Reflective Report: Event Reputation Workshop

At the start of term 2, in Contemporary Issues in Events module, I delivered a workshop with three other group members. The topic of the workshop was the effects social networking sites have on an event’s reputation. I decided this topic as it was one that interested me the most. This year I have learnt to be more confident and have challenged myself in all my modules to work with others outside of my friendship group.

Throughout my years at University no other module has focused greatly upon the topic of social media, therefore I wanted to take this opportunity to study and deliver a workshop in an area of interest. Social media is a key influence in society today in various industries not just events. When using social media in your company, if used correctly this could lead to a successful business or event. When we began to research as a group we had a collective understanding of the definition of social media, that it was associated with Facebook, Instagram etc. However, after researching we discovered that social media is a vast topic and that social networking sites come under one section of social media. Therefore, as a team we all had great interest in the use of social networking sites, thus changing the title of the Worksop to focus solely on social networking sites.

Planning Process:

As a group we were punctual, organised and eager to get on with the planning of the workshop. As soon as the group was complete we created a group chat and began to converse. At the end of the first semester we arranged to meet up on a number of occasions and scheduled a meeting with Ewa, our supervisor. Once a structure was set for the workshop, each member was assigned a section to research over the Christmas holidays, so when we come back we would have all the information we would need to deliver a successful workshop. My role was to create the presentation as I have past experience with using a site in which makes presentations appear engaging and creative, which is key for a workshop, as we wanted it to be interactive. However, although i created the presentation, each member of the group provided me with helpful contributions when creating the slides. The group also had the websites login details and so they were able to make any changes at anytime. Alongside with creating the presentation, I also had my own section to research on.

Teamwork:

The team consisted of Aminah Mohamed, Lauren Eagle-Allen, Jake Smith and myself. I had not worked with the group before apart from Aminah, who Aminah is always a pleasure to work with, as she is always creative. As a team we worked efficiently together to deliver a successful workshop. Being one of the second from last groups to present, as a group we felt we had a very long time to create a comprehensive workshop in which would be interactive for the students. Also as an individual i learnt working with other peers is that it is positive to interact with others who are not your usual set of friends, as you learn from others.

On the Day:

The day of the workshop I would say everything went as expected and that we delivered an engaging and innovative workshop. We each had our sections in which we knew how to deliver professionally. Everything was also evenly distributed on who was going to deliver different parts of the presentation which is essential, as we wanted to create a positive flow to the workshop.

Lauren and myself took the first activity ‘the icebreaker,’ splitting the group into three. After presenting the students the objectives, we provided them with a number of definitions of event reputation, by (Mahon, 2002) and (Schultz, et. al, 2006). I later took the section on the negative effects of using social media poorly, resulting in negative event reputation. Throughout the workshop we had other various activities where the students researched given event’s reputations that were interesting and later showing a video, which portrayed negative event reputation. We concluded on an interactive note with the use of an online quiz in which allowed the students to recap all they had learnt throughout the workshop, also throwing in some random questions testing their knowledge.

 

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Ewa’s Feedback:

As a group we were happy with our feedback from Ewa and felt that the comments matched the content of the workshop and what was delivered on the day. The feedback in association to the material being innovative and useful and that we presented an effective and engaging workshop that combined research and students own experiences to the notion of event reputation. As a group we were happy with the feedback stated that we produced a workshop that was interesting to listen to with the various style to engage the audience. However, I do agree with constructive feedback that we did not discuss all topics in which were relevant to the events industry, some were just general examples.

Every member of the group researched around the topic positively, making sure we had great knowledge on social networking sites. Although we only had 12 students attend which was half the amount we expected, we managed the group well and made sure that we delivered an appealing workshop that was reflective of the interesting subject.

Gibbs Reflective Cycle Model cited by Dye (2011, p. 230):

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This model by Gibbs can be considered useful when it comes to critically reflecting a group workshop. You would simply go through each of Gibbs steps within the cycle and begin to review and reflect how things went as a group with the workshop. For example, the description part has been discussed previously stating what happened prior in the planning process and on the day of the workshop. The evaluation step can be considered one of the most importance parts as for the individual it is key to evaluate all that went good and bad, in order to learn for the next time. If using this model to evaluate the workshop, with the conclusion section it can be suggested that there are areas of the workshop in which could have been done differently. An example which was given in the feedback with the video is that we could have introduced the clip better or found another video that represented an event going wrong.

To conclude from the workshop I learnt the extent of the planning that goes into delivering a successful learning lesson that is engaging. An important skill i have gained is independent and teamwork skills. It is good to be confident to work with people you do not know so well, which will be beneficial to when starting a full time working with different types of people on a daily basis. Due to the workshop being based on social networking sites, i have discovered that I have great interest in the marketing side of events, which I hope to now be a career path for once I have completed my degree. For the future of the events industry it can be possible to suggest that social media will heavily influence events with the high use of social networking tools in elements of the event making them more interactive for future generations.

