How to organise meetings that Rock

Recently I found myself in the office of the most award-winning marketing agency in the region and with its founder; we were discussing the meetings industry and its relation to marketing. In addition to trivial conclusions, we agreed that for each event and marketing campaign a GOOD STORY PACKED IN SUPERIOR DESIGN is key. These are the areas on which the best are professionals also colleagues from the marketing industry. Almost every man subconsciously reacts to a good story and this ancient memory is the key to a successful event. Stories, especially those with a bit of humour have maximum power of communication. A good story always finds its way to the heart, otherwise it just spam and forced communication. At the same time, I remembered the sad desperate hours that I have spent in my life in conference halls together with boring lecturers, unfortunate participants and PowerPoint with a blue background and infinite graphs.

When you peel the convention onion, quite a lot of peels remain and a realisation that today this is primarily a logistics industry; success is measured by the number of overnight stays, air ticket revenue and sales of Kranjska sausage. If we look at the structure of membership of convention bureaus among members we rarely find marketing agencies. It is a pity that it is not otherwise. Perhaps because of this the meetings industry often runs out of heart, courage and ideas that can be found in the marketing industry and are manifested through ‘out of the box’ creativity.

Booking of hotel rooms and air tickets has long ago moved to the Internet. All the information about convention destinations today are all around us. On the operational implementation of events countless books have been written with express advice. The only area of absolute freedom and creativity within the industry remain stories. That is why it is surprising that we do not really know how to co-operate sincerely with the marketing industry, and vice versa. It seems as if we are afraid of one another, albeit one can learn a lot from each other especially in the area of planning and conceptualization of events.

A typical example are SPONSORSHIPS. Almost every conference media deals with the problem of marketing of sponsors and notes that formulations of IAPCO and ICCA manuals simply do not work anymore. Multinationals accustomed to marketing logic also expected this from conference organizers. It is necessary to learn a second language, understand the needs of sponsors, which is thriving the most in marketing agencies specializing in experiential marketing. They are addressing the problem from the other side, they are deriving from the story, which they will sell at the event to the partner and above all to participants.

Another quite pressing example are congress BIDS.  In my life I have seen quite a few and most of them were technically prepared professionally but what they lacked was a bit of “juice” that only a good story can add. Have you ever thought about how many bids destinations are loosing, because they believe that every secretary can prepare a candidacy? In fact, the process is very similar to recording a promotional film that requires a good story, filigree preparation of scenes and a superior performance. It seems incomprehensible that a candidacy for projects worth millions of Euros looks like students’ seminars.

Another example is the organization of the event itself, which is strikingly similar to the preparation of a daily newspaper. The basis is a good understanding of readers-participants that we must be able to connect with on an emotional level. This is best done through telling of stories, which solve participants’ problems or provide answers to questions of interest to each of them. The power of stories lies in uniting and connecting of people. I believe that eventually events operation on the principle of form without content will no longer be needed. And in today’s digital world we have countless tools that help us with the design of an event and help us to determine in advance which stories will be interested to participants.

It is also true that we can have such a good story, but it won’t be useful if we do not strategically communicate and organise it. You know a good story without realisation with a sense of the smallest detail does not mean much, as it is the realisation that counts the most.

It is high time that Congress architects begin to co-operate more closely with Congress engineering at all levels and start creating good stories together. From each other we can learn a lot.

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MAD MAN

Case study: BRUKETA & ŽINIĆ
This time, instead of one a whole series of practical examples. In the agency Bruketa & Žinić they do exactly what is written above. We could look at some cute examples at the recent conference INSIDE in Rovinj. For a taste, I’m posting below….

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