A fitting tribute to outgoing Chairman for Scentre Group AGM

Staging Connections delivered the Annual General Meeting (AGM) for Scentre Group in early May 2016, as Mr Frank Lowy (AC) performed his final duties as Chairman of the company that he began 57 years ago, in front of 250 attendees at Centennial Hall, Sydney Town Hall.
Mr Lowy’s farewell received a standing ovation from the audience, as the Staging Connections lighting team doused the enormous event space in the Scentre Group’s brand colours. Media, shareholders and Scentre Group staff attended the formal AGM which featured audio visual and lighting services to professionally highlight and support the communication from board members on stage to the audience. A themed board table with individual visual displays for each of the 11 board members and a mega screen set above the stage ensured clear communication throughout proceedings. Communicating widely with shareholders across the world, the entire event was live webcast by Staging Connections and will be available for Scentre Group shareholders on demand for many months.
Chris Lewis, Event Director, Staging Connections commented on the professionalism and technical expertise required by AGMs and other events of this magnitude. “It was an absolute pleasure to deliver this engaging production. AGMs require absolute technical know-how and there is no room for error, this is where Staging Connections’ experience in delivering these sorts of events comes into play. Our team delivered this AGM, highlighting a true hero of the corporate world in style and with the utmost professionalism. We are proud that this was another successful AGM delivered for the Scentre Group, and look forward to delivering many more,” said Mr Lewis. Partner with Staging Connections for your Annual General Meeting
Staging Connections has been the name behind some of the largest Annual General Meetings held in Australia and New Zealand for over 30 years. With Australia’s largest range of audio visual equipment and event services, you can trust Staging Connections to deliver a truly engaging event experience for your shareholders. Speak to a Staging Connections representative today to discuss your AGM needs by calling 1800 209 099 or by sending an online enquiry. Recommended: Visit our Event Insights page to download the latest whitepaper and discover 4 key elements every event planner should consider adopting if they want to maximise attendance at the Annual General Meeting, year after year. Join the AGM Revolution … Read More