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How loyal are we as customers?

How loyal really are we as customers? Can our loyalty be swayed if we find that another brand are providing the same service but at a much cheaper price? Are we still loyal if the reputation of a brand can be deemed as negative? Do you go to the same annual event and regard yourself as being a loyal customer? All of these areas test our loyalty.

It can be viewed that there are two types of loyalty in which customers can experience, that is of course Behavioral and Attitudinal loyalty. Behavioral loyalty can be defined as being based on a repeat visit to an event, ‘a person who shops at the same place regularly is “behaviorally” loyal’. ( PR Loyalty Solutions 2012)  Attitudinal loyalty differs; ‘person who tells others how great a product is, or simply feels really positive about the brand him or herself internally, is “attitudinally” loyal’( PR Loyalty Solutions 2012)  .  Most individuals will often express both feelings of loyalty throughout their lives, when various events and brands will result in them feeling in different ways, questioning how loyal they really are.

Brand marketing

A brand’s reputation and how they represent themselves is of importance to the success of the organisation. Brand marketing is the organisation’s identity, what they do and what services they provide for their customers. A company’s primary aim is to market the business/event positively in order to achieve high number of customers and attendees. For example the brand of Rolex, it connotes the idea of luxury with a positive brand reputation. Also excites us customer, as it is associated with being a sponsor of Wimbledon an annual event.

With the Event’s industry festival events have their own brands such as Glastonbury and V Festival. Each of these festivals has their own event reputation that leads to the notion that they have their own set of loyal customers (event goers). With Glastonbury especially, it is an iconic brand and one of the most popular festivals in the UK. Tickets go on sale prior to finding out the line-up, showing how individuals have loyalty to Glastonbury and are willing to attend regardless the line-up.

What’s in it for me?

As a customer it is important to establish whether your loyalty is being taken for granted and that you are entitled to receive benefits for being a devoted customer. Being rewarded for being loyal customers is of importance.

Some organisations have put a loyalty scheme in place for their customers, in order to make sure their customers are their main priority. Loyalty schemes are rewarding customers and persuading them to carry on business with the company, for example the use of discounts and vouchers. A problem found is that not a lot of event organiser’s will put on a loyalty system for their customers, however I feel this is an area for improvement. For example, many people tend to go back to the same annual festival due to a positive experience; therefore those attending yearly should be rewarded with a discount or a package deal for the weekend. This will ensure customer loyalty is apparent and that the festival cares for its attendees. Drengner et al (2012) found ‘hedonic services such as sports and music events can strengthen communal spirit among consumers’.

Loyalty=Money

Loyalty towards an event or a brand has its financial benefits, not just for the company but most importantly the customer itself. From a customer’s perspective it is possible to evaluate that the more loyal we are to a company, the lower the prices for us. However it has been implied that loyal customers who are happy with the event experience or their service will ultimately pay higher prices that is a clear positive for the company. Carter (2016) expands on this, ‘Loyal customers are willing to pay more for the brands they love, but the value still needs to outweigh the price’.

But why do we feel to pay a higher price? It’s because we have a strong connection to the brand, we enjoy the idea of being a loyal customer to a particular organisation, a sense of admiration towards them.

As for the company themselves they also receive high financial benefits. When dealing with them same loyal customers the company are spending less money as it cheaper to deal with existing customer, then sourcing new ones. With all these increased purchases by loyal customers, this can ultimately lead to high profit margins for company.

This being a win, wins situation for the loyal customer and the business.

Negative Reputation means Negative loyalty

At times some brands has failed to promote the company positively resulting in negative event and company reputation. This can result in the loss of loyal customers. This can be that a particular brand as not dealt well with their customers nicely, breaking the trust and loyalty.

Olga (2015) examines that there is a link with social media being a platform in which where customers will vent their frustration with a company’s poor service or a negative event experience. As a company you want to avoid this. Try to use social media platforms positively to avoid negative reputation. Having a negative brand reputation can ultimately lead to the loss of loyal customer, resulting in the failure of your company, making it hard to achieve new customers.

Customers will only be loyal if they are led to feel a trust with a brand. We are loyal as much as you let us be.

Generation Y: Do Not Let Them Get Bored

 

The 21st century has seen the age of different generations, who share various beliefs, values and characteristics. Currently, Generation Y (Gen Y) is most influential on society, alongside with the growth of the new Generation, Z (Gen Z). When it comes to hosting an event and engaging with the audience, Gen Y does not want to be bored. Innovation is most appealing to them.

