Author: David Sonntag

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As we get to the end of the year, many of our clients are in 2020 and beyond planning mode. Looking at what is new and different in the industry, staying ahead of trends, looking for new products and services that are available and just...

Press Coverage for the 2019 National Book Festival New York Times‘I Am on My Way to Being Very Well,’ Justice Ginsburg Tells Thousands of Fans' WRC-TV (NBC)19th Annual National Book Festival Draws Tens of Thousands of Book LoversC-SPAN *VIDEO*My Own Words - Supreme Court Justice Ruth...

Decibel is getting some love from the Trade Show News Network! Looking forward to seeing more reuse and upcycling in the industry. Especially after tradeshows, when we often see brand new prints end up in the landfill. We would much rather upcycle them into...

Follow this link for some great insight, tips and insider info for what to expect at the Parade of the States at the 2019 National Book Festival. And if you ever wonder why they call it the "Parade" of the States: "It’s a parade, as in...

Last month Decibel Management produced one of our flagship events in Washington D.C., the National Small Business Week Awards. Since this is the Decade of Decibel, we thought it might be nice to take a deeper look at this event, seeing as our partnership with SCORE and...

Earlier this year, Las Vegas played host to the largest tech conference of its kind, the Consumer Electronics Show 2018, or CES 2018 for short. The event showcases technology and cool gadgets, both real and conceptual, entering into the consumer realm. Here at Decibel Management,...

While 2018 may only be in its infancy, we have already seen some amazing productions take place. The first few months of this year have played host to some of the largest global events in the industry. One trend we here at Decibel Management are...

We’re all looking to gain insight into 2018 forecasts, trends, and predictions for event management upgrades. As in years past, challenges abound when creating engaging events that excite and delight attendees, in a format (whatever that may be) that is seamless and fail proof. Decibel...

2017 is a big year for us. Over the past ten years, we’ve produced, managed, and staffed countless events, building our expertise in the large-scale event industry. Above that, we’ve built a reliable network of vendors, venues, and a hardworking staff to make all this...

Last week, we wrapped up one of our flagship events, The Library of Congress National Book Festival. It was our eighth year managing this event, and while we’re veterans, we’re always looking for new ways to accommodate a bigger audience and out-do ourselves from the...

Winter is coming. In the event management business, it’s in our nature to be two seasons ahead. As consumers are enjoying those outdoor summer brand activations, our heads are down planning. We’ve scoped out the best venues for your upcoming winter meetings and events in...

Brands are hyping up summer 2017 with traveling treadmills, tequila, stunt doubles, and engaging consumers along the way. Here are our favorite brand activations of this summer (so far).    Patron the Summer Tour  We’re big tequila drinkers at Decibel Management (especially after a successful event), so...

During Talk West Episode 1, Ann Marie Taepke, Walk West Director of Digital Media, met with our CEO, Dave Sonntag, to discuss his expertise in the world of event management. Dave shares his insight on what works best, the importance of preparation, and the key...

Experiential marketing. Engagement marketing. On-ground marketing. Event marketing. Whatever you want to call it, can be very successful – if done right. The goal of experiential marketing is to form a memorable connection between the consumer and the brand to make a lasting impression, influence purchase...

As you’re making your last minute game-day dip selections and 60-inch TV purchases, there’s a group of brave people who have been prepping for this Super Bowl Sunday since last year. Spoiler alert: It’s not any member of the Falcons or the Patriots. No, for...

When you’re a kid, wonderment can be found around every corner. When you’re an adult, there are three main places you can go to experience that same childlike rush of awesomeness: Disneyland, Legoland and CES. Unlike Disneyland, the magic displayed at CES is real; and unlike...

Ginormous wall-mounted drum kits. Experimental tea-time pop-up bars. These are cool, and we love them. And yes, it is always Pimm's O'clock. But experiential really goes to the next level when it can be applied to problems that plague our community. What the Phonics Total geniuses...

We're on a car kick this month - that deconstructive shallow dive into the intricacies of auto unveilings turned up a lot of good stuff, including a long list of experiential campaigns by auto manufacturers from which we've picked out four of the best. The Kia...

Ever notice there's a playbook for new car launches? Watch enough of 'em, and you'll notice the format's actually fairly standardized: keyword-heavy executive speech, followed by intro video that may or may not involve glass shattering in slow motion, followed by high-drama entrance of actual...

You into basketball? If yes, check out this in-depth piece on ESPN by Ethan Sherwood Strauss, "You won't believe how Nike lost Steph to Under Armour". For those of you who aren't keeping tabs courtside, a quick summary of the story: then-up-and-coming player Stephen...

