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Bobbi Klein On Experiential Events

March 13th, 2013 by Kennedy

We’re getting inside the mind of Bobbi Klein this week, who is talking about unique experiential events.

Hi Bobbi, you specialise in Experiential Events, what is an Experiential Event?

An experiential event is essentially one that you can experience. It allows the guests or consumers the opportunities to see your brand in action without hearing the brand shout its name. For instance, while working at Super Bowl 46 in Indianapolis as brand staff with Verizon Wireless, Verizon Wireless created an area where people could do American football trivia on the mobile phones with the NFL mobile app, beat the speed of the mobile phone with a football obstacle course, touchdown dance that you could share socially, football tosses to be the next Quarterback, and receive their own personal trading card with all of their stats.

The takeaway for experiential events is for the consumer to say “Wow! Company XYZ’s area was tons of fun” and not “I don’t want to hear another word about Company XYZ’s promotion.”

How would someone begin planning an Experiential Event?

Think of how your brand can work with the given event and always remember that your consumers are key. Usually for experiential events there is already a larger event happening that your brand is a sponsor of. Find a common thread and then expand on it to benefit all of the consumers. For example, if you are at a football event, your brand needs to have activities and items that will intrigue football fans and not one that will be of interest to beach lovers.

I would also advise people to include a registration area so that your brand can capture e-mail addresses to use in future marketing campaigns. Look into promotional items that work directly with your event’s theme to give out to the consumers. The promotional items leads to everyday advertising anytime that the consumer uses your product.

What is the best use of an Experiential Event, when should we use one and when should we not?

In my opinion, anytime that you are having any sort of sponsorship or promoting your brand where you are having face-to-face interaction with consumers, you should have an experiential event set-up.

You should not use experiential events if you do not want to have face-to-face interaction with your consumers, which should not apply to most brands.

The more that a brand can have face-to-face interaction time, the better it is. There have been studies showing that the more the consumer has the chance to know the brand with face-to-face interaction this is more valuable than television, online, and print advertisements.

What has been one of your favourite events that you have organised and what made it so memorable for you and the client?

My current project is one that has been my favorite that I am organizing. My client is a student organization at Butler University, SALSA (Students Actively Leading Spanish Awareness). It is the first year of the organization, and their main event is “Butler’s Got Talent.” It is a great cause supporting the Indianapolis Hispanic community. I am working on making this a great experience not only for the talents and the audience but also to help spread the word about SALSA to the local community. SALSA has already been surprised with the outgoing support and traction that they are receiving a month before the event.

So it is all about getting people to engage, how do you cater for different levels of engagement? For example not all people like to go right in to all things and prefer to watch, how do you consider this when planning such an event?

Engagement is key. And to achieve this you need to always think about your target clients that are coming to the event. Cater to their likes and wants. Think about if you were in their shoes what would you want to do.

Also, have outgoing staff working with you and preferably not the sales staff. Make sure everyone is well versed on the products and brands that you are promoting. Do not assume that the staff just knows all of the answers. Prepare certain key points that you want them to mention to consumers while at your experiential event. This can be anything related to your products or the event. Being nice and friendly is vital to the success of the event connecting with the consumers.

What elements (apart from good planning of course), can effect the success of these types of events?

Staffing. As I mentioned above, stay away from having sales staff as your main brand ambassadors. Why? They are so focused on selling that sometimes they do not know how to just let the consumers get to know the brand.

Also, make sure that you know exactly why your consumers are coming to the main attraction and find the main connection that you can draw upon in your event set-up.

What words of caution can you offer us if we were to embark on one of these events?

Have fun and be creative! Creativity counts in this market. You want to impress your consumers with your creativity and give them a chance to leave and still talk about your event weeks and even months after it has happened.

Be prepared for long hours during the event. Depending on which event that you are working alongside, many times there are not traditional hours for staff. Most that I have worked have been at least 12 hour days.

What kinds of outcomes can we expect as a result of Experiential Events?

Expect an increase in your brand’s awareness. You can expect to see consumers talking all about how they all had a great time and were impressed that it was not just your brand shouting about it’s latest sale. Also, you will increase your email database if you capture emails upon registering at the entrance of your event.

I have had consumers come up to me and say, “I did not expect to have this much fun here as I thought it was only for children. But, I think I had just as much fun as my son who just wanted to throw the American football.” -A mother at the NFL Super Bowl 46

You can make someone’s day by being nice and learning more about them, which will showcase your brand a thousand times better than shouting about your latest promotion.

Bobbi Klein has been in the events industry for 6 years now and specialises in experiential events. You can read more about her at http://www.splendore.co/

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