the amount you plan to raise after expenses are deducted.


3. Budget

Every fundraising event plan should contain a complete budget listing all of the expenses that will be required to hold the event. Your budget should include staff, invitations, space rental, catering, entertainment, transportation, security, utilities, and anything else that will be required to make the event a success. Your budget should take into account your fundraising goal, ensuring that you raise that amount above and beyond all expenses. Be sure to leave a little extra room in your budget for unforeseen costs.

4. Leadership

As part of your fundraising efforts, your event will most likely have a “host committee” and one or more “host committee chairpersons.” These people are responsible for contributing substantial amounts to the event and encouraging others to do the same. The host committee is generally composed of wealthy donors, business leaders, or local celebrities. The host committee and chairpersons are not responsible for actually running the event, but are integral to ensuring that you reach your fundraising goals.

5. Target Audience

Who is the target audience for your event? Is this a general fundraiser where everyone will be invited? Or is this event geared towards a specific group like business people, parents, or young professionals? In short, you must decide whom you will invite to your event.


6. Set Up

Your event staff should plan the event set-up well in advance. The set-up includes all of the particulars of the actual event: Where will it be? Will food be served? Will there be entertainment? What kind of dress will be required? What is the itinerary for the event?

7. Marketing

Just like a new product, your event needs to be aggressively marketed to your target audience. You need to convince your supporters that your organization and event are worthy of their time and money. Draw up an entire marketing plan for the event. Possible methods of “getting the word out” include: using your non-profit’s fundraising network, mailed invitations, direct mail, phone banks, word of mouth and the event host committee.

8. Sales

Once you market your event, there must be a procedure in place for making the actual ticket sales, or accepting donations for the event. You must decide whether there will be different contribution levels for the event (such as a flat ticket charge, an extra charge to be invited to a V.I.P. reception in addition to the event, etc.). You must decide who will sell the tickets, how they will be shipped or delivered, and who will be responsible for organizing the incoming information.


9. Practice

While you probably won’t need a full run-through of your event, it is essential that everyone who is working the event know, ahead of time, what their responsibilities are, where they should be during the event, and how the event is going to “flow.” If you are having a large or unusual event, the key event staff may want to have a practice run to make sure that your operation is running smoothly.

10. Thank You

One of the most oft heard complaints from contributors to charitable fundraising events is, “They never even said ‘thank-you.’” Ditto for your event volunteers. Make sure that the organization takes the time to send thank-you notes to everyone who is involved in your event, including contributors, volunteers, staff and vendors. Keep your donors happy… you’re probably going to be asking them for another donation sometime down the road.

Increase Your Event Through Gamification

Increase Your Event Through Gamification

Learn to “gamify” your event in a way that will keep attendees engaged and participating.

The basic idea of gamification is to apply “game mechanics and game design techniques in nongame contexts.” If employed effectively, it can increase engagement and encourage active participation.

Oftentimes, meeting attendees go through the motions of attending an event or a conference—they show up at sessions and attend networking events—but how can you ensure those attendees are actually learning, engaging and networking?

One clever approach? Gamify your event.


Gamification can help increase:

  • attendance at sessions, breakouts and networking events;
  • networking success;
  • social interactions and mentions; and
  • the fun factor!

Now, here are two steps to help you try it at your next event or meeting.

Step 1: Determine the goal of your meeting, and determine how gamification can help you achieve that objective.

Attendance: If increasing attendance is a goal, consider using a check-in game (digital or otherwise) for attendees. Reward the attendee with the most check-ins.

Networking: Want to ramp up your next networking event? Really get people mingling—and gaming—by rewarding the attendee who collects the most business cards or who scans the most nametag QR codes.

Social: Boost engagement, interactions and mentions on social media by tracking attendee participation across specified platforms. Reward attendees for being the most active and socially engaged.

Fun factor: Any method of gamification can make a meeting experience distinctly interesting, engaging and unique. The fun is inherent.


