Design Trends: Can I get a Hygge?

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Robin Denny of CORT Event Rentals

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish concept encompassing all things comfort and snug, with a focus on the simple pleasures of life. It reflects a feeling or a moment, whether alone or with friends, that is cozy, charming and special.

Fashion and home trends have often foreshadowed event trends, and the events industry has trended towards elements that transform a blank slate into an area of comfort and relaxation. Color and pattern trends include blue hues in seating, complemented by warm brown tones and vibrant metallics. Nature- and tropical-inspired motifs are also prominent.

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Comfort and relaxation don’t have to sacrifice luxury and glamour. Art deco-inspired furnishings boast channel stitching, curved edges, lush fabrics and soft colorful hues. Textured fabrics and velvets lend balance to the metallic bronzes and marble surfaces. Danish modern silhouettes take center stage on soft seating, updated with rounded edges and unexpected details, such as black metal frames.

These modern industrial frames paired with faux wood or marble laminates bring the mixed materials trends to life. And while gray has been a consistent neutral in seating, blues are also catching on. Luckily, these hues play well together, as well as with emerging browns.

CORT Party Rental’s Heritage Coffee and End Table, and CORT Event’s luxurious Wentworth chair, represent this trend toward rich browns mixed with hard black finishes for a balanced design aesthetic. Infuse elements of marble, velvet and bronze metallic furnishings for an eclectic design that incorporates the on-trend art deco, Danish modern and rustic themes.

For an elevated look that won’t overwhelm an aesthetic, CORT experts recommend faux fur. Natural fur looks are on the move for this winter season, and also reflect the hygge movement. Both CORT Events and CORT Party Rental have a new selection of pillows and rugs designed to bring another layer of coziness to your lounge area.

As we move into the second half of the year, event planners can embrace two different color stories: the warm earth tones, reminiscent of the 1970s, and more vibrant colors like rich cranberry reds, pinks and salmon. These are colors that bring life and vitality to a space, while still maintaining a sophisticated sense of calm.

Have you designed an event using hygge aesthetics? We would love to see your photos and hear more about your experience. Share in the comments below!  

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About CORT Party Rental

CORT Party Rental is the leading special event rental company in the Pacific Northwest, featuring the largest selection of party rental inventory in the region and an experienced team of experts skilled at bringing event visions to life. With more than 50 years of experience, CORT Party Rental specializes in tenting, seating, tableware, décor and more. It has locations in Everett and Fife, Washington, serving the Pacific Northwest. To learn more, visit www.CORTpartyrental.com.

About CORT Events

CORT Events is the leading provider of rental furnishings for the meeting, exhibition, and events industries with an extensive selection of high-quality furnishings available nationwide. Having a partner like CORT Events can make almost anything possible. CORT’s team of skilled professionals understands the vision and helps transform any event into an engaging and memorable experience. To learn more about CORT’s exhibit and event rental collections and its free online 2D and 3D planning tool, visit www.CORTevents.com.

All About Swag: The Good, The Bad & The Useless

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SWAG, it’s the Stuff We All Get…the best part of any event in some opinions! Free gifts for attendees are a huge draw and is something that is bound to get attention. But not all SWAG is created equal…we’ve all been at an event and received some tchotchkes that we instantly toss in the trash. The item is either poor quality, not interesting or not relevant. And what may have been a hit at one event, could be a terrible choice for another event or client. Choosing the right items for each event is a crucial part of any event planning process. 

We like to think of SWAG as belonging in three separate categories. Good, Bad & Useless.

The Three Types of SWAG

Good SWAG

Items that your attendees see value in. It doesn’t have to be expensive, fancy or over the top. It simply must be interesting and desirable to the audience!  

For example, at the 2019 Seattle Wedding Show, Freemind Seattle’s sister company, Element 79 Seattle, handed out bottle openers in the shape of the word “Love” and boxes with a heart shaped soap. Each bottle opener and box of soap also had a tag that was good for a special discount at the venue. These was quite the hit! Both were items of value that attendees could use in their daily lives, but also reinforced the services and what Element 79 Seattle offers.


Bad SWAG

Items that don’t fit the event or the attendees. Your items may be wonderful, well designed and thought out. But if you’re giving away something that has no value in the eyes of your attendees, you might as well have not done anything.  

This could even be things that are played out, or overdone in an industry. Like giving out empty tote bags at a trade show that is already supplying attendees with a (better, and full of goodies) bag. 

Useless SWAG

No one wants this. It’s a glorified business card that is going straight in the trash (or as Melissa calls it: ‘round filing’), sometimes before the attendee even gets home. All this will do is waste your money, create more trash in our landfills and it could even harm your reputation. You don’t want to be useless, you want to be useful!

How to pick the best SWAG

Picking swag can sometimes be a daunting process and scary, especially if you are a small business and you are spending your hard earned money on giveaways in hopes of a return in business. 

We have a very simple 2-step method we use when going about picking items to give away:

  1. First we decide on a budget. How much can we spend? How many items will we need to have? Remember, you should have enough for everyone who comes.

  2. Next, we define the goal of giving away items. Is it to generate leads and have the potential client call you? To encourage others to market your business organically by wearing or using something with your branding? To showcase your creativity and attract people who want to work with you?

Once you have answered those two questions, (budget and outcome goals) you can start shopping!

Honesty time….while these are rules that Freemind Seattle always follows and starts with, even we sometimes have surprises. It’s ok! You can use that experience to learn more about the audience and what things to ask yourself (or your client) for next time. 

Case in Point: We were managing a business group during a technology conference and we had so many great choices of swag; Traceable luggage tags, travel blankets, universal travel outlets, Eco friendly water bottles, etc.  After looking over all the options and providing the options to our client, We decided to go with a smart bulb because they are a fun technology item that isn’t a typical giveaway item.

Little did we know is that there are different watts of light bulbs used around the world! These were only useful in the U.S. so attendees were less than thrilled. A good portion of them, close to half, were from outside of the U.S. Thankfully our client did not seem to mind and wasn’t phased in the slightest. It was more embarrassing that we didn’t even think to ask the question to the light bulb supplier.

SWAG We Love

Now that we’ve gone over what we consider the 3 types of SWAG and how to pick the good stuff…Here are some of our favorite SWAG items from the last year. From shows we ran, shows we attended, and just some options we’ve found in general:

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Lets breakdown WHY these were some of our favorites:

Matchboxes– You may think, “who even uses matches anymore?” But they are in fact perfectly on brand for Vintage Ambiance and Hummingbird & Holly One being a vintage furniture renter and the other being a custom gift box creator. Plus, between people’s obsession with candles (or is that just us?) and the fact that it is a consumable product that will be hanging around for a while, they are a great way to put your brand front and center to a customer for significantly longer than the average attempt. These are great for vendors, clients, event attendees.

Mini Hot Sauce Bottles– Specifically Melissa & Victoria LOVED these. Tradeshow food can sometimes be a bit bland, so these were a hit. We kept these in our bags all week and look for them at every event now. Event attendees may not love them as much as your clients and vendors, but still worth it!

Key Chain Bottle OpenerParty On The Rocks is a bartending and event staffing company, so a bottle opener is the perfect reminder of their services. It’s small, it’s branded, it’s super useful, clean & simple. Perfect!

Emergency Kit– Our friends at Cort Party Rentals dropped this off for us at the Seattle Wedding Show. AMAZING! The concept of an Emergency Kit isn’t new, but you can do so much with it. We’ve seen “hangover kits” , “spring break kits”, “back to school”, “wedding day”, “flu season” and more. So get creative!

