Category

Audience Engagement

7 Popular Event Trends We Saw This Summer

By | Audience Engagement, Brand Experience, Engagement, Event Trends, Freeman Audio Visual Employees, Industry News, LED Technology, Lighting, Live Social Media Wall, Media Event Staging, Meeting Planners, Meeting Professionals International, News, Quotes, Room Décor, Scenic Design, Social Media, Staging, Tools & Tips

One part of the hysteria surrounding summer is the excitement that comes with its sun-soaked events – low necklines and cold drinks, dancing outside, and enjoying the hazy days of summer with friends and family.

Everything is better in the summer heat, and every year, event planners aim to make their event the talk of the season. The summer represents a great opportunity to stage an event, with it being one of the most lucrative seasons for professional event planners.

Event attendees – especially those who are accustomed to high-budget corporate events – won’t be wooed by the same gimmicks as last year. It may come as a surprise to those who aren’t in the business of planning amazing events, but there are trends that are ushered in each summer that can take an event from same-old to never-be-the-same-again.

It’s all about differentiation and making your event stand out in the minds of your guests. It’s about finding ways to bring people together, fostering connections, and making everything a bit more efficient to set-up and tear down. Here are seven summer event trends we’ve seen this summer that take events to the next level and impress guests with thoughtful ingenuity.

  1. Technology (Apps, Live Streaming, Live SM Interaction)

It’s hardly news at this point; people are plugged in. Over 90% of North Americans own smartphones and are on them for multiple hours a day. It’s the perfect opportunity to connect with guests and have them put their cell phones to good use.

Specialized event apps are amazing for large events that span a day or more, especially when multiple locations, speakers, and itineraries are involved. For a sprawling corporate event with several types of speakers and seminars, it can help to have an app developed that is specific to your event for widespread download.

Encourage your guests to live tweet and post with personalized event hashtags. Modern weddings often combine the last names of the spouses-to-be, allowing everyone who posts to look up each other’s photos and moments easily. Live streaming your event will let those who couldn’t be there feel included. It’s an extension of hospitality that will truly add a caring and trendy touch.

  1. Drone Videos

We all know someone with a drone, and they’re amazing for capturing aerial video. If your summer event is being held in a beautiful outdoor space, capture its magnificence with drone video. You’ll get a beautiful perspective you never thought you’d see, and it makes for great content in a post-event video for attendees to look back on after your event is over.

  1. Non-Traditional Spaces

Barns, warehouses, factories; don’t limit yourself to traditional event venues. Non-traditional spaces offer different pricing than conference centres or banquet halls, have enormous capacity, and have interesting interior elements. Exposed bricks, metal beams, thirty-foot ceilings – your guests will be wowed by your event as soon as they arrive.

  1. Memorable Bars

One of the best parts of any event is the food and beverage. Go the extra mile and create a memorable bar setting. Great drinks are a given, but the bar area itself is a spot where people gather, laugh a little harder, and find the courage to connect with strangers. Up your hosting game from a traditional bar to make your guests feel like they’re at a truly all-out event.

  1. Food Trends on Point

Next to the drinks is the food. If you have mediocre food, often that’s what people will remember about your event. Amazing food will have your guests on cloud nine, pleasing their inner foodies and appreciating your attention to culinary detail.

Donut walls and live cooking are two food trends that are catching on. People also appreciate plant-based, healthy options as more and more folks develop open minds to different diet preferences.

  1. Bring the Dancers

It isn’t a party until there’s dancing! Exploring entertaining with acrobatic tricks and aerial arts, it’s like having a free show alongside your gathering. Your guests will feel so much more inspired to dance when they see the professionals joyously busting out their moves.

  1. Bold Yet Classic Colours

2018 has been a year of experimentation as well as a year of returning to traditional roots, and colour and design schemes are reflecting this. The need to be modern has fallen away and classically beautiful colour combinations are proving to be classics for a reason. It’s always a good thing to give your colour scheme a slight edge, a personal touch that reflects you.

