Transformative? Or Experiential?
At the Niche Media Conference (for publishers) this week in Charleston, S.C., David Adler from BizBash made a comment during his presentation in a pre-event workshop on events that got me thinking.
“Everyone is bored with experiential. Now everyone wants transformational.”
Experiential, an adjective, is involving or based on experience and observation.
Transformational, an adverb: as of, relating to, characterized by, or concerned with transformation. Transformation (the noun) is defined as a complete or major change in someone’s or something’s appearance, form, etc.
So now instead of making our expos, conferences and events an “experience”, we’re now charged with changing a person’s life? Wow! No pressure. None at all. Sounds scary as all get out. But is it?
Not so much! If you think about it, the best events and trade shows have been transforming lives for years! Products, services and even education in our expos change lives. Some even save them (Think of the different kinds of medical and food safety equipment).
It seems to me that the best expos are both experiential and transformational. Can we impact thought processes? With stimulating and thought-provoking education, sure. Do most of us offer that? NO. Most shows and conferences studiously avoid the “800-pound elephant in the room.”
Can we do more to highlight new products besides put them in a glass case on the showfloor? Yes. Do we? NO. What about showing these cool new products in live demonstrations?
This is as good a time as any to brainstorm with your entire team (not just the marketing folks) on how to make your expos transformational. Think about those events or expos you attended that were transformative. Why were they? What did they do that was so different from “the usual?” Was it the people? Education? Cool new inventions?
Be ahead of the curve. Be transformative!
Stephanie S. Selesnick is president of International Trade Information, a longtime global exhibition industry specialist helping U.S show organizers increase international participation in their exhibitions and a well-known speaker and trainer. Follow her on Twitter at @stephselesnick.