THE TOP 8 THINGS WE CAN LEARN FROM COMIC CON NEW YORK CITY
FROM OCTOBER 6-9, 2016, THE JAVITZ CENTER IN NEW YORK CITY WILL PLAY HOST TO THE WILDLY POPULAR NEW YORK CITY COMIC CON EVENT. NYCC IS SET TO ECLIPSE EVEN LAST YEAR'S RECORD ATTENDANCE NUMBERS WITH NORTH OF 150K ATTENDEES OVER FOUR DAYS. NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH ITS TWIN, YET UNRELATED EVENT, COMIC-CON INTERNATIONAL (HELD ANNUALLY BY A NOT-FOR-PROFIT IN SAN DIEGO, CA), NYC COMIC CON IS A FOR-PROFIT VENTURE ORGANIZED BY A LOCAL EVENT GROUP CALLED REEDPOP.
THOUGH MANY COMICS FANS SOMETIMES ATTEND BOTH EVENTS, THE NEW YORK CITY COMIC CON EVENT IS BIG BUSINESS. IN JUST 10 YEARS, NYCC HAS NETTED ESTIMATED PROFITS OF $50 MILLION PER YEAR AND RISING.
WE WANTED TO SEE WHAT WE COULD LEARN FROM THE STUNNING SUCCESS OF THIS EVENT AND HOW IT COULD BE A GAME-CHANGER FOR ALL EVENTS OF ITS KIND. HERE'S OUR TAKE.
1. FEELS INTIMATE DESPITE GRAND SCALE
Great event design breaks down even the largest convention centers into areas that feel small and special. Comic Con's thoughtfully planned zones are broken down into clearly-defined areas: panels & screenings, autographs & photo ops, experiential zone, main stage, vendor & media floor, artist alley, show floor and press lounge. (For a complete map, click here). Areas are well-named, as well, so attendees understand what to expect from each section.
LESSON LEARNED: EVEN IF YOUR EVENT IS BLOCKBUSTER-SIZED, DO WHATEVER YOU CAN TO RETAIN THAT INDIE-FILM FEELING.
2. ATTRACTS TOP TALENT
Graphic novelists, comic book authors, movie and television actors, directors, producers, artists and designers attend to promote their upcoming releases and new work. Attendees have a rare opportunity to see many people they admire in one concentrated setting.
LESSON LEARNED: MAKE YOUR EVENT SO COMPELLING THAT ALLLL THE COOL KIDS WILL WANT TO BE THERE.
3. MULTI-MEDIA ATTRACTIONS (BOOKS, MAGAZINES, ART, VIDEO, TV, MOVIES, TOYS, COSTUMES)
No matter which form your comic penchant takes, from gaming to toy collecting to graphic novels, all kinds of media are represented at NY Comic Con. This gives fans a deeply layered experience and gives vendors the widest opportunity for profitability. The wisest companies also use this opportunity to ply a select audience with exclusive merchandise unavailable elsewhere. Private screenings allow guests to experience exclusive trailers, sizzle reels, or yet-to-be released screenings of their favorite movies, games and TV shows.
LESSON LEARNED: GIVE YOUR ATTENDEES MULTIPLE WAYS TO ENGAGE WITH YOUR THEME AND OFFER THEM CHOICE AND EXCLUSIVE SWAG.
4. OPPORTUNITIES TO INTERACT WITH HEROES
Because this conference attracts the very best in the business, devoted superfans have a chance to meet their heroes face-to-face. It has become standard procedure to have event stars participate in autograph sessions, panel discussions, and meet-and-greet events.
LESSON LEARNED: OFFER OPPORTUNITIES FOR PERSONAL CONNECTION BETWEEN YOUR HEADLINERS AND YOUR GUESTS.
5. THEMATICALLY ON-POINT
NYC Comic Con has done a great job of staying laser-focused on the one thing that keeps them solvent—pop culture!
LESSON LEARNED: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE WELL AND OFFER THEM EXACTLY WHAT THEY LOVE.
6. ALWAYS KEEP THEM GUESSING
In anticipation of the release of his sci-fi epic, Tomorrowland, George Clooney made a surprise appearance at the 2014 New York Comic Con just 12 days after his wedding. Though he may have been strong-armed by the studio to show up for the convention during his honeymoon, the audience shocker was an enormous hit with attendees—met with raucous, rowdy applause and approval.
LESSON LEARNED: KEEP SOMETHING SUPER-SPECIAL UP YOUR SLEEVE TO PROVIDE YOUR AUDIENCE WITH AN AMAZING, UNEXPECTED EXPERIENCE.
7. CREATIVE AND FUN AUDIENCE / ATTENDEE PARTICIPATION
Comic Con's audience participation is absolutely legendary across both coasts. These are people whose costume game is on point. In the gif above, one very committed fan of Iron Man at the 2015 NY Comic Con wears a Hulkbuster costume he built himself. The construction and engineering took over 1,600 hours, and we can guess it cost a heck of a lot of money. This is the kind of loyalty and attendee participation that Comic Con inspires.
LESSON LEARNED: AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A LITTLE LEVITY MAKES OPPORTUNITIES FOR SOME SERIOUS CREATIVITY!
8. SMARTLY STRUCTURED, WELL-ORGANIZED & CLEARLY COMMUNICATED
A great website, clear communication, a streamlined attendee experience—all ingredients for a successful conference are put to work here. With over 150k people to manage, it would be chaos without great planning. Everything has been considered to manage and assist thousands of people to have a safe and optimal experience: medical needs, travel support, crew, guides, rules and even anti-harassment and safety policies.
LESSON LEARNED: A WELL-ORGANIZED EVENT PAVES THE WAY FOR THE MOST SEAMLESS EXPERIENCE FOR ATTENDEES. COVER ALL OF YOUR BASES.
This stellar, fantasy-meets-reality conference inspires creativity, loyalty and repeat attendance.
And as a BONUS: they've made the event accessible even for people who would like to be there but can't via LIFESTREAM. Watch NYC Comic Con LiveStream October 6-9, 2016 right HERE>>>