How to create Social Media Buzz

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Thanks to social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter, every person in the world is now a potential media channel. More powerful than TV in its heyday, advocacy on social media is the biggest endorsement a brand can have. But simply having a social presence isn’t enough to get people talking.

Events are an ideal activation opportunity because they give guests a sense of occasion – something special to share. The social chatter starts when you give them a reason to engage with your brand in a unique way, or interact with an exciting new product. Who wouldn’t want to share a pic of them posing with a personality, trying an exclusive new beverage or participating in a quirky experience?

Here at Event Planet, we always design our events with social in mind. And in case you needed any convincing of an event’s ability to turn customers into brand advocates, here’s a quick case in point:  At one of our recent events, a guest list of 400 generated 500+ new followers, 1,400+ social reach, 1,700+ comments and 60,000+ likes.

Want to know how we did it? Read on.

 

  • Don’t underestimate the power of a media wall

Who doesn’t want a little celebrity treatment? Media walls are a visual invitation for your guests to immerse themselves in the ‘red carpet’ treatment and share with all their friends?  The result? Scores of tweets, insta-shares and Facebook posts before your guests have even stepped foot inside the venue. Click here to learn more about creating a stellar media wall.

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  • Not all hashtags are created equal

Cleverly placed hashtags throughout your event will prompt guests to use them. Keep it short (around 10 characters or less) and make it memorable! Create ‘event envy’ by using a hash-tagged event pic as the entry ticket to an interesting, relevant competition – what about quirky treasure hunt that guests need to photograph and share to win?

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  • Give your guests a reason to share

Everyone loves sharing special occasions – in fact, social media revolves around it. Clever props or scenes that relate to the brand or theme add a sense of fun and involvement for guests. One of our faves was that time we carved a couch out of snow mid-slope at the Australian ski fields! Even something simple, like riding crop props at racing events, give guests a reason to whip out their smartphone. Roving performers, mixologists or quirky glasses and cocktails are all great reasons to snap and share.

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  • Get tech savvy

Photo booths are given at many events – who doesn’t have a photo strip stuck to their fridge? But photo booth suppliers have now applied some serious social smarts when it comes to tracking shares and engagement. In addition to a print out, guests can automatically upload and hashtag their pics. Post-event, you get a detailed report tracking shares, comments, reach and new follower acquisition.

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Got any questions? #eventplanet

Do you need to add Social Media Buzz to your next product launch, brand activation, media event or corporate party?

Get in touch – we can design and produce an event that gets social media buzzing with your brand and hashtag.

 

How to create the ultimate Event Media Wall

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Premieres, fashion launches, award nights – if it’s a press-worthy event, you’ll be looking to leverage some serious brand visibility from the party snaps. After all, what would a red carpet affair be without a suitably luxe backdrop?

A media wall is often the first opportunity your guests have to participate with you or your client’s brand, so it’s important to make it count. Gone are the days of splashing a logo on a static white background – today’s media walls are contextual and immersive, giving guests the opportunity to participate in an insta-worthy ‘invite only’ experience.

The hottest trends in events media walls right now are all about surprise and delight: think gorgeous living flower walls a’la Australian Turf Club Spring Carnival, or the multidimensional 3D lettering we used at Land Rover Polo, Marks & Spencer and Cable Beach Polo. But take it from us – there’s more to getting your media wall backdrop right than meets the eye.

Here, we share our must-do checklist for building a media wall to launch a thousand tweets:

  • Work with the best
    The last thing you want is a less-than-awesome surprise on event day. Working with an experienced event manager and / or event wall supplier means you’ll get a quality finished product that looks great and photographs well.
  • Have wall, will travel?
    First things first – take your logistical requirements into account. Will your media wall be a single use item, or is it needed for several events in a short period of time? Life size lettering media walls are our favourite portable option (they pack-down in a cinch).
  • Design details
    The last thing you want is a giant visible ‘seam’ or join between your media wall banners. And we’re huge fans of matte finishes to minimise glare from the sun, or photographer’s flash. Shorter length walls are great for solo shots of guests, but if you know group photos are on the agenda, play it safe by opting for a longer wall. And be sure to use hi-res logos with generous spacing, so that no matter who is photographed, you or client’s brand will be seen.
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  • Practical makes perfect
    Easy assembly = more time for you to enjoy your event. No matter how awe-inspiring it looks, if your media wall is giant hassle to install, it’s honestly not worth it. Sometimes simple really is best!
  • Consider the hashtag
    Every product launch needs a good hashtag. And your media wall is the perfect place to give it pole position – it’s a great way to remind your guests to use it. Keep your short (10 characters or less, please!) and creative; hashtags are a great way to open-up a wider conversation around your event.
  • Photo rehearsal
    An experienced photographer will make all the difference; they’ll be familiar with the lighting and appropriate angles for media walls. Set-up your wall early in the bump-in process so your photographer/s can play around and find the best angles, avoid shadows and generally iron out any potential obstacles that could arise.

Thinking media wall for your next media launch, fashion show or A-list event?

Get in touch – we can design and produce a media wall that gets guests talking, snapping and sharing away.
           

Event management – the next generation

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How do you create an event that drives ROI?

This was the question Event Planet Managing Director Amy Merriman tackled in a recent guest lecture on Event Management at the University of New South Wales.

Attended by second and third year Marketing and Communications students, Amy’s presentation offered insight into some of her key methodologies for creating event value through lead generation, building brand affinity and customer engagement.

Framed within a wider discussion on the importance generating ROI for the client – and the need to clearly define metrics like sales conversions, HR outcomes, brand building, or buzz and PR coverage – Amy also shared invaluable how-to practises gleaned from her years of industry experience, including project management and the different phases of work – from taking a client brief to delivery a seamless event experience.

“Your sharing was very insightful, giving me a glimpse of the event industry. To be frank, it was the best guest lecture that I have gone through in this course. Thank you for your awesome delivery. “

– Kirsty Chung

“I found your talk incredibly potent and insightful. You seem genuinely driven and passionate about your job which makes me feel very excited about my future in events management.”

– Brooke Farmer

Event Planet – Australian Event Awards finalist

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  • Event Planet recognised for the fourth consecutive year
  • Finalist, Event Management Company of the Year
  • Finalist, Young Achiever of the Year

We’re kicking off the week with an exciting announcement. For the fourth year running, Event Planet has been shortlisted as a finalist at the prestigious Australian Event Awards.

The Australian Event Awards recognises excellence, rewards innovation, and unites the Australian events industry for a celebration of outstanding achievements across the whole of Australia’s thriving events industry – from small-scale events in regional Australia, to multi-million dollar festivals and public events.

Events like the Moet et Chandon Tribute to Roger Federer, Tabcorp’s Melbourne Cup Birdcage Marquee, Land Rover’s English Polo Gardens and the NSW and QLD Premiers’ Export Awards, set the tone for what was been a busy year at Event Planet HQ. We couldn’t be prouder to round out 12 months of fun, hard work, and innovation with recognition at the nation’s premier events industry awards.

In good company

Event Planet joins the top echelon of Australian event management companies for the coveted Australian Event Management Company of the Year title, a title we were honoured to win in both 2012 and 2013, and for which we received a highly commended nod in 2014.

“Event Planet’s selection as a finalist for Event Management Company of the Year in Australia, for the fourth year in a row, is truly wonderful. The continued recognition of our creativity and success, on a national scale, is brilliant.”

– Amy Merriman, Managing Director

The Event Management Company of the Year category award recognises a business that has delivered and event or events in Australia at a consistently exceptional level. As past winners of this title, Event Planet has continued our ambassadorship for the events industry through continually committing to encourage our clients to pursue creativity, innovation and guest-centric strategies across events and brand activations.

A talent on the rise

One of our Event Producers, Monique O’Callaghan, has been named as a finalist for Australian Young Achiever of the Year.