Plush Toys & Branded Cups: The cups you can see are Freemind, and are filled with chocolate mint candy. Another empty water bottle may not be exciting…but with a snack? We will always take that! And putting your logo on something that people will use daily is an easy way to market yourself. As for the Chunk plush toy, Victoria displays this proudly in the office. Given out at a “Visit Astoria Oregon” booth, it is a (very) cute reminder that much of The Goonies was filmed there. Next vacation idea?

Light Box– move over felt boards….we’ve been seeing light boxes everywhere! Fun, bright, simple to brand, fairly compact (key for events where attendees will be flying in and out) and easy for people to customize in order to be used time and time again.

Final Thoughts from Freemind

Look at your demographic and what kind of reaction past SWAG as gotten (bonus points if you have data via a post event survey on how well the SWAG preformed). If you would appreciate the item, that is a good indicator. If you yourself aren’t thrilled, then your attendees may not be either. The rules are always changing, and what may have been Bad SWAG last year could be Good SWAG this time around. Remember, it’s not about how much you spend, it’s about how much value there is in the item to the attendee.  

Need help picking out SWAG for your next event or show? Let us know! Email Hello@FreemindSeattle.com to set up a meeting.

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Freemind Seattle is a boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways. We’ve managed events from small corporate seminars from 100 people to vast industry tradeshows with over 30,000 attendees. We craft our approach in-house and can work with any team of vendors to build a cohesive and effective event.

Melissa Bathum & Kori Monson – Partners at Freemind Seattle

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager

7 Work-Life Balance Tips for Experiential Marketing Pros

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Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Group Delphi

Experiential marketing is a hard-working, hard-traveling industry. Here are seven tips to help keep you balanced.

1. Ditch the Device

Working is for work hours — so, when you’re supposedly not working, turn off your device so you’re not tempted to continue being on the clock. As one midwestern VP says, “Do not go home and work from the couch or in your easy chair, pretending to be present with a loved one, when you’re secretly sending emails on your smartphone or tablet.”

2. Exercise Your Right to Exercise

It’s easy to forgo the gym when under time constraints. Think of ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine. If you’re an urban dweller, think about biking or walking to work. On the road? As one VP suggests, “take ten minutes in your hotel room to do three to four sets of ten: stretches, sit-ups, push-ups (or if you’re really feeling it, burpees).” When you aren’t traveling, set up an exercise class that is scheduled into your calendar.

3. Pencil Yourself In

Many of us live and die by the alerts of our digital calendar, so schedule meet-ups with friends, families, or the gym. Most importantly, make them non-negotiable. You wouldn’t move a meeting with an important client, so why not give yourself the same amount of respect?

4. Libations vs. Hydration

Alcohol readily flows in the experiential marketing business. If you drink, it’s easy to get dehydrated. As one of our senior officers suggests, “Down two large tumblers of water before hitting the hay to soften the blare of tomorrow morning’s alarm clock. It’s easier said than done when all you want to do is turn out the lights and turn in. In my extensive scientific research, I have found that the tastiness quotient of water is inversely correlated to the number of alcoholic beverages one has imbibed … but do it anyway. It works.”

5. Laughing Matters

“I laugh every day as often as I am able, especially when things aren’t very funny,” says one West Coast marketer. “It’s a great way to clear your head, refocus, and change the energy of a day that may or may not be in your control, and our days normally are not.” The Mayo Clinic also supports laughter as the “best medicine.”

6. Decide to Minimize Decision Fatigue

Research suggests that the act of constantly making small decisions can erode your ability to make big decisions. As one West Coast executive explains, “I keep three full business outfits on hangers, with accessories. Monochromatic with pops of color so everything mixes and matches with the same pair of shoes. That way I don’t have to think about packing too hard, and it’s fast.”

7. Listen to the Sound of Silence

Schedule in 15 minutes of quiet time a day. Close your office door, head to your car, or just escape the building for some time to yourself (without your phone, of course). Likewise, 15 minutes a day in nature will do wonders for the mind but a short walk around the block of your office will suffice.

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The Group Delphi story begins in the theater, and while the spirit of the stage infuses everything we do, we focus our creativity on experiential programs and face to face environments for brands across the world. As leaders in our industry, we are known for originality and results. We’ve enjoyed 30 years of engineering awe and shaping moments into memories for companies like Medtronic, Nike, Google, and T-Mobile. Our creative and fabrication teams are inspired to bring your experiential marketing to life.

See Original Post Here

Pro Tips for Exhibitors at NWES

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Janet McNaughton - President, Lasting Impressions

Trade shows represent 39.2% of all B2B marketing dollars; often the largest line item in the budget. Here are 10 key strategies for innovating your presence and optimizing your ROI.

1) TIE YOUR COMPANY’S GOALS AND OBJECTIVES INTO YOUR TRADE SHOW

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How can the Northwest Event Show become a game changer for your business? What are your trade show objectives and how do they connect to your annual business plan? Do you want to gain new prospects? Influence the marketplace? Enforce your brand message? Are you launching something new?

To optimize your trade show experience, consider not only your goals, but also the objectives of your attendees.

Most of your prospective customers are attending the Northwest Event Show to see new products and technology, participate in hands-on demonstrations, get an idea of trends, improve their skills and expand their professional networks.

WHERE DO YOUR GOALS ALIGN?

Think through how to serve attendees in achieving their goals while fulfilling your own. How do you need to design your exhibit to meet both parties goals? Do you need to add an exclusive event tied to the show? An interactive display? Something else?

2) PROMOTE THE NORTHWEST EVENT SHOW TO YOUR AUDIENCE

Butler Events has massive ambitions for this show and is taking bold steps to make it the most prestigious event in the area and beyond. Be sure to add some dazzle to your pre-show marketing message and invite key clients and prospects to your exhibit. Offer an incentive to meet with you for a 1-1 meeting for a scheduled time slot or to visit in general. If scheduling meetings with customer at the show is not realistic, how about letting attendees know they can receive a special gift for scheduling an appointment with you after the trade show? Tie the incentive to your mutual goals. (Download a Digital Asset to Share on Social!)

3) GET THE RIGHT PEOPLE TO ENGAGE WITH YOU AT THE SHOW

31% of registered attendees will be coming to the show for the first time. What an opportunity to meet new customers and increase sales over the next 12-18 months! There are at least three areas you want to deliver on better than anyone else exhibiting, especially your competition:

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First, person-to-person: Dress the part, look the part, and stay focused on greeting everyone who approaches. This objective starts by wearing your brand with logoed apparel.

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Second, hand-to-hand: At the end of your conversation give a gift branded with your logo. There are lots of great ways to use a presumptive close. Say “Thanks for visiting the (your company’s name) booth!” while you hand them a promotional product that is tied to your exhibit theme. Two levels of gifts are best: one for all the people you meet and the other a VIP gift for top customers and prospects.

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Third, friend to friend: Always ask what your guests do for a living. Chances are they are eager to tell you, and to make friends. If its appropriate (not forced) ask for their contact information and complete a lead sheet. If they have a business card, staple that to their sheet for follow up after the show. Use set up time and your breaks to meet other exhibitors. Swap cards and war stories if you can; but avoid visiting with them when they are swamped with guests.

4) ENSURE ATTENDEES LEARN WHAT YOU NEED THEM TO KNOW

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Every exhibitor is best prepared when clear talking points are created and the entire exhibit team is trained. Role playing is a best practice for polishing your presentation.

