What goldfish can teach us about effective community engagement

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row” make_fullwidth=”on” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”off” padding_mobile=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_post_title admin_label=”Post Title” title=”on” meta=”on” author=”off” date=”on” categories=”on” comments=”off” featured_image=”off” featured_placement=”below” parallax_effect=”on” parallax_method=”on” text_orientation=”left” text_color=”dark” text_background=”off” text_bg_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.9)” module_bg_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0)” title_all_caps=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_post_title][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” make_fullwidth=”on” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”off” padding_mobile=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”http://www.thepopupco.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Goldfish_Community_Engagement.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

In the last 15 years our attention span has become shorter than that of a goldfish (yep, that’s 8 seconds to be exact). It is little wonder therefore, that it is difficult… ooo shiny… to attract and engage people in community consultation… SQUIRREL!… when there are “so many other important (note: interesting) things to do”.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Poor Little Goldfish

From recent conversations with some of our government clients, it is evident that the community engagement sector is stuck in a rut, or a fish bowl, if you will. It is struggling to increase participation rates in community consultation activities and in empowering communities to design and solve future challenges.

Swim around in the sector for a while and you end up implementing the same community engagement ideas again and again – banging your head against the bowl as most of your community continues to ignore you, not wanting to make eye contact, feed you or [shudder] “take 5 minutes to complete a survey”.

Google the term “community engagement” and the first 2 pages of websites listed are government agencies providing you “innovative” tips for effective community consultation including;

  • brainstorming with sticky notes, dots or anything that sticks to something;
  • conducting an online or offline survey; or
  • hosting a community audit.

Audiences have become sceptical of institutionalised, traditional community engagement activities but this does not mean they have switched off entirely from designing the future of their community.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

It’s Time To Find A Bigger Pond

Marketing, PR and media outlets also utilise community management and engagement techniques to promote their message and sell product. Termed “experiential marketing”; this technique immerses consumers in a unique and memorable experience with the aim of creating positive emotional associations, and therefore connections, with a brand or product.

Although marketing a widget is slightly different to consulting with the community on a council masterplan, government policy or property redevelopment, the desired outcomes are the same. Active participation and feedback.

Here are three examples of how experiential marketing could be applied to the principles of community engagement…

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row” make_fullwidth=”on” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”off” padding_mobile=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” padding_right_1=”2px” parallax_2=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” padding_left_2=”2px” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”15″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_image admin_label=”Analog-pop-up” src=”http://www.thepopupco.com.au/wp-content/uploads/Analog-American-Greetings_sxsw-2016.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” module_class=”pizza-making”] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”165″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_image admin_label=”The-Pop-Up-Co-Community-Engagement” src=”http://www.thepopupco.com.au/wp-content/uploads/The_Pop-Up_Co_ACC_Laneway.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” module_class=”pasta-making”] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”180″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_image admin_label=”human-walking-program” src=”http://www.thepopupco.com.au/wp-content/uploads/The_Human_Walking_Program.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”off” align=”left” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” module_class=”knitting-vintage”] [/et_pb_image][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”3_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Public Art Participation 

Idea 1: Use accessible and fun art activities or installations to encourage people to contribute and express their ideas.

Street art inspires creativity, but public art participation encourages the expression of ideas. American Greetings recently utilised an interactive public art to disrupt, slow people down and increase engagement at their Analog installation as part of SXSW. The company invited passers by to use new technology to create, produce and write their own printed cards, letters or notes to friends and loved ones. All cards featured American Greetings brand and encouraged the audience to share images of their physical card on social media.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”50″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Pop-Up Activations

Idea 2: Utilise the element of surprise and interactive digital or written voting systems to attract people to sharing their opinions.

In April 2016, The Pop-Up Co. worked with the Adelaide City Council to increase awareness and gather ideas for its future CBD Laneways Masterplan. We installed a miniature pop-up Adelaide city in a high foot traffic area of the CBD for one day. Passers by were encouraged to write down “how they like Adelaide’s laneways” on their own mini-me poster and stick this onto the pop-up Adelaide installation. This activation received 200 times more responses than all of the previous year’s on-street engagement activities combined. 