Monique was selected from an incredibly diverse range of entries from all over Australia to make the list of just four finalists in this category. It’s a huge coup for Monique, and a very proud moment for Event Planet.

“We’re also thrilled that Monique O’Callaghan, who started with Event Planet as an intern straight out of college, is a finalist for Young Achiever of the Year.”

– Amy Merriman, Managing Director

The Young Achiever of the Year category award recognises the contribution of a young person to advancing the Australian event industry through a high level of achievement and demonstrated potential to lead through continued innovation.

The 2015 Australian Event Awards Industry Night of Nights will be held at the beautiful Doltone House in Pyrmont (Sydney) on Tuesday 17th November 2015. Read more about the Australian Event Awards program.

Event Planet’s Global Best Practice Leadership Learning at Cambridge University

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“Overall, I think the experience at Cambridge University offered an exceptional learning environment paired up with an exposure to global thought and business leaders, which I am in turn passing on to Event Planet’s team and ultimately our clients.”

To keep our business abreast of contemporary trends, technologies and methodologies, Event Planet regularly invests in opportunities that keep our team ahead of the game. While our staff ethos is embracing each new event with a clear vision, we’re also conscious of our motto that ‘we are only as good as our last event!’

Keeping that in mind, Event Planet sent Events’ Director, Laura Sage back to school in July 2015 when she was given the opportunity to attend the Judge Business School at the historic and acclaimed Cambridge University in England. Participating in a three day course, Laura was one of just 16 attendees from around the globe to experience the unique program which brought together leaders from varying management positions in their respective organisations.

“Event Planet is constantly seeking opportunities to grow, learn and provide a premium service to our clients,” says Laura of her experience. “In order to meet this challenge, the business supports educational opportunities for staff to expand skill sets and be exposed to new opportunities at an Australian and international level.”

The course titled, ‘The New Leadership’, included executive students from a variety of industries including marketing, medical, education, retail, finance and Government. In addition, the participants were from many different cultural backgrounds, providing what Laura says was a valuable and eye opening perspective.

“The range of cultural backgrounds and associated business customs gave me a further appreciation of the global workplace, foreign trends and insights that are certain to prove beneficial to Event Planet and our team in Australia,” she adds.

Areas of learning included recognising the difference between being a leader and visionary as opposed to a hands-on manager. The varying skills associated with these roles were also explored, including self-reflection which is required to achieve the most from such positions.

Delving deeper into this was the acknowledgment of staff and their individual workplace personality and style, and how to work with a team to ensure that the results achieved are the best possible outcomes.

“I gained so much exposure to global leadership trends and insight into valuable tools that will allow me to become an effective team leader in a constantly changing environment that demands flexibility and innovation.”

For Laura this was a valuable learning experience which revealed lots of new techniques to draw from and implement at Event Planet.

“I’ve returned to Event Planet with a fresh perspective on collaboration methods for our talented team, where change is to be embraced and a challenge is viewed as a welcome opportunity for this change to take place.”

Laura is now back at Event Planet’s HQ and is working closely with the team to continue to push their boundaries, deliver outstanding client projects and strive to achieve the company’s vision for success.

“Overall, I think the experience at Cambridge University offered an exceptional learning environment paired up with an exposure to global thought and business leaders, which I am in turn passing on to Event Planet’s team and ultimately our clients.”

Learning from the Best – A Harvard Business School Experience

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Overall, I think Harvard Business School offers a brilliant learning environment coupled with exposure to global thought and business leaders, which cannot be accessed locally in Australia. 

Last June, Event Planet’s Managing Director Amy Merriman packed her bags for Boston, USA and went back to school Harvard-style, participating in Harvard Business School’s Executive Education course on ‘Leading Professional Service Firms.’

Amy was keen to learn about how other professional service companies from around the world managed their businesses to identify ways that she, and in turn Event Planet, could improve and adapt for further and future success.

