There was excitement all around. The location was beautiful and the event was much-anticipated after its absence. We had previously done an AniMate for the same company's internal show with huge success and many, many raves--so they wanted to bring a little of that magic to the conference for their users.
But which character to use? There are many ways to choose which AniMate is right for your event (we'll get into that in the next blog entry), but in this case they looked to the resort for inspiration.
Wild Horse Pass? How about a talking horse? Enter "Neighthan" (pronounced neeeeeeeighthan).
But as fun as it may seem, one cannot just have a talking horse for the sake of a talking horse. This horse was entertaining and fun, but was also there for serious business. The client had specific goals that they wanted the horse--as co-emcee--to accomplish:
- Help introduce the new internal emcee to the audience and establish his credibility
- Foster a feeling of community
- Continue on a tradition of entertainment in the general sessions
- Make a big splash without losing meaning
- Communicate key message points about the product
- Help convey housekeeping, maintain general session flow, and other regular emcee duties
- Host interactive games that would inspire the audience to come *back* to the end-of-day sessions
The result? Neighthan was universally beloved by the audience; who looked forward to seeing him. Not only that, but his co-emcee (the internal emcee) described himself as being "like a rockstar". Neighthan elevated the other emcee in his role as well as entertaining and engaging the audience on a talking-horse level. Neighthan was positioned as a fellow forum attendee and user (only from a "one-man town" instead of a "one-horse town"), so he had permission to ask questions, recap product information that he was "learning" along with the audience, and become part of the community.
The next year's event won't be in Wild Horse Pass, but that doesn't mean our client won't be putting Neighthan in his virtual trailer and taking him along for the ride. In just two days, he became a part of the team--making our client look wonderful in the eyes of their users.
Now that's a horse of a different color.