Author
Summer Filippopoulos
Freeman Audio Visual Canada, Sales Manager

3 Factors to Consider When Thinking About Audio for Your Next Conference

By | Audience Engagement, Audience Response, Audio, Breakout Sessions, Education, Engagement, Event highlights, Freeman Audio Visual Employees, Power Point, Technicians, Video, Video Conferencing, Webcasts

There are many variables when it comes to organizing a successful conference, from selecting the right presenters to taking breaks at the right time for networking. When it comes to audio, one of the variables that deserves attention is sound reinforcement. The point of reinforcing or amplifying your presenter’s voice in a ballroom, or any room for that matter, is not just so that he/she can be heard from the front to the back of the room, but more importantly, that he/she is comfortably understood from the front to the back of the room.

In addition to sound reinforcement, sound quality is equally important. This is especially the case if you plan on recording your conference. This documented evidence of your event is likely to be used in the future for promotional videos, training or archived for private or public record.

So when thinking about the type of audio support needed for your event, we encourage you to consider the following three key factors:

  1. Your Purpose

The audio needs for a Town Hall, a sales rally and an awards gala with entertainment are all different. Fail to match the type of meeting with the appropriate audio solution and you could end up with understated audio or audio overkill. For example a meeting with the purpose of imparting new information or learning requires a focus on clarity of speech and equal coverage throughout the room (arguably this should always be the goal). Therefore, the audio system selected should complement the dominant frequency range of the human voice which is generally accepted to be around 300Hz – 3kHz. This is the spot where intelligibility and recognition like to get together and party.

  1. Your Equipment

Once you’ve understood the purpose of your meeting or event, list out your audio needs as this will dictate the equipment required. Use your agenda to visualize the day from your attendee’s and presenter’s points of view. A sound system comprises of four main elements that will work together to capture and amplify sound at your event. They include:

  1. Input devices –wired and or wireless microphones, discussion systems designed for multiple participants and playback devices.
  2. Processing devices –audio mixers and signal processors for adjusting the quality of sound through equalization, compression, feedback suppression, etc. Used skillfully audio processors can eliminate/minimize unwanted echoes, vocal pops, feedback, etc. and aim to control the audio being amplified.
  • Amplification devices – amplifiers to boost the input sound to the loud speakers. This boosting is required regardless of system configuration applied, hence the term ‘sound reinforcement’. Amplifier configurations can either run independent of loudspeakers or they can form part of the loudspeaker itself. In the latter form this is usually indicated by the term ‘powered speaker’.
  1. Output devices –loudspeakers and headphones, depending on how the audience intends to receive the sound.

Depending on the nature of your conference, you may need additional ancillary equipment for recording, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, or streaming. This is uniquely beneficial when all attendees or presenters cannot be at the event at the designated place and time.

  1. Your Audio Partner

When the audio fails at event – people notice. And keeping in mind your purpose and equipment, having the right partner’s onsite can make or break the experience you are trying to create. An audio company that takes the time to understand what matters most to you and your brand, is creative in their approach, and has the experience to troubleshoot, are always worth more in the long run. Consulting with your sound/audiovisual company early on in the process will ensure that the event space you have selected is suitable for the type of audio-visual support your event will need. For example, low ceilings, pillars, rigging points, built-in counters, big windows, proximity to other meetings on the day, power distribution and other factors can dramatically affect the setup of your audio equipment, your budget and ultimately the intended experience of your presenters and attendees.  Ultimately your audio engineer’s efforts towards achieving great sound on your event are governed by the laws of physics, not magic, and takes years of training, experience on show sites, and continued learning to master these skills.

Focusing on your event purpose, understanding the equipment you need, and selecting the right audio partner, are three ways to guarantee exceptional sound at your event. And remember, a good sound engineer is ALWAYS listening.

For more information, contact the Freeman Audio Visual Canada team today.

