4 Secrets about business events only a handful of people know

We’re often asked how did that crazy idea turn into reality? We know that sharing is caring so we’ve opened our Pandora’s box of event tricks to share some of our industry secrets with you.

A business event is an event that has a strategic business objective attached to it (often this is measured by ROI). Business events can be classified as a product launch, sales conference, annual general meeting, industry awards night, internal company event, networking event, exhibition…the list goes on.

At Solution Entertainment, we’re all about creating moments of impact… here’s our how to:

Secret #1 Use emerging technologies to amplify engagement

Gone are the days where hundreds of people sat in an auditorium, listening to a line-up of presenters speaking at them with minimal opportunity for engagement. When attendees have the opportunity to interact with technology such as holograms, AI, intelligent automation, augmented reality and virtual reality, the event experience is amplified. Solution Entertainment adopted virtual reality technology when we created a demonstration zone with a VR station for guests to immerse themselves at the Google Cloud Security event with great affect. Remember: Immersion = connection.

4 Secrets about business events only a handful of people know / We Are Solution Entertainment

Secret #2 Be a disruptor

The key to success has to be turning completely ‘out there’ and unconventional ideas into reality. Why don’t we get Santa to abseil down the side of a building? Sure! Done. Let’s crane a Ferrari in over a big fancy mansion on Sydney Harbour. Okay! Sorted. Let’s manage 100 acts over 17 stages in four days at the Australian Grand Prix! Great idea! Let’s do it. You gotta be all in, all the time in this business. That’s what makes it so fun.

Secret #3 Use the art of theatrecraft 

Emotional connection creates memories that have a lasting impact on behaviour. When you bring the concept of theatre into the business event world, you have the capability to shift attendees and guests from one state to another, connecting the message and purpose of the event to the attendee on a transformative level. When Solution Entertainment were tasked to showcase Perth’s Optus Stadium, we activated four huge ‘surprise’ moments, which kept the audience guessing and enthralled with what was coming next! We created numerous ‘jump out of your seat’ moments which had a big impact on the emotional state of the guests.

4 Secrets about business events only a handful of people know / We Are Solution Entertainment

Secret #4 Build a physical theme around the message

This strategy is about making sure every touch point the guest has is connected to the purpose of the event. Creating an engaging environment that reinforces the brand messaging is key to the success of a business event. When we created a ‘Melbourne Festival’ for AIME’s Welcome Event, we built on Melbourne’s cultural foundations. We transformed a beautiful Art Deco venue with aerial performers, interactive food stations, and artistic contemporary dancers. Instead of guests leaving the ‘real’ Melbourne behind and stepping into a beige ballroom, they actually stepped into a more immersive and interactive version of Melbourne.

Creating a business event that has a positive impact and creates lasting behavioural change is a fine art. The event world may look like its all smoke and mirrors, but in fact it is all about strategy and substance.

4 Secrets about business events only a handful of people know / We Are Solution Entertainment

Need a hand creating your next business event? Have a chat with our team here.

Sales conference ideas to kick start 2019

A well-crafted sales event can change the trajectory of an entire company. How good would it be to start the new year with an energised, educated and revitalised sales team?

Here are some fun (and always strategic – you know us!) sales conference ideas to kickstart a new year.

1. Challenge retreat for team building

Scientific research has shown that stability is like a shut-off switch in your brain. It deactivates certain neural pathways in the brain impacting innovation and creativity. Time to get your team out of the office and out of their comfort zone, we think! A retreat that challenges attendees from start to finish is a way to not only get those neural pathways fired up but also creates situations for team bonding.

Firstly, keep everything on the down-low. Don’t let attendees know where they are going. Provide logistical information about where to meet and what to pack and that’s it. This creates a thread of discomfort about not knowing what to expect that connects the group together. They’re all in this together!

Head away and outdoors. Why? Because you’ll improve your sales team’s creativity by 50%! A study in the US found people scored 50% better on a creativity test after spending four days in nature without any electronic devices.

Create situations where attendees can work together. It may be something as simple as getting a fire started, setting up camp, crossing a river or something a little more adrenalin-inducing like abseiling down a cliff. When team members can work together in the middle of nowhere, they can certainly work together back in an office environment.

