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Outside Looking In: The Power of the External Event Experience

Where does the event experience actually begin, and how can that impact the success of both your event and brand? Check out our thoughts about those questions below, as well as a gallery of our work!

A common phrase you will hear in the event industry is “the guest experience begins the moment an attendee steps out of their car.” While this is true for all of our guests, we tend to forget about the experience of those who weren’t invited. I’m not talking about the party crasher, but the “passer-by and tourist who is exploring the city the venue neighbor or even the Facebook friend who always will throws a “like” to any of your photos. These are the untapped audiences that many event producers take for granted.

Have you ever walked by one of the amazing building fronts in the District, only to see its beauty emphasized by colorful, uplit spires, artful gobos (casts pre-designed shadows) or entrance treatments? Chances are, you’ve seen a number of venues in DC with this exact look. Instantly, you’re drawn into the mystery of why the building you pass every day is suddenly flooded with lights and people!

The attention drawn from an event exterior is a formative and cost effective marketing tool for both your event and brand. Through an event’s light and design, we can tell a story and like any great story, it has a beginning, middle and end. Your event’s exterior is the start of the story and sets the tone for the experience of your guest, as well as the outside viewer.

One of BRAVO!’s favorite examples of the impact of lighting and design in storytelling at an event can be seen at American Kidney Fund’s 2013 “The Hope Affair”. The Hope Affair is an annual event that raises funds to support the programs and services of the American Kidney Fund and brings together over 350 guests for an evening of entertainment and inspiration. For this particular event, the theme was “Lighting the Way” and it was held at the historical and architecturally astounding Andrew Mellon Auditorium. With a grandiose entrance on Constitution Avenue that sits opposite of The National Museum of American History, the Andrew Mellon Auditorium was the perfect place to combine the theme of the event into our overall design on the exterior of the building, as we lit more than 400 candles and strategically lined the steps leading up to the main entrance. This, accompanied by the intricate flourished gobos against the main doors and beautiful floral pieces, set the tone of what was to meet the guests visually as they entered the building.

Often, it is the simple details that help turn an event into a live experience, allowing us to create intrigue and help you tell your brand’s story. Check out the gallery below for more examples of the power of external lighting!

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