4 tips to keep your webcast audience engaged

The use of webcasts has increased dramatically due to their cost-effectiveness and time-efficiency. However, event professionals need to consider tools to ensure they’re maximising the success of the webcast by keeping their online audience just as engaged as those in-room. Here are some tips on how to create webcasts that will keep attendees focused on learning, not on checking their e-mail. Because webcasts are relatively easy to produce, inexpensive to host, and bring geographically far-flung participants together with the click of a mouse, they have become ubiquitous in the world of corporate events. But when poorly designed and executed, they run the risk of failing at the very thing they are designed to achieve—increasing reach and audience size. A disembodied voice accompanying a deluge of uninteresting slides becomes an open invitation for participants to check e-mail, complete charts, read their Twitter feed, or surf the Web, while remaining somewhat tuned in to the content. To overcome the passivity that is inherent in a webcast format, it’s critical to design and plan for interactivity so that participants engage directly with the content you want them to absorb. Here are some best practices for keeping your webcast audience engaged.> 1. Present with your webcast audience in mind The long established way of delivering content at corporate events involves a speaker presenting on stage accompanied by slides. Event planners need to refresh this format to ensure both online and in-room audiences are catered for. Here are a few tips to update your presenting style: Address your webcast attendees throughout the event. It’s best practice for the MC to include the webcast audience when welcoming the event attendees. If there is an event hashtag to be communicated, ensure the webcast attendees are encouraged to join in as well. Lastly, throughout the event, ensure you continue to acknowledge your online audience. Eye contact is still important. Let your presenters know where the cameras are prior to the event and ask them to look into the cameras every now and then to mask the effect of eye-contact with online audiences. Keep your webcast audience on track Make sure your webcast attendees have access to the same documents as your in-room audience. Staging Connections’ webcast platform allows you to upload a variety of downloadable documents to ensure your webcast experience mirrors the in-room one for your event attendees. If you plan on referring to these documents throughout your presentation, give your webcast attendees ample notice so they have time to download and can use them when referred to. Similarly, if you reference information from a document, remind your presenter to clearly instruct the webcast attendees what document you’re referring to so everyone’s on the same page. 2. Get your audience talking Almost every conference, exhibition, awards night or gala dinner you attend these days are encouraging the use of social media. If event attendees are posting on social media regardless, your brand may as well jump on board and reap the benefits of the amplified exposure and user-generated content. As a web based channel, it is also the one element of your event in which both in-room and webcast audiences will have the same experience with. Hence, encourage social conversation so your webcast audience can feel just as involved and contribute to the event. Staging Connections’ webcast platform allows event professionals to embed a live social media window into their webcast skin, displaying a constant feed of social posts surrounding the event’s hashtag. Typically, social events such as gala dinners, charity nights or awards night which are webcast live have a better uptake of the social media feature. This also holds true for the Chat feature. If social media isn’t the right dialogue for your event demographic, the alternate solution is a Chat feature which can be also be embedded into the Staging Connections webcast skin with the added benefit of moderation. Naturally, the chat feature is only available to your live webcast audience, but it’s a useful tool for encouraging discussion, whilst also providing them with an exclusive experience. A novel way to engage your webcast attendees is to use the Chat feature for competitions and quizzes with the first correct answer as the winner. 3. Interactivity via live audience polling A clever tactic for keeping your audience engaged throughout your event is by asking them questions. Polling your audience has a myriad of uses and benefits rendering it a universal audience engagement tactic no matter the style of your event. The questions can be used as ice-breakers, for knowledge testing at the end of a session or even for voting on Best Dressed at gala dinners. Event Poll is a live audience polling platform exclusively offered by Staging Connections which can be embedded into your presentation slides as well as Staging Connections’ webcast platform. It allows both your in-room and webcast audience to respond to questions in real-time using their mobile device or desktop with the answers displayed instantly on screen. We’ve previously explained 25 reasons why event professionals love Event Poll so to ensure you’re also getting the most out it, here’s some helpful tips: Introduce Event Poll at the beginning of your event and be sure to include your webcast audience and explain how it works and how they access it. An effective way to check all attendees, both in-room and webcast, can use Event Poll is to ask a simple ice-breaker question such as ‘Where have you come from today?’. Ensure you alternate taking questions between the physical and webcast audience. Do not ignore the online audience! Doing so will alienate them. This is where using the embedded live audience polling platform, Event Poll, comes in handy as all questions are displayed in the one location, regardless of the askers location. Allow time to discuss the results of each poll and any follow up questions that may result, time permitting of course. 4. Best Practices for Slides for webcasting Event professionals should consider the design of their presentation slides to ensure it caters for webcast audiences. Staging Connections’ webcast platform gives you the option of housing only the live recording within the webcast skin, or both the live recording and synchronised presentation slides side-by-side. If you have opted for the former, than the below points provide a helpful guide for designing slides that work for webcasting. Review slides for readability - Regardless of whether you prefer to use PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Slides, or Prezi, you’ll want to make sure that your presentation slides are easily readable. For maximum readability, contrast is the key. We recommend sticking to either to black text on a light background. Use images that illustrate your point in a dramatic, memorable way (graphs, pictures, drawings, etc.) Don't rely on too much text, and whatever you do, don’t read slides aloud word for word. Use a maximum of three or four bullet points per slide. Use your pointer to highlight key points on the slide. Why event professionals choose Staging Connections for webcasting By planning ahead and implementing a variety of engagement tactics tailored for webcast audiences, you’ll maximise the effectiveness of your event. Staging Connections offers Australia’s most customisable webcasting platform that can be custom designed to look like an extension of your brand. On top of its flexible design, many event professionals choose Staging Connections for webcasting due to the variety of embedded features available which have been included purely for the purpose of enhancing the experience for webcast attendees. When webcasting your next event, ensure you consider incorporating downloadable documents, social media, online chat and live audience polling into your presentation to maximise engagement. Interested in webcasting your next event or taking your event webcast to the next level? Our team of event experts have the ideas to take your event where it needs to go. Speak to a Staging Connections representative today by calling 1800 209 099 or send an online enquiry. This article was written by General Manager of Digital, Tim Chapman. ... Read More

