Last week we had the opportunity to head to our first event of the year, with 2020’s Event Production Show. All kinds of companies specialising in event services were out in force to present their products and services to potential partners, leading up to event season.
From premium furniture leasing, portable bars and sound system hire all the way to AR treasure hunt experiences, hedge renting and dry-ice-cream. The stands and promotional experiences were all fantastic and gave us a great grasp on some of the event trends you might come across or use this event season.
When it comes to standing out and attracting footfall to your event presence, you need to implore creative thinking and use new technology to stay ahead of the curve.
Impactful Stand Design
Walking around the event floor we were initially hit with impressive stands going above and beyond what your standard stalls achieve in terms of impact.
Interesting design and layout surpassed basic cubicles, LED screens and lighting were in no short supply and fake foliage seemed to be littered everywhere. There was definitely an emphasis on visual sensation and the stands that stood out were utilising both design and function.
Engaging audiences with intimate experiences and well-designed stands can truly elevate the impact you have on visitors. Expressing how your brand operates by going above and beyond in stand design.
Gamification, the new normal
The trend of gamification has been recognised these past few years as a big trend in encouraging customer interactions. With a number of brands offering bespoke branded gamified solutions.
From classic arcade games like skee ball, that could be altered depending on the client/event, to escape room-like games involving a bomb you had to disarm with the help of a teammate. Many of these activities are now targeted at internal events, to drive teambuilding.
A lot of the games we found brands exhibiting came with a promise of being able to customise. As most people have seen most games out there but having a personalised version offers a new experience for visitors.
Augmented Reality, Real Experiences
Augmented reality offers a way for customers to own the gaming experience.
One company, in particular, Handla.io were offering a service through an app that utilises your phone's camera to conduct an augmented reality treasure hunt around an event. With hidden barcodes that once you scan can either show hidden treasure or more kid-friendly cuddly animals you have to free from captivity.
The possibilities for tech like this expand what’s possible when trying to offer a truly unique experience to your event visitors.
All bespoke everything
A general theme we came across at this year’s event was companies offering a level of personalisation along with their products. Whether it be a branded video game or branded frames for a hired kiosk bespoke options seemed to be built into standard packages.
So, we can only expect this year to see exhibitors really consolidating the experiences they offer prospects at events. Ensuring everything is on-brand, helping customers feel they have had a unique experience, and create and share content around that.
Don’t teach a man to fish, feed him instead
There’s always been a pretty sure-fire way to draw traffic to your stands, people just can’t turn down a free snack or beverage. This idea has been taken and ran within full force at this year’s event production show.
With companies crafting new experiences around the offering of free food and snacks, making something very mundane into the extraordinary. Ice-cream made from dry ice and edible bubbles are just some of the few innovations in food tech we saw.
Alcohol is also a massive driver for brands at events however, this year we were seeing bespoke cocktails made professional in front of your eyes. Offering a visual as well as a flavoursome one. Giving some personalisation to the experience really helps a brand stand out from anyone offering generic mojitos.
Ever thought about inhaling your booze? Yeah me neither. But an innovation that seemed to draw a lot of attention was a mysterious tesla coil-like orb, with an ominous purple glow like a 50s B movie space ship and alcoholic mist that you could suck up with a straw.
Physical over digital
The growing trend of having something tangible for your visitors to play, experience and hold in their hands for sure doesn’t seem to be going away this year.
Having something a visitor can walk away with, makes it that much more likely that customers will share their experiences with their network. Brands like Luster who offer 3D installations that event guests can manipulate with hashtagged photos.
They also offered users a chance to instantaneously print their polaroid style pics with a hashtag, which can act like a “loudspeaker” for your brand at an event. Pictures are visual memories a visitor can leave with cementing that link between guest and brand.
What will we see in 2020?
This event season we expect big things, seeing at the Event production show just what trends have remained relevant and what new ones seem to be making an impact.
It seemed like all the exciting new trends appealed to customer’s inner child, we want a chance to eat, play and interact! Understanding these basic psychological needs will help you capture people’s imagination and interest. As Steve Jobs famously said:
"The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have."
If you’d like to see some of last years event trends then take a look at the Best creative event data capture strategies from Info Security 2019.
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