Is your finger on the pulse of the attendee?
During rehearsals the producer asked if we could go over the playlist. As I began going over each song I soon realized that the he didn’t know very much about 80s and 90s rock music because he had never heard of the majority of the songs that I had compiled. This was surprising because I wasn’t using a bunch of obscure artists. In fact, most of the songs on my playlist had hit the top 40 during these two decades. In the producer’s defense, he was a little older and probably grew up in the 70s so he wasn’t very familiar with much of this music. I grew up in the 80s and 90s so I have intimate knowledge of this musical genre. The problem was that he didn’t recognize this fact, and chose not to defer to my experience as a contemporary of the requested time period. Instead he shot down almost every song I brought and left us with only about 30 minutes of music.
When the attendees arrived I soon realized that most of them were around my age and a little younger. I would say the average age in the room was early to middle 30s - a good 20 years younger than the producer. We ended up using my playlist after all and you could tell that it was a big hit. The client really wanted to bring up the energy in the room and 80s and 90s rock music did that in a big way. Because the client lives every day within the culture of this company, he knew what kind of music would speak to this audience. The producer was just being too conservative for that particular crowd.
I am using music for these examples of cultural relevance because musical taste is one of the most obvious differences between various cultures. But this should only be an illustration of a concept that is applied to all areas of your meetings and events; from catering to networking activities or even how much flash goes into the audio visual elements.
The simple fact is that people communicate differently based on their life experiences and this can often be a direct result of time spent in a particular organization’s culture. It is our job as meeting and event professionals to spend time researching the culture of an organization or group, and apply the findings to every part of their event while doing our best to avoid our own prejudices. This is not always easy...especially when it comes to music.
At Genesis Technical Production & Design, Jay is committed to helping organizations in the event production industry thrive in such a competitive environment through an array of resources and services ranging from production management and operations to staging and digital content design.