Going all-in with some scripted business theatre.
Given the choice, would you rather have dinner under the stars, or sit inside at the local fast food chain? Do your taxes, or spend an evening with friends? Sit through a Zoom presentation, or participate in something a little more one-of-a-kind?
It’s pretty easy to see that in almost every situation, we would all prefer to be entertained over being bored; experience something wonderful over do something mundane just to check the box. Theres a theory that I’ve seen credited to a number of people, including Volkswagen. It’s a simple equation.. Fun > Not Fun. And it wins every time it’s applied.
This sentiment is exactly why business theatre can be such a powerful ally when the stakes are high.
One of our companies had a meeting with an extremely important client. The ask from the client started pretty straightforward; provide us with a review of x, y, and z data points – standard for a business review. But then things got a little more interesting – and open ended. They asked to provide detail on how we were providing or applying innovation to better our relationship and help propel them forward.
It wasn’t a hard decision to go all in on this. Rather than sitting across from them in a conference room, leaned back with boots on the table saying “look you know us, we know you, what more do we need to say” or slowly killing their spirits with a 97 slide PowerPoint (you know the kind, where every word on the screen is read out loud), we decided to show them how much we value our relationship – and at the same time how we apply innovative approaches to things.
As we gathered all the data we needed to include, we started throwing around ideas on how to bring the story off the slides. Since a portion of the ask was to review timeline, and the other was show how we are add value, we knew we wanted to build the story literally and figuratively on screen. Instead of standard PowerPoint where every click kills the previous content, we brought in a horseshoe shaped LED wall. While that was impressive on its own, the strategy around the presentation itself was much more interesting.
Our presentation started in the center of the display. After each talk track, the visual moved to the outside edges, building on the previous, but staying visible. At the end of each section we not only told our story, but built it visually leaving a clear reminder of the journey we all just took.
Of course the entire day was scripted. What we did and said when they arrived. Which room we put them in to wait until the entire group arrived – so everyone would have the same moment of excitement when they entered our presentation space. The story we told, the questions we presented.
What We Did
Environment Design; Presentation Design; Speaker Coaching
A little bit of strategy,
with an ounce of theatrics,
can leave a life long impression.
This kind of strategy works. Our guests were highly entertained. They felt valued, they felt heard, and they appreciated the fact that we care enough to stage something unexpected like this for them. As a parting gift they told us that this was the new gold standard for reviews. Which presents us a new challenge for next time…
Of course when you make the investment to setup a display or environment like this for a pitch, you don’t let it sit idle. As an added bonus to showing up to win for our meeting, we were able to maximize its use by leveraging the space to film a handful of webinars, commercials, internal video blogs, along with hosting a few other gatherings in the space within its dreamy and immersive glow. We even invited some of our clients and friends to come use it while we had it.