Sales conference ideas to kick start 2019 / We Are Solution Entertainment

2. Unite a team to focus on a shared goal 

Drip-feeding information to a group working towards a common goal is a simple but highly effective way to educate a team about the importance of team work. Add a little bit of fun and a whole lot of hands-on experience and you can demonstrate, in practical terms, the benefits of teams working towards a common goal.

As part of a sales conference where the objective was to unite previously splintered sales teams to focus on a combined sales target, attendees were split into groups and asked to make pasta – literally – without any information or guidelines. They were given the ingredients and the pasta maker and that was it. Confusion reigned but each group made pasta, then were brought back together to discuss what worked best for each group. Armed with that shared information, the groups were asked to go back and make pasta again…and again…and again. The physical outcome? Fabulous fresh pasta! The strategic outcome? The groups understood that when they shared information freely, each group consistently improved and performed better. Clever!

Sales conference ideas to kick start 2019 / We Are Solution Entertainment

3. Reward and celebrate achievements

Party time! Not quite. Celebrating and rewarding a sales team at a conference still needs a strategic approach.

Treat your top performers to a high-end luxury week away as a thank you for their hard work, but also weave in opportunities for them to improve their performance again and again. How does having some one-on-one time with a top entrepreneur sound? Richard Branson offers this as part of a visit to Necker Island – wow!

Creating supersonic celebration events that connect with attendees on an emotional level will always make them feel valued and appreciated. Solution Entertainment created an on-trend interactive giant playground for the after-party of Real Estate Australia’s fabulous awards event. Crown’s Palladium was transformed into a summer street party, with its very own park, pub, front gardens, water fountains and even an ice cream van! With an epic dance battle, kick ass band, awesome DJs, there was a full dancefloor from the first minute to the last!

The company celebrated, attendee’s felt appreciated and we had a whole lot of fun doing it!

Need to revitalise your sales team and performance for 2019? Have a chat with our Team here.

Sales conference ideas to kick start 2019 / We Are Solution Entertainment

Innovation in Event Design and Production: Some rules are meant to be broken

We understand there those that follow the rules, we get it. It’s safe there. You always know what you will get. No surprises. No shocks.

Then there are those who break the rules. The innovators, the disruptors, the ones who push past what people think is possible. Plenty of surprises. Those creating something no one has ever experienced before.

At Solution Entertainment, we’re all about impact. Those moments that create lasting behavioural change for our client’s audiences. And if you want to create impact, you need to do things differently.

You need to break some rules…

Rule #1: It’s all about the client

Nope! That may sound controversial, but it’s not all about the client. It’s about their audience and their target market. Every logistical, technological and design decision is made considering audience mindset. Placing the audience experience, needs, wants, behaviours and expectations at the centre of the event connects them to the brand in a much deeper way.

Innovation in Event Design and Production: Some rules are meant to be broken / We Are Solution Entertainment

Rule #2 Tell the attendees what they want or need to know

Now, this sounds perfectly reasonable. Of course a brand should tell the attendees about their product, what it does and how it does it, and why they should buy it or use it. Right? Wrong. We say show, don’t tell. Launching a new car? What would have more impact? Parking that car in an event space and having an engineer explain the inner workings of the engine? Or whisking some key influencers away to compete in an exciting car rally – think Targa Tasmania – to really SHOW and connect the influencer to the car’s performance?

Rule #3 Keep your audience comfortable

Did you know stepping out of your comfort zone increases productivity, makes it easier to deal with new and unexpected changes and improves creativity? Creating feelings of uncertainty and taking risks in a controlled environment can have a huge emotional impact on an audience.

Manufacturing an experience where audiences challenge themselves and succeed at something creates an emotional connection to an event or brand. It’s called productive discomfort and introducing it into an event journey is a subtle way to align their personal experience positively with the brand.

Of course keep everyone fed, watered and safe – we don’t want anyone at risk! But if you’re launching a new active wear range, do it at a rock climbing centre, where everyone channels their inner mountain goat and has a go at climbing. Or run orienteering challenges at a sales conference where teams are dropped at a particular starting point and need to get themselves back to a designated destination by a certain time.

Positively uncomfortable experiences can help people see old problems in a new light, tackle challenges with new energy and increase creativity. Imagine having your brand connected with those sorts of emotional impacts.

