Event Ideas

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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.