As Millennials and Gen Z’ers have gotten older and entered the workforce, they’ve infused the events industry with some exciting changes and innovative approaches. For younger generations, businesses are no longer faceless entities devoid of any humanity or personality. In fact, there is a growing belief that businesses can and should create change in the world, and that their events don’t have to be boring. Raised on experiences such as Coachella and Bonnaroo, many Millennials and Gen Z’ers have wondered why more events can’t be like festivals.
What sets festivals apart (and makes them so appealing to generations isolated by technology) is their ability to foster a sense of community and belonging. They unite people through collective experiences of art, live music, interactive events, and communal fun, all of which leave a lasting impression on attendees. “Festivalisation” attempts to leverage this engagement and community to help make business events more dynamic, engaging, and memorable. It’s about making an event an “experience,” and is an approach that many event marketers should keep an eye on, especially in a world of increasing virtual events.
Keep reading for more benefits of festivalization and how you can incorporate this concept into your next event.
The importance of technology
For many Millennials and Gen Z, they’ve grown up on technology and hold high expectations for its use in everyday life – including events. Part of any good experience is invoking as many senses as possible, and technology is an excellent pathway to multisensory engagement. Whether your event is online, in-person, or something in between, technology offers a variety of ways to incorporate varied, interactive content to your event – a key element of festivalization. Tech such as VR and augmented reality, gaming elements, and internet-based activities can all help provide engaging and innovative moments to your event experience. Additionally, tech-based experiences can offer attendees the opportunity to create shared memories and provide excellent conversation starters, both during and after your event. You can even involve your attendees in the story creation process through the use of tech and tech-based activities.
Tell stories with content
As we noted above, a key element in fostering a sense of community is storytelling. Stories are powerful because they elicit an emotional response and get people talking to each other. Interaction offered by a festivalization event can bridge the gap between business and entertainment through the power of narrative. You could even consider creating an entire storyline for your event – with a hero, villain, and challenges to overcome. By approaching your event with more of an entertainment lens, you create an unforgettable experience that engages your events from start to finish. You could even create a cliffhanger to ensure they come to the next event!
Promote the festivalization
The festivalization approach doesn’t have to be something you only talk about internally. In fact, you may want to explicitly promote it in your marketing. You can use this “pre-event” phase to drum up curiosity and engagement around your upcoming experience. Social media provides the perfect platform for creating a “festivalized” buzz for your event. Consider using different apps and hashtags to create a social network dedicated exclusively to your event, and to help attendees connect before it even starts. And speaking of connections, our platform makes it quick and easy for your attendees to network before they step foot (or click into) inside your venue. The InGo platform allows speakers, attendees, and sponsors to share your event with their network and let everyone see who is attending. Talk about creating a buzz. And of all that connecting will dovetail perfectly with your festivalized event, where the experience will be tailored to create and forge a sense of community.
Personalization is the name of the game
Most of us have become used to personalization – from what we eat, to what we watch, to what we listen to, which means one-size-fits-all events no longer cut it. But a festivalization approach is the perfect opportunity for you to create personalized experiences that will wow your attendees. A personalized experience will help your event feel more organic and authentic, and will leave attendees buzzing about your event long after it’s over. Consider tactics such as crowdsourcing the agenda or offering different tracks of activities based on attendee’s interests and preferences.
It’s not just a fad
“Festivalization” may sound like a buzzword, but the principle behind it is not going away. In a time of increased isolation and separation due to the pandemic and technology, people expect events (in-person or online) to bring them together and create connection. The experience now outweighs the agenda and to keep your attendees engaged and coming back for more, it’s imperative to find new ways to bring them together.
Whether your next event experience is online or in IRL, InGo can help solve your biggest marketing challenges. Our platform enables your current attendees to influence others to attend your event and drives engagement and attendance. Reach out today to schedule a demo.