How to Convince Your Boss & Get the Most Out of NWES

Written By NWES Team Member: Victoria Blasich

The Northwest Event Show is the largest and most prominent tradeshow for event and business professionals in the Pacific Northwest. This year we are expanding to two full days and are including advanced education workshops and a VIP keynote breakfast in addition to the amazing companies you can network with on the Showfloor. That said, we know that purchasing a pass and taking time off work to attend can be a concern. You’re convinced it’s worth it, but what about your boss?

That is why we are here to help you justify your attendance at this year’s Northwest Event Show to your manager or higher-ups. Here are some tips and talking points for how to convince your boss and to make the most out of your trip to the Northwest Event Show!

Looking to network and discover new partnerships?

gesture, partnership and cooperation concept - handshake of people at international business conference

Building a great baseline of like-minded business associates is instrumental as you share best practices within your community of peers facing similar event-related opportunities and challenges. At NWES, you’ll have endless opportunities to connect with local subject matter experts, including corporate marketers, event technology professionals, social media gurus, and event vendors of all kinds – all under one roof. With two full days, there are more experts to talk with and more time to truly connect.

 

Interested in what’s next, new and amazing in event trends?

Staying ahead of the trends is paramount. The NWES is positioned to help you navigate through leading edge event solutions, technologies and interactive experiences in the expo. Go even deeper and advance your education of the event industry through immersive workshops, inspiring keynotes, engaging panels and more.

Any event professional would benefit from an Advanced EDU pass and the opportunity to speak and learn from some of the top creative and technology minds. From what technology can do for your business to how to design a booth to attract attendees, you’ll walk away with actionable items to bring back to your own office.

 Northwest Events Show 2018. Photo by Alabastro Photography.

If you’re ready to dive in and get hands-on training with fact-based insights from one of the industry’s most driven minds, then the VIP All Access Pass is your ticket! All VIP tickets come with admission into the keynote breakfast with Julius Solaris from EventMB.com and the exclusive opportunity to apply for his Event Innovation Lab. The lab is custom designed around its attendees, nothing generic here, Julius makes sure to cover what exactly what you need.

 

Make it a team outing!

 Northwest Events Show 2018. Photo by Alabastro Photography.

Attending a tradeshow can be a time-consuming task, unless you have your team by your side! The NWES is now two full days, with more educational sessions than ever before. Make it a team building event! By letting your team experience what’s most important to them as individuals, we’ll gain our best solutions through idea sharing and collaboration of what’s next. NWES is the perfect setting to divide and conquer. Having the opportunity to mix and match the various NWES experiences amongst your team is the perfect way to ensure you’ve heard from the valuable speakers that matter to your business, chatted with all the vendors in the expo that can provide the right solutions, and built relationships through targeted networking that can expand your services and knowledge of the industry.

Set yourself and your business up for success in 2020 by taking full advantage of what the NWES has to offer. Two full days of event and business focused education workshops, networking opportunities with potential partners and future clients and more. Get the most out of your time at the show with an Advanced EDU or VIP All Access Pass!

Still not exactly sure how to ask your boss? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Click HERE to download your custom email template to ask your boss today!

 

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. 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.

Education Announcement

Written by NWES Team Member: Victoria Blasich

The Northwest Event Show has been the largest tradeshow in Seattle for local event & business professionals to network, discover new vendors for their projects and explore what the event industry has to offer. The event world is ever changing, and we understand that professionals are constantly learning. We are excited to announce that not only will the Northwest Event Show be two full days this year, but also new to the experience in this, our 25th year, is higher level education seminars.

As an attendee last year, you may have seen a few small rooms on the show floor with speakers presenting on various topics throughout the day. This year, we are doing even more and offering education tracks for the topics event and business professionals are interested in. These higher-level education sessions will be off the show floor in dedicated rooms where you can truly focus and learn from our incredible speakers.

So, what exactly will you have the chance to learn about? We focused in on five key topics for this year’s education tracks. Meeting Design, Event Technology, Personal Development & Leadership, Business Development, and Event Trends. Here is just a brief look into what you can expect from each of our key topics, and stay tuned for more sessions to be announced soon!

Teamwork of the staff, creative and friendly atmosphere

Meeting Design

Follow sessions within this track to learn how to hone your skills at keeping interest and engagement high while also ensuring that you take care of all your attendees basic needs.

How can you structure your event to delight your attendees and clients?  Expectations are changing, people want and need more out of events. Meeting design is more than just the shaping of the layout and content of an event. Learn how to design an event or corporate meeting that attracts attendees and create amazing experiences through in person and digital activations, relevant speakers and more. Learn new tricks and best practices for your next meeting, whether it be big or small!  

