ElevateNYC: Event Organizers Need To Become Experience Architects

Juraj Holub

ElevateNYC was a one-day conference for event organizers by event organizers that connected the community of nearly 400 event professionals. The organizing duo BizBash and Eventbrite worked magically, complementing one another like yin and yang. They successfully created a unique atmosphere of comradeship among delegates.

ElevateNYC took place in the wonderful premises of Conrad Hotel New York. Richard Aaron, BizBash President admitted: “This amazing venue somehow shaped the entire event.”

While the premises were remarkable, the line-up of speakers and presenters was nothing but impressive too, featuring David Adler – C.E.O. and founder, BizBash, Brian Solis- principal, Altimeter Group,  Julia Hartz – co-founder and president, Eventbrite, Kevin Hartz- co-founder and C.E.O., Eventbrite, Bronson Van Wyck- founder Van Wyck & Van Wyck and many other industry leaders.

The main takeaway points from the conference were:

1. Meeting planners need to become experience architects

2. Create Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO)

3. Market to an audience of audiences

After the opening session with Bizbash C.E.O David Adler, Julia Hartz, the president of Eventbrite, took over the stage. She talked about the importance of live experiences and the role of social media in forging these experiences.

She stressed repeatedly that millennials value experiences over things and the demand is reflecting this trend with 45% of people planning to spend more on attending live events in 2015. Julia encouraged event organizers to fully embrace social media is helping to drive those live experiences. In other words, event organisers need to create the tweetable moments at their events.

“The selfie is a new autograph.”
~ Julia Hartz

Afterwards, the stage was taken over by Brian Solis who is a digital analyst, anthropologist and acclaimed author. He picked up on Julia’s topic prompting meeting planners to become creators of experiences by building stories and narratives for the audiences.

With the experience architecture in place, event planners need to create the experiences that are worth sharing, that create fear of missing out (FOMO) so the followers and friends ask themselves “Why was I not there?”.

By the same token, Brian said that event planners need to figure out how to talk through people than to people, so the content and messages created at the event spread.

He summed it up perfectly:  “You are now marketing to an audience of audiences.” as is the case of Buzzfeed which creates content with the strategic goal to be shared to further audiences.

“You are now marketing to an audience of audiences.”
~ Brian Solis

For many delegates, one of the highlights of the event was the lunch served in the art box, with dishes stuffed in jars and pâté filled in paint tubes. That was the moment when everyone took out their smartphones and got down to tweeting and sharing before taking the first bite. ElevateNYC successfully managed to create a “tweetable moment” here but it was definitely not the only one.

The after-lunch panel discussion with Bronson van Wyck moderated by Anna Sekula, Bizbash Executive Editor, continued with the laid out topics. Wyck said that “events have finally become a recognized part of marketing strategies”, stressing again that “we’re here to create stories, to create experiences.”

It’s important to understand how delegates feel before they arrive and after they leave. Event professionals need to fill in the space and time in-between with a narrative that is experienced, shared and that cannot be missed.

In addition to keynotes, the morning and afternoon workshops addressed topics on budgeting, sponsorships, fund-raising, social media. They were highly educational brining delegates best practices and insights from successful events and social media campaigns of Eventbrite, Likeable Media, MKG, Hangout Music Festival and others.

In the closing session, Nick Horbaczewski, chief revenue officer of Tough Mudder, and Kevin Hartz, C.E.O. of Eventbrite, discussed the Tough Mudder movement and stressed that the authenticity is the key to a successful (event) brand. Fun fact that Nick revealed at the end was that 4.000 of their fans have the logo of Touch Mudder tattooed on their body.

Overall, the event was a great success. It’s rare to see such a symbiosis among the organizers, speakers, and delegates at an event. With its passionate community, inspiring content and authentic experience, ElevateNYC  is a must-attend event for all event professionals. Make sure you don’t miss the next volume unless you’re ready to suffer from fear of missing out.

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