As curators of the Freeman Trend Lab, we continually mine shifts in our industry and the world at large to ensure our trend incubator stays on the pulse of innovation.
Part of that process is reviewing all lab entries, asking questions about each trend, and considering the effects on brand experiences:
- Is this idea still current, compelling, and unique?
- What new trends are popping up that are Trend Lab-worthy?
- Which innovations have evolved to become best practice applications?
Following our latest inspection, we’ve identified the following six trends that have worked hard to secure their formidable place in our marketing toolbox. After emerging onto the scene with novel approaches, these ideas are on the verge of becoming best practices with proven staying power to enhance events.
Revisit these concepts and discover how best to apply them when planning your next brand experience. To determine what has truly evolved into a best practice, we need your help!
Here’s how to get involved:
- Review this trend list
- Think about your own business and what you’ve seen in the market
- Vote for the ones you believe have shifted status from trend to best practice!
Risk Takers: Fearless in the face of failure
When you shake things up by taking a new path, it can appear risky. But risk often leads to failure, failure leads to learning, and learning leads to smarter, more strategic solutions. But risks don’t have to be blind: Tapping into data and strategy lets you understand when to do it for the best possible outcome.
Consider your organization’s overall goals and how they translate to events. Is your plan on repeat with stagnant results? The objectives may remain, but your event plan could stand an upgrade. Reboot to reap the rewards!
Tap into our creative strategists by opting for an event audit — an outside perspective is key to real change. Through research and data mining of target audiences, audits zero in on what is and isn’t working. Our experts analyze the results to help you meet your goals with a new spin.
Popscape: Curated, branded houses
Whether permanent or temporary, these fun, immersive structures allow consumers to physically step inside a brand’s world. Pop-ups provide an opportunity for brands to create moments of joy in tangible experiences. They engage all of the senses to create truly immersive experiences and invite guests to develop an in-depth understanding of a brand and its core values.
If you’re a brand launching the latest digital gadget or an association advocating for the industry and members’ needs, you can create a popscape that speaks to your audience. Take key elements of your organization’s mission to create a destination (small or large) that encompasses your story in a tangible, palpable way.
Our designers and fabricators work together to build temporary (and permanent) structures that wow audiences. No matter the size, we help take audiences on a journey through your brand story.
Word of Mouth: Nothing's more powerful than personal recommendations
Short attention spans, ad blockers, and just TMI all around. What can a marketer do? According to statistics, 86 percent of consumers trust word of mouth more than any form of advertising, and it’s a chief motivator for buying a product. Word of mouth is triggered when a customer experiences something far beyond expectations.
How do you get your audiences talking? Offer unique, face-to-face moments that help them experience your product or service. By providing meaningful engagement opportunities, you can convert attendees into enthusiastic (and chatty!) brand ambassadors. Our strategists identify ways to tune into these vocal audiences so the word about your brand gets out!
Nomophobia: Without our phones, we panic
Whether it’s passing time as you wait for public transport or the quick, last-minute scan of your social feeds before bed, one thing is for sure: our smartphones have become the modern-day security blanket. The thought of being out of service? It evokes a sense of fear.
For organizers, exhibitors, and attendees alike, checking our phones is part of the event experience. In fact, it’s how we do business on the run. So when you notice your battery life dying your hands, panic can set in — particularly if there’s no open outlet to snag a charge!
Want to nip that fear in the (ear) bud? Answer the call with re-charging stations. Offering a relaxing retreat (hello, comfy couches) that doubles as a mobile charging space will win hearts and influence audiences! Our designers find unexpected ways to incorporate charging modules in booths and event spaces of all shapes and sizes.
Moving from emerging trend to a best practice doesn’t mean these ideas are worn out or old news, it just means that they’ve proven themselves beyond the buzz as a steady and reliable option. Bottomline: turn to these ideas (and the Trend Lab incubator) when looking for ways to make your event stand out!
Takeaway Content: I'll take my content to go
Delivering compelling content is part of the event essentials toolbox. But if you’ve done your job well, attendees will be too engaged in meaningful, action-packed interaction to truly digest the content. So make sure it’s packaged in easily consumable and shareable formats that move with roving attendees and their smartphones.
Digital has almost made us ditch paper completely. And today’s audiences prefer to travel light (adios, five-pound bag of brochures!), so make sure you provide digital options on which attendees can grab and share content easily.
Want to get your audiences and speakers connecting in a whole new way? Try Sync. This handy tool allows users to share content, connect with likeminded attendees, and interact with speakers in real-time. Sync is the new link to better education and event connections.
Connected Communities: We all belong
Even in this age of personalisation, being part of a community still matters. Connecting and sharing with like-minded individuals generates happiness. The key is to use digital tech to connect like-minded individuals in the same physical spaces at an event or brand experience. The result: intimacy with a brand — and each other.
Whether you’re managing a single exhibit or running the whole show, provide multiple avenues for audiences to connect. Harness the power of digital tech such as second screen solutions, event apps with beacons, or wayfinding, to design a richer experience. Digital enhancements help attendees navigate the show (booths and expo hall), view product demos, and download content...to go! But most important, event tech brings audiences together on and off-line.