A dramatic fire and ice themed gala dinner in Canberra

We delivered an exciting fire and ice theme to the delight of 700 guests at the Greencross Limited Annual Awards Dinner at the National Convention Centre, Canberra in late 2015. The Exhibition Hall was radically transformed from a breakfast/lunch space into the impressive fire and ice theme for guests of Australasia’s largest integrated pet care company, to network with company VIPs, connect with suppliers and celebrate the outstanding achievements of the company. Theresa Chiller, Projects Coordinator, The Pet Foundation Administrator at Greencross Limited was thrilled with the technically superior result that Staging Connections produced. “Our guests had a fabulous time. We wanted to create an atmosphere fit for the occasion and Staging Connections combination of set design, lighting, audio and special effects certainly came together to give an ultimate wow factor for our audience. “As two different conferences were merged into this one event, our guests had extra high expectations of what this gala event would deliver. When the doors opened we were already convinced that we’d exceeded expectations – guests stood at the doors, too busy taking photos of the amazing visual feast within, to even walk inside!” said Ms Chiller. Felicity Webb, Event Stylist, Staging Connections created the dramatic fire and ice theme using a combination of styling, design and audio visual elements to truly transform the Exhibition Hall. “Our aim was to design an environment that immersed the guests in a true experience, engaging all their senses and giving them the opportunity to celebrate in a memorable atmosphere. “We designed a large digital backdrop using our modular panels that created a 9.5m x 5.5m screen which we mapped using a high performance Christie 18k projector, on to which we projected vibrant animated content of fire and ice. This really brought the Exhibition Hall to life and created a central focus for all other styling elements to be crafted around. “Over 30 assorted moving head lights and 40 extremely bright quad coloured LEDs were used to achieve the dramatic distinction between the opposing forces of fire and ice. In true celebratory style, projections of colourful fireworks played as award winners were announced and then when it was time to party, projections of disco balls inspired everyone to get out on the dance floor,” said Ms Webb. Three different centrepieces were used to enhance the visually stunning theme including tall white willow branches surrounded by acrylic ice; mirrored mosaic vessels clustered at different levels with accompanying ice, snowflakes and tea lights; and beaten nickel bowls glowed from the interior orange LED pillar candles placed inside. With the objective of delivering a big celebration, dramatic audio was paramount to the events resounding success. Twelve Meyer line array elements were complimented by four 700HP subwoofers all controlled by the Meyer Galileo processing and Yamaha M7 mixing desk. White table linens created a clean canvas for the dramatic lighting effects and visuals around the hall and a custom Perspex lectern was internally lit to draw the crowd’s attention. We offer Australia's largest range of event services across audio vision, lighting, staging, styling and digital services. When you partner with Staging Connections you're partnering with the best AV technicians and event professionals in the market. Send us an enquiry or call 1800 209 099 to speak to an event specialist. ... Read More

A Vanity Fair themed gala dinner for Auto & General

Staging Connections was engaged by Auto & General to create a gala dinner that was a work of art, celebrating and honouring its 1,200 guests. Transporting guests into a fantasy world of crystals and Vanity Fair inspired parties that surprised and delighted them. Utilising the symbol for a 15 year partnership, crystals were selected as the basis of the event creative concept. Venue: Brisbane Exhibition & Convention Centre Event: 15th Anniversary Gala Dinner Guests: 1,200 Client: Auto & General AV: Staging Connections Styling: Staging Connections The grand entrance was created using red carpet flanked by bollards and rope and a custom branded media backdrop for photo opportunities. Once guests entered the main room, they were greeted with a stunning 'Vanity Fair' style Event Backdrop covered entirely in lush greenery and featuring white 3D lettering of ’15 years’. Several custom Event Backdrops were designed for this event to incorporate the insurance brands under the Auto & General umbrella - and Budget Direct. The provided guests with the perfect opportunity to pose for a photo against these iconic brand personalities. The hero room feature was the giant mirror ball surrounded by 6m long crystal beaded chandeliers, and when lit cast thousands of moving sparkles around the room. As a special treat for the guests, they were treated to a flash mob performance by several Auto & General employees and finished with Captain Risky. Our unique concept included a lovely 12m wide x 6m high beaded ‘crystal’ curtain used as the backdrop for the in house stage. This allowed a grand entrance for the star performer at the end of the night; Guy Sebastian. Event Feed was used to increase engagement throughout the night and give guests the chance to feature on the big screen. All Instagram and Tweets with the hashtag #myAG15 were displayed on screen, sharing their messages and moments with the entire room. It was a great way to spark conversation between guests and provide entertainment all night long. What did the client day? “Every staff member I dealt with was amazing. They handled everything so professionally and allowed me to step back and enjoy the night rather than run around and stress over if things were going to plan or not." Jodie Taylor, People & Culture Consultant, Auto & General Holdings Back to blog More events from QLD Get in touch ... Read More