Step 2: At the end of any game, there’s a winner, right? The same goes for the gamification of your event.

The “prize” need not be monetary; it could include status rewards—think VIP access to networking events, dinners or cocktail receptions. Other prizes could be event swag, gift certificates from local businesses and services, and access to or discounts on hotel amenities.

For Events, Story Matters

For Events, Story Matters

Storytelling is often associated with entertainment, but stories are also a powerful tool for your event marketing toolkit.

Why? Because stories inspire people to take action. The right narrative can compel someone to attend your event and help them spread the word to others.

So how can you use stories to sell more tickets and registrations? It starts with understanding why they’re so effective.

Hardwired to Understand Stories

After centuries of oral tradition — telling stories around the evening fire and passing crucial information for survival — evolution has hardwired our brains to understand stories.

According to Dan and Chip Heath, authors of the best-selling book Made to Stick, stories provide mental training.

“A story’s power, then, is twofold: It provides simulation (knowledge how to act) and inspiration (motivation to act),” they say. “The takeaway is simple: Mental simulation is not as good as actually doing something, but it’s the next best thing.”

Put differently, if you want people to come to your events, share their experience on social, and develop a positive relationship with your brand — stories inspire those kind of actions.


Putting Stories to Work

In his presentation, Storytelling: Using Creativity to Help Sell, Connect, and Differentiate, Craig Chaplin, Senior Creative Director of global branding agency Jack Morton, shared the secrets behind successful storytelling. His tips teach you how to foster creativity, garnering new ideas for your events by creating a story that sells.

Check out a sample of his best practices:

Kill Your Darlings.

William Faulkner once said, “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” No, he wasn’t advising you to commit a crime. Faulkner’s advice was for storytellers to cut the parts of their stories that didn’t serve the reader — no matter how near and dear to their heart.

What does this mean for your event? If something isn’t relevant to your audience — a session that isn’t valuable or a piece of copy on the event page that doesn’t help them — let it go.

Get Personal.

In the mid-2010s, Coca-Cola did the unthinkable and removed its iconic logo from the side of bottles and cans. The “Share a Coke” campaign personalized the beverages with 250 of the most common names and nicknames, giving customers a way to tell their own story and share an experience with someone.

Personalization stands as the ultimate way to immerse someone in the story you’re telling. So make sure to avoid sending emails addressed “Dear Attendee” and utilize technology that lets you get on a first name basis with them.

Use Hashtags.

When Petsmart toured the United States to interact with pet owners, they created the hashtag #inspiredbypets. As the Inspiration Waggin’ traveled from city to city, the hashtag acted like the binding of a novel, connecting over 100,000 inspirational customer stories.

If you’re planning on using a hashtag for your event, put some thought into it before you do. Chaplin tells us that hashtags can be a great way to facilitate conversations with attendees and encourage storytelling.

From captivating pitch techniques to creating authentic brand experiences, all aspects of the marketing and event process should be a part of a powerfully told story.

How to turn your event into a brand experience

How to turn your event into a brand experience

Audiences are no longer spectators, they expect more – to be a part of the action.

Branding an event is about keeping your key messages clear, and in the mind of your attendees.

You want them to remember the call to action and the company or product name long after they’ve left, so you can get the best return on your investment. That’s why it’s vital that any logo or naming is prominent throughout the event experience – prior to arrival, through the event itself, and at any other additional events such as dinner or awards presentations.

Your options have increased from the standard vinyl banners and signs, to now an almost unlimited palette of tools, so take advantage of the latest physical, social and digital opportunities to engage your audience.

1. Digital immersion

Immersive marketing is about creating an experience that totally captures your attention and digital techniques have all the power here. They’ve become the new black, offering a number of high-powered, large-scale projectors, projection mapping and flat panel displays that can catapult brands front and centre. LED walls, pixel mapping and digital signage are all techniques that can surprise and delight your attendees, and leave a lasting impression.

wmp2015 (1446)

2. Social immersion

The best way to define what makes an experience immersive is to see how it differs from non-immersive events – does the branding interrupt the flow of the event? Do the messages feel clunky or forced?

