Events

EventsTag at SoccerEx 2016

This week we’re in Manchester for SoccerEx, an exciting 3 day insight into the World of Football. The perfect moment for us to introduce visitors to some of our most exciting social media experiences – but also to indulge in our love for THE sport. And because Football has been flowing in our veins for so long, why not to take people back to an iconic year for football?

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It was cruelly cut short by the weather gods, but Governors Ball 2016 still made a splash.
Miguel, Years & Years, Galantis and more took to the stages to deliver unforgettable, if slightly damp, performances.
Up top there you can see our Executive Director A.J. gazing lovingly at our social walls, which were dotted all over the festival. Tweets and Instagram post tagged #GovBallNYC were grabbed and thrown up on the massive screens for the whole crowd to see.
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Now, you might feel pretty vexed when one of your skillfully filtered posts only gets six or seven likes – but boy, do they add up. 150,000 posts were hashtagged at Governors Ball this year and they generated over one million likes. And it didn’t stop there – over five hundred million people saw them. FOMO x 503,092,100.
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We worked with Laura at Founders Entertainment to design, create and run the social walls.  She said some lovely things about us:
I loved it – thank you for everything! I loved how smoothly it went and I didn’t have to lift a finger”
It was EventsTag’s second time at Gov Ball and we’re already looking forward to next year – and hoping for significantly fewer rainclouds!
Did you attend Governors Ball this year? Who was your standout act?
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You’ll probably want to put your feet up and turn your phone off for a year while you recover, but after a big event you need to do some evaluation. Woohoo.

Based on cold hard data (as well as some chatting), you can get to some gold dust findings. However great your event went, you’ll want the next one to be even better.

So here’s our three-step path from tired event planner to enlightened marketing guru.

1. Estimate

Be really specific pre-event, when deciding what you’re going to measure. Use past events, similar events and anything else you can think of to decide what ultimate success looks like to you. Make them stretch goals – be ambitious.

Then, in the crazy lead up to the big day, you can have these ambitions in mind – they’ll help inform decisions you make and keep you focussed.

Here are some metric suggestions, to get the ball rolling:

  • Invited guests
  • Attendees
  • Budget over/underspend
  • Social media reach
  • Press coverage

2. Calculate

To figure out if your event was a success, you’ll need to crunch some numbers. It’s not sexy. But someone’s got to do it.

We deliver granular reports to our clients after their events, so they can a) jump for joy and b) learn for next time. They’re always interested in different bits of the data: was Twitter or Instagram more popular? Who were the most influential guests? How many people saw content from the event?

Without fail, it helps them hone their future plans.

3. Ask

Numbers won’t ever paint the whole picture. You’ll need to speak to people.

Twitter will probably give you a pretty good idea of how everything went – people aren’t shy about voicing their opinions in 140 characters – but it’s also worth picking up the phone.

That way, you can ask about specific things, like:

  • The speakers: how were they? Who gave them goosebumps? Who was awful?
  • The venue: big enough? Too big? Too far away?
  • The facilities: Instagrammable lunch? dodgy wifi?

You might be surprised by how open to giving feedback your attendees will be, especially if you’re prompt and contact them soon after the event.

It’s in everyone’s best interest for the world to be full of even more exciting, inspiring and memorable events. So make sure yours is one of them.

 

How do you usually measure the success of your event?

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We were lucky enough to attend Event 360 this week, a huge summit hosted by Event Magazine and C&IT. Trend-setters and influencers in the event industry come together to mingle. And mingle we did.

We met brand experts, PR gurus and some of the most talented real-time graphic designers we’ve ever come across.

“Forecasting the future of brand experiences” was the theme of the day. Here are the main things we took away from it, to ponder.

If you’re wanting to talk to millennials, you need to make them feel special.

Vodafone told us this. Their very cool  Future Breakers campaign (that isn’t a campaign at all, but a three-year investment in finding and nurturing new music talent) needed an experiential element. Enter, #FutureBreakersLive. Bringing the talent within touching distance of festival goers, making them part of the story.

