For many event professionals, it seems as though our clients are constantly finding new trends and pushing the industry in fresh and unique directions. One year, it’s rustic chic abounding with decor details … and before you know it, it’s minimalism with clean lines and simple design.
While it can seem like a lot of work to keep up with the times, it’s that effort that will set you apart from competitors and elevate your brands to the top of the market. Don’t let clients bring trends to you; instead, focus on being a step ahead and introducing up-and-coming styles to your client base to showcase your aptitude for creativity and originality.
People want one-of-a-kind events more than ever before, so get to know top trends so you can be the first to show them off.
Here are a few ways to turn your knowledge of trends into a long-lasting business that will lead the industry in innovation:
1. Do your research.
You can’t serve your clients as best as possible if you’re not up-to-date with the latest and greatest styles in the industry.
Wedding blogs and magazines are often the first stop for clients, but keep in mind that those featured events are typically from past seasons--so they’re not groundbreaking. If you truly want to be ahead of the curve, look beyond the oversaturated wedding market to other industries that are often several steps ahead.
For example, the fashion industry is always putting out cutting-edge looks, so look to the runway for the bridal looks that are still to come.
Likewise, interior design is typically a few seasons ahead of the wedding industry, so check out blogs and home decor stores for hot colors and thematic inspiration. Stationers can look for graphic design trends, while caterers can check out the dishes of world-class chefs and Michelin restaurants to see what’s in the mix.
Get creative, look outside the box, and seek inspiration from new and unique outlets.
2. Display your work proudly.
Special events are highly visual, so you need to show off your industry knowledge in a way that impacts people’s senses.
Plan a studio shoot or an inspiration shoot to capture some new ideas you have, then share the images on social media and add them to your website gallery. Give clients a glimpse of your latest work and how it’s pushing the industry in new directions.
A great way to spread word of your expertise to other professionals is to contribute your services to industry events. Offer to provide catering for your next networking event and put in your most innovative efforts. Style the stationery and signage for an upcoming open house to show what you’ve been working on. Donate your design services to a community gathering to start a buzz around the cool ways you’re incorporating the latest trends into your services.
If you want to promote yourself as an industry leader, you need to be prepared to do things that others are not yet doing. That’s the whole idea of leading--breaking the mold and stepping it up in the creativity department. Then, you’ll start to see that others are translating your ideas into their own work, and that’s how you’ll know you’ve started something special.
3. Adjust your marketing strategy.
One of the best ways to identify yourself as an expert in the market is to lend insight to content throughout the industry. Your own blog, YouTube channel, and social media profiles are a great place to start and serve as excellent platforms to promote your innovative endeavors.
When you’re ready to take it to the next step, start pitching guest blogs to top media outlets to expand your audience. Experiment with a mix of B2B [business to business] and B2C [business to consumer] publications to diversify your outreach and get your message across to potential clients as well as other industry professionals. If you have new trends to offer, everybody will want to know.
Make it your goal to become the go-to resource for all things trends in your specialty. But don’t limit yourself--get familiar with other specialties as well. If you’re a designer, for example, keep an eye on catering trends because you might see something that catches your eye (such as the interactive food stations that burst onto the scene several years ago!).
If you’re a stationer, check out trendy linen styles to get an idea of colors and textures that can inspire your work. Florists might do well to know about the latest rental trends to style their arrangements to match popular furniture layouts and thematic elements.
While trends may come and go, our industry revolves around them, so your knowledge of trends is your best asset to enhancing your brand and elevating your status as a creative expert.
Stay mindful of changes throughout the industry and beyond. Most importantly, keep your inspiration fresh, and always keep an eye on what’s next.
Kylie Carlson is the owner of The Wedding Academy. With seven locations globally, the academy offers an internationally recognized accreditation program that brings professional training to wedding planners, designers and stylists.