10+ Fresh Ideas to Inspire a Successful Event Concept

Running a successful event usually involves growing a powerful idea and implementing it in a bulletproof concept. The thing is that inspiration is the truffle of our industry, very tough to find. Here are some brilliant event concepts guaranteed to inspire you.

Succesful Event Ideas

If you are a regular here at EMBlog, you are accustomed to these roundups and I am sure you crave for them. If you are a new reader, allow me to give you a bit of background about what I am trying to achieve with this article.

My mission is to inspire your concept design. In order to achieve it, I search in the most absurd locations of the Interwebs to give you a selection of new and disruptive event ideas.

The search usually takes a week. It encompasses running weird Google search strings, subscribing to awful looking (but definitely quirky) newsletters and reading hundreds of blog posts and magazine articles.

Despite the heavy research load necessary to write such an article, I am super happy when I finally click on “Publish”. In fact, you always reward my research by sharing the post with your colleagues or friends. That works for me.

How to Use This Article

I want you to think of this post as an electric stimulus to that side of the brain that involves creativity, innovation and emotion.

Event lovers are by definition obsessed with details. While such obsession is fundamental to deliver a spotless event, it can sometimes impact on creativity.

Therefore my mission is to make your event a little bit less perfect and a bit more innovative. After all great concepts carry a great deal of emotional involvement. I want you to embrace innovation to the full, surprising your guests. I bet a glass of wine they will forgive you for a couple of imperfect details.

The Ideas

Before delving into the selected events, I decided to highlight the core themes powering these brilliant case studies. This will help you to isolate the concept from the implementation so you fully grasp elements to apply to your event.

The main themes are:

– Collaboration
– Proper Marketing
– Secrecy
– Self Expression
– Immersive Experience
– Concept Fusion
– Forking
– Bottom Up Pricing
– Remote Audience Involvement
– Community Customisation

At least this the way I like to call them. In the following section I will present one or more case studies that will better explain the idea at the core.

The result, hopefully, will be an innovation injection to our industry :-)

Collaboration: Brooklyn Skillshare, OuiShare Fest

Communities getting together to share skills and expertise are not a new concept to this blog. Brooklyn Skillshare is taking this powerful concept to the next level.

The event is a mix between block parties and EdCamps. It brings together an entire neighbourhood to encourage skill and expertise sharing.

The effort is lead and organized by the community and it aims to deconstruct the idea of education as a commodity. Everyone is invited to contribute with a class, on the most disparate subjects.

Classes include: Japanese Bookbinding, Make Your Own Butter and Ricotta, Knitting 101: fingerless gloves in the round, Japanese Shibori dying techniques, How to order wine in a restaurant and so forth.

GOTTA LOVE IT!

Where: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Spotted on: Using Smart Google Queries (you’ll need to torture me to know which strings)
Website: Brooklyn Skillshare

Another interesting example is OuiShare Fest that uses the ‘40 year old concept of collaborative design‘ to co-create a unique experience.

The organizing committee used a collective action toolkit and tools like Trello to coordinate with volunteer organizers. The approach was particularly interesting insofar as each volunteer is in charge of developing a particular section of the event.

ouishare-fest

Where: Paris, France
Spotted on: Thanks to Bernie Mitchell on Twitter
Website: OuiShare Fest

Proper Marketing: Hero Conf

This is an example of a blog running an annual conference. No news there.

I happen to be a subscriber PPC Hero and they made a few articles about the conference. It really strucks me as an example of how you should market an event in a social world.

They took all the best practices and some of the coolest trends in 2013 and applied them with courage.

Take for example this post where they announce that sponsor opportunities will be allocated via bidding. It is a ridiculously cool idea. Some sponsorship packages started at $0.99 and sold for respectable amounts considering the size of the conference.

They also allow attendees to select the program of the conference by voting for their favourite topic.

This is what I call event marketing of the future, a perfect blend of audience involvement and crowdsourced sponsorship. Top!

