If you live or operate a business in a city as I do, then you’ll be fairly familiar with some of the constraints we face as “the urbanized ones”. High population densities mean that most spaces are taken up by housing, commercial buildings or other public services. This in turn leads to high rentals and more barriers to entry for businesses. But before this turns into a socio-economics lecture, let’s get down to discussing a solution you as a business owner or event planner can use. And even if you don’t live in an overpopulated city, the idea of pop-up events can be something that you can benefit greatly from.
What Pop What?
Pop-up events have increased in popularity in recent times in a worldwide trend. By taking over spaces such as (temporarily or otherwise) unused buildings, shop-houses or even parks, pop-up events offer a short-term fix for operators needing a space but without the means of long-term sunk costs in terms of rentals and renovations. In this article we will talk briefly about how you too can organize a pop-up event and how to take full advantage of its, erm, advantages to successfully fulfill your business and event needs.
Law and Order
The first thing you probably should note is that conquering a public space in a city or town will have legal issues and possibly ethical ones as well. Once you have decided what kind of event you want to run, stock your organizing team with people to handle these technical issues. Running afoul of the authorities or social activists is not a good way to start your campaign so make sure that those things simply don’t happen.
Themes, Themes, Themes
So now that you’ve got the law enforcement authorities pre-emptively off your back, you can get down to doing the (more) fun stuff. Something I’ve maintained since I started writing on this page is that a storyline or theme is very important, so establish how you want to sell you event very early on.
Once you’ve done that, you can shortlist locations that match the ideas you have. This is very important – having a luxury goods event in the most economically deprived areas of the city would make you both a terrible businessperson and a terrible human being at the same time, which would be a terrific achievement. On less extreme tones, familiarize yourself with concepts such as gentrification and other sociological issues pertaining to space to figure out if the location you have in mind is truly suitable for your event. A great location, based on the values and purposes of the event you are organizing, is more than half the battle one.
Now that you’ve decided on the rough geographical location you will hold your event in, look closely at which spaces you intend to use for your pop-up event. Would it cost too much in terms of both finance and labor to manipulate the space to fit the purposes of your event. Think about how you intend to design an interior or mark out your own space to see if the spaces you have or will choose are suitable and prudent.
Form Is Emptiness, Emptiness Is Form
So you’ve got all of the above settled! It should now be important for you to embrace the spirit of a pop-up store or event. Trying to run it as you would a permanent or long-term feature would probably be foolhardy and counterproductive. Instead, learn to love the temporality of it and use this to market and run your event.
Exclusivity Has Its Benefits
Remember the limited edition item that you scoffed at that nonetheless attracted long queues of patrons just dying to get their hands on?
Exclusivity is incredibly marketable if done right. When promoting your event or products, play up the fact that it is once-in-a-blue moon opportunity to be a part of it. Play on this more by having special promotions or activities that really can only be done at your pop-up event. Reap the rewards of customers or attendees who literally can only enjoy the benefits of what you offer at your event itself.
All Is Transient
You know your event is for a limited time only. Run it with that in mind. Use props or sets that are equally temporary and don’t blow your budget on expensive furniture which will be discarded after this. For manpower too, it might be a good idea to engage part-time staff to handle specific aspects of your event. To go off on a philosophical tangent fro a bit: all things are transient anyway, your event is now a representation of that. If you can somehow bring these ideas across then I do believe your audience will have more to be wowed by.
From a business perspective, though, make sure that you manage to engage your customers on a long-term basis. Have enough capabilities at your event to sign people up to a mailing list or follow you on your social media platforms. While the event itself might be temporary, make sure your connection with your audience lasts far longer than that.
In a fast-paced, ever changing world, event organizers or businesses that are flexible and adaptable to circumstances have the highest chance of surviving. Be that organizer or owner. Pop-up events are uniquely equipped to deal with certain constraints of city life are a great solution to your event needs. This humble article hopefully starts you on that process to organizing your own great and successful pop-up event.