Walk the Red Carpet at Your Next Event

Walk the Red Carpet at Your Next Event

THE EVENT ENTRANCE HAS PURPOSE. It controls your event’s experience right from the start.  Your entrance is the very first thing your attendees encounter and the ONLY part of the event the general public may ever get to see.  It is one of the only aspects that you can almost guarantee every attendee will pass by.  They might skip sessions and miss lunch.  They might exit through a side door…but they all start at registration.  The entrance offers value that many events miss.  Take advantage!

Red Carpet Strategy

  1. Give every attendee a WOW! when they arrive: Quality is subjective, but how it makes you feel is not. A red carpet experience will make attendees, sponsors, and VIPs feel significant.  Imagine that stepping onto the red carpet is like getting a new car.  One person might want a tricked-out truck, another a sleek sports car.  Their vehicles will be different, but they will both feel exhilarated when they first step into their new ride.  The attendee that spent $500 to attend your event, the sponsor, and the VIP all come from different places and are there for different reasons – but you can make them all feel special.  Make the first few moments of your event experience be all about them.  Give them a Wow!
  2. The cover sells the book: Your entrance sells your event.  For events that encourage walk-in attendees, it will draw people in.  Your entrance is a selling tool.  Entice prospective attendees!
  3. Mobile content generation studio: People on the red carpet feel good!  Ask on camera why they are there and why others should attend.  Post pictures, quotes and video on social media. Create a buzz!  Get testimonials for later, build content for your website.
  4. Timing is Everything: People are at their best when they arrive. Makeup is fresh, clothes are crisp, and they are sipping coffee instead of sloshing cocktails.  Arrival is the best time to get sharp content.  Imagine what the red carpet at the Oscar’s would be like if it caught attendee as they exited.  “So, they overlooked you again this year….how do you feel?”  Catch the enthusiasm on the way IN!
  5. Encourage Donations: Interviewing donors on the red carpet validates them and encourages others.  Take video. Say a public thank-you and ask why the donors why they contributed and why they feel others should.  Current donors are your best advocates.  Donations at the entrance can increase overall success by 10-15%.
  6. Market Event Features: Market to your attendees and guide them to where you want them to go.  “Will you be attending the live auction that starts at 10:00 AM?
  7. Put Your Logo, or sponsors logos on every image: Take images for your website and other marketing material, and encourage attendees to get images on their own phones. With a well-designed backdrop, your logo will be everywhere!
  8. Focus on the Why: Red carpet interaction at events is about how the attendees feel and what they are experiencing.  It is a way to encourage engagement and allows marketers to guide behavior.  It is not about what they are wearing – focus on the why.
  9. Sponsor Swag Delivery: Assure that sponsor giveaways and material get into attendees’ hands by distributing Hollywood style swag bags as they step off the red carpet.  Receiving it as a gift adds psychological value.

Red Carpet Tactics and Technical:

  1. Carpet Hosts: Whoever works the entrance experience is a content farmer. Their job is greet, encourage participation, engage, and capture the result.  Make sure you have the right people working the carpet.
  2. Video Everything: HD video simplifies the process and has many uses.  Export audio clips and turn into podcast, pull images for GIFs, use for promotional purposes, testimonials, live fee and more.  Pull a still photo.  You can get tons of content from one video.
  3. Let Guests Create Content: Use your guest’s mobile device to grab an image. Let guest create content and give easy access to high quality images.  Never charge and make it easy.  Let them help you market.  Make hashtags visible on materials.
  4. Step and Repeat Banner: (also known as a Red Carpet Backdrop) is the backdrop that displays logos of sponsors, that are repeated throughout for the purpose of advertising and capturing in photos of your cherished moments.
    1. Set a Stage: A step and repeat photo backdrop should not be perceived as a mere billboard of logos. Instead, consider it the equivalent of a set stage.
    2. Logo Sweet Spot: Considering the average height of people 5’10”, 6 foot is the sweet spot of height for advertising.  Regardless of camera orientation, the logo will be seen in every photo, every video, every piece of user generated content.
    3. Monetize Your Backdrop: Being at the entrance and in every image is valuable for sponsors. Add value to sponsorships be assuring their logos get visibility.
    4. Sponsorship Tiers: The logo position, size, and frequency can be used to differentiate tier levels.  Save the sweet spots for your organization’s logo or for your biggest sponsors!
    5. Multiple Use Backdrops: A backdrop is not for throw away, it’s an investment. A backdrop with only your organization’s logo has multiple uses:  Stage or Entertainment Backdrop, After Party Photo Booth, Trade Shows & Conferences, Company Parties, Holiday Parties, Company Head Shots, LinkedIn, Vlog, Video Marketing, Webinar…and more.
  5. Size Matters:
    1. For full length pictures, the backdrop should be 8’ high and the carpet a minimum of 5’ wide
    2. For events featuring athlete attendees, the backdrop should be 10’ high
  6. The Red Carpet:
    1. Does not have to be red! Utilize your event or company colors.
    2. A custom-made logo carpet is big bucks – consider a custom-made logo mat instead, set atop a plain carpet.
  7. Backdrop:
    1. White background is more forgiving in images. Black makes colors/logos pop.
    2. Fabric is best. It absorbs flash photography, stretches to eliminate wrinkles, doesn’t crease, can be dry cleaned & steamed, easily transported and shipped
    3. Vinyl can be good, but make sure it is matte to reduce glare in images.
  8. Spruce it Up: Decorate with flowers or balloons. Be creative.  Even modest budget additions can make your entrance pop!
  9. Star Power!: Exciting Keynote speakers, athletes, celebrities, or mascots? Have them do brief meet and greets on the carpet.  “Joe Attendee” will hang onto…and share…that pic of him standing with “Super Model Sheila” ….with your logo prominently displayed…a lot longer than he will keep your free coffee mug!

Utilizing a red carpet experience provides an avenue to build content, wow attendees, and market that is often overlooked by event planners.  The red carpet is not just for the Oscars, it is a multi-use tool for any event!

Thanks to Ed Baker at RedCarpetEntrances.com for contributing techniques for creating a red carpet entrance that provides opportunities for your event!