A stunning Spy themed corporate event at Crown Melbourne

What magic lies in the make-up of a spy theme that makes it so popular with event planners and attendees? How is it that one character, has managed to captivate audiences for so many years? Perhaps we all secretly yearn to be a suave secret agent or the girl who catches his eye. Whichever one you are, find out how we took this popular event theme to a whole new level. To live up to the heightened expectations that come with a spy themed gala event, Crown Melbourne’s brief included four key objectives to create an immersive experience to delight guests at their two Palladium VIP Events: To create a spectacular and innovative visual, lighting and multimedia production To create connection between performances and multimedia To creatively utilise over 520 LED panels throughout the production To develop animated content for over 520 LED panels As the in-house AV team at Crown Melbourne, Staging Connections has produced this event annually since 1996 and in 2015 was set to exceed the client’s expectations like never before! Producing an immersive Spy themed VIP gala dinner Staging Connections produced two exhilarating events using world-leading audio visual, lighting and multimedia production to bring the thrill of a spy themed movie to Melbourne. . As the doors to the The Palladium opened, the 650+ VIP guests were immersed in a James Bond adventure. A grand entrance to the event was designed using 64 LED panels suspended from the roof, arranged to form four arches which together, created a tunnel effect. The LED archway was brought to life using motion graphic content of iconic James Bond opening sequences. Guests were invited to walk beneath the canopy and into the main area for the gala dinner. This made for a dramatic start to the evening and set the tone for what was to come! Once guests were seated, James Bond himself descended from the roof via a pre-installed foot loop to surprise guests, while Ninja’s abseiled down from the ceiling at different points around the room. At the conclusion of the opening performance, Kate Cebrano appeared from behind a 15 metre Kabuki drop reveal that doubled as the scenic backdrop for James Bond’s opening number. Behind Kate Cebrano on the main stage, stood a magnificent 15 meter LED - one of the newest products to Staging Connections' vision portfolio. Our talented Melbourne event stylists chose to use sophisticated yet minimal event styling so the sweeping stage design, LED archway and AV remained the hero elements of the night. They created beautiful table centrepieces with crystal beaded chandeliers and beaded wired cylindrical votives as the hero features. The beaded chandeliers and votives beautifully reflected light around the room and added to the drama and grandeur of the 'Spy' theme. Using the latest AV and motion graphics to enhance the Spy event theme Performances of iconic James Bond theme songs by Kate Cebrano and Sally Cooper, were enhanced with bespoke animated content, lighting routines and wind machines for additional effect. A total of 75 moving head and 55 static light fixtures accentuated the mood of each performance with dramatic colour changes. Throughout the evening, beautiful scenic vistas from various Bond movies were showcased across 180 LED panels that combined to create a 14 metre panoramic screen across the stage. This was further enhanced by two additional 30 metre x 10 metre drop screens with 18k Christie projectors. Accentuating the theme, 340 LED panels were artistically used across the venue with LED totems on stage, 4 metre LED strips at the front of the room and four LED arches that welcomed guests at the door. Staging Connection’s digital media team created all themed content for the evening, including six custom animations and over 30 scenic stills that used the Ken Burns effect to create running movement. Overall, the content stretched over 12,000 pixels wide, well beyond the normal capacity of 1920 pixels. Staging Connections responded to the client brief bringing world class technology to life for maximum effect. Crown Melbourne was delighted to treat their VIP guests to two spectacular events that left a lasting impact on all attendees. Staging Connections Melbourne Events Team Our Melbourne team is proudly led by Haig Walker and comprises some of the most talented design and styling professionals in the industry, offering event excellence across 7 key venues. If you're looking to host your next corporate event in Melbourne, than we're the experienced events team you can rely on. We proudly offer Australia's largest range of event services across audio, lighting, staging, vision and extending to styling, multimedia and digital event solutionslike webcasting, live polling and event social media. Get in touch with us today or call 1800 209 099 to speak with one of our event experts. ... Read More


Are smartphones really killing your corporate event?

