As our lovely summer weather comes to an end, we find ourselves desperate to fill our evenings with more than our local pub garden with friends. Although this sounds like it could be depressing, it is actually an exciting thought! If you are up for trying something totally new and slightly off the wall then you have to try this new heavenly immersive dining experience based at The Vaults in Waterloo.
Expect five courses of divine dishes, cocktails of milk and honey, partying with priestesses, singalong with satyrs, an after party in The Underworld oh and of course let's not forget the night would not be right without a “sacrifice”.
In true immersive form, you will also need to come dressed for the evening in your best Greek God or Goddess style.
Check out more using #DivineProportions - https://www.thevaults.london/divine-proportions
Wellbeing and mindfulness seem to be buzzwords at the moment. In a study by the Incentive Research Foundation, 87% of planners said wellness is a critical focus for their company when organising an event. With a lack of work/life balance and constant connection to the outside world through screens, more and more people are finding ways to look after both their physical and mental health. When they then attend conferences or events, they expect to be able to make healthy choices, rather than forgoing their new habits. As event organisers, it is our responsibility to ensure we offer the means and opportunities for this.
There are numerous ways to provide healthy choices for your attendees, from providing the right menu options to offering the chance to exercise. Below are just a few ideas you could use at your next event:
• Ensure your coffee breaks have items such as vegetable crudites, smoothies and other nutritious snacks.
• Avoid carb-loaded and heavy fried foods for lunch. Instead offer a variety of options such as salads, soups and hot dishes high in protein and lots of vegetables. Not only will this benefit your attendees, but it will ensure they remain alert and engaged throughout the afternoon.
• At evening events offer virgin cocktails or fresh juices to ensure those not consuming alcohol have healthier alternatives to fizzy drinks.
• If you are providing accommodation see if the hotel has local running cycling maps you can offer upon check in.
• Organise a cycling sightseeing tour of the local city.
• Organise wellbeing sessions as part of your agenda, with a choice of two or three classes your delegates can sign up to. Ideally, these should be suitable for all levels of fitness, from meditation that requires little physical exertion, to a boot camp style circuit class.
• Create some competition between your delegate. RFID badges allow delegates to scan in and out of the healthy activities you provide. The person that logs the most time at those activities wins a prize!
But the delegates aren’t the only ones you need to look after. As Event Managers, we tend to neglect ourselves onsite. With long and unusual hours, we tend to turn to comforting foods high in carbs and calories, made easier by the usual spreads put on by hotels for crew catering. However, this can often leave us feeling bloated and lethargic, not ideal when you need to be efficient and at your best!
One way to start looking after yourself is to stay hydrated! With long-haul flights causing jetlag and the hotel air-conditioning playing havoc with your body and immune system, it’s important to keep your water intake up. Try to drink at least 2 litres a day, whether this is through still or sparkling water or even herbal teas.
To keep your energy levels up, aim to eat little and often, snacking on foods such as nuts and fruit, which will slowly release energy and avoid that mid-afternoon slump. If your venue is serving healthy snacks to your attendees, ask them to prepare a few extra for your team too.
Now when it comes to exercise, you probably get your fair share running around everywhere on site. But what about your mental wellbeing? We all know that there will be hiccups at events that we can’t control, but these still add to our stress. To ensure you start and end the day feeling calm and relaxed, download a meditation app (there are plenty available) and spend 5 minutes concentrating on your breathing, which will help clear the mind and slow down your heart rate.
With an increasing number of companies embracing wellness in order to keep their staff healthy and happy, now is the time to start thinking about how you can utilise some of these suggestions to make your events more wellbeing focused.
If you're stuck for something to do over the next few days - check out the London Design Festival. Back for its sixteenth year, it takes place across nine days at different venues throughout the city to "celebrate and promote London as the design capital of the world". Taking place from the 15th - 23rd September, with the V&A being the main festival Hub; you can expect a variety of displays, installations and workshops to excite, inspire and inform audiences. The festival will showcase local artists as well as offer an insight into what the creative industries have to offer.
To find out more, head to https://www.londondesignfestival.com.
Vocation is the new Masters. Universities all over the country are priding themselves on their range of vocational courses. They are offering trade support and education to those who have their plans laid out ahead of them. Recent studies showed that a whopping 238,000 throughout the UK applied for Nursing degrees (BBC). Perspective where perspective is due, the second most popular course of Psychology fell in at 106,000.
Courses with the strongest vocational links also paid graduates the most. (Guardian) But what about those who aren’t planning on following on from their university degree – what happens if you stray from what you have spent 3 years (minimum) becoming an expert on?
Your degree isn’t crucial. But you must make sure to carry through your university learnings and apply them to the best of your ability in what you do. Without realising, your degree will set you up for your career, even if they don’t go together like peanut butter and jelly. You will have learnt a wide range of skills, a few of which I will touch upon now.
1. Learn to be adaptable
We are all too familiar with that feeling of being thrown into yet another university group project. You skim over the names in the email as you curse yourself for missing the unmissable lecture. You make the awkward move next to your new ‘buddy’ in the seminar and introduce yourself only to be greeted by a curt nod. Great. This is going to be fun. Although the rock formations of Yosemite National Park might have seemed unimportant at the time, you will have picked up a fundamental skill – working with a range of people. You will have given time to them, have been patient, encouraging, directorial perhaps.
2. Learn to express your ideas
You will have learnt to express yourself and articulate your point of view effectively; key skills for any workplace environment. We can see this here at brand brewery whether it be through pitching, communicating with clients, pulling together campaigns or any other variety of work.
3. Present the best work you can
We also know the gentle jog up to campus to hand your well researched essay through the pigeonhole. Swaggering in at a prompt 12:55pm knowing full well, 5 minutes later you would have been awarded a big fat 0. Working to deadlines at university will teach you how to be organized, punctual and most importantly make sure your work is done to the best of your ability.
