The 9 lives of an Event Coordinator

In honor of FLIRT’s 9th birthday we will be talking about the 9 lives of an event coordinator. The life of an event coordinator or production manager is not a simple stroll through the park. The days are long, but the nights even longer. It is highly challenging and highly rewarding. You need to be constantly expecting the unexpected, because just about anything is possible within the production world (ask us about the fishbowl story sometime). We asked FLIRT’s in house producers the following question: What are the 9 things you couldn’t live without when on the job? Their answers might surprise you! See below:

 

#1 Phone/Portable Charger

You might say that the smartphone is the right arm of an event producer. Texts, calls, emails, zooming in on an updated floor plan – it takes a lot of battery when you’re running a show.  An event producer always has a second and third back up plan, so a portable charger and backup battery is always close by.

 

#2 Coffee

Some might call this the key ingredient to our success. When on-site there is no time to lay around and soak up the sun. You need to be constantly on the move and energized even if you’ve failed to get any sleep the night before. Coffee is the production manager’s fuel and afternoon coffee runs are the key to their hearts.

 

#3 Show Book

Digital or hardcopy, having a well-organized show book is key to putting on a successful event. The book contains anything and everything you need to know about the event. From the rehearsal schedule, contact list, security schedule, floor plan, event schedule, and everything else in between, the Show Book is where to find it.

#4 PA Kit

Now the PA Kit is nothing to mess around with. The Show Book might have all the information you need, but the PA Kit has everything you might need and more (including twizzlers). The PA Kit not only has the necessary equipment for the event but also contains a makeup kit, safety kit, and not one but two office supply kits. The PA Kit is kind of a big deal.

#5 Gum/Mints

Having plenty of gum or mints at the event is critical not only for yourself but for the people around you. We mentioned how much event producers love coffee right?  Gum and mints, my friends, gum and mints.

#6 Comfortable Shoes

When you’re on site you don’t have the luxury to walk on comfortable carpets and rugs like at the office. Nope, you’re walking on thick warehouse concrete all day every day and easily clocking 20,000 steps on your Fitbit.  That is why having a pair of comfortable shoes is not just a suggestion it’s a necessity.

#7 Zen Meditation

The life of a production manager can be very overwhelming at times, especially during an event. Taking even 5 quick minutes to center and refocus keeps you refreshed and destressed. Our favorite meditation app? Headspace!

#8 Fitbit (Step Counter)

Is having a Fitbit really a necessity for production managers? We say YES, especially if you want to join in on a friendly competition with friends and co-workers. On-site you’re constantly on the move running from place to place, so why not document all steps you take? You’d be surprised how quickly they add up (see: wear comfortable shoes).  And once you see those numbers add up, it’s a great excuse to try out the local delishes in your event town

#9 Sense of Humor

Maintaining your sense of humor is hands down the most important. This is an easy one, because we love what we do! When there’s a last minute change or something goes awry (which it will at some point) keeping a sense of humor is important for yourself, but also all the people working with or around you.

Images Courtesy of The Fix, Memes.com, Cstoreproductsonline, Footlocker, and Amagi Metal

5 Inspiration Hacks to being more Creative

We’ve all been there, staring at a blank sheet of paper or computer screen without a clue of how to tap into your inner creativity. Sure, thinking outside the box seems simple enough, but when the possibilities seem unlimited, it’s hard to know where to begin. When it comes to imaginative projects, inspiration is key. Lucky for you, we’ve got the top 5 hacks to finding the best inspiration that will boost your creativity.

#1 StumbleUpon

Creativity often comes when you least expect it, and if you’ve got time to kill (i.e your project doesn’t have a fast approaching deadline), this website is the perfect place to start. StumbleUpon works by introducing you to random websites that fit your interest. These sites can feature anything from photography and design to science and math. Once you’ve filtered your search to a specific category, simply press the stumble button, sit back, and enjoy as you browse through a plethora of websites that are suited to inspire and encourage discovery.

#2 Pinterest

Believe it or not Pinterest has a lot more to offer than just wedding mood boards and “mom crafts”. It’s an excellent resource for all things DIY, artistic, and creative. Use key words to search through dozens of articles and tutorials posted by local artists, self-taught crafters and even expertise businesses. Better yet, save your findings in categorized folders for future projects.

#3 Behance

There’s no denying that hobbyists and bloggers can teach you a thing or two, but if you want to learn from the best, Behance is the website for you. Behance features the top photographers, artists, and designers who are breaking new ground in their industry. It showcases innovative portfolio pieces from a variety of mediums to inspire experimentation and curate popular creative trends. Behance users can interact on the site by following their favorite artists, liking posts, and even contributing their own work (once the creative block is conquered).

#4 Instructables

Creative inspiration comes a lot easier once you’ve expanded your skills and hand-on abilities. That’s where the website Instructables comes in. This site boosts creativity through DIY tutorials that show you how to make everything from anything. Whether it’s a glass bottle chandelier, a paper doll house, or homemade biscuits, Instructables has tutorials it all. Search for specific ideas or browse through their endless feed of projects to find inspiration in the most unexpected places.

#5 Designspiration

Like Instagram for all things design, this website is great resource for finding visual inspiration. If your creative block is partnered with a dash of boredom, then Designspiration is a great place to start. The feed features a wide variety of design work all in one feed, so it’s an invaluable resource for finding photographic, illustrative, and stylistic inspiration.

