Every event needs to be educational, meaningful, and above all engaging. But the challenge of delivering this to your attendees has never been greater. Especially when you consider that attention spans are decreasing, competition is intensifying, and attendees are expecting more.
The thing is that creating extraordinary event experiences don’t just happen overnight - they’re the accumulation of hard work and plenty of it at that. Every detail, however small, needs to be thought of months in advance so that as soon as the attendees start pouring in, they’re already thinking about the next event.
Doing this requires you to take attendee engagement to a whole new level. Attendees need to be experiencing your event, instead of being on the sidelines passively attending, and doing this requires you to go beyond their expectations by adding value to each and every one of them.
Understandably, this is no easy feat, so to help set you off on the right path, we’ve listed some aspects that will enable you to deliver an event experience that is second to none:
- Think and act the way your attendees do
- Set up the platform for ‘shared experiences’
- Ensure a high degree of experience personalization
- Base the knowledge transfer on storytelling
- Provide the context for meaningful connections
So you’ve got an idea of what’s needed to deliver an exceptional event experience, now it’s time to understand why you’d want to do this. This might sound like a strange question, but to really grasp the powers of event experience, we’ve got five examples from some of the biggest brands and events to show you what event experience can really do.
📌 Red Bull: Connect your attendees with your brand
From various sports such as Formula 1 and Free Driving to live music and adventures, Red Bull is a massive player in creating in-house events. Their focus has always been to build brand awareness and connect with attendees through events.
This pushes Red Bull away from being just any other energy drink and instead presents itself as a leading brand in the multiple areas that it’s associated with. Not only has this expanded its reach globally, but it has also allowed Red Bull to tap into different target markets and make them their own.
It all goes to show that when you step outside the box when connecting with your attendees to your brand, the focus has to be on creating experiences that your target audiences want to see.
📌CollisionConf: Helping guests build meaningful connections with each other
Regarded as North America’s most rapidly-growing tech conference and the main reason for this is down to the fantastic networking opportunities that are on offer. From top tech leaders to startups and media personnel, at CollisionConf you really can network with anyone. In fact, last year’s event saw a whopping 25,000 attendees from 120 different countries.
The important thing to note here is that networking is and always has been the main reason that people attend events. This is why any strong event experience should facilitate an environment that encourages it, by offering attendees the chance to meet their peers and major industry players.
Doing this requires you to create plenty of networking opportunities. The main takeaway here is that you understand how and why your attendees want to network and then create the facilities around them that enable them to do this.
📌 SXSW: Igniting engagement
Each year at SXSW, attendees are given live music, stand up comedy, and the latest technology (amongst a few other things). The beauty of it is that it has something for everyone, regardless of what your interests are.
This is a great way to ignite engagement because every attendee can find something that appeals directly to them. Whether that’s discovering new technologies, watching your favorite stand up comedian, or taking in an independent film, SXSW has got it all.
By catering to such a wide variety of themes, SXSW does a fantastic job of sparking engagement in every attendee. This also goes a long way in changing the environment, because when attendees can see added value on multiple levels they’re going to be much more open to the environment around them.
📌 inVOYAGE: Going the extra mile
From luxury spa retreats in Tuscany to private helicopter rides in the French Riviera, inVOYAGE provides the ultimate platform for luxury incentives and event leaders to do business. The emphasis is always on the customer.
All attendees are called inVOYAGERS and they’re given the opportunity to create personalized schedules, choosing who they meet, and making meaningful business connections at tailored networking sessions and formal lunches. There is also a big focus on recruiting high-end global influencers and senior decision-makers from the MICE industry.
inVOYAGE does a great job of providing unmissable experiences for their attendees by creating a real talking point and providing a great source of inspiration. This is a great way of showing how much you value your customers and demonstrates that you’re willing to go the extra mile.
📌 Dreamforce: Remembering your event
What has set Dreamforce apart from the rest is the loyal customer base that it has created. The reason for this is the customer-centric stance that Salesforce has taken which in other words can be translated to: “It’s all about you, the customer.”
Salesforce has crafted together an event that has something for everyone from a keynote with Barack Obama to a live performance from Metallica. They even create maps that are specifically designed for your industry. All of these factors combine to create an attendee experience that is customer-focused and generates a huge buzz.
By personalizing and tailoring your events to your attendees, like at Dreamforce, you’re going to see a loyal following that will be attending your event for years to come.
- Attendees need to be experiencing your event, instead of being on the sidelines passively attending, and doing this requires you to go beyond their expectations by adding value to each and every one of them.
- There’s no set formula for creating an event experience. However, here are a few features that should be included: It needs to connect your brand with your attendees, it needs to provide an environment that facilitates networking, it needs to be engaging, it needs to be special, and finally, it needs unique and special.
- As you can see the biggest brands have really mastered this and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same.