Monday, October 31, 2016

Learn More About Sense Marketing with Dianne Devitt

Meetings and events are all about engagement and retention - but your audience only retains 10 to 15% of the information shared in speeches.

Fresh off her featured speaker appearance at IMEX 2016, we interviewed strategic event designer, consultant, author, and founder of SenseUP! Dianne Devitt to learn more about her work in sensory engagement.

Dianne Devitt on Sense Marketing by MarionRR

Dianne, how did your interest in the sense area start?

            "I have been in the events and meetings industry as an event designer and planner for nearly 30 years and whenever I speak or teach,  I always ask everyone to take out a nickel (when people carried nickels)  and advise to keep that nickel on their desk as a reminder that when planning anything, all of the senses need to be incorporated. The Art is knowing which sensory language to focus on and when,  as each situation has its own distinctiveness and speaks in its own non-verbal language.

I started doing research about seven years ago and realized that as the event industry is growing and evolving so is the marketing area of sensory communication and sense marketing. The concept of new titles such as Event Stylist or Director of Sensory Experiences are now morphing into this whole engagement and experience world that we are a part of.

I launched the first SenseUP! Summit in New York this past April and focused on the five senses with nine speakers which was a big success. The target was not only the live event industry but anyone involved in live interface, not limited to advertising, P.R., real estate, health care. My Work in the senses is targeted at sharing this awareness from a marketing viewpoint as we balance digital and the human connection – the human experience – empathy for one another. The senses are that language that links us to that emotional connection that distinguishes f2f meeting from other digital forms. Do you remember the first song that you danced to? Do you remember the scent of a specific person? Do you recall walking into an event and just knowing it was going to be a special experience?"

Could you get more specific and explore some examples in sensory communication which is part of an event planner's responsibilities.

                       "Sight is arguably the most precious of our senses. What we see in all stages of planning – pre, during, post in graphics and other visual dynamics TM  resonates with us because our recall of the visual is 80 to 90%. Sensory communication is so important because 85% of verbal communication is lost. We only retain 10 to 15% of what was said in the course of a conversation!

Taste obviously goes with the food  and the responsibility and importance of menu design which is more important than ever.   Finally, planners are educated that food affects behavior, mood, energy, learning.

Now about Sound: we retain 96% of what we hear! Deliberate music cues are always impactful.  They make the connection.  No one would connect me with a song from Texas – but there I am when New York New York plays!

Touch includes everything from that hard invitation (yep!) to the linen to the interactive elements at the event and all décor items.  Touch is involved in dancing; in hand shaking, and in how close people sit next to one another.  We process over 10,000 touch associations every second.

Smell and scent has, as the others, so many applications.  As planners, we are sensitive to allergies and fragrance effects but a balance using pure essential oils at very low degrees can make a difference.   As with all sensitivities, these may be NEW questions on post event surveys asking if anyone has any scent allergies. Effectively, scent can enhance or stimulate or support relaxing in a learning atmosphere  and just simply make people feel good."

How does technology affect sensory communication?

                    "The millennials in the DND surveys stressed Touch as one their primary senses and all the technology companies know this, the Power of Touch. Since the generation coming up has focused on touch and the sound that is equivalent with that it has  affect  verbal skills. This generation is looking for that balance. It's the law of nature. The technology revolution has created a generation that will reap the impact of the senses more than ever so that people understand what their human reactions are.

This concept was the premise of my book "What Color Is Your Event?" I used the word color as a metaphor for language and personality. We remember over 90% recall of brands and color.   - this is all connected to neuro-marketing and  neuroscience."

Are humans changing because of technology?

                  "No Question,Yes! We used to choose which technology vehicle to use, now we flip-flop being technologically centric and choose which live experience or other communication vehicle fits. Evolution will always focus on the human need to connect and find balance and that is the ultimate value of our industry in bringing people together in crafted environments."

How does this work for global events where thousands of guests come from different backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities? How do you find design, music etc. that appeals to the senses of the majority of the audience?

                       "As an event designer you define the makeup of your group ahead of time. I just recently produced an event for a client where 14 countries were represented, ranging from India, China, South America, Saudi Arabia and more. They were diverse in every aspect, a really diverse group. I had to be really careful with the menu choices. At the final night event at Ellis Island I focused on music because it is such a universal language. I featured with every course and every step of the way a unique musical experience including the top sitar player in New York as there were many  Indian people, a Chinese table harp and about five others. The reaction was amazing as people literally stopped eating to listen."

Virtual Reality is becoming customizable and more widely available for events. Can VR provide an intense sensory experience?

                      "I think so! Does it take the place of the real thing? No. But could it definitely give you that experience? Yes.   I  recently attended the IMEX  show and engaged in a VR Experience with Thailand. The visual was well done and thorough but a true VR experience would include the scent and touch of what I’m seeing accompanying the visual  and computers are evolving now in terms of their capabilities with their senses.

What I'd like to share with all planners in parting is this: just become aware of the impact of your choices.  As our roles become more intrinsic with .the overall experience, make room for new experts or members of the team to style, create, design and incorporate the theatrical element of all meetings and events for greater impact and recall.

