“Here’s to the nights we felt alive”

*Play while reading blog post for maximum emotion.*

It’s that time of year — when “Class of 20–” is written sloppily in marker on car windows and your family and friends are taking bets on whether or not the girl with her graduation cap on inside Olive Garden is graduating from college or high school. Grad Day

This year, I graduated college (granted, 1 year early, but still).  On May 14th, I graduated from the School of Communication & Information, but I technically didn’t officially graduate from Rutgers University until Sunday, May 17th, which was University commencement (see: sweaty legs, hat hair, and Bill Nye).  As you can only imagine, this is a huge transition in my life — I leave the friends I began this epic journey with, I don’t get to see my best friends every day Grad Day 2(and, well, pretty much every second), and I have to live back home again (love ya, mom and dad!).  Every other day and sometimes spontaneously, a close friend will get extremely sentimental or will even start to cry.  But me?  I haven’t had the luxury of being able to express my emotions through a good ol’ cry sesh (have I ever?).

Music is extremely nostalgic to me.  Like most people, listening to a song can bring me back to a specific time, place, memory, feeling.  I can listen to Blink-182 or Yellowcard and be tranGrad Day 3sported immediately back to my Laguna Beach-loving days.  I can listen to The Lumineers or Taylor Swift’s Red album and be sitting in my freshman year dorm again.  In other words, music makes me sensey (see: soft, emotional, vulnerable).

Every graduating class has songs tied to its era.  My brother’s generation way back when was all about “Graduation (Friends Forever)” by Vitamin C, and, honestly, that song still manages to choke me up – and THAT is really Laurensaying something.  Around the 2000s/my sister’s era of graduating from high school and then college shortly after was a mix of some of the best nostalgic songs: Michelle Branch’s “Goodbye to You” (SO good), Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” (daaww), Eve6’s “Here’s to the Night” (tears everywhere), and Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” (okay, maybe not this one).Dance Marathon

My official 8th grade graduation song was “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts (cheesy, but it did the job and made me cry).  Our unofficial grammar school song was Boys Like Girls’ “The Great Escape” because I’m sure at the time we felt like rebellious, independent tweens ready to take on new hallways aka high school.  Basement showFor high school, we never had an official graduation song, but Fun.’s “We Are Young” pretty much summed up my high school years.  The song is fun (lol) and carefree, but not quite as reckless as it could be (ahem, college) — much like how high school was.

This year, though, I noticed there’s not one or two specific songs that sum up my college career.  Instead, I find myself thinking of different songs that are associated with memories — DJ Snake’s “Turn Down for What” (and, really, anything DJ Snake) will10731188_10205160027784086_109071226003444617_n always remind me of how he came to Rutgers for our Spring 2014 concert, Vampire Weekend’s “Step” makes me remember studying for finals with my very first best friends at Rutgers, Ke$ha’s “Die Young” reminds me of getting ready for football games and parties with my fellow Thot Cave members (also known as apartment mates), Oliver Heldens’ “Gecko (Overdrive)”HOLLAdayz brings me back to going to Miami/Ultra this year with good friends, Alesso’s “Heroes” makes me tear up a little because it makes me think of standing on my feet for a straight 30 hours with my best friends to support children with cancer through Dance Marathon, and St. Lucia’s “Elevate” transports me back to sunny Coachella with my sister.  There’s no song that represents my college experience, but rather a cluster.  I’ve had so many unique memories and experiences that no one song does my time “on the bankQuad Squads” justice.  And now I’m getting flustered because I’m starting to get emotional, but it’s true- my days at Rutgers deserve more than just a sappy generational song or two; they deserve an entire freakin’ series of songs — Vol. 1, Vol. 2, AND Vol. 3 — to capture all the hilarious, stressful, turntiest (see: drunk, tipsy, wasted) adventures I’ve had in college.

But, I mean, if you really want a generational graduation song, how about Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s “See You Again” (bawling only because of Paul Walker)?

