Why Experience Will Always Win Over Logistics

This week, Hannah (Unicorn’s running-obsessed director) shares her experience of a trail running festival, and learns that the corporate event world has a lot to learn from the parallel universe of live festivals:

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"This weekend I went to Love Trails Festival. Yes, I am finally incorporating running into our company content, and no, I am not sorry about it. LTF (as the cool kids call it) embodies the ultimate trail running experience and fully understands its audience’s desires.

The thing to remember here is that its audience already has a huge amount in common - they have all independently chosen to attend this specialist event. Content marketers need to capitalise on this, starting conversations based on shared interests the moment attendees land onsite. At LTF, conversations about your running history, race level, and overall experience are open and immediate ice-breakers, setting the tone for the weekend ahead.

Let’s start with objectives, which don’t really change between corporate and live events. Take your pick from the list below and they will, or at least should, reflect why you are pulling your programme together.

  • Shared experience
  • Education
  • Customer engagement
  • Creating FOMO
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Whatever you’re creating, the outcome should be to increase emotional engagement with your brand, subsequently increasing spend and revenue. 

In corporate events, both agencies and clients tend to focus on event solutions and logistical planning before exploring brand experience. We are all experts in our fields, and yes it matters what time the buses leave and if lunch is on-time and what badges/lanyards we use,  but it also doesn’t matter at all.

These things aren’t the education and emotion that people are seeking. They’re not the things they will remember next year, and they’re definitely not the things they will tell their peers about.

Next time you are creating an event experience, promise yourself to be more LTF, and ask yourself “Why are we doing this?” and “What do we want people to feel?”  Pin these answers on the wall in front of you, and don’t forget them. They’re not just exercises for a brainstorming meeting, but the foundations for the entire event.

We didn’t just get up and run, we went to sessions on technique, form and environmental practices. We heard from Wild Ginger Films on how to create the perfect running blog, from Run The Wild on getting back to running after injury, and recovered with Vinyasa from the sensational Helena Wilton Yoga Team.

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Sure, the toilets didn’t always work, and at one point there were no showers at all. Sessions ran to their own agenda, with signs saying “Please note times may slip.”

We may have preferred to be cleaner than we were,  but those logistical mishaps bother you so little when the experience exceeds all you could have ever hoped.

Who cares if they started 10 minutes late? Not us. We were too busy co-sharing the best experience of our lives with our new friends.

What did we leave LTF with?

  • New relationships
  • Expert education
  • A re-affirmed love for trail running
  • A guaranteed return next year
  • Some feedback on logistics

 

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Everyone that has asked me about this weekend has had the same response, “It was the best weekend of my life.” I am a full ambassador for LTF 2019. Not only would I not miss it for the world, but I will be coming back with my running tribe. Your biggest marketers are your current customers - so give them an experience they can take home, something they can feel, something they can share."

 

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Hannah Luffman