5) ASK THE RIGHT QUALIFYING QUESTIONS TO OPTIMIZE FOLLOW-UP

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Create a lead sheet to capture data, and firm up your plan for post- show follow up. You can execute this concept on paper or digitally. Creating a savvy lead sheet begins by getting leadership, sales and marketing to agree on your ideal customer. The show is anticipating 2500 attendees: 2.5 times more than last year! To optimize your time and qualify the most guests, plan for concise conversations. There will be a lot of people to meet, sort and qualify!

Identify 4-5 open ended questions that will assist in a thoughtful conversation with attendees and inform them of your services. Try it out on at least three people who understand your business to ensure your talking points inform, educate, and convey the message you want attendees to learn about your business.

6) SECURING THE RIGHT LEADS

Here's how the qualifying questions lead to the right decision for your gifts:

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Level 1: gifts are given to your hottest prospects and VIP customers. These are the people who meet your sales lead sheet criteria. These items represent a higher perceived value than a typical trade show promotion. You want people who receive level 1 gifts to know you think they are special and appreciated.

Level 2: gifts are for all the other people who visit your booth.

The appropriate time to extend a gift is AFTER you have completed a sales lead sheet for the attendee.

7) UTILIZE A DATA COLLECTION SYSTEM

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Asking the right qualifying questions, educating customers on your product or service, collecting attendee responses and attaching their contact information is job 1 for every person working in your booth. The most successful exhibitor teams craft talking points, train and role play with their colleagues to ensure success. Identify one team member to gather all the lead sheets at the end of the show and ensure they are entered into your CRM system for long term follow up.

8) EXTEND AND EMBODY YOUR BRAND WITH LOGOED UNIFORMS AND MULTIPLE LEVELS OF PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS

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Remember, you want to stand out. Many exhibitors do a great job. You want to be even better; and you can up your game by showing up as a polished team in uniform, with strong branding and expertise.

Consider the short and long-term impacts of the gifts you will provide and be sure they are exactly on-brand. Audiences love this type of coordination. It’s like telling a great story; your audience can follow it easily and understand how everything fits.

9) CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION AFTER THE SHOW WITH AN EXCLUSIVE OFFER AND/OR A BRANDED FOLLOW-UP PROGRAM

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When the show is over, the real work starts. The most effective follow up campaigns are designed and coordinated with your exhibit theme in advance of the show. Your sales cycle dictates frequency. For products and services that produce rapid sales, execute on a follow up program once a week for the next 3 weeks. If your sales cycle is longer, consider monthly for the next 3 months. If your sales cycle is 12+ months, consider a quarterly follow up campaign for the next 3 quarters.

10) DID YOU INCREASE SALES? WHAT IS YOUR ROI? WHAT IS YOUR ROO?

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Start with the end in mind! As part of your trade show planning identify what you want for an ROI. How much in sales do you need to generate for the trade show to benefit the investment?

For Return on Opportunity (ROO) list out the ways you want to grow exposure and business relationships that don’t necessarily have a sales number attached. Examples are media exposure, speaking opportunities and more. Plan for what you want and work to achieve it. At the end of the trade show, measure results against plan to calculate whether your efforts were successful. With every evaluation a smart final step is to have an honesty check up and ask yourself if the results achieved were the best possible outcome. Identify and document what was learned – both good and bad for the next exhibit.

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How can we serve you? we’re glad to answer questions about your trade show plan, walk you through a strategic follow-up campaign or meet with you to assist with your post-event analysis. Visit our website Lasting impressions, email at Janet@LastingImpressionsGifts.net or call 425.822.6651.

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A Look at Authentically Incorporating Virtual Reality at Events

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Olivia Sundstrom of National Event Pros

Why Virtual Reality

The question of whether or not to incorporate virtual reality into an event is a question that also asks a lot about the event itself. What is the purpose behind the event in question? Is it an event aimed at bringing people together? Is it a marketing or brand activation? Is this event a chance or an opportunity to make a first impression like a conference or expo appearance? Virtual reality has quickly become not just a new phenomenon in the entertainment sphere, but a medium with limitless applications.

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Virtual Reality has the ability when used strategically, to be a highly engaging medium for storytelling, marketing, entertainment, and more.

Assessing the rise of virtual reality technology across various industries throughout time, and within the last year alone, it is clear that big brands and industry leaders are quickly adopting virtual reality as a highly versatile tool to draw engagement within an organization, within a consumer base, or even with a potential consumer base.

Knowing that virtual reality can be an incredibly efficient tool, this article will break down the many ways one can utilize virtual reality at their next event in a way that is engaging, impactful, and authentic.

Know the Audience 

With any endeavor, it is always crucial to understand the audience. A successful event is one that is tailored to its audience authentically and is centered around building organic connections. Whether it be a launch where the audience is made up of potential investors and consumers, a company event, a school fundraiser, or a networking event, there is always an opportunity to create organic connections between the attendees and the event host.

There are many routes one can take with events. When using an event as a means to make a first impression, draw in an audience for a particular product, or to engage with a brand like a trade show or exposition appearance, the strategy behind the event should focus elements like storytelling.

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Many brands across all industries have used virtual reality in this way, and for some of the biggest examples of this check out our break down of 18 Inspiring Uses of Virtual Reality Marketing as well as our bread down on How to Improve Trade Show Engagement with VR for an in-depth look on how virtual reality can be used at marketing centered events.

If the event is aimed at sparking engagement internally at an organization such as a corporate holiday party, team outing, networking event, or fundraiser, then the focus will be on building immersive experiences that all attendees can relate to and engage with, adding storytelling elements is also a powerful addition in these cases as well but the primary focus is on creating an environment that welcomes connections between attendees.

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Building the Event 

There are unlimited routes to take when building an event with virtual reality elements. If the event has a particular theme in mind find virtual reality elements that compliment the theme or take the theme to a new engaging and immersive level for attendees.

If the event theme is one that resonates with the attendees because of its relevancy or proximity such as a winter-themed event for a winter sporting event, then the ability to include guests through virtual reality entertainment like hosting a VR station where guests can enter immersive skiing or snowboarding simulation is one solution.

Finding VR games to match themes like outer space, a murder mystery dinner party, or even zombie apocalypse-themed, are all great and specific ways to use VR games to play on the theme of any particular event.

When it comes to hosting events that are not pertaining to one specific theme, utilize VR experiences that are just as versatile as they are engaging.

The Google Tilt Brush is one of the only pieces of virtual reality entertainment that can be used in such a diverse range of ways from allowing guests to create room scale drawings and animations to using the Tilt Brush to play traditional and familiar party games such as Pictionary, by using the device in scenarios where a traditional pen and paper would be used.

Taking virtual reality and applying it to enhance familiar party games, or using a VR version of a traditional party game or board game, is an easy way to give attendees or team members a more approachable introduction to virtual reality as well as a more universal experience compared to a specific gaming experience.

Create the Environment

When creating the environment at an event with virtual reality there is a multitude of ways to do so. It can be done by creating a dedicated gaming section or gaming lounge at an event where guests can explore and enjoy the juxtaposition of classic arcade games and new virtual reality experiences. Or by creating various stations throughout the event where a different element of virtual reality is used.

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One of the best ways of utilizing virtual reality gaming at an event is the use of multiplayer gaming experiences. For a look at a diverse range of multiplayer VR experiences for group outings, team building activities, and events check out a break down of the Top 19 Virtual Reality Games for Events.

Have one section of the event dedicated to showcasing a storytelling element through virtual reality. Let this be a way for members of an organization to interact with a story or timeline by showcasing the history of the organization, a recap, a timeline, or engage with a new campaign through virtual reality.

Have various sections of the event dedicated to being inclusive of family-friendly and younger attendees, as well as allowing a beer garden, gaming lounge, or sports bar experience with VR games meant for adults.

