July​ 30,​ ​2016:​ ​News​ ​&​ ​Views​ ​Roundup​ ​For​ ​Events​ ​Wranglers

Hot off the presses, discovered on the internet’s event news hotspots and other dark, dank corners of the metaverse — it’s your July 30th assortment of recent news and views in the events wrangling world. This Saturday’s news includes a variety of topics that may shock, disgust or bore you, but they might also inspire you to do something totally different and daring for your next event. For the complete lowdown and highlights on any of these items, click the headline link and view the source article in its unadulterated entirety.

5 Weird Ways Legal Marijuana Could Affect Your Events

marijuana, which states may be nextThe move to make the recreational use of marijuana legal is gaining momentum—it’s now legal to spark up a spliff in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington state. And legislation is on the November ballots in a number of other states as well, including California, Nevada, and New York.

Sooner or later, chances are one of your meetings will land in a state that welcomes cannabis-inspired altered states.

And you just know that at least of few of your participants are going to want to give it a try…pot at meetings and events will soon be, if it’s not already, a trend…”

Two weeks ago the first news item was totally serious, taking a look at whether your event is prepared for a disaster such as a terrorist attack. Last week I led the News & Views post with a Pokémon GO item which offered a few thoughts about how the new augmented reality mobile game might impact events wranglers. Today our first story talks about an issue I hadn’t even considered — what does marijuana legalization in states like Colorado mean for your event? If a group of people sitting in the back of the conference room after lunch start giggling and laughing and can’t stop, is that because the speaker told a good joke or because they had magic brownies for dessert after lunch instead of the plain brownies served by the caterer? What issues do you foresee marijuana causing at events, and do you see any upsides or benefits?

Why State Farm is ‘Here To Help’ at Music FestivalsState Farm

State Farm is on a mission to make the festival experience more pleasurable for music fans. Forgot your sunscreen? Toothpaste? Need a bandana? Pop into State Farm’s Here To Help house to pick up what you need. The insurance company is tapping into the power of music, the power of community and the power of being a good neighbor to drive awareness of its new brand platform, Here To Help Life Go Right, which launched in June…

“When we talk about music, we look at what brings music fans together and it is really that shared passion for music that creates a community,” says Mandy Laux, marketing sponsorship/experiential manager at State Farm. “Part of being a good neighbor is to not only just be there, but also to be there in different moments and life experiences.” Which, of course, includes music festivals and their thousands of music fans…”

I really like the State Farm article. It brings to mind three ideas that may be helpful for events I work on in the future.

  1. Good swag not based on event theme. A generic approach to having an insurance or other type of company sponsor an event, by providing something the event goers will be interested in and very appreciative of even though it’s not directly related to the event focus. The event was a music festival, but State Farm isn’t in the music industry and didn’t hand out anything music related. Instead they provided bandanas and sunscreen, two items that the festival attendees might be very happy to have when standing in the hot sun.
  2. Sponsorship related to sponsor tagline. State Farm’s new tagline is “Here To Help Life Go Right.” The bandanas and sunscreen could help festival attendees’ lives go a little more right by preventing problems caused by the sun.
  3. Promoting a new brand slogan or product. When finding sponsors for an event, figure out ways potential sponsors can effectively promote new branding efforts or highlight the roll-out of a new product. Take your list of potential sponsors and identify what new or relatively recent marketing campaigns have been launched by them, then pitch something related to that to help them increase their campaign’s impact. Also consider the potential sponsors’ competitors’ campaigns. Companies might be interested in sponsorship ideas that dilute the effectiveness of a competitor’s brand new campaign.

5 Interactive Ways To Get Real-Time Event Feedbackcupcakes with emoticons

Thinking outside of the box using creative ways to plan and design events is what we do as event professionals. We should be using more creative ways to get feedback on our work and the client’s investment too.