Innovation and new ideas for event design and production are second nature to our team. Have a chat with one of our event team members here.

Innovation in Event Design and Production: Some rules are meant to be broken / We Are Solution Entertainment

Product launches that connect your brand to your audience

Everyone loves being a part of something new, right? People inherently get excited about being the first to touch, feel, see and experience something fresh and fabulous.

A product launch should activate emotions through a positive experience. When this happens, it triggers a strong connection to a product or brand and you have yourself a wonderful new walking talking brand ambassador.

Brand alignment

Connect the values of a brand to the attendee’s experience. We did this at a Google Cloud Security launch event at the Australian Technology Park by combining personal touchpoints with state-of the-art technology. Activations included a welcome zone with custom-built breakout spaces, custom water stations with Moda Sparkling on tap and a life-size sushi train. Add in transitional tunnels, a keynote speaker zone and a demo zone with a Virtual Reality station and you have total immersion. When an event experience is cohesive and sits comfortably within the brand values, the guest’s connection to the brand and product strengthens, activating positive behavioural change.

Location location

A well thought out location can optimise brand alignment and exclusivity. What will appeal to your brand’s audience? Play on the curiosity factor and find a new venue that not many (if any) people have been to.

Solution Entertainment chose a luxury home in Sydney’s prestigious Eastern suburbs to launch the Ferrari 448 GTB. Remember we talked about the voyeur in all of us before? Well, an invitation to a luxury home no one had been to before, a stunning harbour backdrop (and us craning the Ferrari in!) created an event buzz and strong attendance from the VIP audience the client was targeting.

And what about the computer brand that invites shop floor teams from home entertainment and electrical retailers to high-end nightclubs when they’re launching a new product? The result? Through the roof attendance rate and a captivated audience!

Immersion and activation

Take it to the streets with an exciting immersive experience that connects with the target market but also creates energy, excitement and curiosity among the public. Taking over Pitt Street Mall in Sydney for a full day event, Solution Entertainment did this when we created a Cuban Festival for a client. Our strategy focused on engagement activities to drive social awareness – an influencer VIP area, custom Cadillac photo activation, an expertly choreographed disruptive parade – all strategies that immerse the audience but also connect with the curiosity of the greater community, both in real life and on social media.

Product launches that connect your brand to your audience / We Are Solution Entertainment

The proof is in the pudding

A launch isn’t just about holding up the new product and saying, ‘look at this now go buy it’, it’s also about connecting the product to credibility and its purpose.

A shoe company launched a line of fashionable AND comfortable shoes by setting a Guinness World Record for the World’s Longest Catwalk with models wearing their shoes of course, and proving they were indeed comfortable.

A triathlete and healthy living coach whose brand values focused on achievement, launched his new program by cycling around Australia! Both these brands proved through their launch strategy that their products and services worked and had credibility. A simple strategy but highly effective.

Surprise!

The surprise factor is a fun way to create buzz in a lead-up to a launch event. Prior to the launch of a book being launched, the marketing team placed copies of the book across a city in cafes, bus stops, trains – places people would be likely to pick it up. On the top of the book was a little note about the book encouraging them to share it on social media. The result? A whole lot of buzz about the book prior to the launch, and people who didn’t know the new author and the book ended up with it in their hand. Smart!

Looking for some fresh ideas on your next brand or product launch? Check out these projects for inspiration.

Product launches that connect your brand to your audience / We Are Solution Entertainment

What makes a corporate event memorable?

Product launches, networking drinks, an industry conference, five day exhibition, gala dinner, awards nights……the list goes on.

Regular corporate do’s across the event landscape means people have been exposed to plenty of different types of events and can be forgiven if they are a little jaded when attending yet another corporate function.

So what makes a corporate event memorable? What makes it stand out in the sea of pre-dinner drinks, name tags, canapes, expo booths and cover bands?

Matching objectives to every element of the event

Before you book a venue or cast your eyes over a catering contract, define the audience you are targeting and the objectives of the event. Then connect every single decision you make about the event – décor, styling, entertainment, interaction, guest speakers, food, drinks, content, the flow of the program – to that audience and the objective of the event.

