Posts Tagged ‘TRENDS’

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KUDOS!

December 9, 2010

Perhaps it was just the mood I was in…but my copy of the December/January Issue of Event Solutions Magazine  that arrived last week is filled with my notations from cover-to-cover.  Notations of things that are new to me that will support my events and help me convey a client’s message; notations through-out a feature called Trend Report that were indeed new trends…”moving with the culture”…immersive…augmented reality…maturialism…next-besting…social gaming; a great use of QR codes; a feature on Jeremy Gutsche whom I just recently added as a personal source on emerging trends; a right-on column by our friend Steve Simmons on the New Digital Learning Environment; some good suggestions from Lara McCullough-Carter on connecting and of course, Ryan’s Design Column was fun, as many of the things he suggested were things that he, Chris and I have experimented with here in our market that yielded great results for our clients!  I finished the magazine smiling.

In interest of disclosure, yes, I sit on the magazine’s Advisory Board, and have been watching in the background as the magazine is being transformed through new ownership and leadership to meet the needs of the emerging world of events in the 21st century. 

Oh yes, like life itself, there are some things in the issue I shook my head at-and added to my list of “Is there a way to work on that”…but overall, I think this issue moved Event Solutions from a “brag book” and industry ads (both elements needed and welcome) to a magazine with a promise to us all that it is a source for new ideas that will help move our industry forward. So my congrats to all the staff involved – “ya done good” and please, keep on pushing the envelope!

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SERVING IS THE NEW SELLING

March 30, 2010

March has been a whirlwind of learning opportunities that has my mind stuffed full of new ways of looking at things and new discoveries of experts in many fields in which I am interested- from experiential events to new trends in connectivity and community; from better means of communication and education to the efforts taking place in our industry to clearly define what event design is and means. After all, who knew that Twitter is about to (or has) peaked in effectiveness; and will fade away at some point to make room for emerging new social media such as Foursquare and Gowalla? Books, magazines, blogs, and stacks of paper surround me, just waiting for me to give some quality thought to each so that Creative Events and I can continue to evolve and provide value in a world of event production that is changing exponentially by the day.

This morning, the latest Trend Briefing (see http://www.trendbriefing.com) caught my attention with its current brief – “Brand Butlers”. I read that serving is the new selling; our job is to assist customers to make the most of their daily lives versus an out-dated model of broadcasting and selling them new lifestyles and identities. Although Trend Briefing is consumer-based, I always discover some application that applies to business to business transactions, and how we can assist our clients to better connect with their consumer audience. And so I read on.

After a reminder to define our own brand essence and understand that of our client’s, the article moved to creating the ideal Brand Butler Omnipresence that mixes being there when customers want you to be there and pleasantly surprising them with your presence when they least expect it – through both online and off-line activities. And then page after page, example after example, I saw how companies around the world have developed and demonstrated service to their customers – in eight major service categories of Transparency/”In the Know”, Saving Money, Finding, Connectivity, Health, Skills and advice, Eco, and Tools and Amenities. Little did I know that I and my clients were so far behind!

The scope of this was initially daunting, but as with most trend briefs, I was then directed back to Opportunities and how I could capitalize on this – one of the most important branding trends currently out there.

And so another project is added to the To-Do piles but I know what I already gleaned will “percolate” for a while and then I will be able to find the right application to make CEK and me more valuable to my clients. If you are not a follower of Trendwatching, check it out and subscribe (no cost).

You’ll soon understand why I get frustrated when our industry insists on focusing only on the surface of color trends and furniture style when there are so many impactful trends that support our efforts to provide value and make a difference to our clients.

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TRENDS DISCONNECT

January 22, 2010

As can be expected at this time of year, trade publications are filled with predictive event trends, and industry conferences and local meetings focus on the same.

Each year, with anticipation, I try to absorb which colors will be hot, which décor elements will emerge, which new entertainment will be the hit. And yet, as I look through the tips and advice, I am usually disappointed. I find myself thinking to myself, over and over – “that’s not new; it’s a best practice we have been using for 12-15 years”…”What? Celebrity Chefs were a key element in our selling approach before the RNC!” …”Small portions and spoons, room temp food, and food stations instead of buffets–and the new twist to that is what?”

What does this feeling of “Been There, Done That” mean? Am I so old, everything is coming around again? Is my global background and experience from a past life still coming into play here? Is our industry in the Twin Cities really that parochial? Are we still battling that phenomenon of lower expectations on the home front? Is it worse today because of a perceived need to operate under the radar in a struggling economy? Am I a trend-setter instead of a trend identifier or follower? Does this have nothing to do with me? Is the answer a mix of all or some of the above? Or am I missing the point entirely?

Every year I ruminate about this, and never come to a firm conclusion. But this year, just maybe, a theory is beginning to crystallize. I think it is the difference in outlook between the strategic planner of corporate events and the tactical vendor that serves the multiple markets of corporate, social and non-profit.

Generally, I DO look at things differently than most of my friends in the industry. An event to me is not primarily about the WOW and what’s new. It is a strategic tool in the bigger world of marketing and communications. I need to get the attention of the audience, engage them, and deliver memory joggers that move them to remember the experience after the fact so that they ACT ON message. So, I include tactical trends that help me get their attention and tell the story. Likewise, I need to gather the message from the audience for further action on the part of my client. Those things can’t be the same elements seen, heard or served at an event the guest attended last week. So I am often looking outside our Midwestern world for ideas that have not yet made their way here, and then working with my event vendors to adapt ideas and inventory and to try new things not done before.

That, together with a commitment to budget and to guest comfort, is what drives the concept and design of my events. I expect that those in the industry that play the role I play in the event can relate; while those that provide the needed tactical elements of food, décor, linens and entertainment think I am nuts.

Nevertheless, our local press tends to reflect the tactical trends, and so I will continue, I think, to yearn year after year for an article based on how we in the event world tap into emerging trends such as “Urbany”, (F)luxury, “Mass-Mingling”, “Embedded-Generosity” and use them to enhance our event efforts. Until then, I’ll continue to subscribe to Iconoculture and TrendWatching and try to interpret, integrate and move forward without help from our press or our industry organizations.