Posts Tagged ‘Experience the Message’

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A BRAND NEW WORLD

October 20, 2010

Tell me and I’ll forget
Show me and I may remember
Involve me and I’ll understand

-Confucius 551-479 BC

One of my early introductions to the concept of experiential events – along with the work of Gilmore & Pine, Pink, and a few other pioneers like Jack Morton WW, Denise Shiffman and Shaz Smilansky , was a book by Max Lenderman entitled “Experience the Message”.

It was here that I was reminded of the Confucius quote that had first inspired me twenty years earlier as we launched that first integrated meetings company at Carlson Marketing Group. It combined into one , the separate disciplines of meeting management, AV production, and product expos, that up to then came together only at the site of the corporate meeting itself–managed by separate companies for a single client. Despite its inherent weaknesses, it worked and along with thought-leaders experimenting in other companies nationally, it became the model of what we think of as meeting production through-out the remainder of the 20th century.

In those days, we often used a variation of the first two lines of that Confucius quote to illustrate why we were graduating from lectures or at most two-projector- dissolve AV shows to major media productions to support the talking heads of corporate executives in the general session. And by accident, and perhaps boredom with destination, movie, and book “theme” parties, in 1985, we experimented with combining a traditional “product expo” with a lunch, reception or dinner and inadvertently addressed the real essence of that quote when, by accident, we engaged our audience! It became a point of difference for us, even though we did not really understand why it worked.

A move at end of the 1980s to head up the first Event Marketing Division at Carlson, did not seem like a big leap…although I certainly did not understand the emerging discipline as well as the performance improvement, motivation, incentive world from whence I came. Nevertheless, it seemed to describe more succinctly what we were delivering in the previous five years under the guise of CMG Meetings and so I stumbled into what then became my career passion. Originally at Carlson, then within my own company of Creative Events, I viewed a meeting or an event as a communication tool to deliver a message and achieve defined objectives or outcomes – dictated usually, by the senior management team. I delivered those outcomes and I was successful.

Early in 2000s, I began to see the awakening of a whole new twist to that discipline that ultimately emerged described as event marketing and experiences; it piqued my interest and I was driven to learn more. And by 2005-6, technological changes were emerging that turned our world upside-down. One way streaming from the podium on stage was no longer in vogue-even if it was supported with breth-taking multi-media visuals. The shift to Involve me and I will understand was being supported by case studies and brain research that launched the learning revolution. Thought-leaders like Max Lenderman wrote “Experience the Message” and I read it, was inspired, and began in earnest, a search to better understand this phenomenon. I reached a career pinnacle this past summer when along with a talented support team, we delivered a highly successful interactive experiential meeting we labeled “5000 events for 5000 people.”

And here I am, coming full circle, as I am now reading Lenderman’s second book – “A Brand New World”. In it, I’ve learned there is no time to “rest on my laurels”- I am already behind in recognizing that, as Lenderman suggests, “most everything interesting in marketing and advertising is actually happening in the ‘Third World’” – in that emerging marketplace of hyper-developing countries known as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China). Yes, I knew it was big; Yes, I knew it was growing rapidly; Yes, I knew it was a partner not to be overlooked in the global economy; No, I did not know what all that really meant – for me and for my world. As I read the book, I am realizing that “pinnacle” CRV event this summer is only a stepping stone – with so much more to learn. Stay Tuned!