An immersive event will seamlessly and imperceptibly integrate the brand into every element of the event so capture your audience’s attention and let them create a buzz for you online.

If you can convince your audience to post the event’s content to their networks using your company or event’s hashtag, incorporating your graphics and spreading your message, then you will have gained some of the most valuable endorsement possible – word of mouth.

This sort of two-way communication encourages attendees to get involved and become an integral part of the event, thus immersing them in the event from a social perspective.


3. Physical immersion

There’s still a huge range of applications for tangible, three-dimensional objects to support your message, and depending on your event, budget and brand they can sometimes be more effective than their digital equivalents.

People absorb and retain information from a book differently than a screen, and different people respond to various mediums, so cover your bases using physical displays as a solid reinforcement of your brand that can be touched and shared in way that an electronic image can’t be.

Consider whether or not your event requires stunt theming, or whether you can tailor these three marketing strategies listed above to create an experience that too immerses your audience in the brand and key messages of the event.

Using colour to create stronger audience engagement at events

Using colour to create stronger audience engagement at events

Have you ever noticed how some event spaces are especially relaxing and calming, while others tend to irritate or perk you up? There’s a good chance the colour arrangements in those environments are playing a big part. Interior designers have long known of the influence of colour on our emotions and state of mind—the same holds true when appealing to the senses of event attendees.

When we create a unique brand experience, we aim to produce customized experiences that deliver unique messages and tell stories. The more vivid and authentic an experience is, the more effective and memorable the outcome for event attendees. Leveraging the scientific correlation between colour and emotion can help us engage our audiences in new ways and boost the impact of our brand experiences.

Designing with the outcome in mind


When harnessing this neuroscience knowledge, it’s important to incorporate it into your event design after thinking through the kind of reactions you want your audience to have.

How do you want them to feel? What do you want them to focus on?

When you know what emotions you want to evoke, it’s time to find just the right colour to fit the mood. A recent study by the University of British Columbia discovered that red boosts our attention to detail and performance on tasks such as memory retrieval, while blue enhances our ability to think creatively and encourages our ability to think outside the box.

Event design techniques you can try

Applying the psychology of colour theory to the environment of event design takes things up a notch and helps to ensure that you’ll get the response you’re looking for from your audience.


It’s important to consider what you ultimately want to achieve or evoke from the event to help you determine which colour palette is going to best help you achieve your goals.

Exploring different ways you can utilize colour to engage your audience in a scientific way is a small addition to your design plan that could reap big benefits post-event.

Think about your next event design—what colour can you connect with your theme and the way you want your audience to feel?

How to turn your conference into a gala dinner

How to turn your conference into a gala dinner

More and more conferences are concluding with a styled gala dinner.

There are three main reasons driving this trend – an entertaining gala dinner is a great way to reward your attendees after a long information heavy conference; gala dinners encourage networking; the savvy event planner can minimize costs when ‘bundling’ the two events.

When planning two back-to-back events, the key to a successful experience is a smooth transition between the two. With so many elements coming together and you’re racing against the clock, this can seem somewhat overwhelming. Our event experts share some insightful tips to help the savvy event planner knock their event out of the park:

1. Use a second room within the venue

Choosing the right venue is one of the most important decisions in planning your conference. To successfully include a gala dinner as part of your conference, a venue with two rooms is ideal.

Booking two rooms in your venue will allow you to usher your guests to a second location for cocktails and networking. While your guests are enjoying cocktails your secondary team can redress the conference room in preparation for the gala dinner.

The key to a smooth transition is teamwork.

To make sure it goes without a hitch, you’ll need an experienced events team to ensure all the lighting, AV, sound and styling is in place. The room should be unrecognizable when your guests re-enter the room!



2. Offer a different kind of conference setting

Following a long day seated in a conference chair, your guests will welcome a change of scenery. Breaking from the monotony of what is expected at a typical conference will really wow event attendees.