In fact, we have an amazing panel lined up to discuss why event and meeting design isn’t just themes and trends! Learn from our panel of top creative experts about how to design a great experience for your event. Hosted by Allison Lazar from RockLove with Emily Anderson from Lola Creative and Michael McCord from Exhibits NW, the Event Design panel is a can’t miss.

Event Technology

Sessions in this track will focus on new innovations in the tech world that will help make your life while planning and executing an event easier. With sessions on best practices with popular technical staples to demonstrations of new apps, software and digital services that will bring your event into the modern era.

No matter if you are a seasoned professional or a newbie in the event and corporate meeting world, we all use technology to plan meetings and events, communicate with our team and clients daily, promote events and more. Events are run on manpower and technology. Stop by our Tech Bar to get hands-on training on all the latest tech and gear. No matter your level of tech experience, you’ll learn how to use these technical tools to your advantage to delight your clients. With sessions lasting only 15-20, you’ll have the answers you need to start utilizing tech in your business or next event.  

Personal Development & Leadership

This track will guide you through personal development and discovery. With spotlights on team development, motivation and personal growth.  

While your business may be focused on your client’s needs and wants, don’t forget that you need to take care of yourself first and foremost. In this track, you will learn how to stay mindful during stressful times, how to cultivate your leadership ability and how to build a team that is outstanding.

Melissa Majors will be running a workshop focused on leadership strategies for women’s success. With her unique approach of ‘servant leadership’, Melissa will dive into tactics and best practices for how you can better serve your team, and yourself.

Business Development

More than networking, the Business Development track will give you face-to-face time with experts on incorporating sales and operations planning, contracts, security, marketing and risk management. This may not be the fun and exciting side of events and buisness professional’s lives, but it’s all essential. Whether you are well established, or new to the industry, you’ll learn plenty on how to keep your buisness going strong.

Nikki Raush, your very own Sales Maven, will be hosting a workshop dedicated to helping you understand how to turn your casual conversations into sales. Worried about being too pushy or how to have meaningful conversations with a stranger? Nikki will talk you through likeability and social cues and have you ready to close your next deal.

Event Trends

Attend sessions in the Event Trends education track to learn what is the hottest new thing that will have clients and attendees talking about your event. Stay ahead of the curve with insight on what attendees will love and how to implement those trends in your next project.

Remember the last time a meeting or event surprised you with something you’ve never seen before? When something in the content lineup was exactly what you were looking for, or how they managed the registration or ticket process was completely effortless? How did they use social media to accomplish that? Learn more about the power of social media with our Social Media Trends panel, hosted by Janet Granger from Two Beagles and with Michael Seifert from Q13 Fox, Josh Dirks from Project Bionic, Zachary Rozga from The Consumer Engagement Company, and Makenzie Davies from davies + dixon. You’ll love what you walk away with.

With your Advanced EDU Pass, the Northwest Event Show is not just two days of swag gathering and networking. You’ll walk away with hours of actionable teachings you can apply in your daily life, both personal and professional. The most successful buisness professionals are constantly learning, both from their peers and from professionals they admire. Take your business to the next level by actively seeking out new information, acquiring new techniques and honing your skills this year at Northwest Event Show.

What will you learn at the Northwest Event Show this year? What will you discover as your inspiration in the Pacific Northwest?

Register now for an Advanced EDU or VIP All Access pass and get access to all the higher-level education sessions and the chance to learn from the industries top minds and local superstars.

Top 10 NEW Trade Show Booth Ideas

Written by Northwest Event Show Team Member- Victoria Blasich

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So, you’ve decided to exhibit at a tradeshow, congratulations! Tradeshows are one of the best ways to get valuable face to face with potential customers and clients. Now that you’ve got a booth space…. what are you going to do with it?  Tradeshow booth design has become a huge part of any exhibitor’s plan for attracting attendees to your space, because if your booth is boring, it won’t attract attendees! You may be thinking that creating a captivating booth space may be too much work and too much money, but our friends at Event Manager Blog (EventMB.com) have put together an incredible list of 100+ amazing tradeshow booth ideas that range from DIY to the extravagant. Here is just a taste of 10 of our favorites!

 

Give your attendees a taste of the outside-

Because most tradeshows take place inside stuffy buildings under florescent lighting, giving attendees who come by your booth some greenery can be a literal breath of fresh air! Even if your company has nothing to do with plants or nature, a green space is very inviting and welcoming to any guest.

Keep costs down by investing in fake plants that you can use over and over again at future tradeshows. If you are at a multi-day show, create different arrangements for each day, don’t be afraid to rearrange to freshen up the space. Trust us, attendees will notice!

      

Say Cheese!-

Photo wall, Photobooth, Step and Repeat- whatever you want to call it, attendees love having a photo op! Make sure it’s branded with your company and have a branded hashtag ready to tell attendees to use when they share on social media. In fact, offering a giveaway or raffle for those who post is a great way to entice people to your booth, learn about your offerings, and to gather content from all those who post!

