You may not be familiar with Wah!Banana, but one of the company’s four-minute comedy skits will probably show up on a screen near you soon. With more than 760,000 YouTube subscribers, Wah!Banana’s jokes have created a serious business. At the Singapore MICE Forum on July 27, Xiong Lingyi, founder and producer of the company, offered approximately 500 business events industry leaders insights into how Wah!Banana accomplishes the task that tops every event organizer’s list of priorities: building a community. As you focus on expanding your community of attendees and members, consider these four pieces of advice from one of the funniest and sharpest minds in Singapore.
1) Experiment With Content.
After launching in September 2012, Wah!Banana quickly attracted approximately 200,000 subscribers with videos like “17 Reasons You’re Single” and “16 Ways to Escape the Friendzone.” That initial rise to popularity didn’t lead to getting overly comfortable, however. Lingyi said that her team is constantly aiming to experiment with new formats and new topics. “You have to surprise your audience all the time,” Lingyi told the MICE Forum audience. “If you’re organizing an event that feels similar five years in a row, would I go? I’m not so sure.”
2) Reach Out to Your International Audience.
Lingyi said that the channel built itself by “specializing in creating content with a local flavor.” While Singaporeans love Wah!Banana for the jokes that resonate with the familiar sights and sounds of the island nation, Lingyi has branched out to produce skits that target an international audience, too. As you look ahead to the program at your next conference, use a similar mindset to consider how new content and new education areas might resonate with prospective attendees in new markets.
3) Keep Your Existing Audience Happy.
While Wah!Banana wants to acquire new audience members, Lingyi knows that she must continue to appeal to the loyal fanbase responsible for the channel’s rise to online stardom. Event organizers have to perform the same balancing act, by giving year-after-year attendees something they have come to love while refining the offering to appeal to younger and new attendees with different expectations and behaviors.
4) Ask Yourself One Simple Question.
Business leaders and event organizers spend loads of time asking their customers and attendees questions and sending surveys, but the most important question requires an internal answer. Lingyi said that her team asks the same question before they upload a new video each week: Are we proud of our work? Ask yourself the same question when you’re ironing out the details of your next program. If you’re proud of the design of your conference, the sessions you curate, and the experience you offer, it’s likely that your audience will be proud to say they’re attendees.
Event organizers aren’t the only ones in the industry who are concerned with a sense of community. Check out “The Community-Driven Convention Center” to learn more.