As powerful as social media and digital media are, there is no replacement for live, face-to-face events.
You can’t recreate the energy or excitement of a powerful event on a video. The TED Talks are wonderful to watch online, but they’re a shell of the live experiences. The videos are void of the energy of the audience, the discussions happening before and after the speaker presentations, the context of the other talks, and the feeling of being present in the moment.
Content is great, but Wow Events are better.
Create a unique experience
A Wow Event is not any old event, and it’s not a lunch-and-learn or a breakfast seminar. It’s an experience.
Since 2010 I have worked with the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise to architect the Family Business Forum. It is a half-day event modeled after the TEDx Event series.
The Forum draws in business owners of mid-to-large family businesses to share 20 minute talks drawn from their personal experiences:
- Larry Rosen, CEO of Harry Rosen, shared how his company transitioned from family to professional management.
- Patrick Bermingham, CEO of Bermingham Foundation Solutions, discussed his ambition for building a 100 year legacy.
- Jennifer Gannon of BonaVista Pools shared a touching talk on the 5 lessons her father taught her about business.
The Forum is a Wow Event, because it provides a unique platform to hear business owners share their personal stories—stories you couldn’t hear anywhere else.
Structure the event for recording
One of the reasons the TED Events are so successful is the presentations are structured to share.
TED innovated by limiting their speakers to 20 minute presentations. This was unique, because a decade ago the average keynote presentation was between 45 to 90 minutes. A keynote was like going to the movies. It had a beginning, middle and an end, and it was an experience.
But a 90 minute presentation does not port well to YouTube or digital content. Who has the patience to watch a 90 minute speech on their smartphone?
TED’s innovation in limiting the speaker’s time made their content ideal for the Web, and extended the life of a presentation exponentially. For example Adam Savage’s talk, How simple ideas lead to scientific discoveries, has been watched close to 1 million times. Chris Anderson’s talk, Questions no one knows the answer to, has been viewed over 889,724 times.
A well structured Wow Event can be recorded, and used to feed your digital marketing’s content needs.
Wow Events are worth paying for
A Wow Event doesn’t have to be a marketing expense. It can be a profit center.
Lunch-and-learns are free, and you get what you pay for. A Wow Event has value. When you create a remarkable event, people will pay for it. Actually, it’s essential they do pay for it, because the act of paying for an experience enhances it. You value what you pay for.
The broader marketing exposure comes from the recording. Publish and share the recordings freely. The free content will create engagement amongst your prospects and clients, educate your market on what makes your brand unique, and grow interest in future events.
Wow Events aren’t easy to architect or host, but the companies who are gutsy enough to create them will clearly stand out in their market.