Where: Austin, TX, USA
Spotted on: I subscribed to the blog – I was lucky
Website: Hero Conf

Secrecy: Secret Cinema, The Secret Garden Party

I feel somewhat attracted when I do not understand what an event is about.

It is the case of Secret Cinema. Attendees sign up for a view slot without knowing the location or the film they will actually experience.

Can you feel the curious child in you getting super excited?

Where: London, UK
Spotted on: I got to know about it in London
Website: Secret Cinema

Same goes for The Secret Garden Party. In this case the venue is known but after spending a good hour on the site, it is still tough for me to say what it is about. Some would call it lack of clarity, yet I can easily see why people attend. The theme for 2013 is Superstition. In the organizers’ words this is what it is expected from attendees:

“This year the Secret Garden will be asking all Gardeners to explore their affinity to the supernatural, the inexplicable and the irrational… to indulge the tussle between the left brain’s sober analysis and the right’s need to conjure its own reality. “

secret-garden party

In both cases the attendee reaction can be either very positive or very negative. Both events really push the boundaries of event participation, using secrecy as the main tool to stimulate involvement.

Where: Cambridgeshire, UK
Spotted on: Stumbled across them on Twitter
Website: The Secret Garden Party

Self Expression: Nowhere

Nowhere is the natural prosecution of Burning Man. It also combines a festival and art show element. The objective here is to set the attendee free by creating a platform where participants escape society’s norms.

nowhere!

There is also a strong participation element, making every attendee a volunteer.

Nowhere happens in the Spanish desert and features inspiring principles:

– Radical self-expression: The freedom to be yourself
– Radical self-reliance: Being responsible for yourself, in a harsh desert environment
– No commerce: Forget about money – there’s nothing to buy
– Leave no trace: Dust to dust – leave only footprints
– Participation: Get involved – Nowhere is what we make it!

This event is once again a divider. I can see some of you thinking that there is no actual learning in it. Well, you should read how attendees become strenuous advocates of Nowhere, depicting it as a once in a lifetime experience.

Allowing our guests to express themselves freely may positively impact on the perception of our event. As event professionals we cannot ignore that.

Where: Spanish desert.
Spotted on: Quora
Website: Nowhere

Immersive Experience: Geeks on a Plane

I always look to the startup, tech and geek community as a source of innovation for our industry. The most revolutionary event concepts of the last decade were born in these environments.

Geeks on a Plane is an invite only event where participants tour a country with all means of transportation. The mission is to find business opportunities, meet new contacts or simply learn more about a specific market.

geeks-on-a-plane

Startuppers and geeks do not work because they have to, they have the nerve and motivation to make their business an incumbent part of their life. The organizers fully grasped these values offering an immersive, 360 degree experience.

The travelling, the meetings, the networking are extremely demanding. Organizers are not scared to ask full commitment and attendees seem to love it.

Where: Around the World.
Spotted on: Quora
Website: Geeks on a Plane

Concept Fusion: Weapons of Mass Creation Fest

Maybe it’s the economic downturn, maybe it’s the thirst for the unexpected. Truth is that more and more events are mixing different formats together.

A great example is WMC Fest. The event features 20 Speakers, 20 Designers and 30+ Musicians. The thinking is that by mixing these diverse performers true creativity arises.

The fact is that running an event that defines itself as a conference, art show and music festival attracts a larger audience. An audience that will be extremely happy if coherence is granted.

This model is by no means new, as events like SXSW made it extremely popular but more and more events are reinterpreting it for new purposes.

A concept cocktail, if ingredients mix well with each other, is indeed an interesting proposition.

Where: Cleveland, OH, USA.
Spotted on: A friend recommended it.
Website: WMC Fest

Forking: 99U

For those not familiar with forking, Wikipedia describes it as:

In software engineering, a project fork happens when developers take a copy of source code from one software package and start independent development on it, creating a distinct piece of software.

In other words, take a concept, change what you don’t like and create a new one.

99u

In our case the original concept is TED, 99U is the fork.