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Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Party at the Puddle: Survey Results

SURVEY SAYS…

Survey says

On Thursday, April 30th, the day of the event, I distributed a short 3-question anonymous survey.  The survey was geared towards finding out if our promotional efforts (mainly, our social media efforts) were successful in attracting attendees to the event.  The survey was also meant to reveal attendees’ true motivation for coming to the event.RUPA Survey

 

Survey Results to #1Out of the 116 survey participants, about 53% say that they found out about Party at the Puddle via social media while about 41% found out via friend.  These findings confirm my initial belief that social media is RUPA’s primary means of promotion with word-of-mouth trailing closely behind.  It goes to show what a digital world we live in today when over half of the survey attendees (61 to be exact) heard about the event through the Internet/social media.

The next question on the survey is meant to reveal attendees’ preferences in order to best improve future  promotional plaSurvey Results to #2ns.  By far, social media seems to be how people mainly want to find out about future events. Survey results show that people dominantly rely on social media to find out about brands’ events.  Mirroring results from the first question of the survey, the next preferred method of finding out about events is also through a “friend.”  From both of these questions, we can assume that having some sort of network, both online and in-person, is imperative in finding out about various events.

To investigate even deeper into what social media accounts are most helpful to users when finding out about events, I broke the data down from question #1 even further.  According to survey results, Facebook seems to be users’ most Survey Results from #1 (broken down)helpful social media network when trying to find out about events.  While Twitter may convey the same information as Facebook, Twitter event promo is usually set up to promote the event, but ultimately leads to another page (i.e., a Facebook event page) via attached link.  It is worth noting that a very select amount of people (4 to be exact) found out about the event through Snapchat, meaning that they presumably saw the live snaps of the events and decided it looked fun and worthwhile enough to attend.  This provides further proof that Snapchat is useful to a brand, especially when it comes to events.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 1.25.17 AMFinally, the last question I was curious about was what actually made attendees come out to the event; was it the live music?  The free food?  The carnival games?  Friends?  I wanted to know what motivated people most to attend the event.  Survey results show that a slight majority of the 161 survey-takers came to the event for the free food (broke college students, am I right?!).  The second reason people attended the event was for the live music, according to the results.  Following closely behind “live music” was “friends.”

These results are interesting, although not that surprising.  The results do not really provide me with any new knowledge, but instead, reaffirms my beliefs that social media can affect event discovery, attendance, and experience.  If anything, this collection of data solidifies the importance of social media promotion in today’s digital world.

Limitations.  In distributing the survey, only a small portion of attendees was able to get surveyed.  Out of about 2,000-3,000 attendees (give or take), only 116 attendees were able to be surveyed.  This study also draws data from a limited audience- college students.  It would be difficult/almost impossible to apply these findings to a global audience.  If a music festival were to conduct a similar study, it would be interesting to see the difference between a college audience and a global audience.  Lastly, the survey questions focused mainly on social media preferences and habits, however, I would have liked to include a question or two about whether or not social media enhances user experience during an event.  Nonetheless, the data collected is still valid data that can be used to improve future promotional plans.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Party at the Puddle: Recap

Man, talk about a parrrrrty!

Party at the Puddle went swimmingly!  The event stayed packed until the very end with long, long lines of students waiting patiently (and, well, not so patiently) for free food (that waOn Stage Party at the Puddles delicious, by the way).  Many students enjoyed making a mini-terrarium inside a mason jar for a craft while others preferred the carnival games on the side, which also included an old-school dunk tank!  Of course, many lounged around the grass, watching whichever respective artist was on at the time.  The music portion went well, besides the fact that we went about 20 minutes over the official event end time.  But even that wasn’t a big enough bump to knock us over.

Throughout the event, attendees stayed engaged on social media due to the photo contest I had set up.  Attendees were encouraged to tag us in their photos and add “#PuddleParty” to their captions.  Periodically, we would randomly choose users’ photos and then announce the winners of chocolate-filled mason jars on stage.#PuddleParty Entry  Many people Instagrammed and tweeted @RUPARutgers, but of course, there could only be 4 winners for the night.  Win or lose, almost everyone who tweeted @RUPARutgers got a reply back!

