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At Home Experiences in a Box

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Chicago-based event producers Noelle McInerney, founder and senior producer at Ladidadi XM, and Patrick Crosson, CMP, owner and executive producer at PC Events + Experiences, produce events using a twist on the standard agency model. Three years ago, McInerney founded Ladidadi XM, a boutique collective agency made up of independent planners who produce clients’ programs. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, McInerney, Crosson and Ladidadi XM are changing the way they interact with their clients. Here, Crosson shares how Ladidadi XM is providing valuable experiences to clients from a distance with At Home Experiences in a Box. 

How the Idea Came About

I was on-site with our sister agency, Ladidadi XM, for one of their clients discussing their future events and how it’s a bummer that things are being canceled left and right. The client posed the question, “If only we could bring these events to attendees’ homes ...” Noelle McInerney, founder and senior producer at Ladidadi XM, and I looked at one another and together said, “But we can!” An almost instant brainstorm happened between us about At Home Experiences in a Box. We bounced a few ideas off one another right there and told the client we’d circle back around on baked-out concepts. Over the weekend, we hit the drawing board on how we create really fun and unique experiences in the home. Four days later, we pitched the ideas to the client, and they loved them.

How COVID-19 Is Changing How We Think

We realize that humans crave face-to-face experiences and are desperately awaiting the time when we can interact in person again. But there’s a more pressing situation facing us right now: We need to get this under control, and it’s totally changing how we’re thinking about every aspect of our lives. Could we see a shift in a larger at-home work force? If so, how do we engage employees while they’re working from home and still retain employees? Are we going to move to a totally virtual way we shop? Already clothing stores are closing doors, and we’re seeing a huge spike in online sales via Amazon. How are our eating habits changing? Already restaurants are pushing out delivery or pickup-only options. All these questions crossed our minds while we were brainstorming. 

What the Idea Is

We’re pairing creative, fun experiences with a piece of education/training/messaging from a brand. This could be either business-to-business or business-to-consumer. Think of a consulting company that needs to train new hires on company messaging but can’t bring everyone together for training at their corporate office anymore. Why not send them a welcome kit that has something fun they can enjoy — but before they get to enjoy something like an at-home chef demo for a delicious meal, they have to listen to their national sales manager teach them how they approach new clients. Or think of a clothing brand that can’t showcase its newest T-shirt in store. Why not send it to potential loyal customers with a special Q&A with a corporate employee to tell them how it’s made before they get to strut their stuff in a social media contest to win the shirt for free?

Why We Think It Works

For starters, everyone is stuck at home. Eventually, we’re going to get bored as a society. Why not entertain potential customers and employees during this really challenging time? These At Home Experience boxes also reinforce brand messaging and brand loyalty. What better way to show your employees that you care about them than sending them a care package? Doesn’t the eight or more weeks we’re about to save without feeding them the daily corporate lunch take care of the cost of these boxes? Don’t you want employees thinking about how great it is to work for your company when we get through this? Don’t you want your customers or your members to remain loyal to you when they once again have the means to go out and shop?

As the situation evolves, ILEA is sharing the most up-to-date collection of COVID-19 resources for ILEA members and all live events professionals. View the resources on the ILEA website. 

Noelle McInerney is founder and senior producer at Ladidadi XM, a boutique collective agency made up of independent planners who produce clients’ programs. With over 14 years of experience in "XM," Noelle has produced over 500 events across the country including top customer events, ticketed events, marketing panels, high-end celebrity events, internal meetings and employee functions ranging in size from 30 to 300,000 people. Working on both brand and agency sides of the business, Noelle grew her appreciation for true customer service and the creative process that is vital to ensuring high-quality creative for her clients.

Patrick Crosson, CMP, is owner and executive producer at PC Events + Experiences. He brings nearly 10 years of event management and production experience to Ladidadi XM with experience in association meetings, networking events, outdoor events, general sessions, breakouts, registration, housing, attendee management, trade shows, food and beverage, team building, incentive programs and much more. And if that's not enough ... he's an avid "Game of Thrones," "Harry Potter" and "Star Wars" fan ... so ask him about those!

Tags: event planning , live events , events , conference , COVID-19 , coronavirus