4. Be Creative
‘Sorry, sir, think I missed that. You want me to make a short piece of theatre? And the stimulus is a potato?’ Be creative. Work with what you have and learn to bring all of your ideas to the table even if they don’t seem like the obvious solution.
Anything that you have learnt at university, make sure you take it on with you in life. The same goes for going through jobs, no people work in the exact same way. Be considerate of this and use your skills to adapt and grow.
At brand brewery, we see the importance of these values and we like to make sure everything learnt through life is brought into the work we do, making it real for our customer. And most importantly, if you are lucky enough to be passionate about something, never let it fade. Like Pam in ‘The Office’ and her artwork above.
During the early stages of branding research, the answer as to why people buy brands was simple: as a result of their offered value proposition.
These value propositions may involve functional, emotional or self-expressive benefits, even though the nature of these associations may be tangible, emotional/symbolic or even both.
Therefore, frequent consumption habits are proposed to create certain relationship models between the consumer and the brand, categorized in (Aaker, 1995):
(1) The Functional Benefit Representation Model (e.g. Amazon Prime)
(2) The Relationship Basis Model (e.g. Netflix)
(3) The Self- Expression Model (e.g. Harley Davidson)
However, increased oversupply and saturation in almost every industry has shifted the role of branding from merely offering a trademark to creating unique identities by stipulating brand values and thereby providing a foundation of differentiation.
Hence, academics and practitioners have focused on customer value beyond functional attributes leading to the paradigm of customer and brand experience (Schmitt and Rogers, 2008). This model is based on research, which stipulates that consumers no longer simply purchase products and services alone, but seek an emotional experience in the consumption process (Brembeck and Ekström, 2004; Morrison and Crane, 2007).
The term “experience economy” was coined by Pine and Gilmore (1998) announcing the fourth progression of economic value and the economic shift developing from (1) extracting commodities, (2) to making goods, (3) to delivering services and leading to (4) the competitive battleground of staging experiences.
This development is congruent with the observed behavioural shift from maintenance to experiential consumption in value systems of affluent societies. To that end, maintenance consumption stipulates the purchase of products according to their utilitarian value proposition, while experiential consumption emphasizes emotions and contextual, symbolic as well as non-utilitarian aspects.
This experiential perspective of consumption was introduced by Holbrook and Hirschman (1982) and led to the proposition that all products (tangible and intangible) provide services in their inherent capacity to evoke need or want-satisfying experiences, as a central creation in consumer value (Holbrook, 1999).
Brakus et al. (2009) were the first to define, measure as well as distinguish several experience dimensions of the constructed brand experience scale, namely: sensory, affective, intellectual, and behavioural.
Consequently, Brand Experience was conceptualized as “sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioural responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments” (Brakus et al., 2009, pp. 52).
This means, brand experiences are not just any general evaluative judgments about the brand (e.g. an overall liking) but are distinct, triggered sensations, feelings, cognitions and behavioural responses.
Moreover, brand experience does not presume a motivational state, nor is it an emotional relationship concept. Consequently, these experiences can happen even when consumers do not show interest in or have a personal connection with the brand.
Characteristics of Staged Experiences
In order to create memorable experiences, Pine and Gilmore (1998) established a framework upon two main dimensions, which lead to “The Four Realms of an Experience”: (1) Entertainment, (2) Educational, (3) Esthetic (sic!) and (4) Escapist.
They propose to think of experiences along two dimensions: customer participation on a spectrum from passive to active participation; as well as the environmental relationship, on a continuum from absorption to immersion. The universe of possibilities is vast; however, the richest and arguably most memorable experiences encompass aspects of all four realms, creating an optimum around the sphere where all spectra meet.
Consequently, five key experience design principles can be identified by creating memorable experiences:
¥ Theme the experience: a well-defined theme facilitates the customer to organize the impressions encountered and yields an experience with lasting memory. The thematic imagination should be incorporated into every detail and guide the panoply of architectural and atmospheric effects. To that end, an effective theme is concise and compelling, leading all design elements to a unified storyline, which fully captivates the customer.
¥ Harmonize impressions with positive cues: the theme serves as the foundation of an experience around which all impressions, defined as the takeaway points of the experience, need to be rendered indelible and signify cues, which assert the nature of the experience to the guest. These cues need to be consistent since they create the experience in the customer’s mind. Inconsistent or unplanned aural and visual cues can create confusion.
¥ Eliminate negative cues: providing the purity of customer experience entails more than the accumulation of positive cues but the elimination of distractions, contradictions as well as diminutions from the central theme.
¥ Mix in memorabilia: certain products have always been acquired predominantly for the memories they convey and serve as a physical reminder of an experience. In regard to a concert performance, the entry ticket could be designed in a way that serves as such memorabilia.
¥ Engage all five senses: the sensory stimulation around an experience should support and enhance its theme. Consequently, the more senses are stimulated the more effective, engaging and therefore memorable an experience becomes.
Established in 2009, Brand Brewery was born out of a passion for brand experiences, using the knowledge that if done well they create unique and priceless face-to-face interactions for companies, inside and out. We just felt it was time that clients had an agency that could prove just how versatile and effective these experiences could be.
WORK: Since graduating with a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Brighton, Tom has spent time working freelance and in-house before moving from the south and settling with us in London. With a background and passion for 3D artwork via Cinema 4D Tom is a great addition to the BB Team.
PLAY: With a love for music Tom can often be found at gigs and festivals whilst also being a part-time superstar DJ at home. Tom is also a keen explorer always seeing what the city has to offer.
BREW: A pale ale or a nice cold G&T.