Conferences can be rigid affairs, but a break from tradition and a little bit of flair changes all of that.

The most common seating transition is theatre to banquet round, but again it depends on what space you have to play with. Economical use of the venue space presents a number of possibilities for any enterprising event planner.

3. Add flair to your event with a hefty dose of style

It’s a no brainer. To transition from a conference to gala dinner your, event styling is your trump card.

Styling for a conference tends to be minimal with some simple yet sophisticated table centerpieces, draping and some branded props around the room. On the other hand, gala dinners are the holy grail for event stylists where literally you’re only limited by your imagination.


4. Keep the guests of your event entertained and engaged

Adding entertainment and inviting your guests to participate during your conference and gala dinner are great ways for any event planner to ensure that their’s is a memorable event.

Engage your guests with social media: Event Feed is an online platform which scans all social media platforms for a predetermined hashtag and then displays these posts on a screen so that guests have the chance to be featured during the conference and gala!

After a long, content rich day at the conference, your guests will welcome entertaining performances.


5. Create the right atmosphere and ambiance with AV and lighting effects

The right lighting features add another dimension to your event. Using roving gobos, pin spot lighting and dynamic colour changes are a great way to transition from a conference to a gala dinner.

During a conference, audio visual equipment is typically used to share slides and capture the audience’s attention. As you transition from a conference to a gala dinner, use the same audio visual equipment to create a dramatic impact. Using the projector and screen that were used for conference slides, project stylized images that match the theme of your gala for added effect.

6. Pre-set like a pro for a smooth transition from conference to gala dinner

Transitioning between a conference and a gala dinner doesn’t have to be an ordeal.

A great deal of pre-planning and pre-setting can make for a smooth transition from drab conference to exciting gala dinner. Timing plays a key part in transitioning between conference and gala dinner.

A well scheduled event will be one that goes off without a hitch.

For conference and gala dinners, pre-setting stage looks in two distinct layers is a good idea.

Employing the use of black drapery means that you will be able to hide a secondary stage for a gala dinner and transitioning from conference to gala dinner is as simple as pulling back a drape.

When it comes to planning a successful conference and gala dinner, the key is turnaround time and ensure that you have ample staff on hand to transition from conference to gala dinner in a timely manner.

6 Ways to use GoPro at your events

6 Ways to use GoPro at your events

GoPro helmet-mounted cameras have been around since by Nicholas Woodman invented them in 2004. They’ve made him a billionaire. Even though they are a perfect fit for the events industry, they are underutilized by event planners, who can use them to speed up the action to cover more ground or slow it down when it’s time to show details.

Here are 6 ways in which event and meeting planners can use GoPro.


Training and Development

Some processes are very intricate. Learners benefit from seeing the details from the point of view of the individuals carrying out the task. Videos shot using GoPro are an ideal vehicle for capturing minute details and walking learners through tasks step-by-step. Retailer Experticity has created a GoPro channel where associates can log in and learn from custom designed videos.

Capture meetings, conferences, and concerts from the point of view of speakers and facilitators

Instead of just giving lip service to audience engagement, incorporate the audience reactions and the point of view of performers and speakers into video highlights.

Relive Outdoor Adventures

Whether it’s zip-lining, bobsledding, dune bashing, or desert adventures on quad bikes, GoPro is the perfect way for participants to relive their adventures.


Capture the Intensity of Action Sports

For fast-paced action sports like polo, GoPro places viewers in the center of the action. In combination with drones that cover a large territory, GoPro is a great way to convey the full intensity of action sports.
GoPro is in the process of developing a quadcopter drone for release in 2016. Event professionals can look forward to this type of footage.

Provide Tours of Resorts

Site inspections are always the best plan, but, when they are not possible, a professional video with images captured through GoPro can give clients the look and feel of a resort or venue.