Smartphones - and more broadly speaking, mobile devices - are receiving a lot of negative publicity at the moment in the meetings and events circles, with claims they're distracting your audiences. There's even been a call to arms to ban them entirely. Vice President of Digital Solutions at Freeman Digital, Ken Holsinger, steps in to defend our beloved friends, claiming we need to encourage engagement with them properly, not to ban them altogether. And we agree! Don't ban them - engage them! When it comes to the subject of mobile devices and disruption, everyone’s got a lot of opinions, often even emotional ones. There are officially more mobile devices on our planet than there are people — the real-time ticker from GSMA Intelligence shows the current number of worldwide mobile connections at over 7.66 billion, and it’s growing by the second. Love them or hate them, smartphones and tablets are now a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, and event marketers are struggling with how to best tackle the situation at hand. Now industry groups are buzzing with the question: should we ban mobile from meetings? IMEX and MPI cite Amy Gallo from Harvard Business Review in their new study, which says that 40 percent of meeting professionals would support a blanket ban on devices at meetings and events. Gallo and her experts say nobody’s really multitasking as well as they think they are, and that device users can be distracting, even upsetting, to those around them. However, keep in mind that these experts are speaking in the context of the everyday workplace, where they also recommend keeping meetings to seven people or less and not let anyone sit down. Maybe that’s sage advice for your typical office environment, but we don’t hold big events in the corporate conference room. Trying to apply the same advice to the events industry is not a one-to-one comparison. We are talking about taking devices away from people who are on the road, away from the office, and away from family for several days at a time. Not to mention that our biggest attendee audience has grown up with devices in hand—try telling a Millennial that his or her phone isn’t welcome at your event and see how well that goes over. It’s not exactly setting the groundwork for repeat attendance. So let’s be real for a minute—people aren’t going to stop using their phones. According to KPBC’s annual Internet Trends report from 2015, 73% of the global population use mobile devices, spending almost three hours on mobile apps and almost two hours on social media every day. But by taking advantage of the already-in-hand mobile devices, you have a ready-made communication channel with the potential to drive deeper engagement and create more connected attendees. Here’s how you can harness the true power of mobile to focus attention and drive outcomes. Mobile devices provide a personalized event experience Mobile devices are the perfect guide for attendees at any event, providing easy access to maps, session information, schedules, reference material, and even networking apps to help them connect with peers, speakers, and prospects. They can help attendees plan their days at events and provide reminders to move from session to session, providing an event experience that feels much more organized and seamless to attendees. Personalized content tailored to each attendee’s areas of interest, industry role, and more can be pushed straight to mobile devices, pushing past the one-size-fits-all approach to a more intimate, targeted event experience that focuses on fulfilling attendee wants and needs. Mobile interaction fully engages attendees during sessions Would you like deep insight into how your audience responds to content, what they’re looking for from presenters, and even who might be interested in working with you? Mobile devices can be your best friend during event sessions when you utilise them to interact with attendees through technology offerings like second screen applications. By integrating second screen interaction via mobile right into your session, you get your audience more connected from the start, encouraging them to actively respond and participate in the presentation. This leads to higher performance overall, from presenter scores to levels of engagement. Audiences rate presenters often as much as 15 percent higher when they utilise second screen in their sessions. But that’s not all. Using second screen, you can take attendee questions and adjust content on the fly, poll your audience for rich data that can be used to fine-tune future presentations, and collect valuable feedback that could help you close deals and win new customers. We see a significant increase in audiences commenting, tweeting, and asking questions when using a second screen platform—sometimes by as much as several hundred percent, depending on how well the presenter has worked the platform functionality into their content. Mobile creates communities Don’t fight the attendee urge to post hashtags, check-ins, and selfies to social media. Use it to your benefit and create a sense of community for your event that turns attendees attention away from their Facebook wall and back toward your event by making it easy for attendees to share their insights and observations via mobile interactions. Plus, the rich data from these social media interactions can inform decisions for your event…not just for next year, but literally in real time! Second screen applications often allow social sharing directly from the app during a session, and attendees can see questions and comments from the rest of the audience in real-time. More and more event planners are opting for social media integration platforms that display social posts live on screen aggregated by a branded event hashtag. Encourage attendees to post nuggets of wisdom from speakers, snapshots from the show floor, even selfies in your host city—and tag themselves with the event hashtag. And from LinkedIn to Twitter, it’s a tool that attendees use to connect with one another, so get involved and help guide the conversation. Mobile devices help amplify your message Keep in mind that attendees aren’t just checking in with the office or connecting back home when they’re online. Many use social media in smart ways on show site, and they follow and track hashtags, locations, speakers, and peers who are tweeting and Instagramming up a storm. According to our study with the Event Marketing Institute on the viral impact of events, only 23% of companies are using social media during events to reach remote or non-attendees and industry members. Remote event attendance is booming, so don’t overlook the audience who isn’t right in front of you. This is a huge opportunity to utilize on-site attendee voices to maximize the reach of your message. Let them drum up a healthy sense of FOMO amongst their followers that turn them into future attendees, ready to register (or at least tune in) for your next event. Advertising that specific and marketing that organic is priceless! General Manager of Digital at Staging Connections, Tim Chapman, says "the fact is mobile phones are part of our everyday life. Don’t see the mobile device as the enemy at an event, embrace it and get it working for you." Don’t let buzz on banning mobile devices distract you from the unlimited potential they can bring to any event. When you look at mobile as a tactic rather than a roadblock, you open up the possibilities of engagement and interaction with your audience, and gain data insights to improve year over year and offer attendees the kind of personalized experience they won’t find anywhere else! This article was originally posted on Freeman blog Related Articles Bring Your Own Device To Events 25 Reasons You'll Love Event Poll How to trend on Twitter ... Read More