 

Everyone has a camera phone nowadays, so you save on costs by skipping hiring a professional photographer at your booth.

 

           

 

Smoothie Bikes (you read that right)-

If you’ve been to a few tradeshows, you’ll know that the food offerings are not usually the healthiest or the easiest to navigate when you have dietary restrictions. Offering attendees, a healthy treat that they get to make themselves is both nutritious and a great marketing idea. Especially if healthy living and wellness is something your company focuses on.

 

Smoothie bikes have popped up on a few tradeshow floors and allow attendees to pick their ingredients and then jump on a bike to blend them all together! You’ll have a line, so be sure to plan for that in your logistics!            

Cardboard-

Sustainability is top of mind for a lot of companies lately, and there is a huge opportunity to showcase your companies’ offerings while also demonstrating your attention to the environment and it’s limited resources.

 

Cardboard is cheap, highly customizable, packs flat and is lightweight. Which means your shipping and storage costs can be significantly less that with any other traditional booth material. Not only that, but cardboard is surprisingly sturdy, so you can even use it as chairs & tables.

 

Gamification Activities-

Take your SWAG giveaways up a notch! Instead of offering all your SWAG to whomever comes to your booth, try adding a game that attendees have to complete in order to get a prize. Anything from a simple putt-putt green, or a “guess how many candies are in the jar” can be a great conversation starter and gets attendees excited to stop by your booth!

 

If you can somehow link what your company does with the game, even better! That will reinforce with the attendees about what you do and how you can help them. Multi day show? Have a different game each day so attendees keep coming back!

          

Interactive Walls-

The usual goal at tradeshows is for companies to show attendees all about what they do and how they can help the attendees with whatever their goals are. But how often do we get to learn about the attendees on the show floor?

 

Take a step back from selling and get to know the people at the show with an interactive wall! Have them answer a fun question and leave a note on the wall. Or have them take a poll by placing a token in a jar for their opinion. It’s a fun and free way to gather some great information for your own as well!

        

 

Modular Designs-

This idea may be a little more costly to invest in initially but could be very beneficial if you exhibit at many shows during a year. Modular designs are great because they work like building blocks, you can rearrange them as needed to make whatever you need! Higher backdrop needed? Easy. More seating? Done! Create low walls for a more privacy? Of course!

 

Every show floor is different, even if you always get the same amount of floor space for your booth. Use the modular design’s ability to be flexible and switch things up each time. Your staff will be excited and any attendees that see you more than once a year will be too!

 

Enclosed Booths-

Big footprints and large, airy openings are typically what you see on a showfloor. So large tents, canopies, or even full enclosed, ‘secret’ booths instantly attract curiosity.

 

From affordable pop-up tents that fit within your booth space and can be spotted from anywhere on the floor to a custom build that keeps attendees guessing at what is behind the screen, you’ll have lots of eyes on your booth.

 

Custom Carpet & Flooring-

All tradeshows are different, not all come with all the same amenities. Flooring being one of the items that sometimes is included, and sometimes isn’t. So if you know you’ll be in a booth with no carpet, why not bring your own (if the tradeshow will allow of course)?

 

Besides giving your feet a cushy place to stand and for attendees to relax, you can brand the carpeting or flooring in your company’s colors and with your logo. A pop of color, texture or a fun print will really catch attendee’s eyes!

           

 

Meeting Areas-

The best way to close a deal, is to sit down face to face with people. That is why tradeshows are so amazing for networking and lead generation. However, tradeshow booths are mostly focused on standing room only…

 

Create some soft seating, away from the aisle, for you to sit and chat with attendees. Invite people in to sit and talk, ask about what they need, how their day is going, keep it relaxed and make your booth the place to go for a great sit down meeting.

           

Are you ready to make the most out of your next tradeshow as an exhibitor? Register now for the Northwest Event Show and get your Advanced EDU or VIP All Access pass if you haven’t yet, and if you would like to upgrade your General Admission pass, click here!   

 Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager atFreemind Seattle. 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.

How To Produce An Amazing Live Event That Makes Everybody Talk

Written by NWES guest blogger: David Doxtater of The Workshop

Live events exist in a unique bubble in the marketing space. You’re not producing digital-only creative. Live events are a blend of creativity that touches both the physical and digital world (often referred to as “experiential marketing.”) So, we often get customers who want to know exactly what live event planning is — and why it’s valuable. After all, most customers see two things — the plan and the end product.

But, behind every delectable bite of finger food and every stunning electrical display, there is thought, creativity, and ingenuity happening on the back end to pull it all together. 

