The Coachella Box

I wrote this post for my work bog/podcast site.  But, it’s music related and I decided to share it over here as well with a few small tweaks.  Very excited to be less than a month from Coachella!  I’ll have much more to say about that later on.

Here’s the post:

The box…

There are a lot of metaphors about thinking “outside the box”.  So many in fact that it’s become a cliché and a punch line.  But, that was the first thing that occurred to me when I received a package yesterday.

Folks who listen to the podcast know that I’m a huge music fan and concert devotee.  One of my big plans for this year is to attend Coachella, a large and well-regarded music festival held near Palm Springs each year.  I’ve never attended before, but I’ve heard they do some very cool art installations and are very forward thinking in how they approach the entire experience for attendees.

I received an e-mail a few days ago that my wristband and shuttle pass were being shipped.  Based on past experiences I was expecting an envelope with a ticket and a pass, and maybe a guide or some other information.

Instead, I received this 6” x 9” box.  Interesting….


I opened the box and I found this:


Included was a smaller box with my wristband and shuttle pass along with detailed instructions on how to register and use them.

An event guide, that was slick and nicely done with the lineup of bands and really cool photos of past events.

A desk calendar with photos that conveniently covers the dates clear out until the 2013 festival.

A sticker (branding) to show everyone how cool I am that I’m going o Coachella.

And, lastly…the box itself that has inserts to make a freeform diorama with highlights of past stages and artworks.


So, where am I going with this?

…When was the last time you registered for a conference and got a package like this?

Yes, there’s a cost to put this together, and they had to do something like 150,000 of them!  But, think about how I view the festival now.





Yeah, they could have sent me a wristband in an envelope and fulfilled their obligation to get it to me.  But, they took it step further and found a way to make the simple act of getting my ticket an event.  You think that enhances my excitement about my decision to attend?  You think I may show up with an open mind and waiting to be surprised by the next cool thing they do?

Heck yeah!

When was the last time people were excited about coming to your event?  You may not have Radiohead to headline it, but does every event have to fit into the same “box” that you use every year?

What if you started at the very basics…like the invitation and asked how does this support the event and it’s goals?  Changes don’t have to cost a fortune, but try something that’s different than what you’ve always done in the past.

Shake it up a little and grab you attendees’ attention.  Make a creative video, find a cool offbeat menu to serve, take the meeting outside and read Dr Seuss to all of them (I’ve seen this done by the way and it was awesome.)

Sometimes actually doing the same thing over and over and expecting the SAME result is as crazy as expecting something different.  The world keeps changing and sitting a few hundred people classroom style in front of a power point may seem the only affordable answer for an event.  But, it’s not going to grab their attention and really connect…unless it’s one really darn good power point.

Take a minute to consider what Coachella did…they sent me a box when an envelope would have done the job, but as a result of that box I’m looking at their event next month in a whole new way…

Sometimes you don’t have to be outside the box to still be innovative and engaging.


1 Comment

Filed under Coachella, Other concerts

One response to “The Coachella Box

  1. desertangel1

    Very cool box, Jon. Thanks for this post. There are some available on Ebay and I’m actually now thinking about getting one. I’ve never been, would like to, but after enduring the US Festival, at my age… not sure I could do it. This might be a nice consolation prize. Enjoy the show and what a great way to present the concept of thinking outside the proverbial and trite “box.”

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