Author
Rene Barrow
Freeman Audio Visual Canada, Account Executive

Joining Freeman in 2009, René Barrow brings nearly 20 years’ experience of customer relationship management experience in the banking industry and 13 years’ experience as a technician in the performing arts. His extensive expertise and positive approach means that clients never have to worry about their audiovisual solutions when René is in charge.

Tips to Consider for an Effective Audio Visual Presentation

By | Audience Engagement, Audience Response, Audio, Breakout Sessions, Education, Engagement

Presentations have gone far beyond the traditional setting we’re very accustomed to. Technology is quickly being adopted in many forms for the purpose of reaching a much broader audience. Whether you are webcasting, hosting a webinar or videoconferencing, you are connecting with a virtual audience.  As streaming technology advances, becoming much simpler and cost-effective, we’ve put together some tips to consider so your messaging is on-point.

Sound Quality

It is imperative to ensure that the quality of sound is top notch. Having muddled or a weak sound is not only annoying to those present, but far worse for remote attendees. Engagement is key to the success of your event, and poor audio quality will largely decrease the amount of people interested. Not only is it important the presenter is heard, but remote attendees and those sitting in the back of the room need to be able to hear audience members when a question is being asked. Ensuring a microphone is available is paramount!

Internet Bandwidth

Internet bandwidth is easily something that gets overlooked; purchasing enough bandwidth to cover the entirety and scale of your event is crucial. Internet bandwidth determines how much data can be transmitted and at what speed. Having shaking or freezing video streams will be frustrating for your live virtual audience. Be sure to check that you are getting what you are paying for and demand time for testing, as you don’t want to be scrambling on the day of.

Types of Cameras

To figure out how many cameras you’ll need, begin by determining which sessions you plan on live streaming. Streaming events need at least one fixed camera, and multiple cameras can be helpful if you have the budget for it, as they allow different angles and shots to be taken, keeping things engaging.

Mobile Friendly

Mobile and tablets are increasingly popular with everyone using them to do all of their tasks. Having scalable streaming capabilities that are available on iOS and Android will make a huge difference in your event. Your remote audience will be able to tune in from wherever they are, and you’ll reach a larger group of people regardless of the device they’re using.

Virtual Audience

It’s easy to forget about those streaming in once your event is up and running. Making sure you engage your virtual audience is very important. Speakers should greet them at the beginning, use their name and where they are from when a question comes in, and remember to look into the camera when speaking, as the speaker will most likely be trained to look only at the local audience.

A mediator or MC is a great way to engage the audience, help them develop some conversation and allow them to feel part of the event, and as latency (delay) of streaming services becomes more immediate, also look to add engagement tools like polling and live Q&A for both your local and virtual audiences.

Following these tips for an effective audio visual presentation will help your event thrive and give your audience something to remember. Contact us for more information.

Author
Victor Paan
Freeman Audio Visual Canada
Director of Digital Services

Victor Paan is Director of Digital Services for Freeman Audio Visual Canada. Since joining Freeman in 2002, Victor has worked diligently for his clients, advancing his career from a delivery technician role to his current position as the Director of Digital Services. In this capacity, he draws on his technical and sales experience to support Freeman’s teams and clients in integrating state-of-the-art event solutions that will transform, grow, and extend the world of live engagements.

MAXIMIZE THEIR JOURNEY: A Series for Event Marketers by FreemanXP

By | Audience Engagement, Brand Experience, Engagement, FreemanXP

An introduction into meeting needs and deepening attendee engagement during brand experiences

What if we could decode the attendee? Figure out their wants, their needs, what makes them tick and their expectations—even before they do. With the help of famed psychologist, Abraham Maslow, and his “Hierarchy of Needs,” creating powerful and engaging brand experiences just got a little more certain. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Well, thankfully, it isn’t.

There are certain inherent needs to live within all of us. We all want to be fed, to have shelter, and to be safe. In short, Maslow argues that all of us must have a few basic rational needs met before we open ourselves to more emotional triggers like friendship and love.

