Event manager Zoe Lucy fields questions from the Hotcow team about how the right staff can make all the difference at an experiential event, her expectations of staff and how they bring Experiential to life.
How important do you think the staff are to the success of an event?
“I believe that staff are the most important element to any experiential event. I believe without great, motivated, dedicated people being ambassadors for your brand, all the hard creative, planning and logistical work is wasted. The only people that can bring the brand and products alive on the day are the brand ambassadors you have representing it. If they are not excited about a product how can you�expect the consumers to be? Consumers feed off the positive energy that surrounds a good event.”
What do you expect from your staff?
“In any industry you have employees that are just there to collect a paycheque and they are not the people I enjoy working with! I want to work with people who share the same passion as me, who thrive off consumer interaction and realise we are part of a bigger picture. What we do may be a small cog in a massive machine but it is really important. It’s not just a leaflet or a sample – we are invaluable to a brand’s development and consumers’ reactions to it. We are the front line! I guess in short I just want people to care as much as me and take ownership – even if it is just for one day – and do the very best job they can. On the flip-side, I will not tolerate anything I deem to be detrimental to a brand or event.”
Events can often be hard work. How do you keep your staff motivated and get the most out of them?
“As an event manager I obviously have many elements to my job, but I make it a priority to make sure my staff stay happy and motivated. Without their dedication to the brand and event we achieve nothing. Consumers will only walk away with a positive brand experience if they feel that the brand ambassador has taken the time to make them feel special and that can sometimes be as simple as a smile and a good morning!
To keep staff motivated i think it is very important not to forget where we all started and that some days events are tough especially when you are working long hours or have bad weather. I apply the same philosophy in all aspects of life ‘treat people as you would like to be treated yourself!’. My staff’s welfare is very important to me and by being compassionate to their needs I gain their respect. Some event managers cut down on breaks but I think this is wrong – how can you you expect people to stay motivated if they are tired and irritable?! It’s hard to repeat the same key message for 8 hours. I’m always happy to pitch in and be the loudest brand ambassador there if I see morale dipping!”
More and more brands are beginning to engage their consumers by giving them experiences. As someone in the ‘front line’, how effective do you think these are?
“I think that if consumers experience a brand they have a greater awareness of the products – an experience stays with you. Consumers associate the experience they had when choosing products and if this was a positive one, they are more likely to recall that memory and choose that brand. Experiential Marketing creates fantastic Brand loyalty.”
We have been having some hot debates about what Experiential Marketing actually is. How would you define experiential marketing?
“I think Experiential Marketing is making a Brand and its products come alive! Even seemingly simple or mundane products can be made exciting in the way they are marketed – it can add a new dimension to products that people wouldn’t necessarily see. Giving consumers the chance to see, taste, feel and engage with a brand or product gives them valuable knowledge that they can use to make an informed choice when purchasing in the future. Consumers are more likely to choose a product that they have tried, been informed about or have a good memory of an experience provided by the product or brand.”
What benefits do you think experiential events have for both brand and consumer?
“Experiential Marketing puts the brand out there ‘In the firing line!’ to hear first hand consumer reactions to the product. This is invaluable to product development and gauging a product’s likely success. It is also invaluable to put a ‘Face’ to the Brand. Having been on many experiential events, I believe face-to-face is the best way for a brand to gain their consumers’ trust. That personal level of interaction is great for listening, advising and building a good rapport. A truly great brand ambassador should become an authority on any product that they are promoting even if it is just for one day!
The big benefit for consumers is that often they can try the product! This is really important as it can make a consumer switch brands or choose a product they wouldn’t have normally considered. Immersing them in a brand experience means consumers invariably have fun and enjoy the experience which adds a great memory to any sample they walk away with.”
You have great experience as an event manager. What is the best event you have worked on in terms of getting customers to engage with a brand and why? What elements made it so successful?
“The Kate Spade pop up store with Hotcow was an amazing event! It was really hard work but we had so much fun creating the excitement surrounding the store. At first i thought no one would take the balloons as they were enormous and people would be too self conscious to walk along with them i couldn’t have been more wrong! It was infectious! The whole of Covent Garden was a sea of red balloons. Seeing grown men and women being taken back to their childhood made it a really powerful event.
Many people visited the store and we increased footfall but I think importantly people appreciated the gesture and the sense of fun that Kate Spade had created. I mean its not every day you see a forty something, immaculately suited gentleman skipping along with a large red balloon! I think it encompassed everything Kate Spade ‘the brand’ is about – slightly kooky and immense fun, just like the way they will take a plain jacket and put a really crazy lining in it. We had people walking from Oxford Street and the surrounding areas just to get a balloon such was the buzz about it!”
“In conclusion that’s what we do we create a buzz, we get people talking, we get people engaging with a brand doing things they wouldn’t normally do, trying products they wouldn’t normally buy. That is the power of experiential marketing. We take the products to the people and say we love this brand, we love this product try it and you may love it too… ”
For more information on staffing, contact us.
Hotcow is a multi-award winning brand engagement agency specialising in experiential marketing. Our mission is simple: to help brands understand the power of “experience-based marketing” and offer expertise in how to develop, plan and execute campaigns in the right way to get the right results, while showing that every pound spent is measurable. Visit www.hotcow.co.uk for more information.