The mix and flurry of activities for students to participate in provided a well-rounded experience for attendees.

American Lions Promo

Party at the Puddle 1

Party at the Puddle 2

Party at the Puddle 3

I feel confident that my goal of creating memories for other people has been accomplished thanks to Party at the Puddle.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Party at the Party at the Puddle Street Team

In my Party at the Puddle promotion plan that I outlined very briefly in a previous blog post, I mentioned that I would build in an in-person marketing opportunity via street team.  Today, we had a street team on Douglass (since that’s where the event will take place) from 12pm to 1:45Party at the Puddle 2pm.  Originally, the street team was supposed to be from 12pm until 3:30pm, but no one was able to staff the later shift so we had to end early.  The weather was sunny, beautiful, and warm, which was perfect for our outdoor location in the George Street plaza (right behind the Douglass Student Center).

At street teams, I always encourage my Marketing Assistant Directors (MADs) to have a special theme or item at their table.  For example, Rendell, the Comedy & Media MAD, usually buys cupcakes and cookies for his street team since free food ALWAYS equals broke college students rushing over to the table.  For this street team, we had assorted mini Hershey’s chocolate bars because who doesn’t love candy that you can easily eat 5+ pieces of in one sitting?

Party at the Puddle

While I was setting up the table, I realized there were no current flyers in the marketing bin.  We still didn’t even have a flyer for Party at the Puddle even though the event is in exactly 2 days.  To quickly improvise since the table was looking empty and I’ll admit I was a little bored, I spelled out “Puddle Party” in the mini chocolates.  It served as a temporary flyer and was also a way of grabbing peoples’ attentions.

While we tabled and tried to engage passerbys, we played local/New Brunswick music (very fitting, wouldn’t you agree?).  We started out playing bands we had seen at basement shows, like ROMP, even though they are unable to perform on Thursday at the event.  Then, we began playing music from all of the bands that are performing at Party at the Puddle, including WistewParty at the Puddle 3ria, Eagle Daddy, American Lions, Little Rose, Fiscal Cliff, and Cold Weather Company.  Mostly everyone e engaged surprisingly already knew about Party at the Puddle!  It is interesting to note that most of the people who passed by said they had heard of the event via Facebook event page.  For survey results, I am already predicting that a majority of the event attendees heard about the event via “social media.”  The next biggest category will be that the attendees discovered the event through a “friend.”

Current to do list:

  • Request finals on the Party at the Puddle flyer ASAP.
  • Continue social media promotion of the event — more specifically, map out which artist will be promoted and when.
  • Send bands last minute reminders.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Party at the Puddle: Social Media Promo Plan

RUPA promoted events through all channels (digital, in-person, and print), but our presence is most prevalent on social media.  We drop all events first on Facebook and Twitter.  Given that social media is our primary means of promotion, I build in Party at the Puddle supporting posts in the Marketing committee’s social media content calendar for April.  Each month, I make a content calendar that dictates what type of post should be posted and when so that our social media accounts are not over saturated with event promotion.  The first few posts I assigned to Taylor, the Traditions & Community MAD, since Party at the Puddle is primarily a T&C event with a music portion.  The remaining posts I assigned to myself in order to promote each of the artists performing, much like Bonnaroo and Coachella do.

Original photo was accidentally deleted; current replacement photo taken on 5/3.

Can this technically be considered Rutgers’ mini music and arts festival? *Original photo was accidentally deleted; current replacement photo taken on 5/3.

So far, the event’s social media presence continues to grow given that over 2,000 students (almost 3,000 students) have RSVP’ed “Going” to the event.  Since the Concerts & Coffeehouses committee had extra money left over from Beats on the Banks and we are now expecting close to 3k people, we are doubling the food budget and ordering more food to accommodate the expected turnout.

This is totally going to be a mini music festival… but minus the flower crowns and floppy hats.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Party at the Puddle: Contracts & Timelines

Contracts and timelines have been built, edited, and sent!

Check out our fancy DOS timeline (also includes our merch and rain date timeline)!

Check out our fancy DOS timeline (also includes our merch and rain date timeline)!