“Everything needs to be photogenic. Vodafone-generated content (or VGC) needs to slip seamlessly into user-generated content (UGC)”

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It’s hard to prove ROI on consumer-based events. 

Fentimans (“Botanically brewed drinks”) spoke to us about the difficulties they faced convincing everyone in the office than non-trade show events are a good idea. How do you prove they’ve made an impact? Their answer was simple, for them: look to social media. Look at how many people had your brand dropped in front of them, clickable and deliciously shareable. Fentimans take care to ensure that their pop up events (next up, a Magical Mixology Workshop) are distinctly Instagrammable.

“Two words: edible glitter. Does it get any more shareable than that?”

 

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Sometimes, your target audience is people that don’t know you exist

NFL talked about their struggles making an impact in the UK. Their marketing in the states is a completely different ball game. They know their fans there. Here, they don’t have that many. And they want more. So they went big – taking over Regent’s Street with marching bands, cheerleaders and NFL players. They were marketing to people that didn’t plan on being marketed to that day. It’s a different breed of event but an effective one, undeniably. It’s the element of total surprise that, done well, can make a lasting impression. Whether its a passer-by spotting an NFL flag flying above their head or a tweeter spotting a trending hashtag, your audience might sometimes simply be fresh meat.

 

Did you attend Event 360? What were your key learnings? 

We’re committed to making sure every person with a tongue gets ice cold refreshment like a blast of cold mountain air, with every single bottle, can or pint of Coors Light they put in their hand.

– Coors Light

Coors Light cares about cold. To enjoy the World’s Most Refreshing Beer™ from the Rockies, you need optimum conditions.

Enter, Ice Cave – the latest experiential marketing campaign by the brand, inviting ravers to enjoy a cool night out (-5°C, to be precise).

And our social media experiences are adding a whole extra dimension for the duration. We’ve got a Polaroid Station rigged up at the mouth of the cave, and a GIF Booth just inside, to capture the shivvering ravers in all their glory.

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Birmingham Mail

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Centenary Square in Birmingham will play host to the Cave until Sunday. Entry’s free but book ahead to avoid disappointment (and a night spent at boring room temperature).

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So, what are you waiting for? Wrap up in a thermal cape and enjoy a crisp Coors Light, in a fridge. Upcoming (and yes, cool) new DJs like Ronnie Loko and Soph Robbo are bringing the tunes, and we have the social media magic covered.

It’s day three, and Charles is already a hardened Ice Cave Raver:

This is a great example of perfect, on-brand experiential marketing. It makes complete sense for Coors, aligning seamlessly with their mission statement and brand identity. It’s brilliant to be able to add a social element to the activation. Everyone’s loving it.

– Charles, EventsTag man on the ground

What’s the best bit of experiential marketing you’ve seen recently?

Social media walls are fast becoming imperative for event organizers. It’s no longer a question of why, but who.

Who should you work with to ensure a smooth, successful activation?

Well, us. And here’s why:

1. Your wall will be tailor-made

Our team of designers is spread across three different timezones. You’ll snatch up one of them and have a fully-customized social media wall in a matter of hours. Your logo, your colors, your fonts. So it’ll slip seamlessly into the your event.

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2. You’ll be in complete control of moderation

Our smart moderation tool means absolutely no spam. You can set up automated filtering or use our Tinder-style mobile site to approve (or not) each post.

3. We use Eye-fi technology

You’ll probably have an event photographer and it makes sense for their photos to mingle on the big screen with guest shots. A simple memory card switch, and it’s done.
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4. We’ll be on hand at every stage

We care about your event. We want to make sure it’s a success, so we’ll always be available – in the lead up, during and after. Questions? Just pick up the phone. Last-minute changes? It’s the events industry. We get it. So we’ll bend over backwards to get things right.

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5. You’ll get a granular report

Whether you’re an agency or a brand, you’ll want to know how each element of your event performed. Our detailed reporting drills down into engagement rates, which platforms were most active and who your most influential guests were.

