The ‘WOW’ Factor

Hmm been meaning to write a piece on the word, meaning, idea on ‘wow’ factor. So finally I do write about it and hope it’s insightful. [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

The so-called “wow” factor has entered a domain beyond buzzword, existing now as a shape-shifting, continually evolving event necessity. Any innovation that impresses the onlooker or participant into a gasp of admiration. A showstopper element that will engage the senses of attendees, waking them up, grabbing their attention, stopping them dead in their tracks, resulting in big buzz.

As all our faces are different, so it is with the ‘wow’ factor meaning different things to different people and you bet everyone has an idea of what they think is the 'wow' factor for their event. So I asked around from a couple of people and their answers of course differed, one said “the wow factor is the decor. Decor has the power to create a certain ambiance in an event. You could do and undo with your decor. I walk into an event and when I see a great decor, I go WOW!!!!!!!!!!! And when I don’t, I look forward to meeting the planner or decorator to give a piece of my beautiful mind.

Another friend said “successful seating arrangements”. I am sure you are thinking “how weird”, but really if you have been to an event where there is a horrendous seating arrangement or better still no seating thought process you sure will understand this point. This anyway will be a discussion for another day when I get around to writing it down so look out of it. Some other friend said her ‘wow’ factor is “display the decorated hall from different photographic perspectives, that way it gets an emotional connect”; hmm her point.

Thinking these views were a bit light I decided to ask a seasoned event professional and she gave me her opinion in a mathematical theory. Little did I know that ‘wow’ factor could be explained in mathematics so here is what she proposed;

“That the return on eXperience (X) is Function (F) times Audience (A) times Message (M) plus Creativity (C) and Innovation (I) or X= FAM + C + I.”

When I asked for a simpler explanation she said – “The best events are those that prove that sometimes 2 + 2 = 5. Planning for an event’s Function, Audience and Message will give you 4. It is in the Creative side that you find that little something extra and end up with 5.”

Hmm very insightful right? Thought so too!

Well what are my thoughts on this subject? For a wow to really work, it must be unexpected and take the audience by surprise. If the audience knows something is coming, the actual occurrence will become anticlimactic, thereby defeating itself in the execution.

It is about telling a story to an audience and having them walk away with the immeasurable: a memory—a branded experience and what makes those memories? Great storytelling—a dramatic approach to event management that takes your guests on a journey through a carefully crafted and entirely consistent experience over the sweep of the event.

Everything from the food and beverage to the ambience, venue and entertainment must play well together. I still do not understand how one gives you an elegant invitation and then you arrive at a crappy venue and wonder if you are at the right place. Or the case of having an exquisite venue and you are wondering what the hell was the decorator thinking?

Recently went to an event and the cake which was on stage was totally covered with a plastic bag from the start of the wedding reception till they were about to cut it. I fumed in my seat all through the event at this unbelievable error. Did I mention that the venue was still being setup as guests poured in? Djs and MCs are another element that…… and all you can do is hope the event can be all over quickly for you to head home.

The truth is the more consistent the elements of an event are, the bigger the overall wow will be. It is something subconscious. When everything is working, guests know it and enjoy themselves. Even with small budgets, the most important element to consider is consistency in the thread woven with the experience. In other words it’s all in the detail.

Guess I have said enough and you totally may not agree with me but hey when next you are planning an event I guess we need to pay attention to the detail inorder to bring out the ‘wow’ factor. Also if you are hiring a planner get one who knows that the most important job is creating memories that make people feel that they've attended something special.

Hey do let me know what your WoW factor is !

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