Event Planet consistently strives to increase its knowledge and experience base and this 7-day course was an intensive program, covering key interest topics such as leadership, strategy, governance, innovation and organisational performance. It was also taught by full-time Harvard Business School faculty members.

The course gave participants a wide range of business perspectives and cultural insights by bringing together thought leaders and practice managers from all over the globe. The variety of service industry sectors represented included finance, legal, advertising, public relations, accounting, architecture and design, IT and management consulting.

“Managing and maintaining talent while sustaining high levels of client satisfaction is a delicate balancing act in any service-based business,” Amy says, “Effective communications, both internal and external, are vital to achieving the optimal equilibrium.”

“Event Planet has always prioritised professionalism and high quality event delivery, along with trying to continually strengthen our culture and brand profile. When this chemistry is right, in a constantly evolving environment, it is dynamic! We’ve produced some of our finest work in recent years and I attribute this to the efforts we have made to continually refine our processes and methodology, year on year for over a decade.” 

For Amy, one of the most valuable aspects of the course included learning how to apply different techniques to align team capabilities and client relationships to drive organisational performance for long term growth.

“Gaining a more sophisticated understanding of the evolution of a client relationship within a service firm was also very revealing,” she adds, “because the delivery of specific event projects demands so much attention, it can be easy to lose sight of the holistic client relationship. Since returning to the office, I have made a significant effort to analyse our clients and their brands to ensure we, as an agency, share both the vision and values required to drive mutual successes.”

Consistently updating and upgrading skills to stay on top of our game is something Event Planet values and Amy says this course surprised her in that the depth of knowledge and variety of experience amongst the attendees who came from over 25 countries, each with extensive knowledge in their own area of expertise.

“Overall, I think Harvard Business School offers a brilliant learning environment coupled with exposure to global thought and business leaders, which cannot be accessed locally in Australia. The sessions and days felt like they went for minutes, not hours, as the content was so interesting and relevant to Event Planet,” she says.

Surprisingly, she adds, there were more Australians in the course than women. “We are definitely an ambitious nation,” she said, adding that she expected greater gender balance. We’re proud to say that she represented both minorities, being women and Australia, in this unique course. “The biggest challenge the gender imbalance presented me was trying to keep up with my study group on the daily 5am jogs we decided to do together before breakfast. I did a few less flights of stairs on the Harvard Stadium (a tradition) but never got left behind!” 

Now, 6 months down the track, Event Planet has been realising some very positive commercial and cultural outcomes from the initiatives introduced by Amy since she attended the course. “I believe the investment in my time to undertake this course has generated an abundance of rewards for both Event Planet and our clients, which I hope will continue well into the future.”

Benefiting from Experiential Marketing

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Once upon a time experiential marketing simply meant handing out some bumper stickers, t-shirts and baseball caps or maybe included hiring promotional staff to give away free samples of a product. But with the rise of social media and hype around customer engagement, experiential marketing has certainly come a long way. Just as traditional advertising can visually or verbally communicate your brand’s benefits, allowing consumers to experience a brand gives them the opportunity to create a memorable and often an emotional connection with a brand. This can give you a big boost in generating brand loyalty. The photos below are some examples of recent experiential marketing activations that we have produced.

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Working with us to create an experiential marketing activation can heighten your marketing campaign and add benefits in a number of ways.

  1. It’s a win-win for everyone. From a simple sampling experience to a large scale campaign, people love the feeling of being a part of something. By giving your customers an actual memory or experience with the brand they enjoy, they’re more likely to recommend it to friends and family, ‘follow’ it on social media and become a loyal customer.
  2. Word of mouth travels. Word of mouth recommendations are the best free form of advertising you can get and as more and more people continue using social media the impact grows. When people like (or don’t like) something they typically don’t stay quiet about it. Giving someone a positive experience with your brand and the opportunity to share their experience via social media can result in positive responses that are invaluable to your brand and image.
  3. It provides meaningful feedback.  Experiential marketing opens up the lines of communication between your company and your customers. It invites them to provide genuine interaction with your product or give feedback on your services. Smart brands know that playing a key role in direct conversations with clients gives the opportunity to influence their opinion of a brand, which is pivotal to a successful marketing campaign.
  4. It enhances your traditional advertising campaign. While booking advertising and sponsoring events are a great way to have your brand seen, including an experiential element to your traditional marketing or advertising campaign is truly the best way to connect with customers on a more humanistic level.