We love what we do, and you’ll hear that as soon as you speak to us. So what are you waiting for?
Social media marketing has evolved rapidly since we came along in 2012.
As Eventstagram, we wowed guests with social walls at thousands of events – audience participation for the 21st century. Nowadays, most guests expect to see a social wall whether they’re on a night out or at a conference. It’s a given.
We continue to innovate, creating new ways of bringing social media magic to events.

1. Create a hashtag. Then make sure it gets used

Hashtags neatly collect up everything people are saying about your event. If someone spots a great photo on Instagram, they can tap the hashtag and see 100 other related photos. If it’s an event hashtag, that’ll mean a 360 view of what’s happening, in real time.
In short, they’re vital.
But their potential is often left untapped. Hashtags are splashed on posters and flyers but no real reason is given to use them. You’re asking your guests to market your event, for nothing. Why should they?
Our Experiences give them a reason. With a Hashtag Mailbox, guests can send a real-life postcard to anywhere in the world, with their face on the front. They use the event hashtag, their photos appear on the touchscreen and they can address it to anyone they like.
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Our Polaroid Station gives guests printouts of their hashtagged snaps in seconds and our Social Slots gamify engagement. You need to think outside the box to really capitalise on hashtag culture. Fun incentives can mean big rewards.

2. Invite guests to become part of the story

With a social wall as a centrepiece at your event, you’re openly asking guests to shape proceedings. A big display of tweets and Instagram posts is often expected, now, as an element of any social media marketing campaign. Without a social wall, your event is missing a vibrant and interactive element. (We would say that…)
A social wall brings people and ideas together. It builds a community and encourages sharing and collaboration – it makes everyone want to get involved.
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3. Form long-term relationships

Social media marketing is a two-way street. It’s a conversation that should span the before, during and after of any event. Make sure that you’re thanking everybody kind enough to share your brand with their followers. Make sure you’re answering every question (remember – it’s not just the person asking that’s waiting for you to respond. Their followers, too, might be watching.)
Every member of your crowd is at the centre of a rich social network. Tap into it, and you’re in a social media marketing goldmine.
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Giving away generic, branded promotional merchandise has become passé. Run of the mill souvenirs from sponsorship activations no longer serve to excite consumers. In an increasingly digital world, event attendees expect more than a company branded biro or baseball cap, and rightly so. Now is the time for our industry to wake up to the innovation required in souvenirs and merchandising.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that branded merchandise increases brand recall – the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) is one such source. A BPMA study showed that two thirds of people who received a promotional product in the year previously could recall the brand on the product. But that is no excuse for laziness, and times have changed. As marketers, we should be looking to find innovative ways to surprise and delight consumers, rather than simply shelling out for USBs because it’s tried and tested.

As your Business Intelligence colleagues will tell you, no two of your customers are the same. The key question here is, then why should we expect 10,000 individuals to value the same branded notepad? This lack of imagination will be reflected consumers’ perception of your brand and the extent to which they feel valued as a customer.

When it comes to physical interactions between brands and their customers, events and pop ups are still highly popular. Advances in technology have revolutionised event logistics, from ticketing to second screening. Inviting consumers to contribute to and thus amplify live events is becoming commonplace, for example through live Twitter walls. So, it is a constant source of surprise to me that marketers miss the opportunity to carry through this innovative approach in souvenirs and merchandise. We seem content to allow customers to leave events with generic, analogue stash.

This is something I am keen to see changed.

Our team recently built a live photo printing station on behalf of Southern Comfort’s two-day sponsorship of The Electric Run. The installation was designed to increase engagement with attendees, as well as create a lasting and individualised memento for them. We distributed branded, polaroid style photos to runners who posted photos on Instagram using the bespoke #Electricsoco hashtag. Hundreds of runners went away happy – proudly boasting both their medal and a free personalised Polaroid-like postcard.

Southern Comfort also saw the benefit. Not only did 800 of their customers leave with personalised promotional material steeped in company branding, but the campaign created a new group of digital ambassadors. The process of tagging a photo on Instagram led to over 350,000 impressions for the event content. I question whether 1,000 Southern Comfort branded shot glasses would have had the same effect.

