As our society becomes ever more focussed with recycling, upcycling, customising…and many other ways of breathing new life into just about anything, I’ve become aware that this way of thinking rarely extends beyond material goods.
Looking at our recycling bin with its words of warning on how best to support the creation of something new, I wondered why we haven’t started throwing old, rubbished ideas and thinkings into a similar pot.
A lot of time can be spent scrutinising past activity looking at what did and didn’t work and how the things that did work can be made event better but what about the ideas that don’t really ever get off the ground? Those that we trusted had some real worth and weight behind them. Those we tried in one environment, for one particular show or one audience group and when they didn’t work we scrunched them up and threw them away – for the paper to be recycled! What about the idea we believed in?
When time is precious and workloads are expanding is it not easier to pick up an old idea, one you invested some of that precious time in, dust it off and try again? Obviously, not all failed ideas are good ones, of course they’re not but the ones we had high hopes for might just show their worth the second, third…fifth time round!
As part of testings for the DMA, one of the things I wanted to investigate was ways of rewarding customers whilst here in the venue. I landed on the idea of using QR codes to pass information on to customers. I knew that we had seen results using codes on literature and the idea of projecting massive codes on our expansive walls seemed to suggest the results would grow too!
The first trial of projecting QR codes, at a busy comedy night, netted almost no results in terms of scans, attention or feedback. A little time had been invested in terms of working with Operations on projection, developing the back end content and briefing wider teams but not so much that the idea couldn’t easily be forgotten about – by everyone.
With the help of team members involved and those working on the night, the idea was pulled to pieces! The comedy club was incredibly busy, people left the space during intervals when the QR code was set to pop up and more importantly most of the audience just didn’t seem to understand.
But the codes had worked for us and others were using them successfully in different ways too. On Valentine’s Day, Tesco ran with an advert of a bunch of red roses with a code on top that when scanned ran an app that brought the flowers to front of the camera screen – creating a personalised digital gift. A lot of the mentions of that particular campaign came from young lovers on social media and the feedback from our Front of House teams suggested younger audiences responded more to the codes than others – which made sense given what we know about those most engaged digitally.
So, we ironed out the creases and tried the idea out for a second time. This time with a younger audience, multiple codes projected each leading on to the next with a reward at the end and a starting point near to Box Office so support could be given where needed.
The second time round we saw some real results and learnt even more! We will continue to explore other ways of interacting with audiences whilst they’re in venue – and we’ve written ‘revisit past ideas’ into all future planning cycles!