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An Eye on Events

Wed, February 21, 2018

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Now more than ever we are spoilt for choice in Dubai with a plethora of world class events happening across all sectors whether it be sport, music, culture or technology. 

So how to stand out, how to remain innovative, how to offer something unique to consumers? 

I co-founded Custard 8 years ago, primarily a B2B event management agency who pride itself not only on the quality of its events (which is a given), but on the experience that attendees have.  By experience we mean activating the senses at the various touch points along the journey from the first point of contact whether reading about an event in a magazine, seeing it on social media hearing about it from a friend or receiving a piece of communication by email right through to the actual event experience from arrival to departure.  Experiences that are unique, personalized, tailor-made or just unexpected are those with the strongest impact and can lead to incredible benefits in terms of a boost to sales, raising mass awareness and even winning awards. 

My memorable event experiences include an automotive company offering to chauffeur to and from the event, a theatre offering a backstage tour with a meet and greet the actors, a hospital offering free family health check-ups and workshops on first aid skills, a fashion brand offering to customize an item of clothing or shoes, a hospitality outfit cutting a spare set of house or office keys for you whilst you wait for your car, a meeting organizer taking your coffee preference the day before so it’s ready for you during the break…these are just a few examples and illustrate how as event organisers our minds have to be open to creating these experiences or added value activities that will truly make our event stand out from the crowded market.   

In parallel to this it is now critical that events companies approach each project from a holistic perspective and on a broader level that companies are integrated in their approach across the entire marketing mix from design, to website, to search engine optimization, to public relations, to sponsorship, to advertising and so on.  This necessitates a collaborative approach from the start with a strong lead to ensure everyone stays on page and everything stays on track both from a timing and a budgetary perspective.  For certain unexpected and unavoidable challenges and circumstances will arise but if the integrated team take a solutions focus approach then (almost) anything is surmountable. 

I have always been passionate about events and attend as many as possible whilst keeping my life in balance. A few public events that stand out for me amongst a cluttered landscape are Sole DXB, Sikka Art Fair, Freshly Ground Sounds and Ripe Market.  I congratulate and thank the organisers for pushing the boundaries of event experience and trying out new and most importantly homegrown concepts.  For more on the world of homegrown events look out for my next blog.