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How the Leading Brand Experience Company Creates Experiences For Its Own Employees

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Tanner Harp
Tanner Harp

Director, Marketing

FreemanXP

Strategies you can use for your own events

We believe it’s important to practice what we preach. And we believe brand experiences are the most important way to bring people together and motivate them to achieve a common goal.

What better way, then, to celebrate 90 successful years in business and communicate our vision for the future than creating our own brand experience?

The experience FREEMAN event is how we brought our vision to life. Here are some takeaways.

We designed the experience around our goals

As a design-thinking company, we put extreme emphasis on our Freeman Learning Cycle. It’s our way of approaching problems and designing solutions. It was only natural to bake this approach into the experience.

The layout and experience design of experience FREEMAN reflected its purpose. It was a real-life “user’s guide” for understanding and applying the unmatched resources, capabilities, and value of Freeman. Our goals informed the content, and the content informed the attendee journey.

Here’s how it worked.

The center of the show floor housed our general session stage. That’s where big-picture and visionary messages happened. Encircling the stage were areas that corresponded to our design-thinking-inspired Freeman Learning Cycle: Opportunity, Formulate, Build, Debrief. Each of the five sections had a smaller satellite stage (which featured intimate TED-style discussions (ours were called "Don Talks" after Don Freeman) outside the general session) and “genius bar” booths related to that particular stage of the learning cycle. Encircling those areas were studio teams where employees used the Learning Cycle tools to create solutions for real-world projects.

Keeping our people together on the show floor was powerful. People literally moved through the stages of the “user guide,” interacting with elements and examples, and then put the ideas to work on actual projects. It worked as designed, giving people the opportunity to connect and network. People from different areas of the business and different levels of tenure met, talked, and exchanged ideas. Our value is in our people, and the critical mass of energy unlocked much of that value, letting it flow and distribute.

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Digital extended the experience

The experience offered a deluge of touch points, so it was almost impossible to take in and absorb every offering. That’s why every session was filmed and recorded. The experience was filmed not just to archive (which it was), but for additional entertainment and engagement opportunities.

Digital participants got to see something that physical attendees couldn’t. They had their own experience that made the event look like a network TV broadcast show, complete with host, roaming reporters, and interviews. Specific segments were even simultaneously translated into Spanish, French, and Mandarin.

Additionally, both live and digital participants were able to interact with sessions through second-screen technology, answering questions and viewing the slides from their own device.

There are a few important notes here:

  • The digital participants had their own carefully crafted experience. It wasn’t just a mirror of the “real world.”
  • The recording and archiving of content allowed people to interact with the content and each other without having to worry about missing out. We used digital as a FOMO killer instead of a FOMO creator. (Take that, Instagram!)
  • The recording element allowed for more content to be shared during the event, as well as continued interaction after the event.
  • Digital technology created personal interactions despite a large audience thanks to second screen technology. 

It was interactive. It was memorable. It was fun.

With so much content to share, how did we make it memorable? 

We made it an experience.

Everywhere participants went, they could interact with the content. Whether it was through games, VR, AR, selfie stations, brain scanning, or 3D printing, participants could get their hands dirty. This event wasn’t a sit-back-and-listen type of conference.

For information that needed to be communicated without interaction (think general session content), we incited feelings. Whether it was groundbreaking news, emotional breakthroughs, or messages delivered with the help of professional dancers and David Foster, the communication arrived as an experience.

That reference to dancers and David Foster isn’t random. The final night of experience FREEMAN culminated in a 90th anniversary gala, held at the Winspear Opera House, hosted by 16-time Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster. It was only fitting for such a distinguished performer to host the celebration of our own distinguished Don Freeman, celebrating his accomplishments and the 90 years Freeman has been in business.

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We connected with hearts

Infusing experiences with meaning was a core component at experience FREEMAN. 

We’re a private, family-owned company — and we love that. We’ve always been the Freeman family. The connection especially comes to life at times like these. 

Everyone at Freeman knows the why behind what we do and how we contribute, so we all feel connected to the success of the company. And the future vision was painted so vividly that a constant conversation topic — even among new friends — was an enthusiastic gushing of optimism for the future. The Freeman newbies and old-school veterans alike shared hopeful musings. People connected.

And that’s what brand experiences are all about. 

Our experience FREEMAN event came to life as the result of mountains of inspiration collected and created over time. We love sharing these themes, and are always happy to offer guidance.

Ready to create brand experiences that build meaningful connections? We'd love to show you how.

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