The social media bug has, for the most part, infected most dynamically, innovate industries.” Would you say this is a bold statement? Highly unlikely. It’s a true statement. Let’s face it – If you’re like most people, you’ve accepted the unmistakable need and value that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Gather, and YouTube have provided. More so than ever before, citizens, both abroad and at home, are integrating social media into their daily lives.
Companies are no different. An industry will adopt popular trends and practices brought to light by small companies and/or communities in exchange for increased brand building, maximum exposure, and overall growth. I wanted to spotlight the event industry – and more specifically, a company called BizBash - for whom I had the opportunity to work alongside with ServedFresh Media, covering the BizBash 2010 Expo & Awards show on October 27th at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.
BizBash, founded in 2000, is already one of the leading trade media companies servicing the event industry. They are multi-faceted: publishing magazines and e-newsletters, hosting Web sites, and producing trade/award shows for corporate event professionals and marketers, sales, PR, fund-raising, and HR execs. Their website, www.bizbash.com, provides users with access to comprehensive, searchable directories of over 7,000 vendors. The database offers photos and coverage of past events, archived magazine issues, and even a job board dedicated to special events-oriented employment opportunities. They truly have extended their arms in many directions. Be sure to visit the BizBash Masterplanner (a subscription-based calendar of events for the current year).
Now – this was an expo showcasing the best of the best in the event industry. An event for people who throw events. It goes without saying that no expense was spared. My initial reaction, during the press preview on the floor before the opening to the general public – was WOW. Normally, a booth at an expo is fairly basic, and quite frankly – often boring. Oftentimes, the company’s table, laid out under a monochromatic theme, showcases a half-way enthused representative who is handing out plain, white business cards. They approach you, but – you often doubt how much they truly believe in what they are selling. If you’re lucky, you get a free keychain. Or fridge magnet. Luxury stuff right? Now imagine the exact opposite of that. This is what I saw: elaborate booth setups, enormous backdrops, 75″ flat-screens, mini-casinos, wine-tastings, the list goes on. It was truly a spectacle and undeniably, some sort of elaborate amusement park for professionals.
In Bloom New York was among several exhibitors that I had the opportunity to interview. Based out of the upper west side of Manhattan, they specialize in full service floral event and venue design. If you’ve ever been to Greenhouse, a high-end club/lounge on the lower west side – you would be pleasantly surprised to know that In Bloom NY fully designed the entire venue. The fact that the first floor feels like you are literally in a Forrest while the upstairs feel like a twisted, underwater location out of the James Cameron movie The Abyss solidifies In Bloom’s unique talent and eye for design. The place is truly remarkable and all credit, visually-speaking, is well deserved. Roshy Naini, Creative Director, mentioned that their Facebook page (located here) has served as a great tool in collaborating with both potential and existing clients. Additionally, their Twitter handle (located here) has been instrumental for their wedding planning business, as various wedding planners have contacted them via Twitter for their expertise. She also informed me that In Bloom was doing VH1′s Save The Music at Cipriani Downtown in early November – a show set to feature performances by John Mayer and John Legend, as well as their official after party.Another exciting company, Frames (formerly Leisure Time Bowl), spoke to me about their recent four-year, $15 million renovation. Located centrally inside the Port Authority in Midtown Manhattan, Frames combines a modern bowling venue alongside a chic bistro-style restaurant and separate dance lounge. They feature 28-bowling lanes with a state-of-the-art soundsystem to accommodate all of your musically motivated needs. Don’t think Frames forgot about using social media – they recently reached out to both Time Out NY and The Village Voice in order to advertise their Facebook Fan page (located here) and their Twitter handle (located here). Although the renovation was obviously both lengthy and costly, the company hopes to be profitable within under a year. One of the most innovate and dynamic parts of this expo was BizBash’s “Social Media Lounge.” Headed by Liz King of LizKingEvents and her team of fifteen, it was a generously sized “chill-lounge” situated directly in the center of the Javits Center. The intent here was genius, yet simple. You stop by, sit down, kick back, relax, and engage in social media. Have a twitter account but don’t necessarily know how to use it? They showed you. Want to join other networks besides Facebook? Done and done. It was a full-service, all-inclusive destination for all your social media needs. Whether you were “tweeting” about the event or “liking” the exhibitors, it became evident to most who came how much the times had changed in a matter of years. During my interview with Liz King, she modestly informed us that BizBash 2010 was the second-most trending topic on Twitter that day. Incredible stuff – especially knowing you had contributed to such a staggering statistic. She re-iterated how much value social media brought to both companies and individuals. I couldn’t agree more. Following the award ceremony, all in attendance were invited to the afterparty at SIR’s Stage 37 – an event venue from music industry giant SIR Entertainment. I am beating a dead horse at this point, but once again, no expense was spared. A party, thrown following an event, thrown for event throwers. Still following? There were females-on-stilts-dressed-as-mermaids, impersonators, acrobats, jugglers, live bands, and the like. You really got a sense that everyone involved within the industry subscribed to the motto “Work Hard, Play Hard.” Talk about over the top, this took the cake.
Ultimately – BizBash and ServedFresh Media did a fantastic job – from start to finish. The exhibitors were like nothing I had ever seen and the press staff couldn’t be more accommodating. And when it comes to social media, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that, similar to most industries, the events industry is creating viral buzz – moreso than ever before.