At The Workshop, we create “live events.” But what is a live event? And what goes into making a great one that makes everybody talk?

It Started With A Whisper (The Start)

Here’s a secret — live events are stories. They’re a way to deliver a brand experience to customers that’s personal, exciting, fun, and ultimately brand-friendly. What does this mean? No two live events are alike!

There are millions of variables that go into a successful live event. The location, brand, customers, message, story, and activities all come together to create what will ultimately be the “live event.”

So, every brand will have a one-of-a-kind event that’s hyper-targeted and incredibly on-brand. This means combining two layers — creative and production. The creative layer is all about developing the brand story, and the production side is about the technical aspects of making that happen.

And Then She Made My Lips Hurt (The Creatives)

The beginning of the creative side starts with a client meeting. At The Workshop, we use this meeting to carefully listen to the client’s needs, goals, and story. What do they want out of the event? What kind of event is on-brand for them? And, how do they want to use this live event as a lever to accomplish internal goals?

These goals differ for every business. Often times, the networking and connections of a live event are the primary goal. 75% of businesses think that live events should form real-life connections — which can be difficult to do outside of events, especially in our current digital-first ecosystem. So, each brand has a unique blend of goals they need to capture to be able to confirm, internally, that the event created these relationships.

After the meeting, we get busy. I always lean on my team to capture the creativity of a brand. You can’t do this alone! Brands are complex, intricate organisms that are comprised of many working parts. You need your entire team to come together for this part.

We love to get theatrical. An OK live event will share the story of a brand. An AMAZING live event will invigorate attendees, create an atmosphere of fun, AND tell a brand’s story in a way that’s imaginative and thoughtful. There’s power in a brand’s story. Not only does Walker predict that branding will outpace both price and product as THE key differentiator between brands, but 70% of attendees will become customers if you create a compelling live event.

I like to start with an interesting story arc. This is what makes the brand tick. It’s the part of the live event that invites people to change and experience the brand for themselves. And, of course, you need a little theatrical twist to make it exciting and interesting. A great brand story presented through live events is only compelling if the audience is interested.

After we’ve burned our brains out creating this story, we present it to the client. If they think “It could be better,” we jump right back into that boardroom and spin up the idea generator again. We also try to ensure that they can clearly present each draft to the decision-makers in their company in a way that makes sense. After all, everybody has to check yes, or the event doesn’t happen.

I Can Hear The Chit Chat (The Production)

Once the client says, “That’s the one!“, we start the production side. The easiest way to think about the production side is that it’s all of the things that your guests can feel, hear, taste, smell, and see. It’s the enactment of that incredible creative. This is when we start thinking about the workflow, plan, and budget.

It’s time to put your scientist hat on. We want to create this compelling event in the most productive, cost-effective way imaginable. This means ensuring that each cog in the event machine is well oiled.

Questions like, “Does this work?” or “How can we make this better” start to come into play.

You also have to think about risk. This isn’t an ad popping up on social media. These are events that will have tons of people, lots of dynamic elements, and some inevitable risk factors. That’s the beauty of live events. There’s a reason that 75% of marketers think that events are the single best marketing tool; they create in-person relationships in an increasingly digital world.

But, with any real-time, in-person event, You NEED contingency plans. If plan A fails, you need to be able to fall back on plan B. And, if plan B fails, you should have plan C up your sleeve and ready-to-go.

Production is all about ensuring that the creative happens. And, that they happen without a hitch.

This includes thinking about:

  • Signage

  • Scripts

  • Technical Plans

  • Safety Plans

  • Contingency Plans

  • Vendors

  • Materials

  • Training Staff

  • etc.

I won’t go into all of the complexities baked into forming vendor deals, dynamic budgeting, etc. But, I will say that this entire business relies on forging in-person relationships — both for the client and for the live event marketers.

Everybody Talks (The Event)

Now it’s time for the fun. You want to build the production, write some scripts, hire amazing talent, and rehearse the show. Our goal is to let the client live the event before it happens. This way, they’re prepped for the show, and ready to nail any of the goals they have during the event.

Then, it’s time to run it live! Wooo! For brands, this is where you get to see the value of your event live and in-person. People will be meeting, your brand will shine, and you’ll see the power of event marketing with your own eyes.

In the end, everybody will be talking about your brand and the spectacular event they just attended. Pat yourself on the back. — you just created a live event.

Specializing in the production and design of brand enhancing events for local businesses and nonprofits, The Workshop provide clients with the ability to achieve their goals through strategic live experiences. We design and develop event concepts, and oversee show, production, and technical management. Our goal is to design event experiences that create impact and help clients achieve their objectives through the most powerful communication tool available: events.