Awards night uses projection mapping for WOW-factor stage design

One of the most beautiful, intricate and technically complex stage designs of 2015. Staging Connections delivered a visually captivating event for the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) Awards for Excellence at The Star Sydney. Celebrating the best of the hotel service industry, the event offered guests a visual feast, combining complex stage sets, intricate styling, technically advanced projection mapping and strategically prepared video content. Inspired by the geometric logo elements the Staging Connections event production team built a custom stage design comprised of a 20x5m hard projection set interspersed with coloured acrylic panels to emphasise the geometric elements of the clients’ logo. Video and imagery was projected onto the 3D set using state-of-the-art projection mapping, illuminating the stage in a thousand colours that drew the audience’s attention and ensured a memorable result. Projection Mapping uses everyday video projectors, but instead of projecting on a flat screen (e.g. to display a PowerPoint), light is mapped onto any surface, turning common objects of any 3D shape into interactive displays. More formally, projection mapping is “the display of an image on a non-flat or non-white surface”. Selina Rumble, General Manager of Partnerships & Events at the Australian Hotels Association was delighted with the creative event design that perfectly answered the Association’s brief to deliver a memorable occasion. “The Australian Hotels Association has worked with Staging Connections across Australia for nearly 10 years, and the team know how to push boundaries to produce a stellar result every time. They went above and beyond for our Awards for Excellence, delivering not only a visually stunning experience but a seamless event as well for our 500 guests. “Whilst a celebration is memorable in itself, we delight in using technology to create a striking event environment that our guests want to share with their friends. Staging Connections have the technology, the team and most of all, the know-how, to deliver special events that continue to impress our guests,” said Ms Rumble. Stu Buchanan, Event Director at Staging Connections led the team in managing and producing the entire event. “It was a star-studded event and we were keen on impressing both our client and the event’s attendees. Our team worked hard to design the multimedia for the event that took over 125 hours to prepare, and the result was a dynamic and impactful backdrop that guests raved about. “As an integrated event staging provider, every element of the event was carefully thought out, from the set design of tessellated triangles, to the mapped digital backdrop, to the three 16:9 screens and the table styling featuring illuminated glass terrariums filled with copper string lights. The event environment was warm, inviting and had an ultimate wow-factor,” concluded Mr Buchanan. Staging Connections worked in collaboration with The Star Event Centre’s technical and audio visual team to deliver the spectacular result for the Australian Hotels Association Awards for Excellence. Related Articles First of its kind - a Kinetic ceiling installation at The Million Dollar Lunch gala Transform your corporate event with creative stage design How projection mapping can add an extra dimension to your events ... Read More

