Why Leading Brands Take a People-First Approach at Their Events
By the time an event, exhibit or activation has come to fruition, most event marketers have crossed every T and dotted every I. Or so they think. They may have approved signage, demoed the interactives, selected the premiums and hashed out the hashtag, but many often overlook event staff or brand ambassadors—expecting they’ll show up to the front lines of the experience and, after light reading and a pep talk, knock it out of the park.
Among the staffers we interviewed for the inaugural Brand Ambassadors of the Year program “training” and “guidance” from managers and brands consistently bubbled up as a top desire among the group. Good people can mean the difference between a breeze-through of a footprint for a premium and an experience with a message or product, which is why three leading brands have taken a people-first approach to their events.
Intel, famously known for its personable event staff, has developed a formal trade show staff training program under Victor Torregroza, program manager-brand and reputation marketing at Intel, who spent years in the hospitality and service industries. When he entered the trade show world, he noticed that so much effort was put into the physical experience, but not so much into the human experience—what he calls a lack of “people first.”
“We live in the land of lines, whether you’re going to the bank or through the security line at the airport, waiting at the restaurant, and so you’re going to remember good service, you’re going to remember that person who checked you in at the hotel, and you’re also going to remember the bad,” says Torregroza. “I brought forward the basics to Intel, whether it’s eye contact, listening, qualifying. These have worked really well at our activations, especially the trade show environments like CES, which is a huge investment, and so we put that extra effort into training.”
Intel’s famously personable trade show staff are trained to adopt a hospitality-focused mindset.
Intel has taken a “snackable” approach to training. The brand serves up three virtual training sessions before events like CES that cover the basics of staffing, like how to deal with the press, on up to basic social media for those who might tweet or post from their accounts while they’re representing the brand; and etiquette—listening, eye contact, posture and body language.
“For CES, this training takes place before Thanksgiving and if they miss them, they can make them up, but we can track it and make sure they do,” Torregroza says. “Then, we do another re-group on-site, which is fast, easy and memorable and then we do role playing, engaging, disengaging, cross-selling and offer tips they can put into action right there on the show floor.”
One way Intel measures the effectiveness of the training is through a “secret” observer dressed like a CES attendee in business attire (staff knows about this in advance) who visits all of …read more