The iPhone 5 and Your Conference Attendees

So, today is the big day. The iPhone 5 is dropping and the whole internet is having a seizure falling all over itself with anticipation. I have seen tweets that can’t wait for the moment and I have seen posts that are complaining about the “sheep” that follow Apple’s every move. 

There is a lot of passion here.

Wouldn’t you love it if people swooned when your event was mentioned, wouldn’t it be nice if your attendees had this kind of passion for your conference and wouldn’t it be nice if your attendees got all hot and sweaty over your sessions as much as they are getting all worked up over this PHONE.

Seriously, people are not getting all weepy over a cure for the common cold, this phone will not end wars, this phone will not make you taller, smarter or more beautiful. This is a PHONE and people are up in arms. Yes, it would be nice if your attendees would be like this and they can if you follow Apple’s lead.

All it takes is planning, thought and a total devotion to your audience…

Apple planned to have people getting all weak-kneed and clammy. They thought about creating this atmosphere. Apple has a total devotion to those that use their products, all others can screw off and jump in a lake and they make no bones about letting the world know this.

How do they do this?

  • They create amazing products that work well
  • They create an atmosphere of fake exclusivity (see image)
  • They create cool and hip marketing that appeals to the people that love their products and makes others cringe
  • They make sure that they follow up and provide awesome ongoing support
  • They create products that only work with their products causing you to continue to buy their stuff
  • They create an atmosphere that causes some people to hate the above
  • They create an atmosphere that makes people want to defend against the hate

This is the beauty of Love/Hate and there is NOTHING that Apple does that cannot be replicated on some level by you. You need to create a product that has the Yin and Yang, the positive and negative. You have to have them both because anything else is just “meh”.

When you create a product that people love with a passion, others will hate it, this will cause the people that love it to love it even more and want to defend it and when they defend it, it will make people hate it even more which will make the people that love it even more protective of it…… and on and on and on.

People do not love or hate “meh”.

RC Cola is “meh”. People love Coke, people hate Coke, people love Pepsi, people hate Pepsi…. No one loves or hates RC Cola. RC Cola is what you drink when there is no Coke or Pepsi.

I have literally seen someone skip a restaurant because they serve Coke. That is powerful shit. You do not go out of your way for “meh”. 

I do not care if you are the International Association of Garbage Bag Producers, you can be cool in your world, you can be exclusive in your world, you can create sessions that people want to attend in your world, and you can act like you are the hippest cat in your world.

This will make your people love you and in turn, this will make some people hate you. Nothing wrong with that, you have to be hated to be loved.

Just ask Nike, The Chicago Bulls, The New York Giants, The Boston Red Sox, MSNBC, The National Rifle Association, McDonald’s, Target, Wal-Mart or even American Girl Dolls; People either love it or they hate it, there is no middle ground. You have to cherish those that love your event and say “screw you” to the rest.

There is no difference between you and Apple except the product that you sell. Remember that your product is cool to someone; you just have to focus on that someone.

Think this will not work for events? I think that TED, ComicCon or Lollapalooza might have a different opinion. 

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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