Creative Thinking and the Future of Event Marketing

Event marketers can take a page from content creators, says Kobe Global Technologies CEO Evangeline Leong, keynote speaker at PCMA APAC’s The Business of Events.

Author: Curt Wagner       

smiling Asian woman

Evangeline Leong, founder and CEO of Kobe Global Technologies, will speak April 15 at PCMA APAC’S The Business of Events in Singapore.

Before Evangeline Leong founded Kobe Global Technologies, an international creator marketing agency based in Singapore, she had to “unlearn” a lot of what she thought she knew about digital marketing. She plans to share that story during her opening keynote presentation at The Business of Events, powered by PCMA Asia Pacific, April 15-16 at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Leong’s presentation, “The Future Thinkers,” takes place on the event’s “Day Unlearn,” meant to be a source of inspiration for attendees, when speakers like Leong will talk about how they had to unlearn in order to thrive. “I continuously work on it,” Leong told Convene via email.

Leong, Kobe’s CEO since its founding in 2016, has built an agency that works with 14 million content creators and 600 brands, including Fortune 500 companies. Kobe’s patented AI technology helps pair brands with relevant social-media influencers/content creators to leverage the influencers’ ability to broadcast brand messaging to millions of users.

Leong gave Convene a preview of her talk, and shared how event marketers can take a cue from content creators, and how AI and marketing can work together.

How did you get started in marketing?

Advertising, media, creativity, content — generally marketing drew me wherever I went since my school days. When I was part-time waitressing, I asked my then boss if I could help (for free) on their marketing; when I was involved in school, marketing projects kept me awake all night; when I met new friends who had businesses, I asked if I could be involved in their marketing.

My raw ingredient is a large pinch of curiosity, and this led me to dig deep to understand how consumers think, react, and how businesses work. When I got to know how marketing shifts perception, which brings the world to new realities, I was hooked.

How can event marketers harness the power of influencers?

Engage, educate, entertain audiences to achieve awareness, credibility, and hype for events through content that is creative, authentic, relevant —and most importantly done by creators who are social-media natives and who can speak the language of your audience — so you can ride on their personalities, skills, reach, and presence to achieve your event- marketing goals.

Please talk about your keynote, “The Future Thinkers,” and what you plan to share with participants at the event.

I’ll be sharing my experiences and observations in the content creator industry, how the creators come with a different mindset, and that the lack of professional equipment or training, instead of hindering them, drives them to think differently and create content that achieves great success.

Could you share something about your personal unlearning experience?

Tapping from past learnings is like staring at the rearview mirror when you drive — you’re bound to get into a car accident! How we most efficiently check the rearview mirror — but not overly dwell on it while staying focused on the road ahead — is the main challenge. I personally have unlearned my strong beliefs in numbers-driven marketing as the holy grail… to open up space to embrace the creative forms of marketing that could complete the full picture for holistic and effective marketing.

And when you talk about content creators thinking differently, how does that translate to the events industry and to event planners and marketers?

Content creators are given this term because they were (and still are) social-media users, scrollers, and the general population like you and I who all are on social media today. But beyond consuming content, they’ve decided to create content — and hence the label. Which means, they are ordinary people who had no formal education or external motivation and decided to experiment freely on an openly creative platform. Today there are millions of content creators in the world, and it has become an occupation, and some have become multi-millionaires. They have gone against all usual definitions, created a job for themselves, and created an industry.

This may resonate for events people coming from a place where they may not have received formal education but have chosen to take charge of events beyond being an event attendee. Both [creators and event pros] are good at delivering a good audience experience — to delight, inform, entertain, and inspire. The difference is that content creators of late have gained paramount attention, and I’d like to empower the event pros to tap into this parallel experience, to rethink creatively what they can do differently in their events.

Like what Mark Twain said, “There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely; but they are the same old pieces of colored glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

How can leaders ignite the potential of their workforce in these times when workers may believe AI is threatening their jobs?

AI threatens jobs for workers but transforms careers for thinkers. Leaders, for a start, need to rethink their workforce from workers to thinkers who are capable of shaping futures. Starting from the top, leaders shape the culture and share their vision and beliefs to empower the team to embrace the opportunities that AI can bring.

How are AI and marketers working together?

AI is not going to replace creativity, but the execution of a creative idea. And with AI doing the heavy lifting in execution, production, and efficiency, it saves the resources and time needed to invest in creativity, complex solutioning, high-value communications, and work that humans are truly made for. In fact, I see AI as the platform of opportunity that finally allows humans to unleash the best potential of ourselves.

What do you hope attendees take with them from your presentation?

That they are no longer limited by their personal realities and are filled with possibilities for the future!

Curt Wagner is digital editor at Convene.

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