Whilst you are in the planning stages of your event, you should already be thinking about how you are going to get feedback on the effectiveness of your event design. Particular questions run through your mind. Is my survey going to get many responses? Will it be constructive criticism? Will attendees remember the bad bits more clearly than the good bits? Or, how can my survey gauge the emotional response to my event? All these sorts of questions are common, but what if there was another way? A more creative and inspired way to collect feedback!

1. The Cup Cake Method

…To inject more fun into the conference, you can use cup cakes. These popular tasty treats could be offered at a morning coffee break, again at lunch time and again at the afternoon break of a conference. Ask your caterer to create small cup cakes decorated with a range of smiley faces on them denoting different moods – very happy, happy, unhappy and very unhappy – under each speech bubble.

5. What Do I Do With The Attendee Badges?

Another way to collect attendee badges so they get thrown into the appropriate recycling bin is to have ‘comment bins’ at the exit to your event. Ideal for event badge recycle binsconferences, product launches and exhibitions, place two bins near corresponding speech bubbles…”

I really like the cupcake idea. It brings an element of fun, whimsy, and play into a business-related aspect of events, e.g. attendee feedback. I don’t remember anything even close to being that fun for a conference or serious business event I’ve attended in the past. The attendee badge seems like a worthwhile idea, although I do question whether it should be made clear to attendees what will or may happen post-event if they put their name tag in one of the two bins.

10 Pop-Up Strategies That Yield Lasting Impressions

From food to fashion to feminine care, brands of every variety are executing pop-up strategies to give consumers a taste of their products and services. Some last for a few days, others for a few hours, but however transient the pop up eventsexperience, its impact extends far beyond the life of the activation. Following are 10 pop-up strategies that turned temporary events into lasting impressions…”

I don’t have experience with pop up events, but I’d love to try a few of them. It seems like they have huge upside for customer interaction and honest conversations. It’s also a great way to try out new things and to get feedback in a location you aren’t familiar with. Becoming knowledgeable about local regulations might become a challenge if you do pop ups in many different cities, and marketing might be tricky for some pop ups. A city fifty miles from where I live did a pop up restaurant, and they have a few more pop up events planned — and that makes me wish there were pop up events in my city.

Abrupt Cancellation of Industry Conference Leads Speakers to Plan Free Virtual Eventplan B

Less than one month before it was to take place, the Future of Events conference in Amsterdam has been cancelled due to what conference C.E.O. Steven Wickel described in an email as “very low ticket sales.” The event had been planned for August 22 to 24 and was described on the registration website as an event to “provide event professionals with the tools to develop their personal and professional competence by providing new techniques, creative ideas, and innovations to make future events game-changing.” More than 40 speakers were listed on the website, including BizBash C.E.O. David Adler, Fast Traffic Events & Entertainment C.E.O. Frank Supovitz, Liz King of Liz King Events, Corbin Ball, Dahlia El Gazzar, and many more.

In the hours after the announcement yesterday, Gazzar, King, and Aaron Kaufman, president of Fifth Element Group, made the decision to keep the spirit of the event alive by hosting a free virtual event August 23 titled [CTRL] + virtual events[ALT] + [DEL]…”

Announcement on techsytalk

Google webcache for “Future of Events”

PDF about “Future of Events”

As people and technology become better at making virtual events engaging and worthwhile to participants, I can see more virtual events being offered when ticket sales or registrations aren’t sufficient to cover the costs of the IRL event. That will be even more true when virtual reality technology brings a remote attendee right into the middle of what’s happening at the virtual event. I’m looking forward to finding out if [CTRL] + [ALT] + [DEL] is successful.