An Eventful Chat with Julius Solaris

Northwest Event Show Team Member- Victoria Blasich

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This year at the Northwest Event Show we have the honor of hosting the founder and editor of the Event Manager Blog (EventMB.com) and the creator of the Event Innovation Lab™; Julius Solaris! EventMB.com has become a fantastic online resource for event professionals for industry insight, analysis reports and creative inspiration. While the Event Innovation Lab™ has taken Julius across the country and allowed for amazing event innovation break throughs.

For our VIP All Access ticket holders, you’ll have the chance to hear Julius at our Keynote Breakfast and apply for a coveted spot in the Event Innovation Lab™ at NWES this year. But before we can learn about how to take our events to the next level, we wanted to get to know Julius and how he sees the event world a little more first.

Northwest Event Show (NWES):  How would you introduce yourself to someone who has no experience or knowledge of the event world?

Julius Solaris (JS): I am someone passionate about events. I’ve dedicated most of my adult life understanding what makes events so special. I am a geek when it gets to events.

NWES:  As an event professional, what gets you excited about an event?

JS: I love to be pushed out of my comfort zone. I like bold event professionals that take confident steps in challenging the status quo. This is incredibly difficult in an increasingly social world. Where opinions are shouted, and you can be under scrutiny in a matter of seconds. Yet the events that really changed me are those that made me feel uncomfortable in my way of thinking, in what I was doing, in the connections I was forced to make.

As an introvert, a planner that takes care of me is one that invites me to do things I wouldn’t normally do.

NWES:  Of all the things a business could do to grow their buisness, why events?

JS: No marketing tool can match the power of face to face. We all know it. Yet events have fought a pretty difficult battle against their own nature. They are intangible experiences by definition. Therefore, hard to measure.

What has changed dramatically over the past few years is the ability to measure them. As a result, we have witnessed an incredible amount of marketing budgets to experiences. The challenges for event professionals are to step up their measurement and ROI game.

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NWES: What is the best thing you’ve seen an event accomplish?

JS: Transformation. That should be the true outcome of every event. Have attendees walk out of the event deeply changed, because they co-created something new, worth talking about with friends, family and colleagues. We discussed that in the Power of Events.

Change means higher purpose but also entertainment, learning, connection. Basic elements we sometimes forgotten because we are too busy filling an agenda or picking canapes.

NWES: Businesses are always looking for better ways to marketing themselves and grow. How do you see events as the way to do that?

JS: Whether it’s B2B or B2C an in-person event will give a human face to any brand. Younger generations crave purpose, meaning and experiences. A more modern marketing is one that embraces face to face as the most powerful weapon to engage in a personal manner. What business have today is the ability to scale events something only 10 years ago was not entirely possible.

NWES: Do different industries have different needs for events? Is there anything specific that you’ve noticed?

JS: Absolutely. In our State of Event Sponsorship report we looked at how four different verticals conceive sponsorship and what matters more for them. You will find that connection is more important for luxury, security is more important for financial. Fascinating.

NWES: What factors influence event trends the most?

JS: Younger generations are having an impact over the last couple of years. Lactation, praying, meditation rooms but also diversity and sustainability. Nobody really thought about these issues as business defining problems. As in, if we don’t get it right, we are out of business. Younger generations are pushing this change.

NWES: What are some of the biggest mistakes companies make when they host their own events?

JS: Being too focused on logistics. Which are absolutely important of course! Yet if you want to become a strategist, if you want to step up your career, you should move out of the list executioner stereotype associated with planning.

Thinking strategically fixes a lot of logistic issues. It can save money; it can engage attendees. I have no problem with making mistakes, we all do. But thinking about the venue or the food before we have considered how the event will change attendees’ trajectories is a thing of the past.

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NWES: I’m sure you’ve heard almost all the questions that people can think of when it comes to events. But what is something that you love being asked? What is something that people don’t necessarily think of when thinking of planning an event?

JS: How can I get attendees to connect better? I always get asked how to save money!

NWES: *ahem* speaking of which… since budgets are a huge pain point, what do you suggest people spend money on, and what isn’t worth the price?

JS: See I told you people always ask me that! Budget is never enough. Interestingly we asked 1100 event professionals if budget was a limitation to having great experiences most of them said yes, of course. Interestingly enough those with very high budgets for their events said that budget is absolutely not a factor in creating memorable experiences.

I believe the budget obsession is the brainchild of the being rich equals being happy mentality. Of course, you will be more comfortable, but will you achieve your objectives better?

NWES: So why do you think events are so expensive to put on?

JS: Why are events expensive? Is that so? I think there is no expensive events, there is achieving objectives or not. If events help to achieve objectives that in turn bring in revenue, they are not “expensive.”

I guess there is bad measurement and good measurement. A Facebook campaign can be a terrible waste of money if the objective and measurement are not clear.

NWES: So, it’s not just about how much money you have to throw at an event? That is great to hear! How can a small business compete with larger ones regarding events?

