Last week we welcomed 100 event professionals to LABS Camden House for a discussion on personalisation of the event experience and how to surprise your audience without breaking the bank.
The venue, brand new to the ever-lively Camden Lock, is a beautifully light and airy space styled in the laid-back minimalist style that LABS are known for. Accented with greenery and impressive lighting, the 1000 capacity venue is one of the most exciting new venues we’ve seen. Check out our full review over on Hire Space.
Guests arrived from 4.30pm for coffee and cake, with the discussion kicking off at 5pm in one of the three flexible areas at the venue. With a live stream on Facebook and an interactive social wall, guests were encouraged to lead the conversation throughout. And if you missed it, we’ve rounded up the key takeaways below.
We then invited guests to explore the venue and enjoy some well-earned bubbles and bowl food, including sea bass with celeriac, goats cheese with seasonal vegetables and the most beautiful macarons.
Heaps + Stacks created a beautifully petal parlour pop-up, where our guests could choose to transform their faces with beautiful dried petals in various pops of colour and size or a complimentary fresh flower manicure.
Meanwhile, Musicians Inc. provided the soundtrack to the evening with Bex.fs serenading our guests with the soulful, melodic sounds of lap tap/percussive guitar.
Event videography and photography by London Filmed.
Meet the Panel
Moderator: Tom Hall, Editor, Access All Areas
Charlotte Gentry, Founder & CEO, Pure Events
Sarah Shilling, CMO, Unlimited Group
Celine Khor, Head of Brand Experience, John Doe Communications
Mark Forrest, Art Director, The Department
1. It’s a Must
Something our panellists all agreed on was the need for personalisation in today’s events landscape. Audiences expect some sort of personalisation as a minimum and nailing it can really set your event apart.
2. Value Exchange
Guests also expect to get something in return for their attendance. An audience member also suggested that guests want to participate in events, not just attend. This all comes down to value exchange and making moments matter.
Our panel suggested putting people at the very centre of the narrative of your event using data (GDPR compliant, of course) that you have about your guests. This could be as simple as matching them with someone else at the event, facilitating valuable networking opportunities or going a step further and finding out their favourite hot drink and having it waiting on arrival.
3. Establish Objectives
Don’t think of personalisation as an after-thought. It should be part of your event plan from the beginning to ensure that it fully costed and aligned with your objectives. Set clear marketing objectives and then use personalisation as a tool to achieve them. Don’t forget to ask yourself why you’re doing something and what you’re trying to achieve.
With objectives in place you’ll be able to track and monitor data to see whether your personalisation efforts are making a difference and providing the ROI you want.
Always, always follow up and ask for feedback.
4. Keep it Simple
Simple solutions can often be the most effective - hand-written notes or invitations, for example, can have a lot of impact. People are overwhelmed by emails and social media messages so going back to basics can provide a lot of value.
5. To Tech or Not to Tech
Technology isn’t always the answer. This point was heavily emphasised by our panel and links closely to keeping it simple. Tech can be expensive and when budget is a concern it may not be worthwhile. Only use it if it enhances the event experience, using it for the sake of it can actually be detrimental - people have a very low scepticism threshold.
Low-cost ways of using tech could be live streaming on social, creating vox-pops for social (phones are good enough for this) or using live social walls. Check out our recent blog on what’s ‘Fab or Fad’ in the industry for more.
6. Create Content
Knowledge is power…and you can’t buy it. Use your expertise to create tailored content for your attendees and follow up with it. That way you provide them with something extra that someone who didn’t attend wouldn’t get. You can’t underestimate the value of providing practical advice that will help someone in their everyday life or job, or simply something that makes them smile - they won’t forget it.
Work or partner with universities or researchers for experiences who may be willing to create an event that benefits both parties. Also take note of your audience, who else might be interested in showcasing their product or service to that audience? Sponsorship or partnerships here can be mutually beneficial too.
8. Know Your Audience
Create touch points or interactive experiences to facilitate conversation. Have someone dedicated to making introductions or design a way for people to interact away from the event.
Go one step further and create an experience during the event - this could be creating a bespoke cocktail based on someone’s food preferences and choices on the night.
What’s more personal than having a real conversation? This could be in real life or on social but the key is authenticity by engaging in an organic way. It’s a simple, cost-effective way to create buzz.
We’d love to hear from you. What are the best and worst examples of personalisation you’ve seen? How important do you think it is? Let us know on social.
If you are interested in hosting or have any other queries, get in touch with the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
Musicians Inc, a luxury music and entertainment agency, pride themselves on creating musical experiences for all events from full-scale production shows through to elegant background music for drinks receptions.
Heaps + Stacks
Heaps + Stacks are a creative programming and event production agency, devising interactive experiences from intimate yet stylish workshops right through to large scale PR stunts and immersive launch activations. Check out some of their other options below.