Despite the organizers do not state it on the website, it is fairly obvious that they are positioning themselves as a TED prosecution. If in fact TED’s motto is “Ideas Worth Spreading”, 99U seeks ‘perspiration’ or idea execution.

The mission is definitely agreeable. It is common after watching a TED speech, to experience a feeling of inspiration mixed with a persistent voice that says ‘Now What?’ .

99U organizers fully embraced such feeling turning it in an event that takes TED a step further.

Where: NYC, NY, USA.
Spotted on: On my radar since 2009, first learned about it from a magazine.
Website: 99U

Bottom Up Pricing: Caravana de Emerxencia

The concept is fairly simple. Attendees decide what to pay for the event. No fixed pricing.

The simplicity of this approach is staggering, challenging, mind blowing. It can definitely make or break the event but it surely conveys a message.

The message being to give responsibility to our audience and treat them like adults. Another facet is to involve attendees to the extreme, to the extent that they decide the financial success of the initiative.

Of course this is not always possible. Some may see it as insulting to the profession or a way too risky approach to running events. Yet it is difficult to deny the disruptive power of such a simple message.

Where: Santiago, Spain.
Spotted on: On Springwise.
Website: Caravana de Emerxencia

Remote Audience Involvement: Hybrid Chocolate Tasting

This was a session I attended at BeConf, the annual meeting of MPI Belgium. The session was run by Ruud Janssen.

Different samples of belgian chocolate (yum) where sent around the world before the event to allow remote audiences to experience an hybrid tasting. It was a terrific experience.

You can learn everything about it together with super useful info on running hybrid events in the presentation below:

Where: Bruxelles, Belgium (and other cities around the world).
Spotted on: I was there.
Website: Hybrid Choc Tasting

Community Customisaztion: GLI.TC/H

As soon as you land on GLI.TC/H website you feel that your computer has been hacked. While I can ensure you that your computer won’t be hacked, your mind probably will.

GLI.TC/H pushes the concept of collaborative event planning to the extreme. The event is structured in conversations or threads as you would expect in an online forum:

“GLI.TC/H 2112 consists of four participatory “threads”. These threads will facilitate experimentation/conversation during the day and share “outputs” in the evenings.”

The event is customised by the community. The community decides how to make it happen.

Even the website can be seen in a user defined style. While the less nerd reader may not understand such approach, the message is very powerful: allow attendees to define what, where, when and how and allow the community to customize the event.

Where: Chicago, IL, USA.
Spotted on: Kickstarter.
Website: GLI.TC/H

In Conclusion

What should you do with the above list? Read it and look for inspiration, you won’t be disappointed.

The aim, do not forget, is to run a better event with a more engaging concept.

The idea at the core of your event should move audiences, disrupt, divide, unite and challenge old fashioned paradigms.

Don’t be scared to innovate as the only real risk is to keep things as they are.

 

Photo Credits: tomux | pepperlime | Kris Krug | aforonda


© Julius Solaris for , 2013. |
Follow Event Manager Blog on Twitter |
Follow Event Manager Blog on Google+ |

Wordpress Event Theme

The post 10+ Fresh Ideas to Inspire a Successful Event Concept appeared first on .

Tensator Virtual Assistant blends man and machine (Video)

 

In an age where consumers prefer to interact with technology, contact with an actual human being is becoming an antiquated — and often avoided — concept. But for those looking for the perfect balance between man and machine, or who miss a little bit of the human element, a “virtual” person might do the trick.

Enter the Tensator Virtual Assistant Ultra, a product the company calls a next generation digital signage solution. It creates a projected image and creates the illusion of a real person to convey brand messages, impart information and highlight products and promotions.

With a small footprint of 50cm by 50cm, the Virtual Assistant can fit within an aisle or as part of the aisle end caps. The base unit of the Ultra is made up of interchangeable covers, creating a full surround or three-sided wrap if placed flush against a wall, making it ideal for advertising and promotion, according to a news release on the product.

Visit Retail Customer Experience.com to read the full article.