 

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”25″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Festivals & Events

Idea 3: Events can create media buzz and excitement around an initiative as well as provide a chance for genuine face to face engagement with your community.

Simple, effective and affordable events immerses its audience in a unique, memorable experience and builds an emotional connection with the space they are in. The Lost Dogs Shelter has held “The Human Walking Program” in Flagtsaff Park in Melbourne for three years running. Office workers are encouraged to come out in their lunch break and be taken for “walkies” by a Lost Dogs Shelter pup that is up for adoption. The event went viral on social media and media news outlets nationally and internationally; attracting over 175,000 media views in Australia within the first year. The event was an engagement success too, with all pups being adopted every year within a week of hosting the event!

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”20″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

We’re not suggesting you throw away the community engagement tools that you have, but that you learn from the goldfish in all of us and consider trialling new digital, experiential and marketing techniques to your next community consultation.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”20″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section admin_label=”Section” fullwidth=”off” specialty=”off” transparent_background=”off” background_color=”#f7f7f7″ allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” padding_mobile=”off” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” custom_padding=”20px|20px|20px|20px”][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row” make_fullwidth=”on” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”off” padding_mobile=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_2=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” parallax_3=”off” parallax_method_3=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on” custom_padding=”|||20px”][et_pb_column type=”2_3″][et_pb_sidebar admin_label=”Sidebar” orientation=”left” area=”et_pb_widget_area_1″ background_layout=”light” remove_border=”on” body_font_size=”13″ body_line_height=”1.4em”] [/et_pb_sidebar][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_sidebar admin_label=”Sidebar” orientation=”left” area=”et_pb_widget_area_2″ background_layout=”light” remove_border=”on”] [/et_pb_sidebar][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]

Collaborating on cool: Creating partnerships for event success

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row” make_fullwidth=”on” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”off” padding_mobile=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_post_title admin_label=”Post Title” title=”on” meta=”on” author=”off” date=”on” categories=”on” comments=”off” featured_image=”off” featured_placement=”below” parallax_effect=”on” parallax_method=”on” text_orientation=”left” text_color=”dark” text_background=”off” text_bg_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0.9)” module_bg_color=”rgba(255,255,255,0)” title_all_caps=”off” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] [/et_pb_post_title][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” make_fullwidth=”on” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”off” padding_mobile=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_image admin_label=”Image” src=”http://www.thepopupco.com.au/wp-content/uploads/people-jogger-jogging-colors-730×487.jpg” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”on” use_overlay=”off” animation=”left” sticky=”off” align=”center” force_fullwidth=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid” url=”https://www.eventbrite.com.au/blog/collaborating-on-cool-partnerships-that-create-event-success-ds00/”] [/et_pb_image][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”center” text_font_size=”12″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

As featured on Eventbrite Australia’s weekly blog.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” text_text_color=”#515151″ use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Don’t be ashamed, we’ve all experienced that burning desire to be one of the “cool kids”.

From the school yard to festival market stall, we’ve all ached for the attention of the modern style makers. Waiting for the effortlessly cool, felt-hat wearing beauties to buy into the life/product we’re selling, deeming us Instagrammable. Instead, there you sit, behind a trestle table at a music festival trying to sell health insurance or hand out samples of a new cheesier biscuit range, while passers by actively avoid making eye contact with you. You remember why you hated high school in the first place.

All is not lost though! Remember those kids who hung around the edges of the cool group in high school who still got to go to all the cool parties? They applied the art of “being cool by association”, and you can too!

