Making a dogs dinner of event engagement

For this post I hand over to my colleague, and fellow dog lover, Jeanette La-Thompsen – Marketing Manager of Ancillary Services at ExCeL London. Enjoy :)

What does the events industry and dog food have in common? On the surface, outside of trade shows and events for your pooch, not much, right? Today I realised that there is more in common than you think.

Jeanette's dog - Betty

Betty – 21st century dog, 21st century diet

Maybe I should back up this story and start from the beginning. I hate being sold to. I hate going to the store and talking to a sales person who, clearly, only cares about that month’s commission check. This is why I do all of my grocery shopping online, someone at Amazon once called me a “power user” and I send my husband out when I (gasp!) can’t buy something online.

A while ago, I was looking to switch my dog’s food. Imagine my horror when one of the websites I visited didn’t have an option to buy online! I almost closed the page and moved on, but then something caught my eye. There was one sentence that said something to the effect of “Your dog is special and so are its needs. Call us and we can put together the best food plan for your dog.” Well that got me thinking: I sure do think my dog is special and I do want to give my dog the best. I picked up the phone and called the company. Continue reading

World Cup 2014: Don’t worry Brazil, there’s always the Olympics

Brazil has every right to be down heartened by their rough treatment on the pitch by the Germans. Some people have already started calling it “The massacre of Belo Horror-zonte”. But there is light at the end of the tunnel; in two years’ time the Olympic torch will be samba-ing its way up Copacabana beach (we’ve had a little experience of this kind of thing).

Photo from Getty/FIFA

Taxi for David Luiz?

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FIFA World Cup Last 8: Countdown to the ultimate live event

Did you know that Brazil’s victory over Chile broke the Twitter record for most Tweets per minute? Almost 389,000 Tweets were generated the minute Lady Luck decided to grace the pitch and put Gonzalo Jara’s spot kick onto the post, putting the hosts into the last 8 of the World Cup. That figure eclipses the previous total of most Tweets per minute, also held by a live event, for last season’s Super Bowl which stood at gargantuan 382,000 Tweets!

Image from The Sunday Times

Brazilian supporters’ collective gasp dragging the ball wide

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Make your stand do the hard work. How adding engagement can increase your event ROI.

If you’re active on social media you’ll notice, at least 10 times a day, someone will post some kind of philosophical business quote. And that’s fine, personally I quite like gathering and keeping quotes like a magpie. But there is one for me that really stands out, and it’s more of a rule than a quote that can be applied to just about everything: “For every one “we” you must have five “yous”.

This is certainly true for content – whether it’s a blog, video, infographic, whatever – taking out all of the “We do X” and “Our capabilities are Y” and swapping them with “You can do X” and “Try using Y to improve your ROI” adds a simple layer of engagement with your audience. So that got us to thinking: can you do it with an event space?

For our space at Marketing Week Live 2014 we thought we’d try a little experiment: can we apply the rule of “we” to our stand using the art and science of engagement? No huge graphics detailing our capabilities, no logos splashed all over the place. We wanted our stand to pull visitors in off the isle by peaking their interest and attracting their attention. We wanted our visitors to get involved in our stand by having fun, allowing us to build a relationship with them so that they remember us long after the event.

GES origami stand at Marketing Week Live

Our stand five minutes before show open

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Brazil 2014: Your gastro-guide to the FIFA World Cup group stages

The World Cup is finally here. We’ve already seen some historic moments; Robin van Persie’s flying header against Spain, Tim Cahill’s magnificent volley against the Dutch and what looks like the death nail for tiki-taka. And that’s just one group out of eight!

Keith Houchen diving header

Van Persie was clearly taking lessons from the master

With so much excitement happening in each group and an office that could be mistaken for the international departures lounge at the airport, we’ve all put our heads together and made a World Cup guide for football lovers and haters alike: a group-by-group gastro-guide! Continue reading

Farnborough International Airshow 2014 – Build your own F-35 in less than 7 minutes challenge

If you’re an aviation nerd like me, then you’re probably paying a visit to the Farnborough International Airshow this year – which is gearing up to be the biggest and best one yet (I should hope so too, we’ve been working on it for the past 2 years!) And if you are you going, then you’re probably pretty psyched about the debut of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, which is going to be making a special appearance at the event.Lockheed Martin f35

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Not so sunny Marrakech!