 

Tensator Virtual Assistant blends man and machine (Video)

 

In an age where consumers prefer to interact with technology, contact with an actual human being is becoming an antiquated — and often avoided — concept. But for those looking for the perfect balance between man and machine, or who miss a little bit of the human element, a “virtual” person might do the trick.

Enter the Tensator Virtual Assistant Ultra, a product the company calls a next generation digital signage solution. It creates a projected image and creates the illusion of a real person to convey brand messages, impart information and highlight products and promotions.

With a small footprint of 50cm by 50cm, the Virtual Assistant can fit within an aisle or as part of the aisle end caps. The base unit of the Ultra is made up of interchangeable covers, creating a full surround or three-sided wrap if placed flush against a wall, making it ideal for advertising and promotion, according to a news release on the product.

Visit Retail Customer Experience.com to read the full article.

 

Stanchions in the Entertainment Business

High Quality Branding and Effective Crowd Control in One Product

At entertainment complexes, stadiums, and other facilities in which large crowds gather, CrowdControlExperts.com offers a collection of crowd control products and stanchions that provide optimal solutions for directing crowds and easing congestion in an orderly, efficient manner. For improved branding, products can be customized with attractive finishes and branding logos or messages that relate to your theme.

For lobbies, hallways and other areas, high quality Post and Rope stanchions are durable enough to stand up to anxious customers while displaying a high end theme for those who are waiting. Our inventory of lobby equipment and a wide variety of signage, from stand-alone bulletin holders and post top signage to 6’ tall signposts that stand above the crowd, are the optimal solutions for building crowds. CrowdControlExperts.com offers quick shipping for those last minute needs you may have overlooked.
organization is key.

Kill Showrooming with Kindness

showroomingBrick-and-mortar retail environments aren’t intended to act as mere showrooms. Yet this is exactly how many shoppers are treating them—testing the look and feel of products before going online to find the best price. Showrooming is a phenomenon that is not only frustrating but also harmful to brick-and-mortar retailer profits.

Experts recommend a number of strategies to combat showrooming, such as confronting price differentials head-on (price match guarantees are a common way of doing this). But another noteworthy strategy is to deliver a distinct customer service experience.

According to retail consultant, Chris Peterson, PhD, “If the in-store experience becomes personal, then consumers are most likely to vote for ‘Me-tailing,’ where their needs are addressed by a human being versus a computer screen.”

Focus on the Customer Experience

One area that can definitely sway a customer away from the store and onto the web is the waiting line. There’s nothing worse than having to wait so long and so often that the choice to leave the store and buy online is a no-brainer just to avoid standing in the queue. Retailers can accomplish several goals by getting rid of the waiting line in favor of virtual queuing.

1. Happier customers

create a pleasant envitornmentWhen you eliminate the wait, customers aren’t “stuck” in a line. They’re free to mingle about in a common area or able to shop, browse, or relax while they wait. Freedom leads to an improved customer experience because they’re making choices about how they spend their time instead of being forced to stay in one place.

2. A better bottom line

increase_salesVirtual queuing increases impulse sales. No customer needs to rush through their shopping to get in line before the “busy time” or to “beat the crowd.” They can secure their spot in line and still pick up a few last-minute items, no pressure.

3. Improved customer loyalty

maximize customer flowA better customer experience leads to greater customer loyalty. Customers clearly recall which stores have provided them with an easy, convenient, painless checkout experience and which store has wasted their time. If they can help it, they won’t be revisiting the latter anytime soon.

4. A mobile-ready approach

mobile readyVirtual queuing can put the waiting line in the palm of your customers’ hands. There is great comfort in that smartphone. When customers can claim (and change) their place in line—and be notified when their turn is near—all via their handheld device, retailers can find themselves a very satisfied customer.

It’s normal for traditional retailers to feel threatened by e-commerce, but online shopping is truly not the biggest danger. Customers go to brick-and-mortar stores because they want real-time service; they want to make purchases in that moment and not wait for them to ship and be delivered. This truth means that the opportunity to provide good service is always present. Retailers can rise to this challenge by improving all aspects of the customer experience.Virtual queuing, which eliminates the waiting line, is obviously just one of many strategies but it’s one that can put the “dread of waiting in line” out of the equation.