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Bonus item:A-1 Array

It seems worthwhile for an event or its sponsors to come up with some cool digital swag, sort of an experiential memento of the event, rather than a YASB (yet another stress ball) or some other physical product that event goers take home from the conference but wonder why they did. The A-1 Array GIF is one example of event digital swag. There must be thousands of other possibilities. Hmmm…need to check to see if eventdigitalswag.com is available…

Rather than a traditional still photo as a keepsake of the night, organizers brought in A-1 Array to set up an animated photo booth. As guests stood in front of a backdrop and threw confetti in the air, 13 small cameras snapped photos simultaneously and those images were then combined to create a three-dimensional GIF that guests could share on social media.”
From:  How to Design an Event That’s “Futuristic But Not Cheesy”

A-1 Array

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Digital Nomads & Events Building Regional Culture

Events & Regional Culture

Events are one of the things that help build the culture of a region.appleton, wi

A pretty smart tech guy once told me that part of the reason he moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, USA, was because of the weekly tech meeting I helped start. He said something to the effect that he figured there must be a decent amount of tech stuff going on, or we wouldn’t have done a weekly tech meeting for years and wouldn’t have had a long term blog related to the tech meeting.

He had other reasons for moving to this area, too, but the tech meetings and tech blog did have an influence on his perception of the area.

Yesterday’s post raised the question of what the value of events are and whether people are using their time wisely by participating in events. Because events help build a region’s culture, having a variety of tech and entrepreneurial events appear to have value directly related to the following article I read today.

Digital Nomad Discretion On Where To Live

The Case for Working in Silicon Valley and Living in the Rust Belt,” suggests that ultra-high housing costs in Silicon Valley (which can also be seen in other large cities with major tech hubs) may be causing an increasing number of tech workers to move to other Golden Gate Bridgeareas with a high quality of life but much lower housing costs.

A new wave of tech workers is house hunting in Middle America. When software engineer Eric Anderle and his wife, Rachel, decided they were tired of renting and wanted to buy, they quickly realized that any place in their neighborhood—San Francisco’s spiffy NoPa district—would be out of reach. Rather than look in surrounding towns or across the bay to Oakland, the 25-year-olds staged an escape. Last fall they moved into a four-bedroom house an hour south of Grand Rapids, Mich. The monthly mortgage payment on their 3,000-square-foot home there is about the same as the rent on the couple’s old 600-square-foot apartment. Best of all, Anderle didn’t have to give up his Grand Rapids, MIsweet Silicon Valley gig at Twilio. He persuaded the cloud communications company to let him not only work but also live remotely…”

Although America and the rest of the world are still in the very early stages of learning how to effectively work remotely or in distributed teams, this mode of work will be much more common twenty years from now. An increasingly large sector of the workforce will have the option to live hundreds or thousands of miles from their employer’s headquarters or legal address. Greater freedom to choose the location of a primary residence means other factors become more important than employer location, including

  • Housing costs.
  • Other cost-of-living factors.
  • Climate.
  • Quality of Life.
  • Family / relatives.
  • Regional culture.

If people in a region want to work to make their area more appealing to remote and distributed workers, especially ones with high-paying jobs, they can’t do much to change the climate or where relatives live. Probably the easiest thing to work on is making the culture of the area appealing to those highly mobile workers. Tech workers, especially digital nomads, will judge the culture of an area in many ways, but an important factor will be what type of presence technology and entrepreneurism have in the region.

Does Your Region Support Tech & Entrepreneurial Events?

It’s not that expensive or difficult to have a good variety of events for like-minded people in a region. A typical starting point is participant-driven informal events like those found through Meetup.com, with the cost for using the site’s name and services covered by meeting registration fees or an event sponsor.

partners and sponsors 2There can be a wide variety of more organized events focused on building the culture of the region if:

  • Someone is available and willing to organize and promote events.
  • Regional or national companies and organizations support the events.
  • Local media provide publicity and visibility for events and the community of like-minded people.
  • Appropriate venues are available for groups events.

If you want a better tech culture in your area and you’re a civic leader, an executive or decision-maker at a local company or organizations, or a highly influential person in your region, do you feel tech events help improve the culture of your region?

If the answer is yes, what are YOU doing to support more or better tech events?

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