Presented below for keeping you up-to-date and as July 16th’s potential fodder for your occupational bag of tricks are a selection of recent events wrangling news and views. If any of the items below appeals to your inner events wrangler, click the headline link and read the article in its entirety.
“What’s your worst-case meeting scenario? A terrorist attack? A tornado strike on your venue? An attendee turning violent? A speaker dying on the dais? A website hack that exposes your participants’ personal information?…
It’s up to you to identify all the possible things that could go wrong, then find ways to avoid, minimize, or eliminate unacceptable risks. Also on your already crowded desk: To keep looking for and evaluating new risks that crop up—say, the Zika virus or an economic upheaval—and find ways to mitigate any adverse effects that may happen despite your best intentions…”
Last Saturday I started off the week’s aggregated news and views with a non-serious article, so today I’m taking the reverse approach. Recent event tragedies and potential disasters include:
- Bastille Day Celebration, Nice, France — almost 100 people killed and hundreds wounded by terrorist
- Bataclan theater concert, Paris, France — 89 people killed and many others wounded by terrorists
- 2016 Summer Olympics, Brasil — Zika virus concerns cause some athletes to drop out
The above article is a totally-serious look at how to prepare for issues that could turn an event into your worst nightmare. Everyone, wrangler and attendee alike, assumes their event won’t have a disaster or tragedy. Most humans go through their daily lives with the basic premise that bad life-changing events will happen to someone else. Doing that makes it easier to enjoy each day and to look forward to the next day.
But because the events wrangler is responsible for the safety of each attendee, as well as the success of the event, some level of risk management should be included in every event you take on. You may not need to put major planning into preventing or dealing with terrorist attacks or Zika virus, but you should at least have a plan for dealing with severe illness or a death during your event, cybersecurity problems, and failure of your internet access or sound system.
“In today’s data-driven marketing world, wouldn’t it seem crazy to spend the most money on the most poorly measured marketing channel? Strange as it is, it’s still happening. Events continue to dominate marketing budgets, while event success and ROI are measured poorly or not at all. The problem isn’t with events, but the metrics we use to determine event success. Here are three of the biggest problems with event metrics and how to fix them:
- Lack of data…
- Setting the wrong event goals…
- Calculating ROI the wrong way…”
During an event this week, we had a discussion about recruiting sponsors and measuring the ROI (return on investment) for those sponsors. Clearly defining, measuring, and documenting sponsor benefits and ROI is an important issue for every events wrangler. Some sponsors may be totally satisfied with a one-page summary of the meeting, an assortment of event photos, a two-minute event video, and an attendee list. Other organizations or people who fund your event might want a comprehensive report listing results for each agreed-upon event success criteria, a line-item spreadsheet showing both budgeted and actual expenses, a ten-minute debrief presentation, and a five-minute opening-to-closing professionally-edited event video which includes three 20-second attendee interviews.
Regardless of where sponsor ROI expectations lie on the continuum from minimal and informal to professional, detailed, and quantified, those expectations should be discussed and documented before event planning begins. My preference is to propose, based on my perception of the sponsor’s motivations for funding the event, a reasonable package of success criteria and documentation that can definitely be delivered and doesn’t create unrealistic expectations.
I’ve developed a flexible Event Benefits, Documentation & ROI base package for use in pitching event proposals. If the sponsor feels additional items are needed in that package, we discuss options that will help them feel their money was wisely spent and agree on the event deliverables. The key to satisfied and repeat sponsorships is developing realistic event sponsor expectations, then delivering on clear success criteria and event documentation.
“With myriad offerings to ponder, choosing the right team-building activity can be a daunting challenge…What proves motivating and memorable for one group is often completely off-target for another…Do your workers have a healthy dose of competition? If so, Jacobs counsels looking for an activity that delivers a true sense of victory to adrenaline junkies…
Is creativity king at your office? For a classically right-brained group, Watson Adventures counsels an off-the-wall activity such as the company’s Team Photo Challenges, which are all about thinking differently with prompts designed to encourage creative results.
Designing an event for the “Brainy Bunch”? Would your group more happily tackle a heated debate than a game of football? Time to celebrate their cerebral side…
Does the mere mention of refreshments get your team’s attention? Some personalities think, and perform better, with challenges that stimulate the senses…”
Even if your event isn’t just for one organization, you should still consider team-building activities which engage attendees and build relationships. The last activity mentioned in the excerpt above focuses on refreshments. Consider blending relationship building, team building, and experiential events with foodie workshops, e.g. a gelato-making session.
The owners of Jersey City, New Jersey-based Bucket & Bay Craft Gelato Company will do “a demonstration class with elements of hands on participation (for those interested). They provide a glimpse into the world of gelato making and an adventure to remember. An important part of every event is (of course) the sampling of gelato, often organized as a guided blind tasting.” Your event may not have a nearby craft gelato company to help you out, but there may be other craft foodie vendors who will provide attendees with a fun, tasty, nutritious, and unique relationship-building session.
“The latest gaming craze of Pokemon Go can teach event planners a lot of about what attendees want from the blending of digital and live experiences. I think I have the recipe for why Nintendo’s Pokemon Go mobile game is such a massive hit and I believe there are a number of lessons here for event planners to learn from…So what does any of this have to do with event planning? Turns out, a lot. I’ve deconstructed what made this game so mass-adopted that it currently has more active users than Twitter…
- Star Power…Even when you have a great product, star power matters. When you are planning a conference, as good as your industry speaker’s content will be… celebrities sell tickets. They also capture imaginations…a big name and a compelling story attracts larger audiences…”
If you’re a PokéPlayer or want to consider incorporating Pokémon Go or other AR elements in your event, you’ll probably enjoy this article. You might also want to look at my post from earlier this week, “Pokémon Go & Social Interaction.”
If you’re the type of events wrangler who wants to experiment with the latest trends because you see clear potential benefits for your attendees, you could have every interested person at the event download Pokémon Go (the few who don’t already have it on their smartphone), form teams of four to eight people, give a short overview of the game, then fire the starter’s pistol for an hour or two of catching wild Pokémon. All sorts of relationship-building possibilities could be built into an event like this, from teaching the game to fellow team members who are Pokémon Go noobs to collaboration between small teams.
If you want to have a Pokémon Go component in your event but are more conservative or don’t want to figure out how to best leverage this social phenomenon, hire an experiential consultant to run your PokéSession…or maybe hire a group of local teen or millennial PokéPlayers…
“July is National Ice Cream Month, and this year’s National Ice Cream Day is on July 17…ice cream has more than $50 billion in annual global sales, and people in the United States consume the most ice cream in the world (about 18.4 liters of ice cream per person every year). Thus, unsurprisingly, ice cream is a beloved treat by event guests. Here are five creative ways to make ice cream the center of a memorable event.
- Raise money for a good cause..
- Create a promotion for television or movies…
- Commemorate a milestone…
- Offer the unexpected…
- Invent unique ice cream flavors…”
Today’s post started out with a serious issue, so I’ll close on a more fun note which also relates to the mention above of a gelato-making session for your event. If you can’t find a nearby company to do the gelato session, maybe you can find a company to do a homemade ice cream event. Or you can just buy enough ice cream makers so there is one for every six people. Then do a small-group ice cream making event, and have each team decide which team member gets to take the ice cream maker home (or have it shipped to them).
If that’s too much work for your July event, order Peanut Buster Parfaits and Dilly Bars from a Dairy Queen or have a craft ice cream vendor cater a variety of custom flavors.
Events Wrangler Tip — If you do an ice cream activity at your event, be aware of potential challenges for attendees outdoors during extra-hot summer weather…