You know how we do at the Experiential Marketing Summit—work hard, play hard—right to the finish. Day three of the event kicked off with another 5K run across Vegas and a Women in Events Boot Camp class bright and early at 6:30 a.m. Breakfast kicked off at 8, fueling up attendees just before the opening keynote, sponsored by VDA, and delivered by Julie Hogan, director-global face-to-face marketing at Facebook.
Hogan regaled the audience with stories of her childhood, when weekly Sunday family dinners taught her the meaning of storytelling, community and bringing people together. Those experiences helped her “find her own voice” and served as the foundation of both her personal and professional life, Hogan says.
“What I realized was that those Sunday dinners didn’t happen by accident; they were an art form and there was an unsung hero behind the entire experience– concerned about the values kids were going into the community with and displaying. It was quite the experience. As a child, that unsung hero was my Nonna, and as an adult, those unsung heroes became my parents. Both of them believed connection and community is at the heart of everything we do. While my Facebook experiences are much larger, the key components are actually the same.”
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Hogan also detailed Facebook’s three core “truths”—people, presence and performance. The people component entails who the audience is, what the brand wants to share with them and what their holistic approach is to a particular community. Presence deals with what an experience will look like, how immersive it is and how strong the storytelling component is. And performance is about how the brand makes attendees feel when leaving an experience, and what the business impact of that is.
“These are the three things I’ve learned and ask of all of you: Use your superpowers to create experiences that connect people and build community. Be authentic about your presence and elevate the everyday. And ask yourself what is the impact, how do people feel? It’s not always a celebration. Sometimes it’s about showing up, listening and being part of a community.”
They keynote was followed by morning sessions including Cannabis Event Primer: Everything You Need to Know, 007 Elements Case Study: Creating Cinematic Brand Experiences and Agile Event Management Tips for PR Activations: The BMW Vision iNext World Flight.
In addition to sessions, a number of attendees enjoyed Braindates, fresh air and sun in the cabanas by the Jupiter Pool where they learned, collaborated and swapped battle stories.
By 12:30 it was time for lunch and the final keynote of EMS 2019, also sponsored by VDA and delivered by Tyler Williams, head of brand aura marketing at Zappos.
Williams discussed how Zappos’ enviable company culture—fun, creative, bold and a little weird—is based on a series of core values. “Zappos has two things that we say. One is ‘core values over policy’ and the other is ‘culture over everything else.’ You get your culture right, the rest of it just figures itself out.”
Those core values include providing the best level of service. “We view our vendors as customers, we view our internal employees that we work with as customers, our board of directors as customers, so we believe if we can deliver happiness to all of those customers then we’re doing our job. If one isn’t happy we need to figure out how to fix it.” Another Zappos value is embracing and driving change. The brand believes in creating fun and a little weirdness, and “being adventurous, creative and open-minded… We want employees to push their boundaries to do things they’ve never done before.”
What results is a company culture that encourages employees to invent cause marketing programs that benefit the community. “At Zappos, instead of a hierarchy of people, what we have is a hierarchy of purpose and accountabilities.” Examples include moving Zappos’ headquarters to downtown Las Vegas to invest in the community, founding the “Life is Beautiful”music festival that included a music activation for deaf individuals through enhancing vibrations, a pet adoption initiative and a used sneaker donation program, “Soles for Souls.”
The afternoon wrapped up with more content and a killer closing session where attendees sipped Michelob Ultras and heard from Ryan Mortimer, head of experiential at Anheuser-Busch. Mortimer discussed Michelob Ultra’s rise to the fastest growing beer brand in the industry, how the brand tapped into the wellness trend to grow its audience and remain relevant, and took attendees inside Michelob’s revolutionary mass meditation at SXSW.
“We create memories at the intersection of beer and culture, where people combine their life’s greatest passions with the world’s greatest beers.”
And with that, EMS 2019 came to a close, once again leaving attendees inspired, informed and enthusiastic about the future of experiential marketing. We hope you’ll join us for EMS 2020, May 11-13 in Chicago—where it all started.
They Said it: EMS 2019 Day Three
“When you think about your audience in EDM, you have to think about your community of fans. They’re actively communicating and engaging with each other, outside of the music, so it’s not necessarily about pictures or tweets—they want things that are special that they can share within their community.”
-Jared Rampersaud, music agent, WME
“The James Bond franchise is interested in expanding their audience. They want to appeal to women, younger generations, people interested in design, architecture. What sets them apart from the competition is elegance and class and being interested in things like beautiful design, beautiful places, different types of cultures and pushing the envelope. So we had to take that ethos of the brand of Bond and apply it to a visitor attraction. It had to be unique and technologically advanced compared to everything else on the market. That was the brief we set for ourselves.”
-Neal Callow, Art Director, EON Productions
“Jay bird for the entire year had been creating small films, telling stories about running culture around the world… The way we brought the community in around this was to share the New York chapter [film] in advance of it going public. We made it really special by bringing in special people—running icons, outdoor photographers, icons of crew culture. We shared this film with them with this incredible audience that they could connect with and enjoy together… There’s no party at Jaybird that doesn’t start with a run—we earn it. And to have our community able to run with icons of the sport in an informal environment and test our products, it was a truly special experience for them.”
-Jamie Parker, CEO, Jaybird
“A lot of the work we do in this industry together we can’t do without the right partners. I’m lucky enough at Facebook to be surrounded by amazing partners who know our brand, who look out for the ways we need to show up very authentically. Whether it’s an experience, a meeting, a dinner, you name it, these partners are critical to everything we do.”
-Julie Hogan, Director, Global Face-to-Face Marketing, Facebook
“In the event world what we’ve been trying to start to look at is, can that physical environment facilitate connections between people. I think that there is a really interesting intersection between the two worlds in terms of thinking about the physical environment as a place that we bring people into to make them more comfortable.”
-Paul Salinger, VP Marketing, Oracle Corporation
“This week was proof of how healthy and mature our industry is. We were here 16 years ago and so it’s been a tremendous progress an evolution. The challenge is to continue to stay relevant. I heard so much this week about this notion of proving your worth and your ROI, and we’re competing for prime dollars. After advertising and brand work, events are the second largest line item, and we want to keep it this way. But it’s really important that we’re showing up in the right way every quarter.”
–Alex Sapiz, VP, Global Events, Cisco