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.