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National Event Pros is a full-service event planning, production, and rental company headquartered in Seattle with accomplished partners worldwide.

For over 30 years, our network of event professionals and extensive equipment inventory have provided our clients with services for more than 50,000 private parties, public gatherings, school picnics, and corporate special events.

TOP 23 EVENT MARKETING TOOLS IN 2019

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Christian Golden - Bizzabo.com

Spread the word and drive registrations with these 23 powerful marketing tools for your event marketing campaigns. Featuring examples, tips, and resources for maximizing your event reach.

You’ve put in the legwork, made the phone calls, sent out a tidal wave of emails. You’ve worked the logistics and planned it all down to the last minute. You’ve done a bang-up job of organizing your latest event and it seems nothing has been left to chance.

Getting folks to register, buy tickets, and fill seats is crucial, but it’s only half the job. Once they come, you’ve got to keep your attendees engaged. Then, ideally, they’ll spread the good word and come back around. A good event marketing software helps, but it’s only one piece of a larger pie.

Read on for 23 tools for boosting attendance, engagement, and return visits with your next event. 

Integration Tools

Let's start with a couple integration tools. The following two apps will allow you to connect just about every other tool we mention in this guide, making your entire event marketing experience much easier and more efficient.

1. Zapier

Source: Geek Estate

Zapier allows users to "integrate, automate, and innovate" in ways they never could before. First, users need to link their various web apps together so that data can be shared between them. This is simple and can be done in just a few clicks. Then workflows can be built to automate certain processes.

For example, let's say your business uses G Suite, Dropbox, and Slack to communicate and store information. A workflow can be built that will automatically copy and save any attachments received in Gmail to a Dropbox folder, then alert all interested parties via Slack.

Zapier connects over 1,000 different apps together so that automations (like the one detailed above) can be made and your time can be used more productively.

2. Webhooks

A Webhook is used to transfer data between web applications once a specific action has been has been completed. The process is similar to what we just described for Zapier.

In regards to event management, Webhooks can be created to send real-time updates. This is done by first specifying the URL that will receive the information, then assigning a specific trigger event, which will send the data you've stored in your event app to any other application that you choose.

Communication Tools

Communication between team members is essential. And while email is an amazing tool, it's not always the best way for colleagues to converse. Instead, we recommend the following communication tool.

3. Slack

Source: Slack

Slack is a collaboration hub for business of all kinds and makes conversing with other team members fast and efficient. All conversations happen inside channels, which can be organized and segmented by project, department, topic, etc. Each user can be a part of as many channels as needed.

All conversation in Slack are searchable by everyone. Can't remember what Jim said? Just re-find the conversation. Training a new team member? Direct them to previous Slack chats outlining company processes.

But Slack is more than just a handy messaging service. Files and videos can also be shared and stored inside the app. And Slack integrates with G Suite, Dropbox, Asana, Trello, and more so it's easy to share the documents you need to.

Task Management Tools

Event management is a tough task. There are so many little details to keep track of at any given time, it's easy for a few of them to fall through the cracks. That's where task management tools come in handy. Here are a few of our favorites.

4. Airtable

Source: Airtable

Airtable is one part spreadsheet, one part database, and 100% capable of organizing your work in any way you see fit. It's an extremely versatile and flexible app and the task management tool of choice at Bizzabo.

If the words "spreadsheet" and "database" have you feeling nervous, don't worry. Airtable is incredible easy to use. Start by choosing the kind of thing you wish to organize. This could be a specific project, your customer base, or a set of ideas. Then add any and all information that applies including project names, due dates, notes, and priority levels. You're also able to add attachments such as notes and links.

But what really makes Airtable the task management tool of choice for over 30,000 of the world's leading companies is its collaboration features. As the creator of a database in Airtable, you can invite others to view and edit your creations. Different permissions can be given to each person. And the internal chat feature lets you easily communicate with your entire team.

5. Trello

Source: Jeff Bullas

Trello is a project management tool that's built on the Kanban methodology. Basically, users create different boards. Each board is organized into customizable columns that contain cards, which can then be outfitted with specific task information, due dates, and attachments such as photos or links.

A typical workflow inside Trello might look something like this:

Jessica manages her companies blog and wants to use Trello to help her. She first creates a new board named "Blog". Inside she creates four columns and names them "Ideas," "Writing," "Editing," and "Posted."

In the "Ideas" column, she creates cards for every blog post idea she has. When she decides it's time to write about one of her ideas, she moves that specific card into the "Writing" column, and tags the writer she wants to write it. The writer then completes the assignment based on the notes Jessica left on the card. When he finishes, he moves the card to the "Editing" column, Jessica reviews it, and then posts the blog to the company site and moves the card to the "Posted" column.

With Trello, you can tell at a glance exactly what's being worked on and how close it is to completion.

6. Asana

Source: Asana

Asana is another popular project management app that has one main objective: to help keep you focused on the goals, projects, and tasks that will help you grow your business.

Users first input the project they want to work on inside of Asana like launching a new event website, for example. Then the project is broken down into all necessary tasks such as purchasing a domain name, finalizing the design, writing the code, and preparing the launch.

Once each task is created, it can be assigned to the proper team member and given a due date. Asana's internal chat features make it easy to communicate and share ideas during the whole process. Progress can then be tracked to make sure your goals are being hit.

Update Your Social Profiles

It's nearly impossible to run any kind of business these days without some kind of social media presence. But for busy event planners, finding the time to update Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can be a challenge. Fortunately, the following two apps make social media management a breeze.

7. Hootsuite

Source: BrightLocal

When it comes to social media management apps, Hootsuite is the name that comes to most people's minds. It's been around for a while now and comes with a lot of handy features for small to mid-sized businesses.

It all starts with the post scheduling feature, which allows you to save time by creating multiple social posts at once and scheduling them to go live on each social network at the hour of your choosing. As a Hootsuite user, you'll also get access to detailed analytics so you can easily see how effective your social marketing efforts are.

8. TINT

Source: TINT

TINT is all about curation and allows users to increase click-through rates, lower acquisition costs, and grow sales numbers. How? By scouring social media sites for images that relate to the specific hashtags and/or phrases you enter. You can then view the resulting pictures, choose which ones you'd like to use, and obtain legal rights from the content creator — all from within TINT.

The app also allows users to add CTAs to their images, publish them across the internet, and analyze the content's performance. TINT is a great tool that will definitely help your social media channels stand out from the competition.

Data and Analytics Tools

In the modern business world, analytics are key. Without a firm understanding of the data, it's nearly impossible for your company to make informed decisions and grow. Fortunately, there are a number of useful analytics tools that you can use.

9. Google Analytics

Source: Eclipse Media Solutions

Google Analytics is the analytics tool of choice for many businesses. It's also free which is a huge plus, though there is a rather steep learning curve to really use the app to it's full potential.

Once the tracking code has been pasted onto the website or mobile app pages you wish to track, Google Analytics will begin tracking performance. Insights that can be gleaned include the number of website visitors to a specific web page, where those visitors are coming from, the average amount of time a visitor stays on a webpage, what percentage of visitors purchase a product, and much, much more.

10. Google Optimize

Source: Adept

Optimize is another free app from Google and is meant to be used in conjunction with an analytics apps like Google Analytics. In a nutshell, Optimize lets users run experiments and test various aspects of their webpages.

For example, if your company wants to improve the conversion rate of its event registration landing page, you can use Optimize to create multiple CTAs and A/B test them against each other. The insights gleaned will allow you to make the necessary changes to receive more signups.