Read more on the FreemanXP blog.

Freeman Audio Visual gets EPIC in Ottawa with Jeff Hurt!

By | Audience Engagement, Creative Services, Education, Event highlights, Projection Mapping
*La version française suit le message anglais

With the goal of transforming and extending the world of live engagements, Freeman Audio Visual Ottawa partnered with leading meetings industry authority Jeff Hurt to host a half-day learning workshop at the Ottawa Marriott for 60 of Freeman’s top clients. The overarching theme of the event was EPIC, an acronym which represented Hurt’s four event success principles: Experiential; Participatory; Image-driven; and Connexity.

With Hurt’s PowerPoint presentation as a guide, our Creative Services team produced an image-driven environment designed to encourage information retention among audience members. Similar to the scheme of the Periodic Table of Elements, each letter in the word EPIC was given its own colour and two-letter symbol. While two traditional widescreens hanging at the front of the stage displayed the bulk of Hurt’s PowerPoint presentation, three centre LED columns and bordering projection-mapped 3D cubes accentuated each of the four EPIC event success principles with their periodic table representations as Hurt discussed them.

“The EPIC meeting was educational and brought new energy to the thought process,” noted an audience member in a thank-you letter to the Ottawa branch. Click here for a Storified recap of #freemanepic in Ottawa!

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C’était EPIC pour Freeman audiovisuel à Ottawa avec Jeff Hurt !

Fidèle à son objectif de transformer et de faire grandir le monde de la participation en direct, Freeman audiovisuel Ottawa s’est joint à Jeff Hurt , une sommité dans l’industrie des congrès, pour tenir un atelier d’une demi-journée au Ottawa Marriott pour 60 clients importants de Freeman. Le thème central de l’événement était l’acronyme « EPIC », qui résume les quatre caractéristiques à la base du succès d’un événement selon M. Hurt : Expérientialité, Participation, Imagerie, Connexité.

En suivant la logique de la présentation de Jeff Hurt, nos services créatifs ont produit un environnement axé sur l’imagerie, conçu pour favoriser la rétention d’information chez les participants. Imitant le schéma du tableau périodique des éléments, chaque concept formant le mot EPIC était associé à une couleur et un symbole à deux lettres. Pendant que Jeff Hurt parlait et que deux grands écrans suspendus à l’avant de la scène affichaient la majeure partie de sa présentation, trois colonnes centrales à DEL et des cubes tridimensionnels de mapping vidéo situés aux extrémités accentuaient chacune des quatre caractéristiques EPIC faisant le succès d’un événement et leur représentation en tableau périodique.

« L’atelier EPIC était éducatif et a apporté une nouvelle énergie à notre réflexion », a noté l’un des participants dans sa lettre de remerciement à la succursale d’Ottawa. Cliquez pour un aperçu de l’atelier EPIC d’Ottawa sur les réseaux sociaux.

Engage Your Audience with Freeman Audio Visual Canada

By | Audience Engagement, Audience Response

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Your event may be perfectly planned with logistics, dates and invitations sent out, but how do you ensure that your audience will be captured and interested in your material? One of the most difficult parts of a presentation is retaining your audience’s interest, and ensuring they feel involved with the material. We’ve found solutions that work – engage your audience with these Freeman Audio Visual Canada services, and see the difference in the results of your meeting.

Our Audience Response+ solution is an interactive tool that will engage and involve your audience. It’s a great tool that allows each individual in your meeting to respond and participate using their own handheld devices, helping to stimulate discussions, reinforce learning and gather information on your audience’s opinions and behaviours. Audience Response+ also allows your audience to vote and team build during training exercises.