4 rules to an effective event hashtag

Most of the conferences and networking events you’ll go to will have their own hashtag. You'll see event planners and marketers alike splashing the hashtag on all communications leading up the event and on the event day itself. The hashtag has become so ubiquitous that it has now become odd not to have one. As Mashable explains, the pound sign (or hash) turns any word or group of words that directly follow it into a searchable link. This allows you to organise content and track discussion topics based on those keywords. In the events world, hashtags help event attendees organise their online conversations – about panels, speakers, ideas and opinions – and stay connected virtually long after the event itself has ended. These online conversations have become an important part of the life cycle of an event. We've previously discussed the trend towards creating online communities to help promote your event. This hashtag will be crucial in executing this strategy. As corporate event organisers look for new ways to engage their audiences and provide rich brand experiences, incorporating a hashtag is one of the simplest and most effective tools in your marketing arsenal. However, if done wrong and without proper consideration you could be heading towards a huge #fail with no one using it or worse, facing public humiliation (remember Susan Boyle's album launch #susanalbumparty). That's why it's important to choose the right hashtag so that people actually use it. The four golden rules of an effective event hashtag It's Unique Make it memorable It makes sense Keep it short 1. It’s unique The purpose of a hashtag that’s associated with an event is to enable those at the event (and sometimes those who couldn’t make it in person) to connect to one another, share their thoughts, experiences and content, and continue to network after the event. So if your hashtag is being used by another event or group, or is too broad, it muddies the conversation and makes it hard for your group to find each other. The best event hashtags are those that are unique to the event at hand. If, say, your event is a travel event, you probably don’t want to choose a hashtag like #travel or #lovetotravel (too broad and not specific enough). You can easily cull unsuitable hashtags by performing a quick search on Twitter and Instagram to see what results are already there. We recommend creating a list of 3 - 5 possible hashtags that you'd like to use, run a search on them and decide from there which one to go with. If all fail, then start again! One thing to consider is dating your hashtag. You would need to decide whether you want it to be specific to that year's event, or whether you have an ongoing event and want to build traction behind the hashtag - #SCtech15 vs #SCTech. 2. Make it memorable It would seem only reasonable that if you're displaying your hashtag on every piece of communication to promote the event, and throughout the venue on the event day, that audiences would remember your hashtag? Well, unfortunately this isn't the case. If you're organising a travel expo event in June of 2015 and the hashtag is #TravlXpoJn15, it is highly likely people won't remember it, misspell it or can't be bothered to go back and search for it. Was it #travelexpojune2015 #travelex15? The best hashtags are the most memorable. They relate well to the event at hand (a travel event should probably have the word “travel” in it, for instance), and they stick in the brain either because they’re short and sweet, they make obvious sense, or they’re fun and cool. A good example for this could be #TravelExpo15 (or whatever the name of the event is). 3. It’s intelligible Looking back at the previous Travel Expo example the hashtag - #TravlXpoJn15 - isn’t easily readable. When you see the letters you can partially understand what it is meant to say, but not being true words we wouldn't easily remember it. You'll also have to consider when in practice, upper case titles often get removed or people forget to add making your hashtag even harder to decipher - #travlxpojn15 (???). It's safer to use actual words than abbreviations unless they're common ones such an inc. for incorporated. In this instance, a better and more sensible hashtag would be #travelexpo2015. It might be a little long, but at least anyone who sees it – whether they’re at the event or they just stumble across it while browsing social media– will understand what the hashtag is all about at first glance. Additionally, if your event attendees are not sure what the official event hashtag is, using something like the above example means it could be easily guessed. Other things to consider: Spaces aren't supported. Even if your hashtag contains multiple words, group them all together. If you want to differentiate between words, use capitals instead (#TravelExpo). Uppercase letters will not alter your search results, so searching for #TravelExpo will yield the same results as #travelexpo. Numbers are supported, so you can include dates to help identify your events. Only words and numbers are allowed so don't try to include punctuation marks, ampersands or any other special characters Keep in mind that the @ symbol does something completely different. Using @ before a person’s Twitter or Instagram handle will post to them directly. 4. Keep it short and simple Last but not least, you want your event hashtag to be short and sweet. In this example, #travelexpojune2015 might be too long. It’s 19 characters long. If someone wanted to share a link, let’s say, while using your hashtag, they’d only have about 100 characters to write their message. And if they want to leave room for a retweet, they’re down to just about 80 characters. For a little context, the previous sentence was 87 characters long. The shorter the hashtag, the more room your attendees will have to share their thoughts. So instead of #travelexpojune2015, you might want to shorten it to just #travelexpo – much shorter, and it has the added bonus of being useable after the month of the conference, in case you want to make it an annual event. What's next? Encouraging interaction at your corporate event Now that you have applied the four golden rules to an effective event hashtag, how will you promote your hashtag to get audiences using it? We've mentioned previously that event organisers include the hashtag on their promotional materials and often the first speaker of the day will mention it during House Rules. However, these are still quite passive approaches. How do you start the conversation and actually encourage people to post? What if we said you could display a live social feed of all the posts tagged with your event hashtag onto a large screen for all your audience to see? Event Feed is Staging Connections social media wall which pulls in all posts from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that include the event hashtag. Event organisers have been using it at conferences and awards nights across Australian and New Zealand and have found it to significantly increase their audience engagement and social spread of the event. Interested in using Event Feed at your next corporate event? Head over to the Event Feed page for more information or contact us to start planning your next event. Related Articles Say Hello! to Event Feed - Event Tweet has had an upgrade! How to trend on Twitter 5 Clever Ways to Use Twitter at your event 25 Reasons You'll Love Event Poll Post orginally seen on Adweek and repurposed for events ... Read More

