This month we’re bringing you insights from our long-time client and Australia’s most progressive retail floor coverings group; Jason Verstak at Choices Flooring.
Jason and his team continue to truly wow us with the events they host, outdoing themselves year-on-year.
With a unique way of thinking, they ensure every event is different from the last, they embrace technology and they always put their Members, Suppliers and Partners first.
These are some valuable insights that you woj’t find elsewhere – you’re welcome.
Tell us a little bit about the Events put on by Choices Flooring?
Unlike a lot of companies who host company conferences, our conference is split into two – one being a business orientated conference, the National Members Meeting, and every alternate year is our networking conference, the Magic Carpet Ride. Both are built for networking amongst our Partners, Suppliers and Members. However, the National Members Meeting is also focused on providing holistic business updates to all parties. The Magic Carpet Ride, however, is a networking event and is more about coming together as families, friends and partners.
Our annual Regional Meetings have been put together based around a small administrative team and not being able to be with our Members on the ground as regularly as we would like. So, each year we fly around both Australia and New Zealand, to make sure we sit down with our stores and give them an up-to-date synopsis of the market, face-to-face.
What are your top three tips to engage your audience at your Events?
1. Always look to do an event or meeting different to the last.
2. Embrace technology and give them something they have never seen before. For example, we decided to forego PowerPoint many years ago and, instead, opted for touchscreen technology to run our presentations. This allows us to be free from a certain regime; the software has the ability to flow with us as needed. If the meeting changes, we can instantly access all files in more detail. Plus, the presentation is more engaging and interactive than any PowerPoint presentation.
3. To make it enjoyable across all areas; leave your audience feeling informed and entertained.
What kind of content do you release around your Events?
Looking at The Magic Carpet Ride, as an overseas event, our communications are more about the entertainment factor. We always announce with a video followed by a purpose-built website. We showcase a teaser video announcing the location at our Regionals, and a new video at the National Members Meeting. Video content is vital as it builds excitement – Look at any news-based website, and articles always start with video content. It’s a lot easier to watch something and get an emotive response rather than reading a worded email or invitation. It creates, excitement, emotion, a need to be there.
Following the videos and website are; follow-up EDMs, soft-launches, program announcements and further online communications via the event website. With managing the entire event in-house, for the next six months we are facilitating all the experiences, entertainment, tours, personalised bags and clothing, airport transfers, kids entertainment and special major events. We give them a never-before-seen experience, something that they would never see if they visited the same place on holiday with their family. Every year we rethink our style and strategies to ensure the next event is different to the last.
What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions about digital signage / good content in the Events space?
It can be cost prohibitive to use digital signage at events, but in saying this, it would depend on the event. The costs associated with doing digital signage, reliability, technological issues, if it goes down during the event… put simply, there are a whole lot of permutations as opposed to printing something. However, we do utilise technology at our events to demonstrate to our Members how advanced it is and the importance of embracing that. An example is as I mentioned above, our interactive presentations vs. PowerPoint. And at our National Members Meeting this year we will be showcasing a 6m x 3m x 3m high complete digital booth utilising 44 LED panels. With this, we will showcase various messages and use it as a demonstration tool. Again, it’s simply something our Members would never have seen or experienced before.
Where do you find inspiration for your marketing initiatives?
Most of my inspiration comes from, not events as such, but my philosophy of “wouldn’t it be good if…”. That’s how the Inspiration Station was born, and more recently our digital booth as mentioned above. “Wouldn’t it be good if we could do X.” If we have that attitude then we can investigate to see what’s possible, and deploy some truly visually appealing initiatives, while showing our professionalism and ability to hit that next level.
Solutions I see out in the market at the moment, whether it’s the packaging of something to a digital installation, I look at it in the way of how we could do that better or different. When Prendi gave us some Digital Name Badges, they led to the design and implementation of our Digital Video Books used for our current recruitment campaign. I saw the Digital Name Badge and looked at how I could use that application while making the recruitment process more interesting. Instead of recruiting new Members with a brochure, we now send them a Digital Video Book. For most people who receive direct mail, they wouldn’t throw this out with the rest of their common direct mail. Whether they are interested in our offering or not, our Digital Video Books are a cool and unique piece of tech that they will want to show their friends.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Jase!
Learn more about Choices Flooring: choicesflooring.com.au
To learn how we can help bring your Events to life, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org