Every six months or so we hand-pick the loveliest examples of large-scale event branding from some of the most talented designers and agencies in the world. This time around, we're focusing on the festival circuit. Tallinn Music Week 2015 What the hell is going on in...

Sleep as the core concept behind a brand activation isn't easy to pull off. For one thing, it's slow: if you're serving pancakes out of the back of a truck, it's a 1-minute turn-around per customer engagement. Naps, though? Could be ten minutes, could be...

Confession: this post was inspired by a Bizbash gallery that highlighted the drink service at electric utility company ComEd's training center opening party. The caterers (The Entertaining Company) served cocktails in cups shaped like light bulbs. Cute. Look, we're not in the catering business. But...

This blog is kinda turning into "Projection Mapping Watch", but oh well. Projection mapping is awesome, and these weird videos of experimental light projects aren't gonna collect themselves. In this segment, we're taking a look at recent projects from Q1 of 2016 that highlight projection...

There's plenty of great info out there on factors to consider when creating immersive experiences in events or activations. Lighting, spatial design, audio, emotional connection and story, all of these things matter, all contribute to the experience. But what about food?
You know what lit nerds want? They want to dine in musty halls of learning. They want to sip cocktails on the porch of Hemingway's hideaway. The US is rich in event venues with a connection to literary history. Here are a few of our top picks:
Events are one of the hot-button categories for new apps and startups this year, and some of the concepts in the earlier stages of development have us excited. We're taking a look at some businesses that are recently charging out of the gate and into the public sphere, so some of these apps aren't yet wearing their slickest outfits, but the concepts are solid and we think they'll get there.
Virtual reality beaches, upmarket event transport services and live event streaming apps: Here's a quick roundup of January's most interesting #eventtech Tweets.

This is part of Decibel's series on Unique Event Formats, where we feature off-the-beaten-track approaches to event organization, and some of the more interesting ways event producers are bringing people together. Everyone has super agent fantasies, man. Don't tell us you've never wanted to hand someone...

No, man. Promotional vehicles are not whimsical client engagement tools. They're harbingers of fiery doom. They're existential crises imbued with motive force. Behold: The Wienermobile Look, hot dogs are delicious, OK? No one around here's saying otherwise. But there's a certain amount of willful ignorance involved. Every...

New year, new career? Welcome to event management, young Padawan. Whether you're working for a larger firm or starting your own, may this be the first of many happy, fulfilling years spent hunting for something healthy in the 7-11 snack aisle at 4:30am. Protip: give up and grab the peanuts. And while that may be the only industry advice you ever need, we've collected a few inspiring TED talks to round out your education.
Merry Christmas! And a cheery 'tis-the-season "thank you" to all our vendors, partners, readers and clients. You guys are our favorite people; we wouldn't be here without you, and we wish you all a holiday season decked in lights and smothered in gravy. Not to get too sappy on ya, but this is inevitably the time of year when our thoughts turn to the past, and we remember with gratitude how far we've come not just as a company, but as an industry. Fancy a spot of history?
You think you’ve got it bad doing the interior décor for your holiday event – the White House has a dozen rooms that it needs to decorate each Christmas, all of which will be toured by tens of thousands of guests, not to mention top-level media. The first lady and her decorators, however, have always proven up to the task, and this year was no different.
With Christmas coming up, it’s time for all you event planners out there to review the year and tally up whether you’ve been naughty or nice. Did you organize your time well? Go eco-friendly with your event venues? Take care of your contracts ahead of time? Use local vendors? Refrain from having a meltdown in front of your staff? Avoid having leftover cake for dinner?

It’s been a big month for event tech, not the least of which reason being that on November 14-16, the Event Tech Awards were held in Paris and Las Vegas, highlighting some of the most exciting innovations in the field from the past year. These...

Event professionals from around the globe recently flew to Barcelona for IBTM World, an annual three-day conference that bills itself as “the leading global event for the meetings and events industry.” There, the more-than 15,000 participants got the chance to network, share knowledge and resources and take in exhibitions. It’s a nice gig if you can get it – for those of us who weren’t able to make it, though, IBTM has something else to offer: A list of the top ten tech innovations that are transforming the events industry. Read on to learn about the best apps, solutions and technologies for designing your perfect event.

The most recent “Universal Exposition” (better known to us Americans as the World Fair) was held this year in beautiful Milan, Italy – the city’s second time hosting the international event, which is staged every five years or so. The theme of the 2015 expo...