Is it an internal event to ensure staff feel appreciated and accepting of strategic changes in the business? Or is it a client facing event designed to engage further with your customer base and/or attract new ones? Is it a celebration event for the industry to encourage business confidence and financial investment?

Strategic decisions that match every element of the event to the objective will give the event meaning, and connect on a deeper level with the audience.

What makes a corporate event memorable? / Solution Entertainment

Giving the audience something to relive

Are people still talking about the event the next day, week or month around the office? Reminiscing positively about a corporate event with workmates, family or friends means the event has connected on an emotional level with the audience and created a positive memory. That positive memory will now be associated with your event or brand and they’ll be keen to attend again or connect with your brand through purchasing the product or service associated with it. 

Emotional connection = behavioural change

We have mentioned establishing an event objective, but also consider setting a behavioural objective. How do people feel and what do they do BEFORE they attend your corporate event? Define that then define how you would like people to feel and what you would like them to do AFTER the event. This is the behavioural objective.

Create a ‘moment’ or a series of ‘moments’ within the event that will evoke an emotional response – whether that be excitement, awe, sadness, elation, whatever it may be – to move them. To give them an opportunity to emotionally connect with the reason they are attending. That emotional connection will then lead to behavioural change, which is what truly makes a corporate event memorable for all parties involved.

Want to see what a memorable event looks like? Check out some of our recent corporate events here.

What makes a corporate event memorable? / Solution Entertainment

Event Production and Management: How immersive experiences connect your brand to your audience

Once upon a time, an event was a logistical, methodical experience. You arrived at a venue, were given a drink, sat at a table, ate some food, listened to someone speak, ate some more food. Went home.

Not overly inspiring, really. And certainly not an experience that would change a person’s behaviour, make them think and act differently, or connect to a brand or product.

So what changed? Event producers looked into the psychology of events and recognised an immersive event experience was a fast and reliable way to change human behaviour and have the audience connect to a particular brand.

We’re so busy and distracted these days, living in a state of flux. When an event manages to evoke an emotional reaction through humanising the experience (getting below the surface of our ‘busyness’) that’s when behaviour will change. When an individual connects the positive state of being they are in with your brand or product, that will give you a deeper connection.

So how do immersive experiences connect your brand to your audience?

Through Activating the Five Senses

What tells somebody’s brain and heart they are feeling good? The five senses. When sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste are activated in an event environment, emotions are heightened.

Do this through the styling of a room, music, entertainment or soundscape choices, food and drink options, and giving audiences the chance to touch and feel the product.

Event Production and Management: How immersive experiences connect your brand to your audience / Solution Entertainment

By making memories

Think about the first concert you went to. You might not remember where it was or if you bought a t-shirt or what songs they sang. But you will remember how being at that concert made you feel – the elation, the excitement. Positive emotions turn into strong memories. If you can connect a positive memory to your brand for an individual, every time they see your product or experience your brand in some way, that warm, fuzzy feeling will appear connecting your brand to their feel good factor.

Via managing people’s behaviour

Be bold and tell people how they are going to feel at your event. Disneyland’s tagline is ‘The happiest place on earth’. It’s a person’s expectation that when they go to Disneyland, they’ll be happy. That’s WHY they go. It’s surprising how easily led us humans can be! A haunted house runs along the same theory. Apply the same concept to your event to manage expectations and behaviour.

Through the art of storytelling

Creating a story in and around the entire event or experience resonates deeply with individuals as they become part of the story. Theme parks have been doing this with huge success for years. Line up for a ride and you’re immersed in the theme of the ride through décor and background audio. Placing audiences within a storyline will create strong emotional responses. Senses are heightened, emotions are activated, memories are created and ultimately linked to your brand.

Becoming a way of life

Authentic, immersive experiences link to becoming a way of life for people. Brands such as Apple and Nike are strong because individuals resonate with their brand values and how interacting with their products make them feel. When people wear Nike, they feel active and brave and ready to ‘just do it’. This becomes their way of thinking. Look at how loyal Apple users are to their brand (Apple vs PC). The fact that they only purchase Apple products has simply become a way of life for them. No question.

The emotional aspects of the mind impact how we make decisions. Feelings and emotional resonance are the most powerful aspects of brand-building. The moment you tap into that through immersive and experiential events is the moment your brand becomes connected to your audience, and changes consumer behaviour.