Marketing your brand to stand out from the crowd of competitors can be tough. Providing your customers with a memorable experience through brand engagement is only way to stand out. Contact us to discuss how we can help you with experiential marketing at your next event.

Spice News: 2015 Leaders Forum

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Spice News – originally published by Spice Magazine. 

Last year, Event Planet had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of events from racing carnivals to brand activations, awards nights and more. We were consistently challenged to discover new ways to reinvigorate annual events, develop creative theming and design concepts, manage suppliers and maintain the level of professionalism our clients have come to expect. Each year, we work with several clients who are particularly challenged to create a ‘new’ event from a regularly occurring one. One that keeps the excitement for the event alive as it continues serving its purpose of marketing, educating, fundraising, and so on. Last year was the third consecutive year we were given the challenge to create a new experience for special guests of Tabcorp’s Birdcage Marquee at the Melbourne Cup Carnival at Flemington. Annual events can often run the risk of becoming familiar and predictable, taking place at the same time each year, at the same venue, with similar content, and hosts. We know it doesn’t have to be this way. So with just a little innovation, industry knowledge and attention to detail, events such as Tabcorp’s Birdcage Marquee can still generate plenty of enthusiasm for guests and deliver value for hosts and stakeholders.

Last year, we saw everything from ‘English Polo Garden’ to ‘Love Boat’ to barefoot beach bars to bold and traditional blacks and whites. One theme that stood out for us was the ‘Spring Fling’ where we used a clever mix of geometric shapes and lively patterns such as stripes, houndstooth and stylised floral prints to create a bright and modern event atmosphere. The use of bright colours and pastels alike in colour blocking fashion or mixed with simple black and whites created a sophisticated look that kept guests talking. We took this bright geometric style and adapted it to the annual event, designing and activating a vivid, colourful atmosphere for Tabcorp’s Birdcage Marquee. The design for the marquee’s inspiration was drawn from the spring colours of the racing season and on trend geometric patterns which created a visual and textural feast for guest’s eyes. The guest journey began at the oversized entrance where everyone was individually greeted by three beautifully presented hostesses in bright pink dresses. The reception foyer featured floor-to-ceiling geometric wallpaper in fresh colours and clustered copper pendants suspended from the ceiling.

The main staircase steps were individually labelled with a past Melbourne Cup winner while the main bar area was abundant with block coloured spring florals in textured white geometric vases, white furniture with pops of hot pink felt chair pads, natural timber floors, an upholstered duck egg blue banquette setting and a central pressed metal bar lit with 15 spherical copper pendant lights overhead. The culinary feature of the marquee was a dumpling bar by GingerBoy’s Teage Ezard which was extremely popular among the guests. Vintage G.H. Mumm Champagne was served from the exclusive Champagne bar along with fresh Pimms cocktails. The keen race goers enjoyed watching all the action from the open bay windows on Millionaire’s Row and on 16 internal plasma screens. Keeping on top of event trends and knowing when the right mix of concepts will create just the best idea for keeping a regular event anything but routine is something we enjoy and will continue to look forward to in 2015. As styles and trends continue to evolve, we also look forward to bringing creative concepts to all our future events.

View the full PDF article here. 

 

Below are some photos from Tabcorp Birdcage Marquee. You can view the case study here.

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Life through the eyes of an Event Planet Intern

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If working in the event management industry sounds like it’s for you, there are plenty of opportunities to get that much needed experience for your CV. Here’s how Event Planet’s Event Co-ordinator Lauren Willis got the experience she needed for a successful start to her career in event management.

