So you went to this party for this brand. And it sucked. The food was terrible, there was no booze and everyone just stood around staring at their screens waiting for the CEO to step up and make some speech.
However, while on the outside the PR rep may be looking on in horror at the silent room and blank faces, creative and Gruen Transfer panellist, Carolyn Miller, says that even crap events can still resonate with consumers.
“Even bad events, you still feel like someone has made an effort and invited me. You can’t help but like that someone invited me to something and you make the effort to go to,” she said, speaking at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo currently running in Melbourne.
“And you can only get better from there.”
There are some brands out there though who have such a strong affinity with their demographic that it would be hard to be a rubbish an event.
There are only a few brands in the world that resonate so strongly with their market that consumers will wait for hours on end for a product experience.
Take the number of people rugged-up and huddled together in sleeping bags overnight, almost weeing themselves in eager anticipating of the latest Apple iPhone. Or those diehard fans who would queue for four hours to sit in a replica of the Game of Thrones’ throne in Sydney.
“A product is a thing, it’s a physical thing,” Miller said. “The brand is something that actually lives in your heart.”
When the Iron Throne came to Sydney, the queue was ridiculous. Even though the seat wasn’t the exact one used in the show, people still lined up because they love the show and the brand. And people wanted to create content for the brand, posing as a king or queen to post the picture on social media. So while fans were pretty keen on the Throne, they were keen on it because they loved the brand and what it represented.
One of the reasons these types of experiences generate such a lot of chatter among people is because of how they interact with each other and can participate, says Miller, so the opposite of the shit party.
The Apple fanatics all have something in common as they try and find a soft bit of ground in their sleeping bags, as do the Game of Thrones enthusiasts, who share their excitement and have people take their photo on the Throne.
“If you think about a great party that you go to… it’s not the destination that made it, the reason it was a fantastic night was because the people you were with made it fantastic.
“So in the event process, what are you doing to facilitate a great time between people?” Miller asked the audience. “And it can’t be forced, it has to be natural.”