We live in an era of choice and personalisation – from what we watch on television, to how we take our coffee. Jeremy Shakerley, managing director of creative communications agency UKSV, takes a look at how this modern preoccupation is manifesting in the design and execution of corporate events.
From Coke bottles labelled with first names, to the predictive adverts on our social media feeds, personalisation is everywhere.
The archetypes of mass marketing, mass catering and pretty much any other model of mass delivery are making way for the ideas of niche appeal, segmentation, relationship building and one-to-one approaches. With technology making it ever easier to determine and cater to the wants and needs of individuals, people now expect and demand their products and services do just that.
This paradigm shift has for some time been reflected in the events sector. A one-size-fits all approach no longer cuts it; instead you need to be creating an individualised experience – you need to get personal.
A personal journey
Invitations personalised with names are just the starting point. Providing content, links and push-notifications tailored to the individual, and concierge-style chat bots on website landing pages can all help give attendees the sense that an event is right for them.
Data gathered at registrationthenprovides an opportunity to provide custom-built event agendas, which in turn can be fed into an event app. Large venues might have a lot on offer, so an app which can keep track of a guest’s personal schedule, make recommendations, help arrange meetings and access session resources serves to make it feel more personalised.
New technologies can take this impression even further. Facial recognition devices can allow attendees to be admitted to an event by simply walking up to a camera, while smart name badges can trigger personalised messages on media screens around the venue.
Networking opportunities are often one of the big draws of an event or conference, and using data to help this process along is a great example of the personalisation agenda adding value. AI platforms can act as virtual matchmakers, linking attendees with others with similar business interests both before and during an event, either in personal or online.
A palette of palates
Esoteric is the new normal when it comes to food, so just offering a veggie and meat option is likely to leave many disappointed. Wherever possible there should be enough choice to cater for the plethora of pallets and eating habits now commonplace.
From Twitter walls, to live polls, to hashtags, the feedback and opinions of those attending events has become part of the experience, even shaping and driving content live. Providing opportunities for interaction will not only help attendees feel more engaged, it can help you create better content and experiences. That goes for downtime too – so think about customisable photobooths, lounge areas where the furniture can be shifted about, interactive touch screens, and even lighting which responds to the movement of people within a space.
Strike a balance
There is a fine line between a personalised experience, and one that is invasive, so avoid asking unnecceary personal questions, or demanding an excess of decisions. The aim is to create the impression that an event is catering to individual needs and interests – not rinsing attendees for data or bombarding them with information. You also need to be clear about how you intend to use personal data and keep it safe in order to be compliant with the new GDPR regulations.
Time to get personal?
Technology has given us a unique opportunity to really get to know the people attending our events and provide them with an even better, more relevant, more personalised experience. Getting that right works for your guests, your clients and you too.
To find out more about UKSV visit – www.uksv.co.uk