Dan Mannix is the president and C.E.O. of LeadDog Marketing Group, a New York-based experiential marketing agency. He started his career in sports marketing, then became director of special events for the N.B.A. He also handled team operations for the launch of the W.N.B.A. and ran the basketball competition at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. Mannix founded LeadDog in 1999; the company now has offices in eight cities around the country and creates more than 100 attention-grabbing consumer experiences per year for brands such as ABC, Coca-Cola, and Reebok. Here are the “six Ps” he uses to approach events.
1. Partners: Know what your partners want and communicate their key message.
Often, we’re working closely with brands and organizations to create an authentic experience that’s not just focused on accomplishing their goals, but also on achieving initiatives for their stakeholders—such as sponsors and barter partners—to strategically build out a creative concept that effectively and organically achieves the right results. During event kick-off meetings, [make sure to] align on goals, key metrics, and big-picture lasting impressions—i.e., how do you want attendees to feel? What is the call to action you want them to remember and act upon?
2. People: From conception to production, think on behalf of your target audience.
Extrapolate key insights on the people your client is trying to connect with. Whether it’s analyzing data on consumer behavior of your target demographic, developing psychographics to get into the mindset of prospective attendees, or conducting focus groups to understand what your audience wants, [planners should] strive to curate an authentic brand experience that is truly meaningful to the people they’re looking to reach.
3. Potential: Dream big and go above and beyond to unleash an event’s potential.
To us, events aren’t just events—they’re real-life stories that strategically communicate a brand’s ethos and mission, and we want these stories to be told for years to come. We have invested in people to create an integrated 360-degree, in-house approach to marketing and partnerships, PR and social media, creative and environmental design, and live events and experiences. Work with your team to discover opportunities to create memorable visuals and environments, activate captivating consumer and partner touch points, and collaborate with influencers and talent to tell an impactful, media-worthy story.
4. Perspective: Work with a team who can offer diverse perspectives.
Collaborate with an event team of out-of-the-box thinkers who have had different experiences and can therefore weigh in with learnings and insights from other events to make yours stand out. We love bringing in unique perspectives as well as historical data on what has worked in the past to help us predict future event trends and what may be cool and unique for our clients. Plus, we vet ideas and recommendations with the people who make up our agency and bring in experiences from different perspectives—whether it be our graphic designers, publicists, or digital team.
5. Principles: Have top-notch standards.
We’re sticklers for top-notch operations. For instance: No one wants to wait in line. Lead fast check-ins by having the right number of resources greeting and registering attendees at the front while leveraging the best technology and digital tools.
Also, identify venues that will harness the excitement and vibrancy of the experience you’re trying to convey, and lock in the right permits, insurance, and security to ensure event legality and safety.
Finally, before event day, train staff on their roles and responsibilities, talking points, and the run of show so they feel empowered and comfortable to help you execute a smooth event.
6. Passion: Lead from the heart and shine with positive energy.
We have an eclectic team of 180 passionate go-getters who bring in their enthusiasm, service-minded mentality, and solutions-oriented approach to every event we create so our clients and their attendees feel taken care of. Emotion is contagious: If you’re giving off anxious vibes, people around you will feel it, souring their perception of the event. Even if there is a sound glitch or a late cue, be prepared to implement a fast and effective fix while keeping your spirits up and inspiring the passion you want your client and attendees to feel.
This story appeared in the Fall 2017 digital edition of BizBash.