Firstly, it is important to establish who comes under the category of what we call ‘Generation Y’. There are a number of different names given to this generation, ‘millennials’, ‘echo boomers’, ‘Internet generation’, ‘iGen’ and ‘Net generation’. Gen Y ranges between those born in the years of 1977 and 1995. Although some have described those from Gen Y as being demanding, it is vital for today’s event organisers to consider them when planning their event to ensure they achieve the highest amount of success, as they are the majority of today’s attendees. Gen Y just likes to feel engaged and immersed within an event.

Why should you care?

It is imperative to ask yourselves, why should we care?

Those in Gen Y are now the future of events. Society today is beginning to be aware of this generation and some have even adapted to a new set of beliefs and values. Therefore with this in mind, this generation should be of key focus when delivering an event, making sure we deliver an event catering to their needs and what they view as exciting. Another reason to care is that we should acknowledge that the events industry is of key importance due to it being one of the fastest growing sectors, with many events being hosted on a daily basis.

So who really is Generation Y?

We must explore who is Gen Y before we discuss what they want from events. WebFinance Inc. (2017) examines who they are; ‘Children born during this time period have had constant access to technology (computers, cell phones)…required many employers to update their hiring strategy in order to incorporate updated forms of technology’. It can be implied that Gen Y focuses heavily on the use of technology with having a high presence on social networking sites. Social networking sites are their main platform of communication. Tweeting each other, sending messengers on Facebook messenger and liking photos on Instagram. Employers are now hiring in new updated ways to cater for this generation needs, this suggests that other generations are beginning to adapt to how this generation works best and how to really get through to them on their level.

Below are common characteristics of Gen Y explained through a framework by Fromm and Garton (2013:10) called the Participation Economy.

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Communication is always key

Those in other generations can often feel worried about how to communicate to Gen Y, as their communication techniques will often vary to Gen Y’s. Those in other generations have formed opinions of Gen viewing them as being ‘self-obsessed and ‘generation Me, Me, Me’ (The Guardian, 2017) . Therefore, they can be considered as a challenge for other generations. They respond well to creative and interactive tools of communication. By the majority of this generation owning a mobile phone, they are constantly getting notifications instantly on their smartphones. This is a good tool of communication for this generation. Pre event, the use of creative invitations is of key importance. Before attending an event, Gen Y likes to know exactly what the event will entail, such as who are key speakers there, key performers and whether they will benefit from attending this event. They like to know what they are going to get out of it.

Thalheimer (2015) expands on how much people really take in:

  • 10% of what they READ
  • 20& of what they HEAR
  • 30% of what they SEE
  • 50%of what they SEE and HEAR’

Technology

Technology is very much a focal point for this generation as devices daily heavily influence them. Gen Y has grown up in a modern world dependent upon technology. It can be suggested that it is wise that event organisers incorporate interactive elements in the design of their events to guarantee the focus and interest from the attendees. Event organisers are depending on technology too. Gen Y is most interested when there are elements within the event that can relate to the use of their mobile phones and social media. Parry (2015) states ‘98.6% of UK Millennials own a mobile, and out of these 87.7% have a smartphone’. However, make sure that it is relevant to use this method in the event.

For Gen Y, the notion of instant gratification comes to mind. The desire that these individuals want to experience pleasure and what they want without there being a delay, (Entrepreneur, 2017).  They want it there and then, otherwise will become frustrated and disengage. An example of this is the use of a photo booth at an event, as a photo capturing the moment in an event is essential. If there is no photo evidence, then their eyes the event did not occur. They also enjoy the fact the image from the photo booth is printed instantly and they have it there and then.

Designing an attractive event

Ensuring the design of your event is attractive enough for your guests is of vital importance, as event organisers want to guarantee that the attendees experience is of a positive one. The customer experience is what matters the most to the event organiser. As previously discussed Gen Y do not want to be bored, therefore you most make sure your event is innovative as possible. A good suggestion when it comes to determining the location of an event is to pick somewhere modern, new and unusual. For example Outdoor events are often most appealing to Gen Y. Event organisers need to keep up with modern trends, as experiential marketing is what leads to successful event.

Focusing on the visuals in the design in the event is also essential. Visuals such as animated images and GIFS are what they find most interesting and engaging. Bright colours and creative patterns. When addressing this generation in a speech or presentation, use few words as long paragraphs and sentences can sometimes be disengaging and they will begin to switch off.

 

Although to some generations, Gen Y can be viewed as being demanding, this is just how this generation is. They like to feel interested and when it comes to events that should be the main priority for them, to ensure their guests are engaged. Creative event design, the use of technology and good communication is the right way forward.

 

 

5 Ways To Have A Luxurious Wedding On A Budget

So you have either just got engaged and you’re eager to start planning, or you’ve been saving up with all the pennies you have while now, nervous at the thought of how expensive weddings cost nowadays. Everything’s just so expensive.

