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Conferencing for the cool kids

July 5, 2018, Author: Carly Ritz

For the kids of today, attending a trade show or family fun day may not seem like the in thing to do let alone be seen at. But the conferencing and event industry in Joburg has certainly upped its game when it comes to attracting younger crowds. From free WIFI and gin bars to the right celebs, knowing what your audience wants and giving it to them will go a long way in getting the Superga wearing peeps through the door. 

Get the basics right – duh 

Millennials and Gen Z are notoriously judgmental and unforgiving when it comes to the basics. Your gran may not have complained too much about driving around looking for parking for 10 minutes but a 30 something so and so will take to social media the minute he/she can’t find parking right near the entrance at the venue. From the parking to the ablution facilities (dirty toilets could start a riot), make sure that the venue you chose for your event has the hygiene factor sorted.  

Keep things cool  

If you want the cool kids to come to your event then make it cool. South Africans are aspirational and like to be on the pulse of what’s hip and happening. From the décor to the food to the entertainment, keeping your event on trend or “lit” as the kids are saying these days is pertinent when it comes to talk-ability and buzz. Whether it’s a Martini bar, an extensive gluten-free menu or the hottest new local muso for entertainment, plugging into the signs of the times will go a long way in keeping those feet rushing through your doors. 

Use state-of-the-art technology 

If it’s not automated is it even real? With machine learning and augmented reality fast becoming the order of the day, the latest technologies and innovations will up your cool factor tenfold. And one technical hiccup could detail your entire event. From the basics of strong WIFI to bots taking orders and serving lunch to some gamification for event goers – with prizes, of course, technology really can give your event the X factor it’s been missing. 

Keep it trending  

As the old adage goes, it’s not what you know but who you know. A social media strategy for your event is as important as catering for vegetarians (be wary the veggie scorned). Social media plays a big part when it comes to the court of public opinion and deciding what is or isn’t cool. By inviting or partnering with celebrities and influencers with large followings, the chance of your event being promoted to the right people is greater.  Also, it’s cool to trend #justsaying  

Make it an immersive experience 

The human attention span seems to be getting shorter from one generation to the next so you need to keep people engaged. Let event goers touch, feel and explore at your event. They want to be a part of the action. Whether its massages on site at a health convention, live cooking challenges for the crowd or gin tasting, get the crowd excited and talking with unforgettable experiences.  

Carly has a decade of wild, weird and wonderful experience in the media industry. After graduating from Rhodes University with an honours degree in journalism and politics, she tried to change the world as a journalist. She helped launch the country’s first integrated newsroom at Times Media (then called Avusa). After getting bored of politics and news, she joined forces with a brand activations and event company before joining a global PR agency – WE Worldwide as a Senior Account manager. This is her dream job but she still loves to be fancy with words and interview cool people so she writes for Hello Joburg.

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