The day of show timeline was easier to build than I had been expecting.  It worked out perfectly since a few of the bands had requested earlier spots while some bands preferred to play later in the evening.  As evident from the timeline, this is a tight schedule since there are 6 bands playing.  My only concern is running over time, but even that shouldn’t be too much of an issue.  As for my to do list, the only item still on it is: Continue promoting artists via social media.

The end is near, y’all!

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Party at the Puddle: Facebook Attendance

It’s only been TWO days since Party at the Puddle officially dropped on Facebook, but the event already has over one thousand people RSVP’ed as “Going”!  Of course, how reliable is a Facebook RSVP really though?  Still, it’s incredible to see the event get so much attention in a liParty at the Puddle Facebook Event Pgmited amount of time.

The impact of successful events on brand equity is exceptionally important.  In a study done by Zarantonello and Schmitt (2013), “event attendance has a positive impact on brand equity” (p. 255).  Events give attendees the chance to directly interact with and experience the brand.  Successful, meaningful events can change audiences’ perceptions of the entire brand.  Being at an event usually means “being fully immersed in a physical space that stimulates all consumers’ senses, and encourages them to be active participants and to interact with the surrounding environment” (Zarantonello & Schmitt, 2013, p. 261).  Wanting event attendees to have a complete experience, we/RUPA is strategically and creatively planning and preparing for Party at the Puddle.  We will have free food (calling all broke college students), carnival games (even a dunk tank!), arts and crafts (who wouldn’t want to do a craft involving a mason jar?), and of course- live music!

If Facebook attendance continues to grow and is any sign of how many people will actually be there, this event will really impact how attendees experience RUPA.  A major part of how we plan events is how we think the attendees will experience the event.  To us, it’s now just about the artist performing or the notable person speaking or giving a lecture, it’s about what attendees will remember and feel.  At the very first RUPA event I worked (Beats on the Banks ft. Alesso), I remember the good music and amazing production, but the memory that stands out the most to me is looking out at the crowd and feeling a sense of cohesiveness — there were over 4,000 diverse students of all different ethnicities, majors, minors, towns, etc., but here we were all dancing and enjoying the same concert.

If there is anything I hope to accomplish with Party at the Puddle, I hope to help people and friends make memories.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

RUPA Presents: Party at the Puddle

Yup, RUPA is hosting a party at Passion Puddle on Thursday, April 30th.

Similar to the Fall’s Scarlet Harvest, which includes live music, free food, arts & crafts, and other fun activities (i.e., bull riding), Party at the Puddle serves as a celebration of nice weather and the end of the semester (finally).  As part of my Capstone, I will be planning the music portion of the event.  I will also be in charge of creating a promotion plan for Party at the Puddle.  What better way to understand social media promotion (when it comes to music events) than to plan and promote one yourself?

Along with promoting the event itself, I plan to promote each of the respective local New Brunswick bands’ Facebook and Bandcamp or Spotify pages.  I will incorporate all types of marketing in my Party at the Puddle promotion plan including:

  • Digital marketing (HEAVY social media promotion)
  • Print marketing (flyers on RUPA bulletin boards)
  • In-person marketing (street teams)

At the event, I will be distributing a short anonymous survey to as many attendees as possible in order to analyze and determine what form of promotion was the most effective in attracting attendees.  Based on the answers we have heard in the past via focus groups, I predict that social media will be the main source of attendees’ knowledge of the event.

Since social media is RUPA’s strongest form of marketing, we drop all of our events via Facebook and Twitter first.  Given that Party at the Puddle just dropped today, the Facebook “Going” RSVPs and invites seem to be growing at a healthy pace if not faster than normal.  A big factor could be the name of the event.  Personally speaking, if I saw an event named “Party at the Puddle,” I would be kind of confused and prompted to click on the event page.  The event name itself is click-bait!  As a side note, it was NOT easy to name this event.  At first, I was hell-bent on naming it “New Funswick” because why not?  At the end of the day, though, I couldn’t be happier with the event name — it matches the event’s upbeat, laid-back vibe.