All your life you’ve been dreaming of your fairy-tale wedding, the most flawless day, a wedding that is luxurious and extravagant, where money in the perfect world is never an issue.

Fear no more!!!

Below you have all the tips and information you need to achieve the best wedding, 5 ways to achieve a luxurious wedding but on a budget!! There are ways of having a luxurious look and feel to the big occasion whilst cutting back on the cost. All you need to do is to sit down with your partner, with a note pad and carefully start planning, be creative, simplistic and you can achieve all of your desires

1.The Venue

Picking the perfect venue is always essential. Whether it is a castle, a stately home or a hotel, each of the venues will have their own unique design, this contributing to the style of wedding you are going for. A perfect venue to one is the worst venue for another, so remember your opinion counts the most.

TOP TIP: Pick a lavish venue.

Attractive and grand venues may not always mean that they are expensive and out of your price range. Picking a venue that is elaborate will result in keeping your funds low when it comes to decorating the place. Lavish venues require little dressing up. The guests will never know how the venue looked previously to the big day, therefore when they see it on the day they will be sure to think that the bride and groom would have splashed out on the décor. Therefore, guests will lead to the illusion that this wedding is extravagant.

2. The Right Colour Scheme

Selecting the right colour scheme for your wedding is vital. Colours can affect the mind in many different ways, resulting in your guests feeling differently about various designs in the décor of the wedding. Picking the right colours could result in adding a sense of luxury the wedding.

After studying the meanings of colours by reviewing Rikard (2015), below are the perfect colours to incorporate to your big day:

  • WHITE: Usually associated with weddings, the meaning of purity. It is also simplistic and adds a sense of elegance. Can be used with a variety of colours in the décor.
  • GOLD: Connected to the idea of wealth, a sense of luxury and of course is a ‘precious metal’. 2016 saw the trend of the use of rose gold in many weddings colour schemes. Would be a very lovely colour for bridesmaid’s dresses, adding to tone of luxury.
  • NATURAL TONES: Linking to a calming emotion. Natural, simplistic classy theme. Creams, beiges, light browns will tend to work with many colours, for example whites and gold’s are perfect. They are very common colours used in luxurious weddings.
  • PURPLE: The idea of extravagance and often used for royalty. It’s a bold colour so use it wisely in the decor, as too often could be overpowering. Try adding it into table décor and maybe even the colour of your bridesmaid’s dresses.

3. Get Creative

Embracing your creative side is always a positive when it comes to organising your wedding, as it will add a personal touch to the big day. It will also allow guests to fully appreciate all the little touches. Not only is getting your creative side out a fun thing to do, it will be a key way of keeping the budget low. Therefore, allowing you to spend more on other areas of the wedding if need be, achieving that luxurious dream wedding.

Areas to explore your creative flair

  • Invites
  • Table décor (e.g. name cards, centrepieces, seat covers)
  • Room décor
  • Favours
Simple, Creative and Elegant 

4. Flower Seasons 

For those who have just started planning their weddings, you will start to realise just how expensive flowers really are. Take the rose, the most popular and expensive flower picked by brides. However, there are many different types of flowers similar to rose, looking almost identical, where you can cut corners.

TOP TIP: Picking a flower in season.

This will dramatically reduce the costs. When talking to your florist, if you really want roses suggest a variation of different flowers in the bouquet and you will be surprised just how beautiful they can work together.

The seasons (Thompson 2016):

  • Spring- Calla Lily, Carnation, Cherry Blossom, Hydrangea, Lily of the valley, Lisianthus, Phalaenopsis Orchid, Roses and Tulips.
  • Summer: Bouvardia, Dahlia, Hydrangea, Lily, Marigold, Peony, Rose, and Stephanotis.
  • Autumn- Aster, Bouvardia, Calla Lily, Chrysanthemum, Gerbera, Gladiolus, Hydrangea, Lily and Roses.
  • Winter: Bouvardia, Calla Lily, Cymbidium orchid, Hydrangea, Lily, Muscari, Peony, Phalaenopsis orchid and Roses

 

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Bold purple colour, mixed flowers 
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Light pink bouquet, mixed flowers

5. Keep it Simple!!

As with every event, it’s always a good idea to keep things simple. Less is more. Overcomplicating things, especially if you are trying to achieve a luxurious wedding, can often be a fail or of course too expensive. The theme of luxury leads to the notion that the room décor is not over the top, it’s simplistic with classy touches. Try working with features within the décor that stand out and lead to a sense of luxury, such as something innovative. Check to see if the venue has chandeliers, as this will often make the room dressy.

 

Of course there are other ways in which one could be innovative and make sure they achieve a luxurious wedding on a budget. It is important to remember that it is your special day; therefore the opinions of others are irrelevant. How you wish your ideal wedding to look is to your desires. So remember, research, get creative, flower seasons and keep things simple.