JS: Events are very levelling. Spending millions for phantasmagoric special effects is great but if you have a kick ass presenter who understands your audience, THAT is what attendees will remember, not the 360-degree LED screen behind them.

NWES: Just a few more questions-What is one thing that will make you want to attend an event?

JS: Sometimes a speaker, sometimes convenience, sometimes a colleague attending. In all cases how capable the event is to make me savor the transformation I will get out of it.

NWES: What is one thing that will turn you off of an event?

JS: Rigidity. Following a certain scheme because ‘this is how we do things’.

NWES: Thank you so much for spending a few days with us in Seattle this year for the Northwest Event Show! Just one last question…. If you didn’t work in the event world, what would you do?

JS: I would be an espresso barista. I am still on time to actually become one. Watch this space!

Julius Solaris will be speaking at our Keynote Breakfast on Wednesday, November 13th. Open to all attendees with a VIP All Access pass, you’ll get to kick start your day with Julius and his research-backed insights on the event world and new trends. Plus, with your VIP pass you are eligible to apply for the Event Innovation LabTM run by Julius on Thursday, November 14th.

If you already have your VIP pass- you can apply now for the Event Innovation LabTM here

To gain access to all the education sessions and the Keynote Breakfast with Julius Solaris- Register for your VIP pass Here!

Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. 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.

 

5 Key Elements for Successful Event Production

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Troy Whalen of 206 Events

Whether planning a business meeting for 40 or a celebration for 4000, a solid production game-plan can make or break your event.  Hiring a knowledgeable team of professionals who can guide you through the planning process will add incredible value to your guest experience.  At 206 Events, you can expect the following elements to be front and center as we help you create the perfect event.

1.     Know your Audience

“Tell us about your group”, is always the first question I ask when meeting new clients.  Learning about past event’s successes or challenges can be a valuable tool in discovering what will work for the future.  Is it an energetic group who loves to dance?  Maybe your group is more laid back and wants to be entertained.  Perhaps engagement and group activities are a better solution to get people involved and excited about what is happening in front of them.  Whatever your group is looking for, there is a solution if you are willing to spend some time exploring options.  Instead of just doing “what worked” last year, find a way to expand successes to continually create more excitement each year by incorporating innovative and new elements to the show.

2.      Engage your Guests

Create an Immersive Experience that people can’t wait to tell their friends about!  From the moment your guests arrive, capture their attention by making your theme “pop”.  Character actors are always a hit and can really help to jump start the party.  Costumed greeters at the front door, directing guests through their experience, Paparazzi Red Carpet Photographers interacting with your “Star Guests” as they arrive, Small Group Entertainment with Magicians or Mentalists working the room during cocktail hour, Dance Instructors leading a group through the most popular dance of that particular era, there are so many options to help build excitement and create energy.

3.      Set Reasonable Budget Expectations

You’ve got the perfect idea and now you need to pay for it.  Make sure your production team is aware of budget goals to keep the boss happy.  Creating realistic expectations is an important conversation that should happen early during the planning process.  Ballpark numbers can help your vendors as they begin to plan and paint the vision for your event.  Educate yourself on costs and ask questions of your trusted professionals. Key elements need to be funded properly, so highlighting those is incredibly important.  If you’re planning a fundraiser and short the AV budget so the room isn’t properly equipped with sound and visuals, you can lose your guest’s attention and in turn miss out on capturing funds you were expecting to raise.  Balancing all elements and elevating the most important ones will create more successes in the end.

4.     Set an Intention for your Event

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Make sure your purpose is clear and obvious to your attendees.  Are you raising awareness or funds for a cause?  Celebrating accomplishments of the staff?  Networking and teambuilding for your group?  There are many ways to embed your messaging or brand through the experience.  Let’s start by creating a take away for your attendees, a clear message about the purpose of the event.  Maybe it’s as simple as a fun celebration to acknowledge your people.  Perhaps it’s a fundraiser to make sure your organization can continue it’s important work into the future.  Whatever the case, find a common thread and weave it throughout the elements of the event.  By asking key questions, and offering creative solutions, an experienced Production Team can help you keep your message focused and at the forefront of your theme.

5.     Planning your Guest Experience

Don’t ever forget who you are planning for…your guests.  Timeline and flow are critical to the success of your event.  Visualize the experience, make sure you plan for areas of congestion and wait times.  Give people a reason to move to other areas of the venue, provide an extra bar in the back, create an eye-catching element that will draw people into another space.  By giving the event some room to breathe, you will create a welcoming environment for people to navigate, allowing them the ability to fully enjoy the party.

