I recently attended a product launch for a new bourbon called Lost Prophet. It’s the latest release in Diageo’s Orphan Barrel line of products. These are old whiskeys that have been sitting in a rick house for about two decades after having been distilled at historic and sometimes now defunct distilleries. If you aren’t familiar with the current bourbon boom, you should know that any new bourbon release is met with a varying degree of frenzy, and the Orphan Barrel releases are no different.
The labels on the Orphan Barrel bottles are beautiful. Artists spent considerable time and effort designing the packaging, and each label is beautiful in its own way. That’s why I was so surprised to find the event lighting so hostile to decent photographs.
Whenever you have an event, people are going to be taking pictures with their phones and uploading them to various social media sites. You’re more likely to have good pictures with good lighting, and the easier people find it to take photos, the more social engagement you’re going to get on your event. Throughout the launch people were struggling to take social-worthy photos, repositioning the bottles and using flashes. Unfortunately with the shine of the label, flash photography almost made it look worse.
It made me think about another event Brian Wallace, President of NowSourcing, recently attended. When I saw his photos from The Global PR Summit on social media there wasn’t a bad one among them, whether they had been taken by a cell phone or a professional photographer. Attention was paid to the lighting of the event, which made all the difference in the way those peering in from the social media outside world saw it.
But what can you do about it?
Start by visiting the site before the event and taking pictures with your own cell phone, as attendees will do at the event. If you struggle to take a good photo, chances are even the most seasoned social media aficionado will as well. Take the time to design lighting with social media in mind. Talk to lighting designers, home stagers, or even the person behind the counter at the paint store. Play around with different lighting or at the very least create a special “photo-op” area.
I don’t want to harp on Diageo for neglecting one tiny detail. I’ve been to several events where lighting was an issue. I’ve discussed the importance of lighting with many event organizers. A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words, even if it’s a cell phone picture uploaded with a hashtag. Better lighting makes people want to take and post more pictures, and better pictures lead to more social media engagement. Don’t just depend on the professional photos that will come out the next day- turn your whole audience into professional cell phone photographers.
Photos Courtesy of Diageo North America/Taylor Strategy, Maggie Kimberl, and The Holmes Report