11. Looker

Source: GetApp

Looker is a paid-for business intelligence app that's used by Yahoo, Twilio, HubSpot and many more. The app prides itself on producing useable data that just about anyone within an organization can use and benefit from — not just the data analyst team.

Looker gives its user a complete picture of what's happening in their businesses so that they can grow efficiently. Events teams can use it to discover where attendees are most likely to hear about events, see how effective their event signup CTAs are, and more.

12. Tableau

Source: Tableau

Finally, we have Tableau, which aims to "change the way you think about data." How do they do this? By helping its user both see and understand the enormous amount of data it collects. They can then easily share the data with whomever they need to.

Like Looker, Tableau is a paid-for service and gives users the ability to see what their customers are really doing on their websites. Tableau integrates with many other tools as well including Google Analytics, Salesforce, Amazon Redshift, and more.

Marketing Automation Tools

Promoting your event is no longer an analog affair. You can recruit an army of automated tools to do or streamline phone, email, and social media marketing, manage your campaign, and even perform data analysis to see what’s working and what isn’t.

Here are five of 2018’s most powerful Marketing Automation Software products:

13. HubSpot

Source: HubSpot

This marketing engine is one of 2018’s top rated platforms for promoting events and campaigns. It's features include tools for email and social media marketing, creating landing pages, search engine optimization (SEO), and more.

HubSpot’s Lead Management feature lets you cultivate, score, and track leads, and the software also allows you to use data analytics to track and optimize your event marketing plan to measure your success and fine tune your approach.

This platform’s ‘inbound’ approach puts more tools for driving business growth into your hands, from attracting potential attendees, converting them, and closing with them as new and returning customers.

14. Marketo

Source: Marketo

Marketo is another marketing automation platform that makes developing and refining campaigns a user-friendly experience that need not involve any coding by users — which is particularly important for the mid-size companies that Marketo is designed for.  

Like HubSpot, Marketo offers a range of digital marketing tools that can be used to promote your event around the clock, including SEO, analytics, landing pages, and automated email functions. The email marketing feature triggers email outreach when potential attendees do things like share on social channels or check-in online at related events.

15. Hatchbuck

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Source: Hatchbuck

Hatchbuck is particularly well-suited for small businesses who want to cultivate and follow up with their audience.

Its automated email campaign tool generates alerts when prospective customers or attendees take action, allowing a small marketing team to nurture leads and drive conversions.

16. Adobe Campaign

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Source: Adobe

If you want a marketing automation and resource management tool with powerful analytics features, this aspect of the Adobe Marketing Cloud might be the product for you. It’s designed to integrate well with Analytics, Target, and other Adobe systems, and provides detailed reporting by virtue of being intended for use by large-scale enterprises.

Though scale is one of its strengths, Adobe Campaign can handle detailed work. With the email feature, the option of tracking recipients’ previous behaviors and interests gives you the ability to personalize emails to the desired extent.

17. SharpSpring

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Source: SharpSpring

Another affordable solution for small businesses, SharpSpring offers many of the features provided by some of the bigger platforms we’ve discussed, including social media management, landing page and blog building features, and behavior-based automated email marketing that allows you to track a visitor’s IP address in order to identify their organization.

Users have singled out SharpSpring’s usability and customer support for praise, as well as its ability to integrate with hundreds of third-party programs.

Event Management Tools

How about tools to manage your actual event? We've got a couple recommendations for you in this category as well.

18. Bizzabo

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Bizzabo is the world's most love event software, and for good reason. This tool gives event planners everything they could ever need to promote, manage, and host an amazing event including an event website builder, email marketing service, event community platform, and event management tool — all in one convenient package.

From start to finish, Bizzabo gives you the event tools you need. But it also integrates with many of your favorite apps (over 750 other tools) to provide you with a completely customizable experience.

 

19. Boomset

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Source: Boomset

Boomset is an event software solution that helps event planners improve on-site event experiences. It comes with useful features such as on-site check-in and on-demand badge printing, multi-session tracking, and signature collection.

Boomset also makes it easy to create guests lists by importing contacts from other platforms like Bizzabo or an Excel spreadsheet.

Design Tools

Last, but certainly not least, let's discuss the top design apps on the market. You need to make your event — from the promotional posters and web banners, to the event schedule handouts — visually appealing. These tools will help you.

20. Venngage

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Source: Venngage

Venngage is all about infographics. If you've ever planned to use this type of marketing collateral to help promote your event, Venngage is definitely worth looking into. Plans range from $0 to $49 a month depending on the features needed.

Speaking of features, what can Venngage do? A whole lot, actually. Start by choosing from over 100 professional looking infographic templates. Then quickly add the charts, diagrams, and other visuals that will help visualize your data. The software comes with many icons and images to make this process simple. Then customize the text, colors, fonts, and other details to create a truly unique project.

21. Canva

Source: Canva

Canva is an online tool that will allow you to "design anything," and "post it anywhere." First sign up for a free account. Once inside the tool, choose a template to work from. They have ones for every kind of social media post, website banners, infographics, and more. Additionally, you can input your own dimensions and create completely custom projects.

When your template has been chosen, you can begin making it your own. Change colors and add pictures, graphs, and text. You also have the ability to search the Canva data base for images and icons to add to your project.

When your image is exactly as you want it, it can be downloaded and then used in your event marketing efforts.

22. BeFunky

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Source: BeFunky

BeFunky is a free photo editor and design app. Users get access to both simple editing features like crop, resize, and exposure; and unique effects like Cartoonizer, which turns photos into cartoons, and Digital Art, which makes pictures look like digital paintings.

The designer aspect of BeFunky is similar to Canva. Use this tool to add text to photos, or create event posters or invitations from scratch.

23. Pixlr

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Source: CNET

Pixlr is another photo editing app. But this tool has both web and mobile versions so it can be used on just about any WiFi enabled device. Edit your pictures quickly with professional features like layers, color replacement, and object transformation.

And of course, Pixlr users also have access to standard editing features such as crop, text, and a multitude of filters. 

BONUS: Social Media Tips

The reign of automated systems like those we’ve been discussing is a marketing windfall, but it hasn’t spelled the end of elbow grease. Event planners can go beyond automation to build hype by creating an event hashtag that can circulate well — getting the word out and drumming up interest and excitement across social channels.

Pick a phrase that’s catchy and easy to remember and share it widely in advance of your event. Lay it on thick via event newsletters, social media posts, and event apps attendees are encouraged to download. Your organization’s social media managers can get more mileage out of the hashtag by making information about event speakers and highlights available to folks who follow it. Remember that followers become sharers, too.

Running a successful campaign that brings folks to your event is only half the battle. The event itself needs to be successful, too. This means having attendees who enjoy themselves and become more likely to give you a high rating and a return visit. Here are some tips for turning attendees into enthusiastic participants:

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Source: TINT / NASDAQ

  1. Incorporate a little friendly competition into the affair. Games that riff on creative event ideas can keep folks focused on what it’s all about. Re-tweetable content like event messages and updates; opportunities to create social posts containing the hashtag; scavenger hunts; live video activities; quizzes and surveys. These are all ways to make the proceedings more fun and memorable for those present, while keeping the publicity-ball rolling online. Boomset's QR lead retrieval feature allows attendees and exhibitors to generate leads, which can in turn help organizers incorporate challenges into event participation — turning attendance itself into a friendly competitive activity.

  2. We’ve seen that there are many ways to gather a range of data about attendees prior to an event. This can be used not only to drive attendance, but to drive engagement on site — event planners can create networking events or group activities for folks have similar interests. These sub-events can then be broadcast to those for whom they seem a good fit, which should be backed by data. This serves the double purpose of creating more opportunities for attendee satisfaction while sending a clear message that doing so is a priority for organizers.