We have been producing immersive experiences for our clients for more than 10 years. See more of the event experiences here.

Event Production and Management: How immersive experiences connect your brand to your audience / Solution Entertainment

End of year celebration ideas for connection and impact

While it may be tempting to organise an end of year celebration that is just about drinking and dancing the night away, that approach may disconnect rather than engage your people.

End of year events are definitely about celebration and letting one’s hair down, but a well-crafted event that connects staff to company culture, values and achievements makes the event experience more meaningful and can improve staff morale significantly.

So how do you transform an end of year celebration from a run of the mill, fuzzy feel good event to an immersive experience that creates emotional and impactful connections for your people and your company?

1. MATCH THE COMPANY CULTURE TO THE PARTY EXPERIENCE

End of year events are about thanking people in a meaningful way and giving them the opportunity to relax and feel appreciated. Demonstrating this through an event that reflects the company culture and demographics of the staff will make that appreciation more meaningful and have lasting impact.

If your company ethos is about agility and energy, a busy and tactile experience with lots of activities and action will engage. Creative companies love being surprised with unusual venues or left-field entertainment choices. Or a more traditional, corporate culture would connect beautifully with a five-star sit down meal and impressive after-dinner entertainment.

2. CONNECTING PEOPLE THROUGH FUN

It’s amazing to see people’s personalities transform when they feel carefree and connect with their inner child. We are seeing a huge trend towards event experiences that make partygoers feel like they are a kid again! Think ball pits and oversized retro games. Or feasting on ice creams and fairy floss surrounded by giant ice blocks and rock candy! Humanising the event experience is the key to connecting with your people. It’s all very Insta-worthy too!

3. FOLLOW THE 80-20 RULE

The best thing about organisations is they are made up of a diverse group of people with varying interests, backgrounds and skills. Because of that, you should never take a cookie-cutter approach to events. Work off the 80-20 rule. There will always be 20% of people that may not love all the things you have created and organised, so cater for the masses – the remaining 80% – but then also create some chill out zones or other areas and activities that allows that 20% to still feel valued and appreciated, just in a different or more subtle way.

The key is connection. By connecting the event experience to the company culture, you’ll connect your people to their emotions, which in turn connects an increase in staff morale to overall improved business performance.

Don’t you love it when a plan comes together?

We use immersive experiences to affect meaningful change in the hearts and minds of your audience. Our role is to architect an atmosphere that transforms your message into a movement. See what we have done for some of our clients.

End of year celebration ideas for connection and impact / We Are Solution Entertainment

Corporate Christmas Party Checklist

Welcome to the double-edged sword of planning a corporate Christmas party!

It can be a whole lot of fun creating an experience that celebrates the end of the working year, yet it can also be fraught with danger. Office politics, keeping a mixed demographic of people fed, watered and entertained, and juggling budgets.

So how do you walk the tightrope of party planning with grace and skill?

We’ve popped together a cheeky checklist to help you pull a corporate Christmas party together.

PRE-EVENT

  • Get strategic and match the event experience to company objectives and culture.
  • Allocate roles and responsibilities to the event planning team.
  • Research venues, suppliers, AV and production, catering options, styling elements and entertainment and from that, create a budget that captures all expenses associated with the event.
  • Create event documents to support you in managing the event such as checklists and a project plan and a critical path.
  • Get in touch with all suppliers and make sure all deposits and progress payments have been paid, and contracts have been signed before event delivery. You don’t want any nasty surprises on the day of the party!
  • Update and distribute all event delivery documents such as floor plans and runsheets with final numbers and details to all stakeholders.

PARTY TIME!

  • Keep the set up on schedule by checking in with supplier’s onsite and making sure deliveries, suppliers and staff are in the right place at the right time.
  • Run a technical rehearsal with the AV / Event production team followed by a final check of the set up: styling, AV, venue, seating, tables, and stage.
  • Manage any last minute details such as no-shows, changes to the table plan, late dietary requirements.
  • Open the doors!

IT’S ALL OVER

  • Reconcile the event budget.
  • Send out a post-party survey to those who attended (maybe give them a little time to recover) to look for opportunities to improve and find out what really resonated with them.
  • Hold a final production meeting with key event partners and suppliers and the event team to also look at what went well and what could improve for the future. From that and the post-event survey, collate feedback and provide a post-event report.
  • Put your feet up and have a little champagne. Good job!

