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What’s the most innovative thing you’ve seen done either at your event or an event you’ve attended?
I think what sticks out in my mind more than anything is going to an event, or doing an event, and knowing that you have met all the objectives of what’s supposed to be portrayed. Walking in and saying, “wow, this looks beautiful, it feels beautiful, it has energy” – it’s creating the message, the experience that was set forth from the beginning. For instance, you have a sponsor or stakeholder involved and their goals were to connect their product with your brand. Knowing you’ve done that in such a creative, innovative way. I think, to me, in general, that is what is most inspiring.
So it sounds like seamless integration that people connect with instantly through their emotions and their five senses, vs. having to go “oh, you’re this sponsor, and you’re that sponsor”
Yes, I think you hit the nail on the head. I had someone tell me that they went to an event at the National Building Museum a few weeks ago and she said it was the most amazing event she had ever been to, and I said “so why?” and every single thing that she listed definitely hit on each sense of how she felt being there.
Good, so that feeling. What’s the best use of technology that you’ve utilized at an event or seen used at another event? We always struggle a little bit with what our backdrop might look like at certain events, and having a very static backdrop is what we’ve been doing these past few years. What we’re finding out, whether it’s the Pink Tie Party or the Opening ceremony or the parade, is that we’re able to use digital technology to change that static look and to be very creative in putting out the image that the festival wants to put out in a short period of time.
So you’re actually transferring dollars from traditional décor and scenic into digital backgrounds that you can manipulate with imagery, messaging and all of that.
Yes, I think that has been pretty successful for us.
I actually think that’s a big trend too, a lot of people are doing that. What do you see to be the biggest business advantage to doing or attending events these days?
Again, it showcases your event. Doing an event carries a message that is the promise of an experience. For the festival, it is what we do. It connects your audience on an emotional level, and makes people remember what that message is that you’re trying to portray.
GUEST: Diana Mayhew
Diana Mayhew became Executive Director of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in 2000, and has been President of the National Cherry Blossom Festival since 2007. Under her leadership, the Festival has grown from an all-volunteer, seasonal organization to a fully staffed, year-round 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Her success as a “connector” has led to developing strong partnerships with business, media, government and industry leaders, resulting in the Festival’s growth in programming, funding, and staff support.
Today, the strengthened brand of the National Cherry Blossom Festival receives local, national and international recognition, attracting more than 1.5 million attendees each year and generating over $160 million for the nation’s capital annually.
Diana currently serves on the World and Foundation Boards of the International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) and is a member of Leadership Greater Washington, the Destination DC Marketing Advisory Committee, and the Woman’s Leadership Group of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington. She was recognized by the Washington Business Journal as one of the 2012 Women Who Mean Business. Also in 2012 Diana was given the Certificate of Commendation from the Foreign Ministry of Japan for her contribution to the deepening of the Japan-US relationship and promoting mutual understanding between our two countries.