There’s no better holiday for collecting a little feel-good karma than Thanksgiving. No matter what your background or beliefs about Starbucks’ new holiday cup, Thanksgiving offers something we can all get behind: stuffing our faces until we can’t move. Capitalize on all that good will with a Thanksgiving event that is sure to rock people’s worlds while reminding them that there are still new innovations that can be brought to Turkey Day.
Among the most challenging parts of being an event planner is keeping yourself organized. From arranging the venue to proofing contracts, there are a million things to do in the run-up to a big event, and if you’re not careful you’ll quickly find yourself drowning in a sea of to-do lists.
Somewhere, in some God-forsaken corner of the earth lies every conference planner’s nightmare: a graveyard of last year's discarded swag. Remember that keychain you tossed moments after finding it at the bottom of your swag bag? The branded mug that you conveniently “forgot” in your hotel room? The gaudy phone case that never even had a chance of making it anywhere near your phone? They’re all there, in a towering pile of neon plastic and polyester, where they’ll languish forever because someone didn’t have the damn sense to realize that conference attendees don’t need a thousandth branded USB drive.
You can just see the Baby Boomers and, to a lesser extent, Gen-Xers having a collective panic attack as the headlines roll in: MILLENIALS POISED TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD. While the media initially pegged millenials (defined as the generation born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s), as a bunch of narcissists with Peter Pan syndrome, studies show that with the rebounding economy, this group of 20- and early 30-something are just as industrious as their predecessors, if not quite as well-off. What that means for the world of event promotion is that your marketing needs to be on point, because let’s get real: millenials have a lot competing not only for their attention, but their time and money as well. We all know it comes down to social media, but other than creating a hashtag and assigning someone to spam Twitter all day, what does that mean? Here are five tips for successfully marketing your event in the brave new world of Generation Y consumers.
When they go off without a hitch, mega events can be magic – but when you get to the big leagues, there’s a lot that can go wrong, from problems with the venue to equipment malfunctions to running over budget. So how do you keep things running like clockwork from beginning to end? Read our seven deadly sins of event planning below for a look at the dos and don’ts of pulling off a large-scale events.

Nothing makes for a better Halloween event than combining childhood thrills and chills with grown-up delights. Because let's face it – even if your guests have outgrown trick-or-treating, everyone still loves dressing up and digging into their favorite sugary treats, whether that means Reese’s peanut...

Catholics – the biggest party animals on the planet, amirite? We kid, we kid – we kid because we love! In any case, as it so happens, the Archdiocese of Baltimore throws a pretty excellent shindig every fall – a black tie gala to raise money for their schools – and this year we were proud to be among the organizers.
Summer usually gets all the glory when it comes to outdoor events, but fall is no slouch either. After all, who doesn’t love the changing leaves, crisp air and blazing blue skies of a beautiful autumn day? (Not to mention the hot toddies that follow once you get home.) The worry, of course, is how falling temperatures may affect your guests. Here are five ways to make the most of an outdoor fall event, and keep everyone cozy from head to toe.

The Kenzo Fashion Bus Kenzo, who's marketing department are quickly proving themselves masters of experiential fashion, show off their hottest print of the season on the exterior of the Kenzo Fashion Bus. The lower deck features a Kenzo fashion showroom where new SS15 runway collection and...

Hybrid and virtual meetings are becoming commonplace, but both event planners and attending audiences are split on the issue of virtual attendance. In the fourth annual American Express Meetings and Events Report, "hybrid meeting technologies" - in other words, partial in-person attendance coupled with partial virtual audience attendance - were names as one of the four empowering digital event solutions for the current year, but at the same time, as reported by Skift:

We scoured the web for the best event invitation design around. Teepee Invitation Every element of this letterpress wedding invitation, designed by Device Creative, is killer: the copy, the idea, the whole thing. "Event planner Lisa Vorce wanted a custom invitation that would create conversation and...

Good event managers do it all: they understand the principles of marketing, they can respond to crisis situations with relative equanimity, they can deal with people and wrangle details. It's a career path that's part tactics, part technical experience, part money management, part psychology, and part grit. That being the case, when we sat down to pick five books that were relevant to the industry, we didn't exclusively choose books targeted at event professionals (though there are a couple here). Instead, we chose a few reads that address these core attributes.

If you love the 1920's as much as we do, you'll recognize the intricate geometric patterns and glittery, high-contrast colors of the art deco style. After such a long period of single color, "flat design", we find the ornate detailing refreshing. Lighting Chandelier by Hector Guimard This gorgeous...

