Michael Menezes reveals top secret for organizing large format social events
The founder President of EEMA India and Chairman of Showtime group, an experiential agency born 17 years ago, Michael Menezes reveals that the agency does not organize many social events but when it does he ensures they are larger than life.
At a recent industry gathering he commented that memorability and positive recall are direct determinants of the value of an event. It’s really just a matter of detailing that sets two large-scale similar category events apart.
He claimed that Showtime follows a top secret ‘Congegatio Code’ that can ‘guarantee’ success for any event. He agreed to divulge the secret with the case study of a private party organized by the agency in Udaipur.
According to him the greatest challenge in organizing a large format social event is establishing ‘novelty’ around it. “If it’s a social event being organized at a large scale it means the client has a significant budget. It also means that majority of the attendees belong to a similar income group. Therefore it’s a no brainer they may have attended events of similar scale thus raised expectations and standards. We were briefed that the event would be hosting top celebrities and influential industrialists, and we needed to be prepared for a fitting welcome.
The event location had been narrowed down to Udaipur. Guests were to fly in from all parts of the country but the challenge lay in the fact that most people had previously been to Udaipur as it’s a popular destination for weddings and also there was really just one suitable venue for an event of this nature- Jagmandir! We had to translate it into a never-had-before experience.
Besides the fact that Jagmandir was an over utilized party venue, it was positioned in the middle of the Lake Pichola and was accessible only through a 15-minute boat ride. We decided to bring on the magic right from the get-go and let the guests experience the festivities before they even reach the venue. So instead of starting the experience at Jagmandir we brought it onboard the boat.
We translated the lake into a liquid playground with fountains, installations and activities so that there isn’t a single moment of opportunity for boredom to creep in through those 15 minutes.
There are only two berthing stations in the area. A challenge that arose was we did not want guests to queue up to get their turn on the boat. Every guest is a VIP and no VIP should be required to wait. Therefore, taking inspiration from the airplane docking guidance system we devised different boat routes to the venue and calculated the arrival of each boat allowing the guests a pre-assigned slot. Besides negligible wait time this also ensured smooth operations and less room for chaos.
We realized the venue is a quadrant shaped area with four lawns separated with hedges. Ours was a large format event and we wanted all the four garden areas to be unified. Keeping this in mind we artificially elevated the surface area and conjoined the lawns. This not only avoided sectioning and allowed guests to feel part of the same party but also allowed a beautiful view of the lake, which would’ve otherwise not been possible.
Keeping in mind that entertainment plays a key role in making or breaking an event, we flew in global sensation Shakira to perform for the ecstatic crowd.
As a follow through and a finishing touch to the event, we organized a glorious brunch the next afternoon for the guests giving them an opportunity to talk about the previous night’s event and to share their experiences, photographs, moments etc.
We paid great attention to detail and ensured that any possibility for error was identified and addressed well in time. But above all we remained on our toes right from the planning to execution to the exit of every single guest. Passion is the only fuel that can drive an event and that’s the biggest secret I can share today”, he concluded.
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