Heroic Insight: Exploring experiential marketing with Heroic’s own, Kitty Hart

Of all the many factors considered when planning an event, there’s none more fundamental, more human-centric than designing an experience that is sensorial, satisfying… sensational. Designed with intention, much goes into making an affair to remember. It marks the collaborative talents, skills, and creative conceptualization of great minds tasked to answer the question “What’s it all about?” Together arriving at the notion that it is form, function, and feeling that collectively weave a narrative of a brand or business’s purpose; resulting in a final display of the harmonious balance of mixing business with pleasure through experiential marketing.

Such a deep understanding of these components is essential in cultivating a successful event, albeit virtual or in-person, and for Kitty Hart, Vice President of Client Brand Experience at Heroic, it’s all of these things and so much more. 

In a recent discussion, the subject matter expert shares her fresh, illuminating views and insights on experiential marketing, what works, and what sets Heroic apart from the rest.

Kitty Hart at Please Welcome- Experiential Marketing With Kitty Hart

In your own words, what is experiential marketing?

Fundamentally, you are tapping into as many of the senses as possible within an experience. When designing events for human beings, we must focus not to show and tell but to surround one in an all-encompassing environment purposed to engage and enliven our feelings. We as humans see, hear, smell, touch, and taste, and it’s these special, significant wonders that can be infused altogether into a unique experience individually, and enjoyed by all.

How did experiential marketing begin?

If you think about it, consider way, way back to the early 1800s, there are traceable roots of experiential marketing. For example, at the Chicago World’s Fair, many of the industry legends whom we know today were present. These vendors took their products, food and otherwise, and placed them into the hands of patrons with the idea to have them touch, smell, taste, and purchase. But, far more than sales, the idea was to introduce an experience and something to remember into a person’s world.

What do you deem essential to creating a successful experiential marketing event?

It’s imperative for a brand to establish its objectives and define what the goal is. Posing questions like “Are we selling a product?,” “Are we educating?,” or “Are we celebrating?” All help to define the reasons behind an event and will then inform and aid in shaping the creative and design. This leads me to revisit my prior statement about employing ALL the senses. Not every event will require a total sensory scenario. A speaker’s words may be touching but in a completely different manner than in hand. Yes?

When it comes to planning an event, what do you feel needs to be in place?

Just as we have the five senses, we have the “who” and the “what.”

Who is it for? What’s most important to them? What creative ideations should we explore? Most importantly, how can we make this different and, most importantly, memorable?

What are some of the trends in experiential marketing, and of the many, is there one that may seem gimmicky versus actual marketing?

Remember when flash mobs became really big? You don’t see those popping up anymore. Yes, they were really fun and cool, but they became overdone very quickly. I feel that fundamentally, showing up in a place that you’re not expected to is a showstopping component that elicits surprise while evoking delight. 

As trends go, influencers are super hot right now. They are reimagining the modern experience. Let’s take a step back. People worldwide would tune in to the Superbowl just for the commercials, curious as to how great they were going to be. For the last 10 years or so, all the chatter afterward would be words of amazement. However, now the digital landscape has changed, and this new influx of social influencers is wreaking havoc on the traditional world of advertising. The advertising world is dying, and brands are tapping into the influencer markets more, and I think it’s really something to watch out for.

 How would you decipher whether or not an event was successful?

Great question! I feel there are a few different ways that you can measure the success of an event. As marketers, we’re all about collecting data, wherever possible. Most marketers employ post-event surveys. The only challenge there is getting people to fill them out. The most tangible way to measure success is based on what sort of chatter commences on social channels. We gauge how many impressions are created, and what people are talking about. What are they sharing from the event? We collect this information and report back to effectively measure results from an experiential marketing experience.

What’s Heroic’s edge in experiential marketing? What sets your events apart; ranking Heroic as the expert and go-to source for events and experiential marketing?

Heroic is one of the few production companies that has speakers and entertainment built into our full-service offering. We talk a lot about how infusing the right talent into any experience allows you to truly transform the event from just a normal everyday experience into something truly unique. It’s our secret sauce and our power to get the job done. Do you want Pitbull at your event? Done. It’s not a normal thing to hear when you’re talking to your agency partner. But, we can do it! 