Lauren contacted Event Planet whilst studying and even though she only needed to complete 120 hours of internship time, (roughly around 3.5 months) she ended securing the role up staying for 10 months. Lauren says that being able to continue with an internship whilst studying gave her the opportunity to simultaneously use what she was learning at college in a hands on environment.

Here’s what she said about interning at Event Planet:

What drew you to working in event management?

I think what drew me into working in event management is that no two days are ever the same. You are always constantly doing different tasks or working on a project which 95% of the time is completely different to your last. I think this is one of the real attractions of events.

What’s your favourite part of working on an event?

My favourite part of working on an event is being able to see the finished product. Whether it is actually being there on the day of the event or just seeing the photos post event. It’s exciting to see things you have helped to source being used on the day. I think no matter how much you try to visualise what it looks like beforehand nothing compares to seeing what the overall finished product looks like.

What was one thing you didn’t expect to learn?

It would be hard to pin point one thing that I didn’t expect to learn. I would say that it is everything that happens before the event day(s) and the amount of preparation that goes into an event. There are so many different aspects to event and it’s not just turning up on the day and putting the chairs in place! The Directors and Producers put so much time and preparation in beforehand. There is a lot that happens behind the scenes, which is what people don’t always see.

What’s been your favourite event to work on so far?

The favourite event I have worked on so far took place at the very end of last year. We had a 4-day conference program for 200 people from 81 different countries in Sydney. Each night was a different themed dinner event and venue plus there was a team-building afternoon of sailing on Sydney Harbour. It was enjoyable to experience so many different events in such a close space of time. The majority of our Event Planet team also worked on this event as well so it was great to do something all together.

What advice would you give someone looking to take on an internship in the industry?

My advice to someone looking to take on an internship is to try to stand out and put in the extra effort to get noticed by the employer. I think the more you make yourself feel part of the team rather than just a student doing work experience, then you are able to gain so much more knowledge from everyone around you. There were so many things that I wasn’t taught in college that I learned during my time as an intern. Hands on experience is crucial so whatever opportunities you can get make sure you take them and learn as much as you can from them so you can grow your skills and knowledge. 

Event Planet announced as Australian Event Awards Finalist for Event Organiser of the Year

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For the 3rd consecutive year, Event Planet has been named among the most innovative and outstanding businesses in the Australian events industry.

Event Planet has been announced as a finalist for the prestigious Event Organiser of the Year title, to be presented in November this year. After winning this award in both 2012 and 2013, (the first time it has been won twice by the same company), this is an outstanding honour to be nominated as a finalist once again.

The Australian Event Awards is the national awards program to reward innovation, recognise excellence and unite the Australian Events Industry.

Event Planet was selected from hundreds of entries from across Australia and an incredibly diverse range of industries to make the list of just four finalists in this category.

The Event Organiser of the Year category award recognises an individual or business that has delivered an event or events in Australia at a consistently exceptional level over a 12 month period. As the current Australian Event Manager of the Year, Event Planet has continued to perform as an excellent ambassador for the Australian events industry, through continually committing to encourage clients to pursue innovative events and brand activations as part of their overall marketing strategies.

Managing Director, Amy Merriman says  “it is a fantastic honour for Event Planet and our passionate and dedicated team of event professionals. We really believe in the value of events and the power, influence and commercial results they generate for our clients. It would be an extraordinary outcome if we were to win for a third consecutive year and make a hattrick.”

“Australia is blessed with one of the great event industries of the world. It hasn’t come about just through good luck but through the skill and dedication of a lot of great companies and a lot of great people,” says former Olympic Chief and co-chair of the Industry Judging Panel Sandy Hollway.

The Australian Event Awards Industry Night of Nights will be held at Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf in Sydney on Tuesday 11th November, providing national recognition and celebration of outstanding achievements across the whole of Australia’s thriving events industry, from small-scale events in regional Australia, to multi-million dollar festivals and public events.

Visit www.eventawards.com.au