  3. Another way to create positive associations with your event for registrants is to let them share the spotlight. Social media walls that display user-generated content on social channels in real-time or on a loop is a neat way to pass them the mic, while increasing attendee engagement. 

Summing Up: Your Event Marketing Tools

Investing in digital outreach and onsite engagement is a powerful, two-pronged strategy for accomplishing this. Adopt this approach and watch your crowd and impact grow.

Want to better understand how to achieve event success and discover other tools to help you guarantee it time and time again? Take the Event Technology Assessment

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Bizzabo is the world’s fastest growing event technology company. Our Events Cloud empowers event marketers to manage, measure and grow professional events across the globe. We are pioneers of event technology and champions of our customer's success.

5 Unique Photo Experiences for Under $5,000

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Danica Giermann - The SnapBar

By now you’ve been to a wedding, corporate event, holiday party or retail space that has a photo booth. They’re everywhere and really fun and the perfect thing for saving memories. But too many of these photo booth experiences look or do exactly the same thing. What do you do when the basics are hanging out at every booth activation and the really custom stuff just costs too much? How do you create an impressive experience with a standard budget? Let us help you out! We’ve put together 5 ideas on how to make your photo experience unique for under $5,000.

5) Multi-Booth Activation ($1,790 - $3,580)

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One way to make a photo experience stand out is to use different backdrops and scenery.

And one of the best ways to do that is multiple photo booths set up in different locations. Because, let’s be real, you forked out a good chunk of change for that venue. Why not show it off?

Also, you’ll get the chance to spread out the photo love and not bog down a single area of your event with lines, so it’s a win-win! (by the way, The SnapBar’s Selfie Stands are awesome for this!)

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4) Add Life-Size Props ($1,500+)

Everyone loves props. They give people ideas for how to pose and something to do with their hands, which helps them relax and have fun in a photo booth.

And while it can be a good thing (after all, everyone loves the mustaches and lips) a lot of props end up looking the same in every photo activation.

So why not supersize your props for a unique take?

We love the idea of a massive wine bottle, human-size popsicle, or huge logo that people can pose with/against/behind.


Our friends at Foam Fab are great at making giant foam props from wine bottles to abstract art and beyond, life-size props are a hit for photo booths.

3) Floral Background ($4,000+)

So, a huge photo trend right now is the flower wall. They make photos look fabulous and add a touch of beauty to your typical photos.

But if you’ve looked into them at all, you’ll know they’re CRAZY expensive.

So how do you get the same look for less?

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Well, one thing The SnapBar did recently was work with Sublime Stems to create a custom shelved backdrop, then add over 200 potted plants to the shelves. Was it tedious? Yes. Was it as intense as adding a few thousand roses to create a backdrop? No.

The backdrop itself was just under $4,000 and adding a quality photo booth camera with a skilled attendant ended up being just over $5,000. But making the backdrop a cell phone selfie stop where people use their own mobile phones is always a fun, and inexpensive, option!

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It ended up adding a beautiful aesthetic and was much less expensive than the solid wall of flowers! (Plus, a number of people used the plants as props, so that was fun!)

2) Set Design ($2,500+)

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Set design is one of the top photo experiences for 2019. People are going far beyond just a simple backdrop and we’re loving it.

One of the best parts about set design is that it can be as simple or extreme as you’d like.

This is one of the favorite designs The SnapBar has worked on. The pillows were great props and the bright colors worked really well in photos.

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You don’t have to go that over-the-top with set design, even though it’s really fun! If you have a more restricted budget, why not do a custom backdrop of an intricate setting and include some furniture, a couch, or something basic and themed to the mix?

That’s what this Harry Potter themed event did and the photos, while simple, were stunning

1) Gel Lighting ($1,500-$2,500)

One of the easiest ways to transform your photo booth experience from ordinary to remarkable and take the mood-level up a notch is to customize it with gel lighting.

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The creative team at The SnapBar can masterfully mix your choice of colors to make the photo booth output an edgy and beautiful concoction of your brand colors or event theme!

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Do you have another idea or dream you’d like to make happen in a photo experience? Are you not sure how to make it work with your budget? Let us know! The SnapBar has a lot of experience making photo dreams a reality. We’d love to work with you!

Event Wellness

“The wellness trend began by offering healthier meal options but has now blossomed into an entire culture for events. As people’s personal values are developing and they become more mindful in their personal lives, their expectations for meetings and conferences are changing as well. Incorporating them into the event atmosphere is necessary to maintain a competitive edge over others trying to ride the wellness trend.”

— Event Manager Blog

Wellness is more than a trend.  It’s a lifestyle choice for many because it fuels success in our fast-paced and demanding industry. 

With that in mind, this year NWES will provide a wellness pavilion dedicated to supporting attendees’ optimum experience. Wellness today goes beyond lunch salads to aim for balance in diet, rest and play. And, it’s a concept the smartest event planners are adding to their events.  

young handsome business man in black suit practice yoga and relax at office

The NWES schedule this year makes room for attendees to refresh between sessions, network with new and old contacts, play games, solve puzzles or simply hydrate in a comfortable chair to absorb all the new ideas they’ve gained from education sessions and exhibits. You’ll learn from experience the value wellness elements can add to any event.

Mindfullness Lounge

Mental wellness moments give attendees a quiet space to slow down, reflect on what they’ve learned and plan their next moves.  This can be done with a dedicated area amid the bustle of an event, with special exercises aimed at mental well-being and with programming that shifts mental focus to create headspace for creativity to bloom. Attendees leave these sessions ready to be fully engaged in the event.

Interactive Activities

Team building games give attendees something to do while they grow trust with strangers and acquaintances. People connect in ways that foster productive collaboration, and that is the lasting value attendees seek from an event. The impact of a challenging puzzle solved as a group can transport attendees from contacts to colleagues. 

Enhance the Food Onsite

Never underestimate the power of food to enhance, even drive the success of an event. When the food is good the impression lasts.  The food at this year’s NWES Keynote breakfast will include the ‘traditional’ fare of pastries and sweets, and it will offer attractive options that truly nourish.  As fuel for success, healthy food is direct, and it starts attendees’ off with energy to enrich the rest of their day. It’s important to reinforce the well-being of attendees with dietary restrictions as well by offering a variety of foods that support their needs. This sends the message that you care about all those who attend your event. 

We all know wellness is a trend that has evolved into a multi-trillion dollar industry. In our community of corporate events this notion of healthy balance may seem difficult to achieve.  However, small and large changes can add up to create a space for the attendee to better absorb the volumes of information they’re accessing and to connect more effectively with those around them. 

These aspects of meetings are becoming more important as comprehensive wellness gains traction in the world of business success. Quiet space, nutritious food, community building, and unique programming can connect attendees more effectively and allow for wellness to be at the forefront of your events. 

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See the complete article at: https://www.eventmanagerblog.com/wellness-event-ideas

EventMB is the first resource online for event professionals around the world. Founded by Julius Solaris, international speaker, author and former social media consultant for global brands. EventMB has become the go-to online resource for Trends, Technology, Innovation and Education for the event industry. Thousands of event professionals from around the globe read EventMB daily.

10 Reasons to Exhibit at NWES

In November, NWES is providing two full days of new technologies, upcoming trends, powerful speakers and industry leading ideas all under one roof. Become an exhibitor today to be a part of the largest event industry trade show and gain access to thousands of trade professionals as they gear up for 2020. Here are 10 reasons why you cannot miss #NWES2019! 