The keypads are wireless and handheld, allowing for ease of transport and comfortable usage while delegates are in their seats.  If your presenter is taking a poll or survey of the crowd or asking them to answer multiple choice questions, guests can see the results of the group’s answers immediately displayed on the screen up front, allowing for more sparked interest amongst attendees. For post-presentation results and information gathering, Audience Response+ can export your collected information to Excel or other programs and formats. This collected data can be vital for reporting and understanding statistics, behaviours, and opinions of your group. Categories such as regions, teams, age, and other demographics are all important for your company to understand its audience, so let Freeman Audio Visual make it that much easier for you to capture this data.

The simple and fun tool integrates easily with PowerPoint, and is easy to use, needing minimal explanation. Audience Response+ is especially beneficial at product launches, sales meetings, scientific and medical sessions, and governance applications.

interpretation-booths

Freeman Audio Visual also offers Simultaneous Interpretation support which can facilitate the translation of up to 32 languages simultaneously. We offer infrared or radio frequency interpretation equipment, which complies with ISO international and Canadian standards. Portable sound proof booths and multi-microphone discussion capabilities allow for seamless communication across any channels and representation you may have at your meeting.

Both of these event communication solutions  can highly increase your odds of an engaged and interested audience. Not only will you be able to support any language constraints, appealing to a larger group, you will also be able to gain personal insights and record these findings, ensuring your meeting was productive. Consult Freeman Audio Visual for solutions to engage your specific audience, and see the difference in your in the level of satisfaction during and after your event. Contact us for information.

FORBES: How To Make Branded Experiences Rock And Then Go Viral

By | Audience Engagement, Brand Experience, Event Trends, Freeman, Freeman Face to Face blog, ROI

Is Brand Experience the New Media Darling of the Marketing Mix?

Published by Chris Cavanaugh, EVP & Chief Marketing Officer, Freeman | Source: Freeman Face to Face blog

Today’s brands must engage and inspire to accelerate business results.

Earlier this week, the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign took to Capitol Hill for Exhibitions Day to help lawmakers understand why a thriving exhibitions and events industry is good for everyone. Last month, researchers at Ad Age noted in a recent report that overall promotion, events and experiential agency revenue is growing at a greater rate than advertising, PR, and media. Forbes writer Allen Adamson explains that “experiential branding has always been a part of the marketing toolbox, a promotional activity meant to encourage interaction with and immersion in a brand.”

Brand experience is hot right now, and why not? Nothing engages audiences like integrated brand experiences.

Adamson writes that when done right, a brand experience “helps people connect with a brand on a much more personal level than mass media allows, and generates a deeper feeling of emotional engagement, leaving a positive and lasting impression.” Why is that? Because when you boil it all down, whether B2B or B2C, the audience of our marketing efforts is comprised of people – real people who want to connect with like-minded individuals, inspire and be inspired, and experience something incredible. Adamson goes on to say, “Done really right, it gets people to share their experience, tell their version of the brand story, extending reach and awareness of the brand to a broader audience free of charge.” He refers to this viral impact as the Holy Grail and offers three rules for successful experiential branding: do something extraordinary; link to your brand’s core identity; and attract the right audience. These rules are spot on. Everything in the marketing mix must be rooted in your overarching business and marketing strategy and derived from your audience needs. In our oversaturated modern way of life, it takes something truly extraordinary, executed flawlessly, to cut through the clutter.

If I may, I would add another rule. Brand experiences must also accelerate business results and must be designed in a way to do so. Smart marketers are aligning their marketing portfolios and event portfolios on moving the business forward. To do this, a measurement and data collection plan must be in place, which is where the intersection of live events and digital technology is so exciting. As more event and audience engagement technologies emerge, we have more and more opportunities to collect data to give our audiences what they want and need, and ultimately accelerate business results, shorten sales cycles, and improve ROI.

How to Ensure Your Audience Retains Information

By | Audience Engagement

Outside of the logistics of event planning, creating an event that is actually interesting and informational can be difficult. The goal, of course, is to ensure your audience walks away having learned something, and most importantly, retained what they’ve learned. Presenters, along with teachers, have faced this dilemma many times. So, we’ve decided to provide you with some tips on how to ensure your audience retains information, allowing you to create a stellar event which will stretch much farther!