Event production doesn't exist in a bubble, but rather skates the edges of many different fields: stage design, audio-visual, marketing, catering, and a dozen other things, and its advancement has been dependent on the evolution of technology in its sister industries. This #tbt, we take...

This week, we're inspired by the incorporation of stained glass into spacial and event designs. The design world went pretty single-color for a while there, but we're seeing (and loving) a lean back towards more vibrant, daring palettes. We've collected a little mood board of...

The word "JumboTron" is actually a trademarked brand name owned by Sony, though one that has become synonymous with all mega-sized televisions, particularly those mounted in stadiums and public squares. But you knew that already. What you didn't know is how to get your marriage...

Click your heels and say it with us: "there's no place like Vegas", a playground of shwag bags and call girls that plays host to some of the most hilariously specific events in the world. The Las Vegas Souvenir & Resort Gift Show These people are...

There's more than one kind of zen, grasshopper. And in an industry with such a strong penchant for tossing up curve balls and all-nighters, where there are such extreme alternating periods of high-energy intensity and then low-energy, we glimpse those moments of nirvana perhaps more often than most.

The #eventtech trend is anything but over, with event professionals turning increasing attention to integrating apps, wearables, and other hot-button technology into their event experiences. Most notably, this month saw the launch of the Paper.li #EventTech Daily site, cataloging the best #eventtech news from Twitter...

In real estate, we all know the magic mantra "location, location, location." In stage design and event production? It's "lighting, lighting, lighting." Lighting is a totally transformative art. Need proof? Check out these ten jaw-dropping #lightingdesign Instagrams from the last two months. 

A couple of years ago, we designed and released an infographic detailing new regulations for events held on D.C.'s National Mall. Ever since that piqued our interest, we've been bookmarking event-related infographics as we've come across them. Here's a preview of the best infographics in...

Couple of years back, Decibel took to the road for Doubletree by Hilton, managing their Cookie CAREavan sampling campaign. You know what we found out? Everyone loves free noms, and the stats back us up on that. According to a 2015 study by the Event Marketing Institute, consumers are 78% more likely to purchase a product if they're given the opportunity to try it out first. But if they have a negative experience, you might lose that customer for good.
So, uh, we can't stop staring at gorgeous light sculpture and projection mapping videos. It's like getting your fortune told and finding out you're gonna get magic powers. Our industry is already pretty fun, but now that this kind of stuff is moving from "experimental" to "mainstream", A/V and production design is about to go spare. Join us while we ogle the future and applaud the architects that are making it happen:
The first-ever Glastonbury Festival was held in 1970, one day after the death of Jimi Hendrix. Now, 45 years later, Glastonbury 2015 rages on. Running from June 24-28 this year, Glastonbury's line up includes Patti Smith, The Who, Kanye West, The Chemical Brothers and Ryan Adams. We dug around in Glastonbury's historical galleries and hand-picked some cool photography and interesting artwork from the library.
It's Music Festival Month on the Decibel Blog, and today we're turning the lens on the boutique festival scene with a quick intro to Gottwood, one of the UK's most interesting summer events. The Gottwood festival is an intimate slice of hippy-sci-future held in the forests of Wales, a woodland rave that aims for maximum sustainability.
June is Music Festival Month on the Decibel Blog, and today we take a quick gander at the best videos from Bonnaroo. Held in Manchester, Tennessee, June 11-14, Bonnaroo is the only multi-day music festival where events and shows run 24-hours, non-stop.

Hey hey, it's Music Festival Month on the Backstage Pass blog, and today we take a look at the biggest stage-design goss from the 2015 Governers Ball, namely, the debut of Deadmau5's new "Thunder Dome". Canadian electronic producer Deadmau5 is well known for his audio-visual...

It's June, and that means the world's gearing up for a solid month of muddy mosh pits, body paint and sonic experiences. So naturally, we're doing the same. This month on the Decibel blog, we'll spend four weeks taking a look at the event production, brand marketing and just plain cool highlights from music festivals around the globe.
First impressions are kind of a big deal, and event branding counts as a first impression. The beauty and usefulness of programs, maps, badges - all the pieces of detritus that attendees are handed the minute they walk in the door - constitute a collective statement of purpose and intention by the organizers. We love ogling killer examples of event branding, because we know we're not just looking at pretty artwork, we're looking at a dedication to detail. Here's a tip of the hat to four events and designers that really nailed it.