1. Promote your product or service to an engaged audience.

Research suggests one face-to-face interaction has the impact of over 30 emails. Our expo floor this year will host event, marketing and business professionals eager to experience your brand.  

2. Meet 4,000+ corporate meeting and event planners.

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As an exhibitor or sponsor of NWES, you’ll  meet in person with countless event professionals throughout the week. Our attendees are your market, and they are all in one place at NWES. 

3. Advertise in our Butler Events 2020 Event Resource Guide.

We distribute more than 5,000 copies to event planners, businesses executive assistants, and their clients. Our event guides go to all registered NWES attendees. And, each exhibitor gets a comprehensive web listing on ButlerEvents.com. 

4. Showcase all your new services and event features.

NWES is the perfect opportunity to illustrate what your business is originating in 2020. It is a chance to highlight your business and generate direct ROI from new clients.

5. Meet face-to-face with event planners and develop new business opportunities.

In attendance at NWES this year are top planners from regional businesses including everything from boutique enterprises to medium sized corporations, Microsoft, Amazon and every group that uses events to reach their business goals. Leading professionals are more frequently returning to the power of personal relationships as a vital part of business success. We in the events community believe in the power of face to face interactions in concert with technology. 

6. Network with familiar faces and develop new leads for your business.

There is almost no opportunity as wide as a showroom floor to gather potential customers. They are ready and eager to learn innovative event techniques and develop new connections. You can be that exciting new connection when you come with your elevator pitch honed to engage attendees in the few seconds it takes them to walk past your exhibit. 

7. Engage with industry and other partners to illuminate your product or service.

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Personal interaction builds our professional tribes and grows our businesses. We at NWES work to create an environment where you not only meet event planners, but you also get to showcase your products and services to other exhibitors, your potential partners. 

8. Support the Northwest Event Community. 

The Northwest is a very special community of event and meeting planners. Come to NWES to get to know the creative forces, new and seasoned faces that make up this industry in our area. We think the group we attract will embrace all the resources available to them. If you miss the show they just might miss all you have to offer. 

 9. Two Days to Exhibit 

With two full days there is more time for our attendees to slow down and explore the entire showroom floor. This works for you as an  exhibitor to cultivate stronger leads from potential customers who may have rushed through a one-day show. 

10. Educational Experience

This year we have advanced our educational programming to include Julius Solaris, Founder and Editor of  EventMB.com. Julius is the keynote speaker at NWES who’ll headline the many other industry leaders at the show. With our advancement in education we enhance our exhibitors’ opportunities as well by ensuring the audience includes business leaders as well as event professionals. 

Sustainable Event Planning

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Written by Caitlyn Hillis of Butler Seattle.

As the momentum around sustainability grows, NWES is taking the time to think about the impact our show has on the environment. There are so many incredible ideas and new things happening in the area of event sustainability that we are striving to be better and hope we can inspire you to do so as well.

The average person produces 1.89KG of waste at a conference according to meetgreen.com.  That means our 4,000 attendees on the NWES showroom floor would generate roughly 7,560KGs of waste in a single day. That’s a lot of waste! If every person that walks through the showroom door -- producer, exhibitor or attendee -- made even small changes, those small changes could make a huge difference in reducing our impact on the planet.

In honor of Earth Day, we have compiled some easy changes you can use in your events to make the world a little greener. A strategy is key: You won’t be able to track or make tangible progress on a more sustainable event without knowing some places that can become environmentally friendlier. It is important to note that it only takes one person within your team or company to make a small yet overwhelmingly positive change. If one person takes charge of sustainability as you plan an event, they can easily create swaps you can add to every event and avoid slipping back into old habits. 

The environmental impact can be significant when everyone makes small, or better yet, big changes!

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Here are some proven strategies:

  • Setting up recycling (maybe even composting in cities where this is an option) can cut down on what ends up being sent to a landfill.

  • Decide when planning for an event if you will only hand out extra goodies to your VIPs, strong leads or other pre-selected groups to ensure the items have value for both you and your clients to prevent unnecessary discards. As an attendee, take only what you will use.

  • Embrace digital content distribution for your event. Extra handouts and reminders not only create more trash, they become burdens for your attendees to carry around.

  • Handing out business cards can be an excellent tool, however,  gathering information via QR codes can also be effective in gathering potential client information. It produces no waste and it’s harder to lose those contacts.

  • Think outside the box. Use recycled or up-cycled materials to create a display or booth that can incorporate reusable key elements for the next booth or another project altogether.

  • Focus your booth on the attendee experience rather than what you can hand them.

  • Choose to host your events in a LEED certified building.

  • When you and your team are going to events, coordinate a carpool, take the bus or the train if possible. This year Butler Seattle will provide eco-friendly transportation by offering a shuttle service from key Seattle locations and surrounding areas to and from the NWES.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Chalk Drawing

Thinking green doesn’t have to be overwhelming or a stumbling block to creating fabulous booths and incredible events. Inspiration is essential in our industry, and we would love to hear about the changes you have made to be more sustainable. Add your comments below about the changes you’ve made for an event, or tell us about a new eco-friendly product you love. Every ‘green’ event inspires more green events and less waste. We are in the perfect position to gently shift our clients and our community toward a greener, cleaner, future.

Habits of a Successful Event Manager

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Victoria Blasich - Freemind Seattle

Event planning is not about hosting parties, well sometimes it is. In fact, there are so many different types of events that not all event planners and managers are the right fit for each one. Take our team at Freemind Seattle, we are a well-oiled machine when it comes to planning and executing events both large and small, at a corporate level. Whether our clients are smaller companies of 100 employees, or huge multinational tech companies tipping over the 100,000 employees mark, we’ve seen and experienced it all. And more importantly, we know what can make or break an event planner. That is why it is so important to understand not only the basics of event planning, but the types of events that need planning. This ensures we have the right skills to own our lane. In other words, don’t promise what you can’t deliver. While we excel at tradeshows and conferences, we know a cowboy themed wedding is better suited for the real wedding professionals.

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Here are a few traits that we see in our favorite industry professionals. Do you have what it takes to be a successful event manager? Or maybe we should ask; Do you know what kind of event planner you want to be? Either way, there are basic skills that anyone in the event industry needs to have.

 

 

The Basics: Core Skills that Anyone in Event Planning Should Have

 

Take charge: Events won't run themselves. Which is why your client hired you. Everything from building your team, to managing volunteers, to leading your hired vendors and greeting your guests. You and your team are on point to make this event a success from the moment you begin brainstorming to the moment your client walks out of the venue for the final time. Every decision should be made with authority. No matter a planned decision or one that is made on the fly, go with your gut. If you know your client will be pleased with the decision, it’s probably the right move.

Time & budget management skills: Events currently are all about doing more with less. Less money, less time, less space. Event managers often face short lead times and have very little room for error (both figuratively and literally). This is especially true onsite at events when planners must strategically use the little time and money they have to fix issues before attendees notice or the issue affects the entire event.

 

Excellent communication & personal skills: The success or failure of events often depends on the ability of the people involved to communicate effectively. A great event planner will be able to talk to people on the phone, in person, and in writing to gather and disseminate all the necessary information they may need. You may also need to adjust how you communicate to best fit with your client and their needs. Ensure that you always provide a pleasant, approachable and confident tone when communicating via email. It is the one method of communication that we take for granted. And often times fall habit to quick responses rather than a thoughtful reply. Knowing how to anticipate what others will need, even if it’s just bringing your client a glass of water or reminding them to sit, will make a big impact.

 

Event management Concept. The meeting at the white office table.