Preview Off-the-Beaten-Track Adventures

For adventures in rugged territory, footage from a GoPro camera can give clients the information they require to assess whether or not the experience is a good fit from the group.

Finally, here are some tips for using GoPro for events:

  • Storyboard what you want the final video to look like to ensure that you get all required shots.
  • Be sure to obtain the right mounts and other accessories.
  • Invest in large memory cards and always bring backup as memory cards fill up fast.Carry extra batteries and ensure that all batteries are fully charged.
  • Make sure that the lenses are clean. Unlike a digital camera, it won’t be possible to check the lenses before or after every shot.
  • Shoot when lighting is best. Early morning will produce clear and well-lit shots. Late afternoon shots will have shadows and drama.
Event reminders: how many is too many?

Event reminders: how many is too many?

Our audience is being bombarded by email marketing and email reminders. So how much is too much? And what email campaigns really capture attention? Here are a few tips.

Engaging content

It’s no secret that the key to our audience’s heart is content that engages.

Think about the value that your email marketing brings to them. Not only are you pushing an event, but what can you give to them in addition?

Perhaps a recap of helpful articles from your website that they may have missed, a summary of trends that will be interesting to them, or other ways of providing value so that your audience clicks and engages.

Engaging subject line

You can have great content, but if no one opened your email, you only get so far.

The art of subject lines is more complicated than ever, but definitely an art worth learning.

You can try personalizing the subject line so that your attendees first name is in that prominent location.


It’s very important to email people who register for your event frequently. The key is segmenting and specializing.

Don’t send the same confirmation email over and over to the same attendee.

Take them through a pipeline – ask them to download your app, highlight some of your speakers, introduce them to other people will be attending. And, segment your list so that the content they receive is customized for them.

Perhaps you have one email confirmation going to speakers, a different one for sponsors, one for longtime supporters, another for people who are coming to your event for the first time.

This, of course, is a lot more work on the writing side, but it allows your emails to be much more personalized and will help your attendees find the value in repeat communications.

Why technology is not “the connection”

Why technology is not “the connection”

The Social Age is about connections: within networks, through technology, to communities, with each other, over time.

It’s about co-created stories: knowledge built in the moment from multiple sources and filtered through the sense-making groups we belong to.

Co-created knowledge, fragments of spare thought, aligned to build our understanding of how the world is today. And how it will be tomorrow.

And yet agility may not lie down this route. Sure, we still need control, we still need formal structures and we still need formal learning. It’s just that we also need to recognise that it’s only half of the story.

The other half is what surrounds it: wisdom, ground truth, experience. Often not so easily identifiable, deeply grounded within our communities and hard to acquire except through engagement.

We are connected through technology, and yet the technology is not, in itself, connection – it’s what we say to each other that connects us, how we treat each other, support each other, challenge and enlighten each other.

Technology is the mechanism by which we are connected, but communication is what it enables the connection, and communication is about people. About you, about me, about the stories that we share.

Often organizations talk about engagement, as if it’s something mysterious, sought after, elusive. Engagement is, in fact, everywhere. You cannot buy or bestow engagement, you can only earn it.

Those organizations stuck in the past, constrained by old models of working and older mindsets of thinking can never truly achieve engagement because they never truly want it. They never truly want what it brings – curiosity, agility, impermanence.

Young woman having business meeting in cafe with two men, smiling


Identify the people who engage naturally and do everything we can to support, nurture and recognize them, these are the first generations of Social Leaders, the connected strata who will form the foundations of our change community.

If we help these people tell our story, and shape the story, we may achieve greater connectivity with the story.

It will spread and grow under the power of amplification, rather than brute force. That’s the key to change – connection. So our role becomes facilitating, not standing at the top and trying to force the organization to become fit for the Social Age, but alongside it, nurturing and unleashing its natural potential.

It starts with reflection and grows to a community, connected around ideas, around shared values.

To change our organizations, we must create spaces and permissions to connect, and recognize those people who do so, recognize them socially. Celebrate the success that they bring.