If you follow along with a lot of commentary, you’ll hear people talking about the “good old days” or “how things used to be” and this is everywhere, not just in live events.
The premise of these talking points is typically that the kids and their cell phones are ruining everything and if they’d just be happy doing things the way that they’d always been done, everything would be cool.
Unfortunately, that’s never really been the case and as technology has expanded to touch more and more of our lives, the likelihood that this idea ever becomes true lessens.
The reality is that people have always been looking for unique experiences or to try things that would be new or different, it is just because of technology that we all have a greater ability to see, try, and enjoy a wider variety of experiences.
Access to this diversity increases our desire for more diversity in the experiences that we can try or participate in.
How do we keep up?
How do we offer our customers experiences that capture this sense of newness, novelty, and diversity?
Here are a couple of ideas:
Change up your experience:
In the States, at the start of a new season or the opening of a new stadium or arena, a lot of attention is paid to the new experiential offerings like Wi-Fi, decks, or interactive sponsor activities.
These are all great opportunities to change up the way that a fan or guest experiences your event.
Another way is you can do what the Sydney Opera House has done where they bring out props and materials from their archives to add to the experience of visiting the Opera House, always adding another detail to their experience to continue to give their guests something new.
Or, you can change the way your present your performance or change up the running time of a show or event.
Think about acts like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, or The National that play different set lists every night, making each show a unique experience.
Open up the experience:
When I lived in New York City, I loved the Met.
I would spend hours in the museum, walking the galleries, browsing the gift shop, and more.
So, when the Met started putting events on the roof with art instillations and a bar, I was in. Having the ability to interact with art, have a drink, and stare out at Central Park and the New York City skyline was a winning formula for me and a way to expand the experience of visiting the museum that could be refreshed regularly since the exhibits weren’t permanent.
You could also look at the way that the Atlanta Braves have built up the experience of going to a baseball game at The Battery in Atlanta. When you visit their new ballpark, you aren’t just going to a game because the Braves have built up an entire neighborhood around the ballpark with shopping, dining, and more to help grow your Braves Baseball experience in a holistic and experiential way.
To open the experience doesn’t require a new stadium or art instillations either, it could be just using assets that you haven’t used before like balconies, ballrooms, or plazas. The key is to find a way to give your guests something that is different than what they’ve come to expect from the typical experience. In a lot of cases, small changes can have a big impact.
Take your show on the road:
One way that maybe the most challenging to pull off, but guarantees something unique for your guests is to take your show to new or different locations.
Each year, INTIX holds their annual event in a different city to highlight all of the great things that people in the world of tickets are doing.
Next year, INTIX will be in Midtown Manhattan, but the previous two years they have been in Baltimore and Dallas.
This model has been played out by any number of events as well. Think about the Major League All-Star Game, the Super Bowl, or the original Lollapalooza festival.
All of these took their event and put it on the road so that you might see many All-Star Games but you would never see it in the same place twice.
On a smaller level, you might move your festival or event around town or use different venues for your events each year. The opportunities here are endless.
The reality is that consumers have always liked variety. The difference is that with the accessibility of technology, we see variety more regularly and it makes our desire for variety in our own lives greater. For those of us in the world of live events, this presents a challenge…but it is also a great opportunity to do fun and new things.