Read More

Steal This Idea: How Top Brands Maximize Event ROI with Social Marketing

By | Audience Engagement, Event Trends, FreemanXP, Interesting Articles, ROI

katheine-zimoulis

By Katherine Zimoulis, Director, Marketing, FreemanXP

New data—Using social media marketing to amplify events

We have long advocated for the idea that live events and social engagement combined can be transformative for a brand or organization.

Social engagement is the secret sauce that makes everything stickier. Engagement, brand affinity, and amplification increase, helping to secure and strengthen the relationship with attendees and extending the brand experience beyond the four walls of an event to a larger audience—ultimately maximizing your event ROI big-time. To help prove this, we partnered with the Event Marketing Institute to develop research and survey a cohort of the world’s top brand marketers. We wanted to find out what works for them when it comes to social media marketing for events.

Here’s what we learned:

Growing Pains: The data doesn’t lie! 70 percent of brand marketers agree that viral efforts and social engagement are very important for events. They “get” the importance of creating memorable moments that can be shared across social channels. Yet only 16 percent say they are “very effective” at generating viral impact from their event, and only 21 percent feel they are “effective.”

Insider tip: Want to know what works when it comes to social strategy for events?

Click here to read more!

Creative Themes for Corporate Events

By | Audience Engagement

creative-eventsYou’ve got space, attendees, and topics to be covered, but how can you ensure your event has an interesting theme? Outside of the logistical and informational process, having a catchy general theme can make or break your event, and add more excitement and cohesiveness to the overall intent. We’re here to get you thinking about how you can implement creative themes for corporate events. With these suggestions, we hope we get the ball rolling for you – you’ll have so many ideas you won’t be able to choose!

Construction

If your general intent of the event revolves largely around team building, team relationships, building growth, establishing foundations or expanding on development, having a theme of construction is quite fitting and fun. While it may take away from the formality of an event, adding some playfulness to your gathering is a great way to ease tension and break the ice. Ideas include having Lego pieces at each table where teams can work together to construct an item within a certain time frame. Attendees can be given hard hats to wear, and those leading the event can be in reflective gear. For added emphasis, caution tape can be used to decorate and signage can be put up as well. A takeaway can be a pylon paperweight with the conference name printed on it. How’s that for a fun and creative theme for a corporate event?!

Rubik’s Cube

rubiks-cube-stage-ideaFor events that are more strategic and think-tank based, having a Rubik’s Cube-themed event is fun and smile-inducing. Everyone knows the challenge that a Rubik’s Cube poses, and the subtle yet apparent display will set the tone, ensuring your attendees understand that, while a seemingly difficult task lies ahead, there are multiple solutions available. Teams can be grouped by colour, where t-shirts, hats, and/or table covers signify their decided colour. An initial team-building and ice-breaking activity can be for each team to solve a Rubik’s Cube in a certain time frame. Coloured Jell-O can be served to corresponding team colours, and the takeaway can, naturally, be a Rubik’s Cube.

Survival

Having a theme centered around survival is great for events that are for strategic thinking, new ideas, determining how to get the most value for cost, finding new resources, or generating creative ideas for business development. Creating the idea that your team is stranded on a desert island or lost in the wilderness can really set the tone for your intention. Again, teams can be divided up and each can be given a specific “tool” that will help them in their survival. Team names can correspond to trees or desert plants, and a reward system can be put in place for the team that advances farthest in strategy planning (a drink of water from the oasis or a berry plant being found). Takeaways can be theme inspired notebooks or a pen that works in unfavourable weather conditions.

While attending corporate events can be somewhat tiresome, ensuring your attendees have a great time while staying on point is key. Creative themes for corporate events are the best way to keep everyone happy, and make the event memorable. Contact us today for help planning your next event.