Don’t sweat the small stuff:  You do not need to be “Type A” or “OCD” to be an event planner. Being “particular” instead of a “perfectionist” allows event planners to roll with the punches and changes that are bound to happen at any event. Attention to detail is necessary, that is true, but sometimes you must let the small stuff go! Remember the overall focus and objective is the most important part of any event. Plus, you are the only one who will notice if a last-minute change was made.

 

A calm sense of urgency:  Things will go wrong, that is a given. Don’t be surprised when something doesn’t arrive or gets delivered to the wrong location, a sign is spelled wrong, something breaks, someone is late…etc. Keep your cool and use your mental toolbox to address and remedy the situation. An event planner can solve huge issues with a smile and keep everyone else calm so as not to cause more stress. When in doubt, just channel some Vanilla Ice... “If there’s a problem, yo’ I’ll solve it”

 

 

Additional Traits: Not required, but strongly desired...

 

Find your balance: Take your job seriously, take your client seriously, take the attendees seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously…Have fun, make friends!  Stay professional; but remember to enjoy yourself. Your stress free attitude will rub off on your clients. Allow yourself some time to laugh and vent and relax after the event.

 

Build your team:  A strong support system will do so much for your mental state and effectiveness in event planning and management. Don’t be afraid to delegate tasks to your team. It will give your team sense of ownership and help you stay on track and sane. Find people that have different skill sets than you, so that your weakness is their strength and vice versa.

 

Always be learning: The only constant in this world is change. There is new tech, new products, new anything and everything coming out every day! Are you excited? You should be! Don’t get too comfortable or rely on what you’ve done before. A great event planner is always aware and ready to learn a new tool, work with a new team and try something new.

Freemind Seattle is a boutique marketing agency focused on creating distinctive marketing campaigns and impactful event strategy to help you connect with your customers in cool and unusual ways. We’ve managed events from small corporate seminars from 100 people to vast industry tradeshows with over 30,000 attendees. We craft our approach in-house and can work with any team of vendors to build a cohesive and effective event.

Melissa Bathum & Kori Monson – Partners at Freemind Seattle

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager

Not Your Average Trade Show

The power of personal contact is unparalleled in the world of business. Trade shows are a routine practice for many industries to showcase products and services to fellow professionals, and in some cases the general public. The Northwest Event Show (NWES) is an industry favorite attracting event & meeting professionals to the largest trade show of its kind in the region for more than 25 years. The show also draws a huge crowd of non-industry professionals seeking inspiration for the elements in their own world that so naturally crossover into ours.

Photo- Alabastro Photography

Photo- Alabastro Photography

I recall the first year I ran into familiar faces from my father’s office at the NWES, maybe 10 or 12 years ago. His career was in the nonprofit healthcare sector, so our meeting was totally unexpected and, as it turned out, a fortuitous connection for both sides! Their team happened to be searching for a location for their annual board meeting and my venue was the perfect fit. The relationship formed on the show floor resulted in a new regular client for the venue, and a new corporate donor for the organization. Every year since I’ve looked forward to seeing some of those same faces returning to the show, looking for their next inspiration.

 

What made this interaction remarkable is these were not event planners; they were the administrators, the executive assistants, and the human resource managers who collectively influenced every aspect of their business. They are not event industry professionals, but they are expected to plan and execute meetings, team building events and holiday parties. They are creating incentive programs for sales teams. They are booking travel and accommodations for executives. They are seeking the best professionals and services in our field to support their own business objectives to be successful in theirs.

 

Photo- Alabastro Photography

Photo- Alabastro Photography

The NWES provides our local talent the opportunity to rise to the occasion and put Seattle’s innovative and contemporary reputation center stage with the event industry. Already the industry’s most prominent trade show in this part of the country, the NWES has expanded to a two-day event offering educational seminars & workshops and face-to-face networking with far more individuals than a year of hopeful happy hour mingling.

 

This is one event we as Seattle professionals cannot afford to miss, and as this year’s program highlights are unveiled it’s becoming clear – this is not your average trade show.

Building Your Network:  It’s Just Good Business.

Written by guest blogger: Janet McNaughton - President, Lasting Impressions

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Last Spring, Janet presented at a workshop for exhibitors of the Northwest Event Show. In her introductory story was an idea that can radically expand your business prospects in a matter of months.

“What do Paul Revere and William Dawes have in common, and what is the business lesson?” she asked.

Paul Revere and William Dawes both rode the night of April 18, 1775 to sound the alarm that the “red coats” were coming. However, Paul Revere is the only one who raised a militia and is famous for his effort. What could possibly account for the difference?

The answer:  Paul Revere was an “information broker.” (Read the article in The Harvard Business Review.)

One of the more interesting details of the legendary midnight ride is Revere knew whom to alert. He had helped organize the intelligence and alarm system. When the British launched their boats in the Charles River, two lanterns were lit in the Old North Church, and over thirty additional riders covered the territory along the route.

An information broker is a “connector,” one of the three types of influencers mentioned by Malcolm Gladwell in his first book, Tipping Point.  

Connectors influence by their associations. They are “natural hubs.” They are, in other words, great networkers.  

Fortunately, networking is a powerful business advantage anyone can learn. It’s just good business for all professionals regardless of professional expertise. The three key advantages are:

  • Private Information:  Networkers trust each other and share key market information that is not accessible publicly.

  • Access to Diverse Skillsets:  The smartest thing you can do to achieve the next level of success, is to get help from somebody who has a skill you lack.

  • Power. Our natural “tribes” are clustered. A networker can link these clusters, creating exponential connection growth for everyone in the system. This concept is core to the Lasting Impressions Face2FaceX for driving business. 

Are you an Information Broker? To diagnose your network, fill in the attached grid.

Networking Styles

If over 65% of your brokers are “me,” you are falling prey to a couple of common tendencies:

Self Similarity

We all tend to start there. We are drawn to people like ourselves, who make everything easier. We already understand each other and the environment we share. It’s efficient to rely on this group. Unfortunately, we’re likely to keep getting the same results by limiting ourselves to the same comfortable resources.

Proximity Principle

Similarly, most of us associate with the people we bump into in the course of our day.  They are our coworkers, neighbors, family, old school friends, and a few others we know because of our kids. They are on our normal route through life.

To ramp up your ability to become an information broker, cultivate powerful brokers and reciprocate by becoming an influencer yourself. The secret:

Shared Activity Principle

Stated simply, get involved. A networking activity should be something that matters to the participants. They will already be committed to the activity and eager to join you as you work toward a common goal. You will build trust by being sincere, reliable, and effective. You will meet people outside your cluster of associates and find ways to link people with others in increasingly widening circles, who share their goals. By associating closely with people outside your “self similarity” circle, you will absorb diverse perspectives that will inform great business decisions and accelerate your networking capacity.  

To bring the proximity principle home to your next team meeting, consider giving everyone a useful double-sided business card holder or a notepad.

Double Sided Business Card Case, 1-Color & 4-Color TucNotes, 2-Sleeve Business Card Case

Even better, how about hosting an event to draw a wide range of guests from a shared activity you become involved with? Sporting events and tailgating are a great way to mix business with fun!

BBQ Cooler Kit and Portable Charcoal Kit

At Lasting Impressions, we believe in the business partnership philosophy “better together.“ Networking is at the heart and soul of “Face2FaceX”, the concept of expanding your personal, or “face to face” impact exponentially.  

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How can we serve you? we’re glad to answer questions about your trade show plan, walk you through a strategic follow-up campaign or meet with you to assist with your post-event analysis. Visit our website Lasting impressions, email at Janet@LastingImpressionsGifts.net or call 425.822.6651.

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