“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” – Benjamin Franklin
In his 84 years, Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals, the lightning rod and the Franklin stove. He served as Pennsylvania Governor, U.S. Postmaster and is one of our nation’s Founding Fathers. He published Poor Richard’s Almanack, among other notable works, and established the University of Pennsylvania. And though they are plenty, these are only a few of Benjamin Franklin’s great accomplishments. With all of this under his belt, it’s probably safe to say he was also an expert on organization.
Being organized is important in every aspect of life, and the impact of being otherwise can be detrimental. For example, having clutter adds 40% more house cleaning; in fact, looking for lost items takes up a year of our lives. In business, it’s estimated that disorganization can result in a manager losing one hour of productivity per day. At a salary of $65,000, the annual damage to employers is more than $8,000! When you consider these statistics as it relates to your experiential events, one can imagine the time and money at stake.
Why Organization Matters in Experiential Events
The basis of experiential marketing is the experience. Being face-to-face with attendees allows them to see and ‘feel’ your brand. Your logo and name are made human, and you have the chance to build an emotional connection that lasts for years. So, imagine your event staff show up late. Imagine they don’t have the answers to attendees’ questions and critical components never make it for event set up. Now, imagine your attendees’ overall event experience and their subsequent perception of your brand. You’ve wasted an invaluable opportunity. And, you’ve likely lost the possibility of them purchasing from you forever.
This illustrates the first argument for organized events: your attendees’ satisfaction. Yet, disorganization can also affect the stress level of your event staff. As your experiential event’s most valuable asset, it’s crucial these individuals remain confident and focused on achieving your goals. Your success hinges on their capabilities, so make sure your event is organized behind the scenes to ensure an equally put-together presentation on the front lines.
5 Ways to Organize Your Experiential Events From the Bottom Up
Avoid event chaos with the following five tips to organize your experiential events.
1. Know your goal.
You may have a specific sales goal related to a new product. Or, you may want to revive your brand image. Whatever your aim, let it be the basis for everything you do, both in planning and execution. Then, when a question or issue arises, ask yourself if it contributes to meeting your goal. For example, someone may suggest you hand out various branded swag. Yet, if you can see no correlation to how the items tie into your messaging or brand, or how they impact your objective, the idea may not be relevant to your efforts. Making this question a regular practice will help you to cut unnecessary clutter from your event, staying on task and in budget. It will also help you make better choices – in the case of event swag, choose items that will drive consumers to make a purchase after the event. This can be an item that correlates with what you are offering. For example, if an airline wants passengers to purchase their new in-flight entertainment service, handing out free headphones at the gate might encourage people to make the purchase.
2. Have a detailed event plan.
Once you know your goal, outline an event plan to support its fulfillment. Your line items should be as high-level as your location and date and as intricate as your social media hashtag and event staff uniform. Then, as you work through these details, you’ll uncover necessary resources. Take the time to delegate tasks as these needs emerge, and then make the event plan available to all team members. This will serve to hold everyone accountable to reach milestones on time.
3. Give event staff the info they need.
One of your brand’s most important characteristics for consumers is authenticity. When they interact with your event staff, they will expect them to represent your brand image, but also be knowledgeable and transparent. Not having clear talking points and brand knowledge can put unnecessary stress on event staff and alienate attendees. This makes training a vital component of any experiential event.
You’ll need to provide your staff with your event goals, brand knowledge and specific talking points (those key messages you want attendees to remember). Other details will be specific to their job duties, including where and when to arrive at the event and what to wear. Your event plan may also help uncover additional items for team instruction that will ensure a better event experience.
4. Name an on-site point person.
Equipped with the right information, your event staff should be ready to go on activation day. But, as we know, even the best laid plans can go awry. That makes an on-site manager or team lead (multiple managers for large-scale events) a must-have for behind-the-scenes organization.
Your point person may face a variety of challenges. These range from the last-minute removal of a staff member to following through with a contingency plan. He or she must be able to be flexible, creative and make quick decisions. Above all, he or she must be able to stay calm under pressure to help manage the staff and maintain a united front.
5. Incorporate technology.
The right technology can automate processes and provide efficiency. And, the right event staffing technology will do the same for your experiential events. This includes the logging of team hours, team/client communication, and even geo-location of staff.
It can also help event staff collect data from attendees, instead of relying on paper lead forms or manual methods. Mobile technology should be a part of the event’s flow, whether in text-to-win contests, product sampling or coupon/offer distribution and more.
Staying organized throughout all stages of planning ensures that event day will come with less stress and better opportunities to reach event goals. An event marketing strategy can succeed only when everything has been checked off your very long event management list.
Behind every organized event are comprehensive tools to help teams achieve success. Since 1999, EPS has assisted hundreds of companies and brands behind-the-scenes of their experiential events. Our passion for event marketing is why we created the Ultimate Experiential Marketing Staffing Guide and Checklist. Download it for free below and introduce a little more organization into your future events.