Photo Credit: Designspiration, Instructables, Pinterest, StumbleUpon

FLIRTcasting: Planet of the Apps

Reality TV shows just seem to never go away. You can now make a reality TV series about anything you want and it’s almost a guarantee that someone will watch it. This got us thinking…there’s actually a pretty interesting parallel between Reality TV and one of our favorite subjects: Apps. (Stay with us on this one). If you think about it, Reality TV and Apps actually have a lot in common. Neither have many restrictions or limits. They are both conversation starters and don’t show any sign of slowing down. FLIRT is of course all about App news, since it’s an award winning offering of ours, and some of our staff members definitely would say Reality TV is their guilty pleasure (although they may wish to remain anonymous 🙂 )

Interestingly enough, Apple has combined both of these seemingly different worlds as they recently announced their new TV show, “Planet of the Apps,” where celebrities judge developers on their apps. It’s basically the app version of “Shark Tank” where entrepreneurs pitch business ideas to the “sharks” and the sharks decide whether or not they would like to invest in the idea. People watch the show for different reasons, whether it be strictly for entertainment or whether they are thinking of their own entrepreneurial endeavors, but whatever the case may be it seems that people can’t get enough and Apple wants a slice of the pie.

Planet of the Apps will differ from Shark tank in the sense that instead of the typical elevator pitch developers and entrepreneurs will have to make an escalator pitch where they have to pitch their idea on an actual escalator. They will be pitching their ideas to celebrity judges such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Will.i.am, and Jessica Alba for potential funding by the celebrity as well as prime real estate within the Apple Store. The show not only judges apps; it COMES with an app where viewers can be interactive during the show and swipe left or right depending on whether the app sounds promising or not. The show will even be released in the Apple Store. This is one we’ll definitely be tuning in for. So what do you think? Over reality TV? App’d out? Already DVR’d it? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credit:

Planet of the Apps

Escalator Pitch

 

Top 10 Things to Do in Chicago in the Spring

Well Chicago, it may only be February, but we’re already starting to see sunny skies with temperatures reaching as high as 70 degrees. With weather this beautiful, we’re all thinking the same thing: Spring is just around the corner. Overwhelmed by all the possibilities? Fear not! We’ve got the top 10 things to do in […]

Integrated Tech for Event Success

Today we’re very excited to share a guest post from Brian Kolb of Wright’s Media. We’ve collaborated with Brian on the event app for Content Marketing World over the past few years and it gets better every time! We always walk away with a new insight or idea after talking to Brian (and usually a few laughs too!) Today on the FLIRT blog Brian is sharing his tips on how to successfully integrate technology into your events. Take it away Brian!

Integrate Tech for Event Success

You can have a jaw-dropping splash page, seamless registration system, brilliant email campaign and every early bird discount gimmick known to the civilized world, but filling the seats at your event is only half the battle.

Let’s face it – anyone with a checkbook can throw a party. Yours has to pay off for your company.

So how do you assure that your event generates the desired return on investment? You’ve got to integrate technology throughout the experience, and that includes before, during and after the event.

 

First Things First

But before you hook up the espresso IVs for the creative team, determine what you want from the event. What specific results will be your definition of success? Here are a few likely measures:

Total Attendees from Each Target Industry

Number of Contacts Acquired

Number of Registered Booth Visitors

Total Appointments Held/Scheduled

Total of Sales Contracts Signed

Establish your goals and then focus on deploying tech. For 2017, there are several trends that, when integrated effectively, promise to fully engage and enthrall any group.

 

Augmented/Virtual Reality

These devices are now available at all price points ranging from $10 to the thousands, and everywhere in between. Of course, the real value with AR/VR is the ability to immerse anyone in any experience at any time without the dreaded airport or bus station shuffle. Product demonstrations, exotic travel destinations, extreme sports immersions – these can obviously have a huge impact on potential customers.

However, don’t limit AR/VR to just demos – think bigger. Before the show, how about getting some industry personalities to experience some alternate reality? If it’s great (and it will be, right?), they will be sure to blog, tweet, snap and more. Their followers will pay attention and share, creating awareness, excitement, and perhaps most important, credibility for your product. And all along the way, you will happily collect the contact information of new potential customers, increase your social media following, and generate earned media to be used across all marketing channels. Continue using AR/VR during the show to engage those who couldn’t make the event – it’s a natural for many products and services, and the company bean counters will be surprised to see that in most cases, AR/VR is less expensive to develop than transporting and setting up your actual equipment.

Mobile Possibilities

Remember the old days when you received multiple on-site reminders to turn your phones off? Not anymore! Now marketers want you “distracted” as long as they are providing the distractions. Get your audience involved – preferably long before the event even starts. Six or more months before, poll your audience on where they might like to see the next conference held. It is said that scheduling and location won’t make a winner out of a bad conference, but bad scheduling can kill a good one (for example, try not to compete with that big football game held in early February every year.)

How about an event app? You’ll have to be careful with these because many people won’t want an app to be used only with a single event, but again, use your imagination. These apps can remind attendees of special offers, networking opportunities, special guests, impromptu gatherings that weren’t on the program – you name it. These can also push polls to users that will obtain their opinions on any topic you want. How about letting your guests choose the last presentation topic of each day? That’s good service, people, and it will generate huge social buzz and shares.

Events Can Be Smart

Event apps can also deliver scads of data to you (be sure to get permission at download). Want to know where people are lingering? Interested in how the traffic is flowing? Curious why the same group of people seems to be walking by your booth? You will know. With real-time data you will be able to make all sorts of adjustments on the fly that will be immediately noticeable to your attendees. This ability to adapt will pay huge dividends on your post-conference surveys, and will boost your repeat business.

Make It Click

In today’s digital landscape, event planning isn’t complete without the integration of technology. From social media to mobile apps, from AR/VR to interactive technology – sponsors need to weave technology into every corner of their event. The result will be increased booth traffic, better networking opportunities, more lead generation and ultimately, a return on investment to make an accountant proud.

How do you plan to utilize tech at your events in 2017? What advancements are you the most excited about? What’s missing? Let us know what’s on your mind in the comments!