Events agencies are becoming far more engaged with every aspect of the client campaign, from branding and messaging to event execution, audience connection and personalisation.
We sit down with the newly appointed director of brand engagement at Pico+, Greg Crandall, to discuss the current state of things.
How have client demands shifted in recent years?
The event landscape has changed. Clients are asking agencies to do far more than ever before. They are expecting you to take part in their experience by assisting them at every stage of the event management process.
We now need to engage research professionals and conduct behaviour analytics to source and invite the right audience. We then need to ensure they are emotionally connected to the brand. One of the ways we can achieve this is by creating a strong sense of community and belonging.
How do you get people emotionally engaged with events?
There are two key elements: powerful storytelling, and delivering personalised moments for your guests. You have to find the sticky part—where the brand can relate to the audience, and where the audience can relate to the brand.
The physical event is just the tip of the iceberg. BMW recently introduced an innovative social media campaign in China where they asked their followers to help plan their event—they asked for votes on who was going to perform, what song the performer would sing, and how the car would be unveiled.
They engaged a massive following, one that became much too large to fit in a stadium. So you see, with events, you can't only focus on the tip of the iceberg. You must engage with what’s happening beneath too.
Technology seems to be taking over. What are your thoughts on tech development in the events space?
Technology has also had a remarkable impact on our industry. It is no longer a gimmick; it now has to work for us. We aim to incubate our own tech, and to deliver cutting-edge solutions to our clients.
We are driving visual technology in the field of automotive events in China—we can now utilise gaming software to create visual skins to showcase products, saving the client the hassle and expense of shipping their products from their manufacturing base.
We recently entered into a strategic alliance with US-based Aisle411, the producers of the indoor navigation and augmented reality software. The technology uses indoor mapping and beacons in the retail environment to create a unique shopping experience for customers.
It allows brands to deploy scalable, fully immersive AR solutions, and captures data and insight en route, dwell patterns and product placement. This technology will soon be rolled out in Asia in the events space, from pop-ups to trade shows and product launches.
Greg Crandall is a creative communications specialist with more than 30 years' experience in the U.S. and Asia. He has delivered more than 100 events for clients ranging from Apple and IBM to Disney and Mercedes Benz.