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Benefits of co-branding

Today many businesses harness the power of association at events and brand activations by partnering with complementary “cool” brands. Also known as co-branding, this marketing technique has the following positive benefits;

  • attracting and engaging new audiences
  • leveraging off partner brand profiles to generate media attention
  • sharing costs of hosting an event or brand activation with other partners
  • leveraging off partner brand images to shape a positive perception of your brand
  • creating engaging, memorable experiences for your customers that increase brand loyalty and social share-ability of your event

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

If you’re finding it hard to get interest in your rice-milk product launch, or are looking for a new way to sass-up your next fundraising walk, try the following three steps to harnessing the power of being cool by association:

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

1. Know your true self

Understand the demographics and drivers of the audience you are targeting to attend your event or brand activation. This will inform and guide you towards finding the right brands to associate with.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

2. Find your cool group

Be true to yourself and the values of your brand. Research and create a list of brands with complementary values, audience demographics, and products or services. If you are selling health insurance for example, health and fitness providers, health food and drinks, holiday retreats, sports and recreation products, or vitamin brands may be suitable partners.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

3. Host cool parties together

Being cool by association goes beyond just promoting that you are part of a cool group. Invest in collaborating to host authentic, memorable events and/or activations that engage with your audience and turn them into positive brand advocates.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”40″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”justified” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”]

Here are a few co-branded events and activations that we can learn from:

The Brisbane Festival & The Weekend Edition (QLD) – What better way to attract attention to a festival than to stick a luxury pop-up hotel in the middle of it and give people the chance to win an overnight stay? This brand activation leveraged the younger following of partner brands – The Weekend Edition, Sheets On The Line bed linen, Wolff Coffee Roasters and Billy Kart Kitchen to raise awareness and reposition the Brisbane Festival.

 

Vale Brewing & CheeseFest (SA) – Like beer and cheese itself, this festival partnership stood out from the crowd in 2015. Creatively leveraged through a series of beer and cheese pairing events, tastings and beer based cooking demonstrations, Vale Brewing found an untapped market of foodies and educated them on beer pairing.

 

Airbnb & Sydney Opera House (NSW) – Leveraging off of a young, inquisitive audience of travellers, the Sydney Opera House will host a series of VIP events and behind the scenes tours for Airbnb’s superhosts – top rated international and local hosts – and Airbnb guests from 2015-2017. This is a wonderful way to promote a new product, whilst enabling Airbnb to provide unique experiences for its travellers.

 

ANZ & Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (NSW) – ANZ have gone above and beyond their sponsorship of the Sydney Mardi Gras in 2016, transforming its Oxford Street branch into a “GAYNZ branch” with their own “GAYTM’s”. This flamboyant redecoration popped up during February and March, promoting ANZ as a relatable, youthful bank to a diverse community.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”30″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_divider admin_label=”Divider” color=”#ffffff” show_divider=”off” height=”20″ divider_style=”solid” divider_position=”top” hide_on_mobile=”on”] [/et_pb_divider][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section admin_label=”Section” fullwidth=”off” specialty=”off” transparent_background=”off” background_color=”#f7f7f7″ allow_player_pause=”off” inner_shadow=”on” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” padding_mobile=”off” make_fullwidth=”off” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” make_equal=”off” use_custom_gutter=”off” custom_padding=”20px|20px|20px|20px”][et_pb_row admin_label=”Row” make_fullwidth=”on” use_custom_width=”off” width_unit=”on” use_custom_gutter=”off” padding_mobile=”off” allow_player_pause=”off” parallax=”off” parallax_method=”off” make_equal=”off” parallax_1=”off” parallax_method_1=”off” parallax_2=”off” parallax_method_2=”off” parallax_3=”off” parallax_method_3=”off” column_padding_mobile=”on” custom_padding=”|||20px”][et_pb_column type=”2_3″][et_pb_sidebar admin_label=”Sidebar” orientation=”left” area=”et_pb_widget_area_1″ background_layout=”light” remove_border=”on” body_font_size=”13″ body_line_height=”1.4em”] [/et_pb_sidebar][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_3″][et_pb_sidebar admin_label=”Sidebar” orientation=”left” area=”et_pb_widget_area_2″ background_layout=”light” remove_border=”on”] [/et_pb_sidebar][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]