This is an actual photo of Passion Puddle. Desktop wallpaper worthy, am I right?!

This is an actual photo of Passion Puddle. Desktop wallpaper worthy, am I right?!

Also, the fact that RUPA is hosting an event at Passion Puddle could be enough to attract attention since no other event is held in that area.  According to Hoyle (2002), the venue or event location can “dictate not just the attendance, but the character and personality of the event as well” (p. 15).  While framing events in a certain light is also important when promoting, having quality raw materials is equally as important.  We knew that we needed to somehow incorporate “Passion Puddle” in the event title to attract attention and place emphasis on the cool, unique location.  Beautiful weather (*KNOCK ON WOOD*), live music, tasty food, fun carnival games, and friends all in such a peaceful, picturesque place makes for the best day.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

Hoyle, L. H. (2002). Introduction to event marketing. In Event marketing: How to successfully promote events, festivals, conventions, and expositions (pp. 1-17). New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

 

Capstone Event: Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

*Play while reading blog post.

Proposal emails were sent out to the prospective bands about 5 days ago; currently, 5 local bands are confirmed: American Lions, Cold Weather Company, Fiscal Cliff, Eagle Daddy, and Wisteria.  This is a stellar lineup so far and adding one more band would solidify our local band lineup.

Me and some friends at a basement show -- are we punk enough yet?

Me and some friends at a basement show — are we punk enough yet?

Although we had a tiny bit of money left in the Concerts & Coffeehouses budget to potentially book an outside touring artist for about $1,000, I chose to feature local/New Brunswick bands instead — kind of like an above-ground basement show.  Last year, “New Brunswick basements” were ranked as the “#4 place to see indie bands in New Jersey” (Kate, 2014).  New Brunswick fosters such a “do-it-yourself” environment that I wanted to celebrate the local musicians who are currently doing so.  Most of the bands that we have confirmed thus far are known to play mostly in New Brunswick basements, which “typically feature known or up-and-coming punk bands, both local and those that drive hundreds of miles” (Sanchez et. al., 2010, p. 1).  Having been to plenty of New Brunswick basement shows, I want the Capstone event to have the same feel of community, subculture, and support.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne

EDIT [4/7/15 at 10:23 AM]:

After giving them a full 6 days after the initial email, Rachel and I have sent follow-up emails to the bands who have not yet responded.  Notice that I have blacked out the title of the Capstone event and the band’s name since I’m not trying to throw shade at anyone for having a delayed response.

Follow-Up Email

Capstone Event: Bands & Production

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, part of my Capstone will be an end-of-year music event that I will have planned and promoted.  Since the event hasn’t officially “dropped” on RUPA’s Facebook, I am temporarily unable to share the event title.  For now, I will refer to this music event as “Capstone event.”

Since Beats on the Banks is fast approaching (countdown: 16 days), the Concerts & Coffeehouses committee has been focusing solely on that event leaving me to really take initiative with planning for the Capstone event.  Rachel, a Concerts & Coffeehouses Assistant Director, will be helping me carry out tasks related to the music portion of the event that I am responsible for.  As of today, we have confirmed production for the event.  This means that stage and sound is all accounted for.  The process was fairly painless since we used our normal guys (K Sound) and they always know what stage is needed for what location.

After gathering a mental list of local/New Brunswick bands that I am fond of and that have also supported RUPA in the past, Rachel and I began to reach out to the bands.  We emailed 11 bands total and are eager to hear back from them so that we can begin building our day of show timeline, rain date timeline, and merch timeline.  So far, we’ve heard back from 4 bands, which really is a great start.  Two bands need to check with other members to see if they are available for the event while the two other bands immediately confirmed their attendance giving a preferred set time.

Email to Bands

We’re off to a great start in planning for the event!  Below is a to do list for the event:

  • Confirm more bands (should be about 6 total).
  • Create and send day of show, rain date, and merch timeline.
  • Edit and send Standard Services Agreement (our form of a contract) to all bands.
  • Create and implement a promotional plan.

Stay tuned,

Roxanne