Most important, always remember your Sense of Play and have fun!"

DIANNE BUDION DEVITT, Founder of the DND Group, has a 25-year plus track record as a dynamic industry leader in events, production, meetings. A creative strategist, Dianne is cited for her VIP management skills on hallmark events including Clinton Global Initiative, the Apollo 40th Landing Commemoration, and the Vietnam 50th Anniversary Presidential event.

The author of What Color is Your Event? The Art of Bringing People Together, Dianne has received and been nominated for industry awards including “Top 20 Industry Professionals in New York.”

Dianne is an Adjunct Professor in the Preston Robert Tisch Center at NYU and was the recipient of the NYU “Award for Teaching Excellence.”
She started her research on sensory marketing and events nearly seven years ago and presented her findings at three key conferences this year alone.
SenseUP! held its first summit and experiential marketing event in April 2016 in New York City.

It's a brave new, ever evolving world.
We hope you have time to smell the roses this week.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Event Entertainment Report: Live from Anaheim: Stevie Nicks

We were very honored and excited to work with the iconic Rock Goddess Stevie Nicks
- and it turned out to be a wonderful experience all around!

Event Date: October 22nd, 2016
Event Location: City National Grove of Anaheim
Guest Count: 650

We have been working with this client for their annual fundraising gala for several years.
Guest count and dollar amount raised have increased steadily.
In 2016 the event moved from a hotel ballroom to the Grove to accommodate the growing soiree.

This wonderful concert venue in Anaheim, CA, allowed for a larger musical entertainment headliner.
Ted Bowers: "The Grove is a great venue for concerts. The size of the showroom allows for an intimate experience combined with great acoustics and undisturbed, close up views of the stage. You’ll never find a bad seat in the house. We integrated supplemental video and lighting systems required to support the program as well as sound requirements by Stevie Nicks. The experienced production staff at the Grove makes the venue very user friendly for private corporate events.
A long-term supporter of our client made the connection with Stevie Nicks who agreed to perform for a good cause just prior to opening her own fall 2016 tour, the "24 Karat Gold Tour" which kicks off in Phoenix, AZ, on October 25th.
She gave it her all last night!

Kristen Rensch: "Stevie and her band were very aware of the primary mission of the night: raising funds for a very good cause. They were very gracious with their time and happily adapted to schedule changes!"
Stevie Nicks also donated a signed tambourine, her signature on-stage instrument, and several tickets for the attendance to the Meet-and-Greet after the concert.

Once she gained the stage she delivered 150%, greeting the audience in a warm and personal manner, thanking them for supporting a good cause. She repeatedly applauded the donors for their generous donations.

And she rocked the house. Corporate shows can be disappointing for stars as not everyone in the room may be a fan.
Not a worry for Stevie Nicks and her band. The mosh pit was packed, the room was on their feet, everyone stayed late.

We were particularly impressed with her dedication to the good cause and her patience and graciousness towards fans.

We were fans before this event, we ❤ her more now.

Click the photo below to get to her website to learn more about her tour.

Carolyn Vasi has attended every Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac concert in the Southland since the 1970s. We plan on being at the Forum for the final night of the tour with her.

Wishing everyone a wonderful week!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Event Report: Brynne Peña Realizes A Mid-Century Modern Dream

The Event:
2 Receptions and 1 Final Night
Event Dates:
three consecutive days in late September
in Palm Springs.
The Event Theme: Retro Dreams
The Locations: The Parker and The Riviera Hotels

Brynne: "Putting on a series of events in Palm Springs was a dream come true.  My favorite time-period/aesthetic is Mid-Century Modern, of which Palm Springs is just oozing with!  Just walking around town and at the different hotel properties I could hardly contain my excitement at all the delicious eye candy everywhere!"

The event locations were pure Palm Springs: a croquet lawn reception, a poolside event and a Closing Night Under The Stars.

The first night's reception on the croquet lawn featured black & gold decor, black metal cocktail tables with Chevron Graphic Counters, mid-century ghost bar stools and golden pineapple decorations.

We followed up with a poolside party.
Brynne: "The retro pool party was a blast – my client and I had giggled like school girls as we stopped to pose for selfies with the Swan pool floats.  The guests followed suit and proceeded to take “Swelfies” the rest of the night!"

We added cocktail arrangements to existing high cocktail tables with yellow bar stools. 8’ White Tate Dining tables with orange geometric table runners featured a blend of orange & teal Bentwood chairs, teal and tangerine communal table
arrangements and votives completed the modernism look.

Entertainment: we added a live band to follow the DJ and a synchronized swim team as a surprise element.
Brynne: "I have always wanted to produce a true Mid-Century event and designing in the Gene Autry Suite was a hoot!  Once the event was set-up and guests had moved to the backyard for a dinner under the stars, I spent a few moments exploring the house, leaving more inspired than I entered!"

Southern California offers many great locations for a Mid-Century themed event. Call us and we will be happy to suggest many more locations!

