Earlier this month we produced the 24th Annual Our Heroes Luncheon for Sykes Enterprises, Inc. Foundation. It was another successful year, filled with emotion and compelling tributes to Hillsborough County’s first responders. With rave reviews from our client; audience members complimenting on a job well done, and so many saying “this is the best year yet!” It got me to start thinking about how I could share the secret for garnering great results each year for your annual events.
The secret is what we call Event Disruption. In my book, STANDOUT – Place Your Business In the Spotlight with Results Driven Events, I talk about the power of disrupting the experience from year to year to ensure return guests still find the program your presenting stimulating. Creating change creates a whole host of opportunities for your organization to get creative. It also allows for a “new way” to share your mission that is captivating and will hold your audiences attention. This is more critical than ever in today’s social media culture. Why?
Think about how you utilize your social media platforms? Skimming through with your thumb on a smart phone or using your mouse on your desktop. You keep scanning, quickly taking in al the information you’re seeing in the social media feed. Ever so often, something catches your eye and you stop and read more and decide in a matter of seconds if it’s worth your time to continue reading or watching a video. We’re always on the hunt for something funny, inspiring, telling about family members not living nearby, etc.
Knowing this information, we now have to adjust our event experiences to align with a format that reflects our guests behaviors. Attention spans are very short these days and it’s a big challenge for organizations stuck in past when it comes to producing events. Today is no longer the days of long drawn out speeches, no longer the time for having your guests sit in their seats for hours trying desperately to entertain them from the stage. Guests need to move, they need to be stimulated in a variety of different ways to garner their attention.
For our Heroes Luncheon, we’ve produced for the past few years now. The 2nd year, I totally revamped the program. New stage, new script, added video elements, turned the program upside down. For this event, many of the guests are repeated sponsors, dignitaries, etc. Easy to translate and the guests loved it! Now the challenge is to keep it fresh. Disrupting guests expectations gives us the opportunity to create a fresh experience for our repeat guests. We also learn from year to to year what works well and what doesn’t, but consciously going into a program and changing elements is the secret of our success with clients. We hold onto aspects that are well received and we make changes to other elements.
For the Heroes Luncheon, we changed up the lighting and the drape line. We also made subtle changes to the way presentation of our first responder helmets. Script changes were also introduced and we added a video element. Just a few slight disruptions made for a better experience. Then this year, we broke apart the set from the past two years, changed the draping and lighting once again and the presentation of the helmets. Some small changes at the table and ticketing and we introduced a new way of presenting the awards with two co-hosts. It doesn’t take much to garner better results, but it’s important to continually disrupt the experience year after year.
If you’d like to discuss ways in which you would benefit from disruption tactics and strategies, feel free to reach out and we’d be happy to help you reinvent your experience.