Perhaps just as important as impact, is cost. Shelling out thousands of pounds on shot glasses may feel like an overspend when they are simply shoved to the back of the kitchen cupboard. Instead, innovations like the social media printing stations act as a bridge between the digital world and a physical gift – and they won’t so easily gather dust.

Of course, there is room to push the boundaries. Rather than simply printing photographs, you might like to laser print the tagged event photos onto t-shirts, wristbands, posters, notebooks, toilet roll – yes, really… anything is possible.

It’s time for brands – especially those that see themselves as appealing to the millennial generation – to start taking promotional merchandise more seriously. One of the best examples I have seen recently was Coca-Cola’s Twitter powered vending machines, which toured train stations in London in August, 2015.

Visitors to the vending machine were told to tweet their favourite variant of Coca-Cola, alongside #ChooseHappiness, in order to get their hands on a branded t-shirt and free bottle of Coca-Cola. Simple to integrate into any live event, this is a great example of how to take generic promotional merchandise and make it exciting, engaging consumers while also encouraging them to become brand ambassadors on social media.

This deeper level of engagement is key. There is no better ambassador for your brand than your customer. Capturing the passion and enthusiasm they bring to events should always be a KPI for event organisers, rather than simply measuring how many people leave with a branded baseball cap. There is no substitute for user generated content. It is authentic, cost-effective and guaranteed to get consumers engaged – it’s their own content after all.

Perhaps this Christmas, start producing the kind of event souvenir that will excite the digital generation. It’s not as hard as you might think. Let tech do the legwork for you. When it comes to making a customer feel valued, customisation is king, technology the kingmaker.

For more inspiration about how to make the most of your events, we’ve set up a group on LinkedIn for events professionals to share experiences, knowledge and case studies. Find it by searching ‘Maximising ROI – Industry Insights’.

This blog post is published on 12ahead

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Whether it be through the number of attendees, volume of direct sales or the social outreach generated, discerning the success or failure of a staged event is a top priority for any organiser or marketer. Metrics are one thing, but is the industry in too much of a rush to calculate before the job is done?

During my time supporting the events industry, I’ve noticed that companies are often very quick to wrap up one successful project, and then move straight onto the next one. Rather than exploiting every opportunity – even after the doors shut on the physical event – the focus often shifts to the next biggest and brightest thing. Sadly, this ‘launch and leave’ culture is costing companies a great deal of value from each event they host.

Think about how much it costs to begin a brand new conversation with one consumer. If you are someone who regularly puts on large-scale, consumer events, then it’s likely you already know. Now, think about how much less effort it requires to keep an existing conversation going with an already engaged individual. This is where technology can come to the fore and help keep your customers engaged long after the lights go out.

Today’s technology can offer brands the opportunity to bridge the gap with its consumers. When used effectively, it gives attendees the opportunity to interact live with their favourite event or brand on an almost one to one level. This personalisation gives customers a sense of affinity with the event and, by extension, the brand hosting. No consumer wants to feel like just one of many faces in the crowd, and this is where technology can play to its strengths.

Practical campaign ideas might include creating content to be used post-event, which has been personalised using photos or comments from the individual, to make them feel part of something bigger. Collating videos into a user-generated review is another underused but highly engaging route for consumer facing brands. Awarding the best photo from the activation is a great way of running a post-event competition and continuing to generate a buzz around the event. These simple strategies that can often lead to sustainable relationships with consumers maximise ROI from an event.

O2’s recent ‘Wear the Rose’ England Rugby sponsorship activation was a great example of this. O2’s ambition was to start a nationwide dialogue of national pride, which commenced with a live event with Take That and the England Rugby team. To extend the reach of the engagement, O2 beamed tweets of support from customers onto the roof of The O2 in North Greenwich, among other locations throughout the country. As well as engaging the attendees of the event itself, the stunt allowed for a social media dialogue with fans and customers, which O2 was able to continue long after the event was over.

This, in my opinion, is where the real value from events lies. Engaging with consumers and turning them into empowered ambassadors for your brand is as important as getting them to the event in the first place. If you provide an experience that is innovative enough to get people talking and sharing, then you have a platform to open a dialogue with your audience. It is then, and only then, that you can really make the most of the opportunity.