A Heroic production has momentum, a crescendo, and an escalation of mood and impact – always ending on a high note. At Heroic we illuminate the possibilities to amplify the excellent.

As for what sets us apart from others? To put it simply, we aren’t just a vendor to our clients. They view us as a true partner because we only focus on what works for our client and their specific event. That’s our style and it’s one our clients appreciate and value.

Need ideas, inspirations or help planning your next event? Schedule time to talk with Kitty to learn more about how Heroic can help make it memorable. 

An Event Production Company Offers Success Through Strategy and Collaboration

A large-scale, dynamic event requires an event production company’s creative and logistical expertise–one that understands what it takes to make a game-changing event for your organization. Partnering with professionals at the right event production company is essential to event success–and how you approach that partnership will be critical to maximizing results. 

The success of your partnership will also, in part, rely on collaboration. When you trust an event production company to take the reigns with your event strategy, you can expect targeted solutions and measurable success, making the partnership a worthwhile investment.

Clear event objectives 

Before hiring an event production company, take a moment to understand why you are hosting the event and how that fits into your organization’s goals. Once you’ve developed a strategy, everything else—from the venue to the catering—will be built around it. 

Whether crafting a product launch event, implementing a new sales initiative, celebrating successes or fundraising, there must be an overarching purpose for gathering the group in the first place. Consider your audience. Consider your brand. Then look for event production partners who understand your strategy and are poised to advise you and deliver on your vision.

Order-takers or strategists

When working with an event production company, carefully consider the scope of the event to determine what you’ll need from your partners. You may only need your partners to process an order for lighting or an AV system. But if you need the expertise of a creative production expert to offer more creative solutions, experienced event production partners will take the time to strategize with you and explain how their resources will bring your vision to life. 

Focus on your event objectives and consider your needs. Either way, it helps to get input from an event production company’s leadership. Their expertise will provide you with the best creative execution to give your event the look and feel that you envision. Bonus: it can also help guide your decision-making, so you don’t waste valuable company time and resources. 

Solid Q&A time

A strategic event partner won’t just ask what you need them to do. Instead, they’ll look for an in-depth understanding of your event objectives, needs, and logistical considerations. Don’t take the easy route of simply asking them to repeat events you’ve done in the past. 

A properly run discovery phase will consider all possibilities to allow your event production partner to tailor solutions to your brand’s overall goals. So set aside a little time and prepare to put some creative brainpower into event strategy. Your event production partner—and your attendees will thank you for it!

Teamwork makes the dream work

Effective event planners possess the knowledge and skill to get the job done. Still, your enthusiasm and desire to work together will help them breathe life into your event. The professionals at an event production company understand the big picture and know when to outsource. Be ready to work with them on timelines, budgets, and resources.

Events are just more exhilarating with a bit of teamwork. Forming positive and supportive relationships with everyone involved in your event makes the experience all the more enjoyable. It’s contagious—your attendees will feel it too. 

Results matter 

Your event strategy and planning event logistics should always be tracked by metrics. Will post-event surveys be an effective way to gather feedback? Are attendee numbers helpful or a given? Your event marketing strategy should guide your metrics.

Also, remember to share the results with your event production partners. Event results provide valuable insight into what went right (or wrong!) and will give your partner the information they need to plan ahead.

Keep up the momentum

Use the results from your last event to begin strategizing your next one, no matter how far out that event is. Working with the same team at an event production company creates continuity. 

How did the attendees feel, and how do you want them to feel next time? While the particulars of each event are typically different, successful events should leave your attendees feeling engaged and satisfied. Quantifiable data and clear objectives will continue to be your guiding light.

A trusted event production company

At Heroic, we are an event production company that brings highly experienced event strategists to the table—not order-takers. We help you reach your event goals by crafting an event strategy tailored specifically for you. From increasing sales and creating relationships to raising awareness and providing learning experiences, our experienced creative production experts take the time to figure out exactly why you’re organizing your event. Our collaborative enthusiasm and creative expertise create the perfect event plan for our clients. 