At the end of the day, a successful event is hundreds of little details executed flawlessly.  Make sure your Production Team is experienced and prepared to address each and every element of your event.  Planning for the unexpected by creating contingency plans, organizing the show timeline, creating synergy with the vendor team and supporting you throughout the process.  By planning ahead and hiring the right company, your event experience will be a successful one! 

Troy Whalen is the owner of 206 Events, with over 25 years of experience in the private event industry.  206 Events is a Production and Entertainment Company providing Services around the Greater Puget Sound Area. Offering award-winning Event Management, DJ and Emcee Talent, Performance Entertainment, Custom Lighting Design, and Professional Audio Installations to create spectacular Corporate Galas, Holiday Celebrations, Weddings and Parties for all Occasions.

Outdoor Team-Building Activities Perfect for Summer

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: SHW

Whether you’re traveling or want to get out in your home city, team-building activities are a great way to get your staff out and about—and summer is prime season. Fast-paced race around the city? Relaxing day in the sun? There’s something for every organization! Here are some of our favorite outdoor team building exercises.

City Chase

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Not only do guests have to work as a team to complete different challenges, but this team-building activity is also a great sightseeing opportunity! Teams are given smart phones loaded with an app with special locations/clues that they need to find. Most Vendors can offer this activity either turnkey (at least in major cities) or built custom with landmarks chosen to enhance your company message. Planning for an architecture firm? Customize with locations of the most architecturally significant landmarks in the city.

This activity can also incorporate a give back! One of many companies that offers a scavenger hunt app, American Outback offers a program called “Play it Forward” where the tasks given to teams consist of random acts of kindness all over the city.

Electric Boat Scavenger Hunt

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The perfect team-building activity for a sunny Seattle day, is to head out onto Lake Union aboard a fleet of electric boats. Each team of up to 8 people board one of the 21’ long electric Duffy boats. The water’s-eye view is one of the best around! Oh—and you get to captain your own ship!

Teams are given clues to find specific points of interest, like the houseboat from the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” or Gas Works Park, that encourage them to explore the lake — and the city from a new perspective. In the process, teams learn communication skills, collaborative strategy, and have lots of fun on the water. End the day with an on-board picnic and some local wine & craft beer. Pretty sweet, right?

Geo-Caching

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Similar the City Chase activities, Geo-Caching gives each team coordinates of different objects hidden all over, and teams have to work together to find and collect as many as possible. For this one, you can set a theme, and hide “trackables” in the search areas and teach teams the history and significance of each item/location as you go.  

Here in Seattle, one of our favorite geocaching activities is inspired by the New York Times best-selling book “Boys in the Boat.” In 1936, a ragtag group of young men overcame countless obstacles and naysayers to win gold at the Berlin Olympic Games. The University of Washington crew team stunned the world with an astonishing showing at “Hitler’s Olympics,” and inspired generations. Teams follow their GPS to find key points around the UW campus related to the team’s story, while learning some local history!

Ropes Course

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A classic team-building activity, ropes courses come in all shapes and sizes so you can easily tailor this to your team’s needs. If you’re not familiar with them, a ropes course is a series of challenges where each person navigates obstacles and physical challenges and must work as a team to successfully complete each one.

For a more adventurous group, try a high ropes course. As the name suggests, these take players up in the air, usually around 15 feet or more off the ground (securely harnessed!). Expect some climbing walls, rope bridges, and sometimes even short ziplines!

 

Boat Building

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In this challenge, each team has to work together to determine whether they’ll sink… or swim. Teams are given materials and must make their own (usually cardboard) boat in a certain amount of time. They’ll encounter obstacles as they go, like supply shortages or team member switches.

At the end, they’ll be evaluated on how well they worked together to complete the task, and of course whether the boat floated or sank.

 

Sand Sculpting

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Get some sun and head to the beach! Led by a professional sand sculptor, this team-building experience pits teams against each other to create the best masterpiece.

The facilitator starts with a demonstration, teaching some basic techniques. Here the moderator can show how to incorporate your logo in each sculpture!

SHW is committed to being the best-in-class provider of creative, high-impact meeting and event experiences for the world’s leading organizations. We hire the top talent in the industry and leverage our deep industry connections, bold creativity and world-class project management expertise to delight attendees and deliver winning business results for our clients.

Interview with Lee Papa, Mindfulness & Meditation Speaker

Written by NWES Team Member- Victoria Blasich

This year at the Northwest Event Show, you’ll not only have the chance to wander the aisles, networking and discovering how events can help grow your business, you’ll get the chance to learn how to grow personally as well.

Lee Papa, internationally recognized and leading Mindfulness & Meditation Speaker, Trainer and Coach will be with us this year hosting her signature “Mindfulness LoungeTM” . Any attendee with an EDU or VIP pass will have the chance to experience Lee and her vision in person. We couldn’t wait until November, so we asked a few questions that have been weighing on us for a while and Lee was more than happy to help!