While incorporating technology into events is now almost universally expected, I would encourage anyone planning their next brand event or marketing campaign to think more tactically about this integration. This forethought will not only improve levels of social interaction, but also greatly increase event ROI. Is the technology you’re using a ‘nice to have’, or does it have the potential to facilitate the creation of sustainable customer relationships? Don’t fall into the trap of launching and leaving. It’s time for your brand to harness technology and create a lasting impression, one customer at a time.

Blog post published on Digital Marketing Magazine

Getting the most for your money from live events

Guaranteeing return on investment (ROI) for any event is challenging, but fundamental. Over the past couple of months, in my role as Marketing Director at EventsTag, I’ve had the opportunity to see first hand what works and what doesn’t. We provide social media feeds for the live events of some of the world’s largest brands, providing a digital centerpiece by curating messages, images and videos in real time. This allows consumers to engage directly, giving every attendee a voice.

I’ve now had the opportunity to work with brands including the likes of Coca-Cola, Nike, Starbucks and O2, all of whom have benefitted from embracing these tactics:

1. Prepare your customers in advance

If your customers are arriving to an event and you haven’t already begun engaging them, then you’ve lost the first battle. Creating a ‘buzz’ around your upcoming activation is key to ensuring maximum engagement on the day. EventsTag do this by creating a digital engagement campaign preceding the main activation.

Working with Emirates on its ‘Hello East’ campaign, we created a dedicated microsite for the airline, encouraging users to tweet and engage with the brand long before the first of their ‘Go East Festivals’ began. By incentivising users with the chance to win a pair of economy class return tickets, we were able to populate the microsite with users’ ‘Eastern inspired’ photos, building excitement and engagement for the event series. The microsite helped maximise the number of people posting inspiring images, which were subsequently used by Emirates throughout the activation.

2. Let your customers work on your behalf

At EventsTag, we firmly believe that there’s no better ambassador for your brand than your own customer. O2 and Nike are great examples of brands using social technology to turn consumers, fans and attendees into socially active brand curators and ambassadors. The passion that consumers bring to live events is something that can be so easily captured by companies for their brand benefit. Authentic and direct content creation on behalf of the very people you’re hoping to reach, is easily the most powerful and sincere endorsement a brand could hope for, and can multiply ROI for any given campaign.

Our first ‘We Own the Night’ campaign, for example, saw 8,000 people engage with our bespoke hashtag, leading to over 55,000,000 impressions. Consider for a second that every single one of those 55,000,000 impressions came, not from Nike, but from one of their consumers. At very little cost, and with little effort on their own behalf, Nike reached millions. That’s a pretty impressive return.

3. Develop a post event activation strategy

Many would be forgiven for thinking that, once the last person has left and clear up is well underway, that a marketer’s job is done. They’d be wrong. To ensure you maximise ROI, it’s essential to have a post event plan in place. Try to find an innovative way to keep the activation going. Hold a competition encouraging attendees to share their best pictures on social media. Put together a video of the best user generated content to distribute to attendees. Create personalised content or imagery for those tweeting about the event. All of these are relatively inexpensive ways to squeeze every last drop of return out of the activation.

When working with O2 on it’s ‘Wear the Rose Live’ Rugby World Cup activation, we ensured that #WearTheRose was at the forefront of every fan’s mind, by giving them a reason to engage with the hashtag, to have their voice heard over the crowd. This gave the brand a platform from which to galvanise national support, long after the event was over. This also helped increase brand awareness in a creative way, boosting ROI.

Hopefully these three points haven given you an idea, or at least a little inspiration, when it comes to boosting returns from your events. This is, however, just the tip of the iceberg. For that reason, I’d like to start a dialogue between industry leaders, with the aim of sharing event experiences and helping maximise ROI across the industry.

If you’d like to have your voice heard, simply search ‘Maximising ROI – Industry insights’ on LinkedIn and join the discussion.

This blog is also published on the Drum Magazine

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