Marrakech air show storm

“Today’s weather; light drizzle” … yeah right.

GES’ debut at the 2014 Marrakech Air Show, with Bell Helicopter, went off with a bang as the weather once again displayed its true force, just a day before the show was due to open. The temporary chalet structures were simply no match for the sheer volume of rain beating down, and it soon became apparent that more than a few paper towels and a mop would be needed for the task quickly unfolding!

After defending the chalet until the very last raindrop, attention then turned to the water which had managed to breach the perimeter.

Eight hours of wet vacuuming later, together with carpet-burnt hands and knees, the chalet carpet was dryer than the now scorched sand outside. Just another day on the job for exhibition project manager Glen Foulstone.

Six steps to engagement for exhibitions and events

*blink* *blink* *blink*

A strategy for event engagement can feel a lifetime away when that little cursor icon on your document sits there taunting you. Where do you start? What’s your message going to be? How are you going to get visitors to engage with your brand?

All the while… *blink* *blink* *blink*

Looking at the final plan of our exhibition stand for Marketing Week Live, I feel like I’ve lived every curve, every join and every artistic embellishment over the past several months.  And while I feel like I know the stand like the back of my hand, it was one heck of a journey.

Origami fish by Sipho Mabona

Engagement strategies are like these fish: they don’t come in black and white

The best part of any journey is reflecting on how you got to your destination, and learning how to make that journey easier next time. That got me to thinking; how can I help you get there? Getting your visitors to not only engage with you, but your brand once they’re on your stand, is the real challenge of exhibiting – because it doesn’t matter if you’ve exhibited once or a thousand times; if you don’t inspire your visitors, why should they give you their time?

Time to take a leaf out of my own book then. Let’s take a look under the bonnet of our new tagline and apply the six steps that make up The Art and Science of Engagement to make your next event experience a success: Continue reading

Three is the Magic Number – Beating the PDQ Triangle

Project Management can be full of trials and tribulations; a common problem for most PMs, particularly in the event industry, can be balancing the dreaded ‘PDQ Triangle’ whilst delivering a clients product. In this post Andrew Hickinbotham, UK Sales Director from our own Design & Build Team, will explain the triangle from the point of view of someone that has to deal with it on a day-to-day basis…

What is the PDQ Triangle..?

It’s called the PDQ Triangle. Sometimes the Impossible Triangle. Or sometimes the Project Management Triangle. Or sometimes the Iron Triangle. In some cases, the Triple Constraint.


Okay so it’s got loads of funky names…but what’s it for..?

It’s a graphic aid which illustrates the opposition and biases of Project Management; namely Price, Delivery and Quality. Sometimes the words are changed, to include ‘Scope’, ‘Cost’ or ‘Time’. The basic idea is that one side of the triangle cannot be changed without affecting at least one of the other sides. Often both of them. Continue reading

Gamification As A Crowdsource Channel: Improve the Conference Experience

Jeff Hurt is EVP, Education & Engagement, Velvet Chainsaw Consulting

Gamification is catching more attention in conference and expo circles. Typically, conference organisers will create a game within the context of an event to increase attendee exposure to a product or service. Gamification is often used to shine a light on sponsors and exhibitors. Things like, “Visit these exhibitors and get your passport stamped for a chance to win a free….”

While gamification might trigger more traffic, eyeballs or clicks, opinions vary on whether it’s generating the right attention. You have to wonder, are purchasing decision makers and influencers motivated by games? Perhaps, but if you’re not attracting the people your exhibitors and sponsors most want to see, there’s no game in the world that will fix that flaw.

Let’s assume that you are attracting the right people to your conference. What if you used gamification to crowdsource tips to improve the attendee experience?

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