Wishing everyone a fabulous week!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Event Location Report: The Dolby Theatre Delivers Hollywood Glamour

Hooray for Hollywood!

We had the pleasure of producing a private event, complete with red carpet arrivals on Hollywood Boulevard and inside of the legendary Dolby Theatre.

Our guests fulfilled a Hollywood Dream - an experience that can not be produced at any other location in the world.

The Event: A Town Hall Business Meeting & Recognition Evening
Event Date: September 21, 2016
Guest Count: 1100 VIPs

Fans of "American Idol", "America's Got Talent" and RevoltTV shows will recognize the plush dark red-and-gold interior at first glance.
25 million tourists visit this Hollywood Landmark annually.
The Dolby and the surrounding Hollywood & Highland complex host over 300 special events a year.
Hundreds of millions in 225 countries around the world tune in to watch the Academy Awards and red carpet coverage on traditional and social media reaches well over a billion people globally.

The Dolby Theatre is arguably the best known event location in the world - and millions dream of walking that red carpet and ascending those sweeping steps, built to half-norm of the step height of construction code to make it easy for ladies in high heels and long robes.

We recently fulfilled that dream for 1100 Chinese guests for a private event at the Dolby.

CIM Group and the City of Hollywood are very accommodating with street lane and sidewalk closures.
Our setup did hinder some tourists in their movements but the excitement of seeing a red carpet install in progress more than made up for the inconvenience. Our crew was often surrounded by curious onlookers.

We installed custom drapes and a branded red carpet. Guests alighted from their motor coaches and VIP vehicles in style like an A-List star and ascended the red carpet to enter the event.

We usually turn ballrooms or convention facilities into theatre environments, however working in a legitimate theatre equipped with working fly systems and hydraulic stage lifts provides numerous opportunities for theatrical reveals and scenery changes throughout the event.

We created a custom 3-minute classic Hooray for Hollywood opening number. "Ushers" helped guide guests to their seats, then surprised guests by gaining a stage for a classic song-and-dance opening that would have made any Oscar producer proud.

Top Achievers and VIPs made an "entrance"! They were elevated to the stage for recognition via the built in stage elevator that originates in the orchestra pit.

The client's Awards Night will never be forgotten!
The Fact Sheet:

1. Dolby Theatre is 180,000 square feet with adjustable seating capacity from 3,400 to 3,600 with 5 seating levels and 24 opera boxes. The spiral lobby staircase that connects the levels showcases sparkling glass beaded walls as you pass through the various levels.

2. The interior is highlighted by a “Tiara” of light, a striking oval chandelier intertwined by smaller ovals, coated in silver leaf.

3. The “Tiara” incorporates two front-of-house lighting bridges and is a large forestage grid for suspending TV and lighting trusses and speakers.

4. In the center of the stage is a custom designed 3 story stage lift that can bring sets up in less than 1 minute. Load capacity is 7,000 lbs.

5. Dolby Theatre features the most sophisticated sound systems in the world, Dolby Atmos, complete with 215 individual powered loudspeakers.

Our thoughts are with our friends and colleagues on the South Eastern seaboard.

Wishing everyone a good week!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Event Technology: We Are Taking Video Off The Walls

We are excited about a new technology that allows us to immerse guests in video projection throughout the room.
Meet our LED Tower Tables - four-sided LED screen towers that double as seating and can be placed throughout a room.

The Event: the closing party of an annual conference.
The Industry: a business software company.
The Location: a hotel ballroom in Anaheim, CA.
The Guest Count: 1,500.

The Task: immersing the guests in fun and excitement to create a memorable experience.
We brought in the glow! Our video shows it best.

Let It Glow - Presenting Our LED Tower Tables from EventWorks on Vimeo.

As audiences are accustomed to more immersive experiences, we are challenged to surround our guests with lights and action to get their attention and keep them entertained.
Our LED Tower Tables allow us to bring video projection anywhere into the room.

In this example, turquoise squares indicate the position of the Tower Tables. Placed to create four corners between the LED Circular Bar and the video screened walls, the tower tables bridged the space in between the bar and the four walls. This resulted in 100%  coverage of video projection around the room, no matter where the guests were seated.

Event producer Brynne Peña: "Two separate computers had to be used to size the graphics for the various sized video and LED screens. Power to the central bar was rigged overhead prior to bar install. But the tower tables themselves had both a power and data cable that had to be configured under the table base itself and run to the nearest wall. All cables were hidden and secured. The effect of the immersive projection was tremendous. It took the party to another level of excitement and engagement.
We selected entertainment to match: sway pole performers were swinging above the crowd on LED enhanced poles as guests entered the room. The LED Cyr Wheel performance on a satellite stage was surrounded by cheering guests. LED Go Go and hip hop dancers performed on all four satellite stages and throughout the room, adding more light and action."

The client received very positive feedback and guests shared their fun live on social media during the party. Engagement was at an all time high.

Our Tower Tables also lend themselves to surrounding and immersing attendees with messages and branding at conventions, sales conferences and a myriad of other events.

Call us to discuss the possibilities for your event.