We’re seeing a shift in the way corporate events and conferences are developing in 2020. For lack of a better word, and because we haven’t seen anyone else call it anything yet, we’re calling it “sharing and pairing”.
Here’s an example of what it looks like:
A finance organisation approaches us to create a memorable staff recognition event for their hard-working admin team as Financial Year End approaches.
No problem. Any events company can do this with their eyes closed. Fire, plus meat and alcohol, equals happy staff. Or to be a bit fancier replace fire and meat with cheese, crackers, and wine. Lots of wine. Heck, the admin team could even arrange it if that’s all that you want.
The key word here is ‘memorable’. The old ‘cheese and wine pairing’ routine won’t cut it and hasn’t since the 80’s. Insert whatever cliched corporate event springs to mind: it could be ‘coffee and chocolate’ or even ‘slideshow and breakfast’. Regardless, these events seldom achieve what organisations hope they will, and they are most certainly not memorable.
So how do we proceed? The upward trend we’re noticing is a convergence of ideas, speakers, brands, and products that compliment each other, and engage the audience, all in one sitting.
Back to our exhausted admin team. They’ve worked hard, they need some special R&R. So here’s what we do. As their event planner, we find and book a trendy venue in a vibey part of town, with food worth salivating over. But, that’s not all. We also invite a local car dealership, and a nearby wine cellar to the event. Car dealership? To a finance party?
That’s the magic. Dinner is not just dinner anymore. Aside from great service, a brilliant atmosphere and delicious food, our tired admin team also experiences the best wines to pair with their courses from an expert, with tastings and Q&A included. The wine cellar provides the wine and expert as part of their own marketing efforts, and the admin team enjoys the wine. Double win. There’s also a talk to empower ladies by demonstrating how to change your own tyre from the local car dealership we’ve invited. The admin team learns something valuable and a necessary skill, and they see that the dealership is friendly, knowledgeable and ready to help. Another win for both the guests and the brand.
Was the team rewarded and refreshed? The great food and fun atmosphere saw to that. Will they remember the event? Most assuredly.
Not just team recognition
We’re seeing sharing and pairing work very well for other event-types as well. For bigger events that are focused more on lead generation it is ideal, particularly for SME’s and startups with a smaller budget and contact list.
Let’s use our finance, wine, and car brands again for this example. These brands have similar target markets, are in the same geographic setting, and are non-competitive. Putting together a breakfast networking event where each brand invites their own list of contacts, and the wine pairing and tyre-changing talks are now joined by the finance company who talks on how to do taxes, is a win-win for everyone. Here’s why:
Broader Event Experience
The attendee’s event experience is that much broader than if the event were hosted by a single entity. With the reality that technical advancement has fundamentally altered the workplace of today, it is now a case where employees with a wider knowledge- and experience-base are becoming more favoured over those with deep knowledge of a single topic. Shared pairing allows for multiple experiences in one event, and creates a highly personalised event experience.
Attending Vs Participating
Event attendees are highly engaged in shared pairing events, asking questions, taking part, experimenting with, and participating in the presentations and demonstrations of the partner organisations.
People are exposed to brands and services that they would typically not be aware of. The networking opportunities are vast in this type of event, with meaningful conversations and new connections taking place.
Each brand brings their own database of contacts to the event, which reinforces the brand equity of the other brands because they are seen as trusted event partners of the known brand. Because these organisations are typically not in the same industry as the other, the introduction to these ideas and services are new and exciting, and allow for maximum exposure to these brands.
When venue hire, catering, and event planning costs are shared between the brands, it makes a bigger event possible and that much more affordable, especially to local businesses on a limited budget. As long as there is clear communication around expectations on financial commitment, presentation quality, and conference etiquette at the onset of the event planning, this approach is highly beneficial to organisations wishing to penetrate a wider market.
Sharing and pairing transforms the traditional conference from a one-dimensional approach to something that’s more engaging and reaches a wider audience. The latest trend in corporate events and conferences for 2020 is set to make eventing more engaging, more rewarding, and more memorable than ever before. Here’s to more shared pairing events, and the exciting opportunities that will come from them.