 

Find out how to improve the customer experience with virtual queuing. Contact a Lavi queue management expert today.

 

The Best Posts in March 2013 on @EventMB

March is usually filled with great content and excitement – March 2013 was no different. Plenty of action on the blog and useful content.

For those who missed out. Here is our monthly recap of the most shared and read post over the last 30 days.

The Best Posts in March 2013

1. The Hashtag Revolution

Rumor has it that Facebook is introducing hashtags. This article gives you a brief overview of what hashtags are and how to use them properly.

2. Event Startups: Keep an Eye on These Up-and-Comers

Here at EMBlog we love event startups. This is our latest round up of the rising stars in event tech.

3. How to Ensure Speakers Diversity at Your Conference

Ensuring diversity in your speaker line up is a tricky one. Hopefully this calculator will help.

4. Event Discovery Is on Fire

There is a new breed of apps helping attendees to find an event near them. Here is how to make sure they find your event.

5. How Technology Creates the Time to Be Creative

Awesome guest post by William Thomson on the upcoming Event Tech Circus and how he planned it using technology.

Never Miss an Article Again!

If you are new around here, you can read the latest posts by subscribing to our RSS feed, via Email, on Twitter, Google+ or on Facebook.

If you wish to sponsor next month’s “Best of the Month” post on EMBlog, contact us.

 

 

Photo by Anne Davies


© Julius Solaris for , 2013. |
Follow Event Manager Blog on Twitter |
Follow Event Manager Blog on Google+ |

Wordpress Event Theme

The post The Best Posts in March 2013 on @EventMB appeared first on .

Building Loyalty with a Better Customer Experience in the Waiting Line

Through both mathematical correlations and actual company scores, Forrester researchers have proven that when your customers like the experience you deliver, they’re more likely to consider you for another purchase and recommend you to others. They’re also less likely to switch their business away to a competitor. This loyalty translates into more repeat purchases, more prospects influenced to buy through positive word of mouth, and less revenue lost to churn.

So it makes sense that businesses of all types are looking for ways to combat increasingly demanding and quick-to-sway customers. Improving the customer experience is a dynamic and multi-dimensional problem, but speaking from our experience in queue management, addressing the issue of the waiting/checkout line can be a big step in the right direction.

The waiting line can be improved in a number of ways, including:

1. Making the wait feel shorter

customer experienceWhen you’re entertained, busy, or distracted, time slips by virtually unnoticed. Create this perception in a queue to distract your customers – in a good way – by bringing in digital signage. Equipping your line with a digital media display provides opportunities to entertain and distract waiting customers with impactful video or still images. For an added boost, incorporate in-line merchandising alongside promotional digital media communications to boost impulse purchases.

customer experience

2. Making the wait actually shorter

Operating a multiple-line, multiple-server queue configuration? Switching to a single-line, multiple-server setup can dramatically reduce wait times. Bring in a call-forward electronic queuing system to your single-line queue to make the line even more efficient.

3. Getting rid of the waiting line all together

eliminate the waitEliminating the waiting line may seem counterintuitive but considering the digital world in which we live a virtual queue can actually calm your customers by giving them the freedom to shop, run a quick errand, make a phone call, or just sit and relax while they wait. With virtual queuing customers can check in to the waiting line via an in-store kiosk (or even online or via their smartphone), and wait for their turn to be called via in-store or text message alerts.

Regardless of how you accomplish the goal of improving your waiting line, the end result should be a better customer experience which will result in greater loyalty and a significant impact on the bottom line.

Talk to a Lavi queue management expert to plan your approach.

Self Service on the Rise: Speed and Convenience

Several recent industry reports and surveys tracking self-service trends have seen a jump in the use of automated self-services.  According to an infographic compiled by 1-to-1 Media, “Self-Service is a growing global trend that’s helping customers to get the optimal experience they’re looking for more quickly.” 