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Northwest Event Show (NWES): Mindfulness is a tricky subject to define for a lot of people. When you’re teaching “mindfulness” what is that exactly?

Lee Papa (LP): Simply put, Mindfulness is Awareness. Awareness of your thoughts, words, actions and the world around you in non-judgement.  That’s the tricky part.  The non-judgement. And since we tend to judge ourselves the most, we typically – especially beginners, bring that to meditation practice. 

NWES: Non-Judgement, what is that concept?

LP: Instead of observing your surroundings and actions and placing them into mental categories and planning actions of good, bad or neutral based on your previous life experiences and cognitive processes, you are simply open to them. Non-Judgement is letting go of the automatic judgments that arise in your mind with every experience you have.

NWES: What do you think the biggest hurdle is for people to embrace mindfulness? For an individual and a corporation?

LP:  That is easy; [the biggest hurdle is] making their mindfulness practice a priority. It takes the individual to give it the necessary commitment it is due. It does not happen by osmosis. The individual or corporation must take responsibility to make it a priority.

NWES:  Sometimes, mindfulness conversations are answered with mocking tones, how can someone new to the process bring up the topic?

LP:  Practice mindfulness yourself and the fear of ridicule will melt away. Lead by example. There are many powerful and successful business-people who practice meditation and mindfulness and swear by it.

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NWES: We’ve all heard the concern or worry that ‘mindfulness’ may be seen as laziness, since so much of the corporate world celebrates stressful days and working non-stop. Working hard, staying late, pushing yourself to the limit seems to the be norm in the business community. How can someone still be productive, but stay mindful? And not make co-workers and employers feel like they are slacking off?

LP: I would say…”Who cares?!”  HAHA!  It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.  Own your health and wellbeing.  Make you a priority. One of my mantras that I provide my students that taps into this question is… “Nourish Yourself Mindfully, Give From The Overflow.”

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The simple answer is that you actually become more productive with more ease and grace when you practice mindfulness in your daily life. More success with less effort.  It is just an old antiquated program that most are running in their subconscious that “Stress is a Badge of Honor”. And “Stress is a requirement to get the job done.” Nope! It is not! I would suggest working with a Coach to help guide you through the early stages of the emerging and awakened being that you will become during the process of self-observation through mindfulness practice to shift that old program.

And quite honestly things are shifting in a big way.  Over the last few years, I have experienced an enormous shift in the industry and more and more people are embracing the practice. And offering it in their meetings and training their employees.

NWES: The idea of ‘Meditation’ comes with a lot of baggage and pre-conceived notions. How do you introduce people to this and keep their minds open about it?

LP:  Meditation and mindfulness are practices that often elude the very ones who need it most.  I keep things simple, accessible, fun and experiential.  Because once the individual, who has not been able to successfully quiet the mind or meditate previously, has an experience in one of my Mindfulness Lounges™, they are instantly converts and huge supporters.  It changes their life! I have been teaching meditation and mindfulness to professionals for many years.  I have heard, and experienced myself in the beginning, all the resistance you can imagine.  I understand how to break through it and provide meeting attendees with a tool and takeaway that is mind shifting. 

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NWES: What do you suggest for people who are not interested in Meditation breaks, how else can they work on being mindful and recharging during the day?

LP: There are many forms of meditation that can kick start an individual into awareness.  Simply taking a walk with no electronics.  Breathing rhythmically.  Journaling.  These are good places to start.  However, the key is consistency.  Mindfulness Training, as I teach it goes far beyond the mind.  Meditation is a part of it but not one in the same.   Mindfulness equals awareness.  So, begin to be aware in non-judgement of the words that you speak and the thoughts that you carry.  Are they nourishing and optimal or are they poisoning your productive path to wellbeing?

NWES:  What is a question that you never get asked, but would love to answer?

LP:  What is the meaning of life? I’m kidding, and while I may not know the answer; I do know where the answer resides.  Within.

NWES: Thank you so much for being a part of the Northwest Event Show family this year! One last question. If you had a week to spend in Seattle, what would you do?

LP: I would take a food and culture tour each day that specializes in a specific area of town. North, East, South, West Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia etc. Explore the museums in the city and of course nature walks!

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Lee Papa will be speaking and leading meditation sessions at this years Northwest Event Show. Open to all attendees with an EDU or VIP pass, you’ll learn more than you thought possible at a tradeshow! Register now for your EDU or VIP pass if you haven’t yet, and if you would like to upgrade your General Admission pass, click here!  

 Victoria Blasich- Event Marketing Manager at Freemind Seattle. 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.

Design Trends: Can I get a Hygge?

Written by NWES Guest Blogger: Robin Denny of CORT Party Rental

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.

 

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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.