This checklist will help you keep the show on the road, so to speak. Or if that looks like a bit too much to take on and deal with, you can always partner with Solution Entertainment and we can manage that checklist (or parts of it) for you.

Creating Event Hype in a world of Event Fatigue

 

Industry and social media are flooded with events and the latest launches. We know how to ensure people will love your event once they get there. But how do you get them excited about going in the first place?

 It appears that between the races, launches and seasonal functions, there are just non-stop events. While there hasn’t necessarily been a rise in the number of events, social media exposure has given the impression that there’s a non-stop party out there. This isn’t necessarily a negative or positive, but it does shift the importance of the vital components of event planning.

Creating hype all comes back to the objective of the event and the outcomes required. With some clients, it’s all about the music line-up and keeping it fresh and invigorating. With others, it’s all about the food offering and the celeb chef that will be writing the menu. It all comes back to the event, the audience and how to connect with them in a positive manner that means something to them. Depending on the client, you also need to ensure there’s a sense of urgency of exclusivity. This may mean limiting ticketing numbers, ensuring there are VIPs or utilising a venue that’s totally out of the box.

So how do you ensure your guests keep talking about your event after the fact?

1.    Create a positive experience;

2.    Ensure every touch point is considered and ties back into the purpose of the event; and

3.     Connect the event to the individual. Ensure every person attending feels as though it was specifically for them.

This aspect of personalisation is really where we see events stand out, and something that should be considered in all cases. It leads to attendee satisfaction (and consequently client satisfaction!) and an increase in the likelihood of social shares. It’s also something that can be brought in right from the start when inviting guests and creating hype.

 When thinking about event fatigue, don’t just focus on your guests. Ensure your staff remain fresh and connected with everything you do. Run creativity workshops internally to ensure all staff are aligned.

The Big Picture: Why ‘Tis the Season and What it Means for Your Staff

It’s no secret that this is a crazy time of year for events! At Solution Entertainment it is Christmas Party madness and we’re loving every second. We’re working on national and international end-of-years events for major corporations as well as bespoke events for smaller clients. They are all challenging and exciting in their own way and we can’t wait until the guests are able to see what we have planned! We also look forward to our annual Myer contract, so if anyone on the naughty list needs us to put in a good word with Santa, we’ve got a direct line. (We book every Santa Claus, Mrs Claus and Santa Helper in over 47 stores!)

Straight from the races where we booked heaps of the entertainment in the Birdcage, into Christmas and already planning for the Grand Prix and Australian Open…but WHY? Is it all just about throwing a massive party? It’s actually not about the party itself at all. It’s about showing staff that you’re invested in them. Whether it’s sending staff to the races to network or throwing an awards night, the impact for employees is huge. We have retail clients who throw late November functions heading into the busy Christmas period and it’s phenomenal to see how staff morale goes up. It’s a way to show appreciation for hard work over the year and to inspire people for the year ahead. And it’s amazing to be a part of that transformative experience.

One of the first questions I ask a client is about the ROI they’re looking for. What is the objective of your event? Activations for the public are based on branding and prospects, internal events are measured by staff morale. High end, bespoke events are based on engagement. That’s what I love about the industry, it allows you to create an experience based on an objective, and making that objective come to life to have guests ‘feel’ what you are trying to achieve. Conversely, the opposite is also true. A company who doesn’t invest in these sort of events runs the risk of staff having low morale and falling behind the competition. It’s not about the size and cost of an event. It’s about the intention and thought behind it.

We love working with clients that are trust us with their vision and let us push the boundaries. This year, Chemist Warehouse has a “Chemchella” theme with national appearances by Fatman Scoop, Ruby Rose, Havana Brown, Peking Duk and a heap of other local talent! We can’t wait. But it’s not just about securing the big names. The key to a successful and well received event is to avoid a cookie cutter approach. Think about what your company is really about. Think about your culture and what your business stands for. It’s about using a surprising venue or a DJ with a sax instead of a boring corporate band. Use signage that reflects your business and pick an on trend theme.

And of course, engage experts to make sure you’ve got everything covered!