With the advancements made by each technologically savvy generation, there is a growing consumer need to be able to help themselves, manage their purchase, and see more immediate results.  They also have a higher expectation for more self-service offerings whether at retail outlets, banks, supermarkets, post offices, medical facilities, pharmacies, motor vehicle departments, airports, seaports, hotels or train stations – virtually anywhere.   

With this in mind, the time is ripe for each of these vertical industries to examine which of their offerings can in fact benefit from being turned into an automated self-service operation that will successfully and happily get customers what they want in an expedited manner – where they are ensured a quick, fair and successful transaction.

When looking at service offerings that can be automated here are some points to consider:

  • Is the transaction something that is needed 24 hours a day – or could self-service automation enable it to be offered 24 hours a day?
  • How long does the average transaction take when handled by staff?
  • How long would the average transaction take if automated?
  • How long is the waiting period on average to service a customer?
  • How much time would be saved if the service was automated?
  • How complex is the transaction you are looking to automate?
  • Can you realize cost-savings by enabling customers to help themselves?
  • Will your customer experience/customer journey improve as a result of self service automation – will your offer be competitive, attracting customers?
  • Do you have additional upsell opportunities as a result of self service automation?

If you are pondering these questions, you are not alone. Consider talking to a Tensator self-service automation specialist to understand your options. Contact Tensator today.

 

Self Service on the Rise: Speed and Convenience

Several recent industry reports and surveys tracking self-service trends have seen a jump in the use of automated self-services.  According to an infographic compiled by 1-to-1 Media, “Self-Service is a growing global trend that’s helping customers to get the optimal experience they’re looking for more quickly.” 

With the advancements made by each technologically savvy generation, there is a growing consumer need to be able to help themselves, manage their purchase, and see more immediate results.  They also have a higher expectation for more self-service offerings whether at retail outlets, banks, supermarkets, post offices, medical facilities, pharmacies, motor vehicle departments, airports, seaports, hotels or train stations – virtually anywhere.   

With this in mind, the time is ripe for each of these vertical industries to examine which of their offerings can in fact benefit from being turned into an automated self-service operation that will successfully and happily get customers what they want in an expedited manner – where they are ensured a quick, fair and successful transaction.

When looking at service offerings that can be automated here are some points to consider:

  • Is the transaction something that is needed 24 hours a day – or could self-service automation enable it to be offered 24 hours a day?
  • How long does the average transaction take when handled by staff?
  • How long would the average transaction take if automated?
  • How long is the waiting period on average to service a customer?
  • How much time would be saved if the service was automated?
  • How complex is the transaction you are looking to automate?
  • Can you realize cost-savings by enabling customers to help themselves?
  • Will your customer experience/customer journey improve as a result of self service automation – will your offer be competitive, attracting customers?
  • Do you have additional upsell opportunities as a result of self service automation?

If you are pondering these questions, you are not alone. Consider talking to a Tensator self-service automation specialist to understand your options. Contact Tensator today.

 

Crowd Control in the Banking Industry

Modern Crowd Control Solutions For a Better Customer Experience

With ample experience providing banks and financial institutions with modern crowd control products for many years, CrowdControlExperts.com has developed a line of banking industry stanchions that can be customized to match your décor, providing a better customer banking experience and an appealing, modern appearance.

The Retracta-Belt stanchion queuing system efficiently streamlines customer flow, and the addition of a post mount writing table allows customers to complete forms while waiting in line. Post mounted literature holders provide customers with the forms they require in an easy, efficient and organized manner.

We even have solutions offering electronic line management. Electronic line management begins with a ‘first come first served’ single line configuration created with any of our range of customers guidance barriers. The electronic component manages the distribution of waiting customers from the line to available service positions.

Improve efficiency and customer satisfaction with crowd control solutions from www.CrowdControlExperts.com. Click to view our full range of products or call our friendly customer service agents at 631-367-2005.