4 ways you can increase ROI by webcasting your event

It’s little surprise that brands are wanting more from events. The technological world has evolved to allow them to connect with a virtual audience in a similar way to how they would with an in-room audience. The sophistication of today’s live-streaming, on-demand downloads, and online audience participation make webcasting events not just a great engagement tool, but also a revenue raising opportunity. By delivering your event through webcasting, you’re creating three distinct forms of valuable product: Content, Exposure, and Measurement. And you’re creating an opportunity to boost your revenue much higher than you would with a one-off, one-location show. Four ways to make money from webcasting your event By broadcasting your event through a tool like Staging Connections’ Event Webcast, you’ll be able to target the key areas of sponsorship, content and marketing collateral. Here’s a little bit more on how to get the most of it. 1. Paid access to content Sometimes, there will be people who want to attend your event but just physically, or geographically, can’t be there. You might want to offer training, or have a global audience who is keen to hear what you have to say. That’s where paid access can come in handy. Staging Connections can help you set-up a pay wall to view your streamed event, so people can participate from afar and still have access to your valuable content. The branded webcast page will also be live for up to a year after your event, allowing you to continue hosting and charging access for. It’s a great tool for maximising the return from your event. 2. Sponsorship Opportunities Staging Connections’ webcast platform is the most customisable in the Australian market. The webcast skin and embedded features provide brands with many sponsorship opportunities. Below are some ways you can use the realty to attract sponsors vying for the same audience: Brand name or logo insets on the webcast skin Branded questions included in the live polling platform (available only in certain packages) In-video and pre-roll advertisements similar to what you see on YouTube Branded social media links posted on embedded social media feed Branded downloadable documents Don’t forget, you’re online with a webcast, so directing participants to a sponsors website, video content, social media or any other web-based promotion is a very simple task. 3. Data capture The great thing about giving viewers the opportunity to stream or watch ondemand is that will provide invaluable data in order to access the content. When you register for a webcast you are often asked to submit your name, company, job title, location, email address and even phone number. This information coupled with some basic web analytics can provide a lot of information about your audience. You can measure everything from who attended, their location, what device they’re using, how long they watched the video for, and even who interacted with the webcast add-on features such as live polling or social media. Once captured this data can help create audience segments and aid future marketing and business initiatives. This is especially useful for business development and lead generation. Now that you know what content the audience is interested in, and they have given you their information, you can start a conversation and follow-up with additional webcasts or cross-promote other services your brand offers. The webcast is used to start the conversation and now it’s up to you to nurture that lead and turn them into a loyal customer. 4. Marketing Collateral By their very nature, webcasts are a fantastic platform for your sponsors. Why? Because you’re hosting an event that’s capturing the attention of a very specific target audience, something traditional mediums of advertising just can’t offer for branded messages. When you webcast, you’re not just streaming live – you’re recording valuable video and audio that can be repackaged and repurposed for future use. And you’re doing it at a fraction of the cost of sourcing footage in other ways. This means you’ve already got yourself material for ads, promo videos, and branded material for you to promote on your website and on social media. It’s a saving on your marketing budget that can lead to big things. Of course, when you host material on your website you also get the added benefit of increasing your content, driving traffic to your social platforms and sponsors links, better SEO, and cementing your credibility in the market. Benefits of Webcasting your event Staging Connections has brought webcasting to events for a wide array of applications. Beyond conferencing or sales, webcasting can be used for connecting with global audiences, streaming celebrity clients for launches, and ensuring people don’t miss out on important events all around the world. We’ve helped Australian manufacturers’ webcast announcements and demonstrations for products to a worldwide network. We’ve helped companies communicate from the CBD to remote Australian towns. And we’ve helped our clients do this quickly, and effectively – so let’s talk about how we can help you do the same. Webcast your next event Not sure if webcasting is right for you? Get in touch with us and one of our experienced event directors will help you find the best products to match your event objectives. Related Articles on Webcasting The benefits of webcasting your event Opinion Piece: Making Money from Webcasting by General Manager - Digital, Tim Chapman Launching Hobart 39 - a live webcast of ship unveiling ... Read More


5 corporate event trends we've noticed for 2015

1 Companies Stopped Spending Money On 'Stuff' And Started Spending On Experiences. This trend applies to both big and small companies, as the consumer culture has shifted in favor of experience rather than a simple act of buying. If before, the purchased product was enough to justify the act of spending money, nowadays the act of purchase has to be an event in itself. Apple has pioneered this concept with its Apple Stores. This had a dramatic impact on event marketing. In part because of this consumer obsession with experience, companies have started spending more money on event marketing than ever before. While this seems like good news for event marketers, it is important to remember that the expectations of companies for event marketing have increased. This trend disproves the earlier assumption made by many companies that the physical object will be valued by people more than the intangible experience. Apparently, when spending their money, the people are paying more attention to the emotional side of their brain rather than the logical one. That is why enjoyable experiences, such as vacations or concerts, are highly valued by people and are always in demand. That's why you need to choose the location of the event wisely. 2 Mobile Event Apps Are More Popular Than Ever Before. A great number of event marketers have stressed the importance of mobile event apps. Most of event marketers are using at least one mobile event app, while many other event marketers are using multiple event apps for a single event they manage. This helps them streamline every aspect of their event marketing work, everything from check-ins to guest interactions during event. 3 Event Marketers Are Stressing The Importance Of Integrated Technology Solutions. With a proliferation of technology, more and more devices are becoming available to an event marketer. With this multitude of devices has come a need for one unified data set that can be accessed from any device. This is important not only for the purpose of work simplification but also for the purpose of ROI measurement. That is why mobile event apps should be integrated with existing marketing automation platforms and customer relationship management software. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and makes it easy to measure data. 4 Event Marketers Are Still Unsure On How To Prove The Event ROI. More than half of event marketers interviewed in a marketing study said that they believe that the event ROI is going to be the primary measure of their effectiveness. Nevertheless, the vast majority of event marketers cannot identify the key metrics that can be used by companies to measure the event ROI. This points to yet another interesting trend in event marketing that we discuss below. 5 Adoption Time For New Technology In Event Marketing Is Still Quite Long. While the new event marketing technologies are entering the market almost every month, not many of these technologies will have a permanent place in the pantheon of marketing. The vast majority of marketers seem to be aware of this phenomenon, so they shy away from many new technologies, in part because they require investment of both time and money. However, the fact that mobile apps have gained ground in event marketing in a relatively short period of time is an encouraging development for all the tech enthusiasts out there. ... Read More