I attended an event this week not as a blogger but as a fan of one of the influencers they’d flown in (from Jakarta, Indonesia). I’ll not name the brand in this blogpost. Instead, I’ll share about what the organizers could have done better so that we could all call the event an indisputable success. Admittedly it wasn’t an actual launch event per se, but since the latest collection of jewellery was on display, it did feel like one. This post is mainly for educational purposes, so people who are planning on engaging influencers for events and/or hosting meet-and-greet sessions for influencers can learn something from this.
Background: A fashion blogger I follow on Instagram mentioned that this globally-famous brand was hosting a tea session and she was inviting 5 of her followers to join her. All we had to do was send an email to the marketing department, with our particulars, and see if we get picked. I did that and was selected. I received a call from Marketing, and a follow-up email with the details. 6 influencers would be present (3 from SG, 1 from Indonesia, 1 from Thailand and 1 from Malaysia). The tea session would be held at the National Gallery Singapore, from 3.30pm to 5.30pm on a weekday afternoon.
I arrived early, as usual, and found the Padang Deck (take the lift up to level 5, then some stairs) very warm. While there was a breathtaking view of the Padang, CBD skyscrapers, MBS, Esplanade, etc, the weather was really HOT! And it almost felt like we were in a greenhouse. The Deck was not air-conditioned and people crowded around the one working mobile ‘fan'(?)
#1: Food and Drinks
What’s a “tea session” without something to snack on and something to drink? Well, it started with rather tasty finger food and tea in champagne glasses. Unfortunately the tea was at room temperature, not icy cold as I would have liked it. After some time, they brought out chilled (canned) apple juice.
I liked their choice of location. I’ve never been to the National Gallery before so I relished the opportunity of visiting. It’s also centrally located and very convenient to get to (Take Exit B from City Hall MRT, two left turns and you’re there). It would have been so much better to pick one of the air-conditioned venues within the Gallery instead of the almost-totally-exposed-to-the-elements Deck right on top. The Padang Deck would be great for any event that takes place after the sun has set and the weather is much cooler.
#3: Event Timing
At 3.30pm on a weekday, I don’t think many people would have been able to attend. As another attendee shared with me, it’s probably for people who “don’t work” (she’s a stay-at-home-mom). I do LOVE the timing though. Because you won’t encounter a traffic jam getting to the venue. Thankfully, the event ended really early, before 4.30pm (though it was supposed to end around 5.30pm), and it was a breeze getting home. However, time management-wise, I think the organizers might want to put better thought into it. Getting everyone here just for that one hour was a little odd.
I thought it would have been better if there were seats. So many ladies showed up wearing heels that I felt sorry for them. Also, the lighting (or lack of it) on the Deck did not do any justice to the pieces of jewellery on display. They probably cost hundreds or thousands of dollars each but without the right lighting, they looked like 5-dollar pieces of costume jewellery. And they want us to Instagram that?
I’m not sure what the objectives for this event were. The influencers (especially the one from Thailand) already looked bored at the beginning of the event. And she was hovering near the exit after just a couple of pictures had been taken towards the end. Us in the audience were just puzzled, I guess. You have 6 influencers here, with lots of pretty jewelry they can show us how to style with different kinds of clothing, and you don’t do any of that? You tell us to play around with the flatlay display and Instagram it, and include your “3 hashtags”, but there’s no prize for the best picture? Who’d bother then? (Ok, maybe a small minority would) Why not have a competition in which each influencer’s fans learn from their favorite influencer how to do great flatlays, then submit a picture for a ‘contest’? Give the best group some prizes! This will also bring out the competitive side of these influencers and they’ll want to share their best tips and have their team win. And everyone will be uploading pictures onto social media. Win-Win-Win.
#6: Gifts, or the lack of them
I was very surprised that there were no door gifts of any kind. And there weren’t even any seats. We stood around, listened to a “moderator” interview the influencers, and we were free to leave. Most of us left with the “I have no idea what just happened” feeling. We weren’t given the opportunity to ask questions (but we could take pictures), there’s no door gifts for all these selected attendees, and all they wanted was for us to play around with the flatlay setup and take some pictures for Instagram? Weird.
As I see it, the event represented one big WASTED OPPORTUNITY. It could have driven so much (online) conversation about the brand, brought influencers and their fans so much closer, and everyone would have walked out having learnt something. As I’ve stated in a previous post regarding the Best PR Companies in Singapore, brands need to pick their PR and marketing folks wisely.