Let’s build a strategy together.

5 Tips to Get the Most Impact From Your Next Social Impact Event

A social impact event is a great way for companies to make a positive difference while strengthening relationships with customers and employees. A thoughtful approach to event strategy can elevate your company’s commitment to its core values – but an inauthentic impact initiative will always fall flat.  

If generating long-lasting change from your next social impact event is your goal, strategize with careful intentionality.

1. Align the social impact event with your core values.

Organizing a social impact event is an excellent way to demonstrate a brand’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Still, ensuring that the event’s cause and objectives align with your company’s overall mission is essential. 

Before you choose your event’s focus, reach out to key stakeholders about the company’s CSR goals. The purpose of a social impact event should ideally reflect the views and concerns of your company’s employees, customers, and investors. 

If unsure of your team’s values, consider a company-wide survey. Encourage your team to get involved in the planning process. This open dialogue will help to inspire employees, build community, and ensure that the event reflects the views and concerns of those most impacted by your company’s actions. 

Once you understand better what your stakeholders expect from your event, you can set clear event objectives. These objectives will inform your event strategy and help ensure that social impact event efforts support your company’s core values.

2. Choose credible partners – and amplify their voices.

A reputable organization can offer invaluable input and resources to help ensure your impact initiatives are effective and useful to the cause. An unreputable organization may take your money and run. So pick an organization already making substantial waves in whatever cause you’re tackling, and get ready to create a serious impact together!

It also helps to partner with an organization with a reputation for supporting your cause. Your company is a trusted authority in your respective field. Who is the authority for your impact initiative? Research thoroughly and find partners with solid references. 

Partner with local organizations when you can. Looking for partners representing the community you hope to be supportive of can be especially beneficial. Community members know what they need and how to distribute resources most effectively, so a designated community representative may be more effective in advising your organization on making an impact.

3. Create an experience that tells a story. 

What’s the message you want your event to convey? Once you have found partners and considered what message you want to share, you can find authentic stories that illustrate your message. Authentic storytelling might be the stories of people who have benefited from your chosen impact initiative. It could also mean telling the story of your company’s commitment to social impact. 

The results can be transformational if you reveal a story with a sensitive and genuine approach. Think about who the keynote speakers for your event might be, and talk to your event partners about how best to share their stories.

Storytelling goes beyond guest speakers, too. Map the event, considering the elements that could make up the storytelling experience – from graphics to stage lighting and sound. Look for themes and consider how to communicate them with respect and genuine appreciation. And most of all, look to trusted impact partners for a voice of authority on these questions.

4. Be authentic in your social impact event planning. 

A successful social impact event should evoke compassion, hope, and other motivating emotional responses from attendees that are authentic to CSR goals. Leadership can put their best foot forward by being confident, committed, and vocal in their impact intentions. 

You know why you’re hosting this event. Share your mission. If you’re raising money, share exactly where the donations will go. Be transparent in communicating goals for this impact initiative and what your company has to gain from it. At your core, you’re trying to make a positive impact, and it helps everyone involved if you say that loudly and clearly. One foot in, one foot out reads to audiences as insincere. Standing up for what you actually believe in makes all of the difference.

5. Call the audience to action.

During your event, encourage attendees to get actively involved in the cause. If it’s a fundraising event, make donating easy. Have donation stations with already prepared tablets and computers located around the venue. If you’re hosting an event to raise awareness, use social media channels, email lists, and other marketing tools to point attendees to actionable items. You will help attract more participants, build community, and further increase the impact of your efforts.

Repeat what works (and leave everything else).

After your event, measure the results to understand what worked well and what you could have done better. Whether you’re counting donations, followers, or otherwise, clear metrics will help you refine your approach for future events and ensure that your next initiative has maximum impact. Also, your attendees will likely want to know how much they made a difference! Sharing event results in real-time can help create a sense of collective ownership and improve attendee morale.

Strategize your social impact event with Heroic

Heroic brings years of event management experience to producing experiences that engage audiences and ensure measurable results. Contact us to discuss your next social impact event.

Check out a social impact event Heroic worked on, The One Forum, here.

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