Cultural Engineer James Wark Explains How To Be a Trendsetter

We return to our desks Monday morning and, sipping on cups of coffee, begin scrolling through social media feeds. For the past few weeks in April, much of those feeds have been plastered with whimsical pics of our friends and major influencers at Coachella.

We’re left daydreaming over the glamping Vanessa Hudgens posted about, the fabulous parties the skincare brand Kiehl’s threw, and the Lucky Brand lounge that drew Ashlee Simpson. But for the brand marketers and innovative event producers at BMF Media, that’s just another day at the office.

BMF Media partnered with some of the country’s biggest brands to create these experiences at Coachella. They’ll do it again this summer at Lollapalooza, New York Fashion Week, and many more major events.

James Wark, Senior Vice President at BMF Media, says his team of cultural engineers specializes in connecting brands with unique, memorable experiences.

He’s giving HER Magazine a peak into how they accomplish it.

We know what you’re thinking: what’s a cultural engineer?

“We are connected, loyal, and hardworking,” Wark says. “We are aficionados in our field and on the pulse of what’s hot nationally and globally.”

They’re also trailblazers.

You may already be familiar with influencers, off the wall advertising and viral strategies. But, there’s another emerging style of marketing that is exciting both brands and consumers. BMF Media is thriving in this territory.

“Brands these days are approaching marketing in a very different way. Experiential is at the forefront and allows them the opportunity to bring their brand to life.”

With BMF Media at the top of its game, Wark is also giving us a glimpse into how the event production company conceptualizes and executes the experiences that other companies want to imitate.

How can your brand provide a memorable experience?

Step 1: Start with a story

“When we design a project for a brand, we start with a “story” and generate our design from there to contextualize the brand within a greater environment,” Wark says.

Consider the story your brand wants to tell. When the computer technology company Dell enlisted Wark and his team to develop an exhibit at SXSW 2015, they found inspiration in the legacy Dell already has as architects of a future digitized world. Thus was born a concept, beautifully brought to life as a “fully interactive town of tomorrow.” A Main Street, green lawns and town square showcased their products, talent and innovative culture.

Step 2: Be great hosts

A key element to Wark’s success has been his understanding that a crucial part of creating memorable experiences is being impeccable hosts.

“Press, influencers, and industry VIPs flock to these kinds of events because they serve as a respite from the madness of the event we’re aligning with, and we offer the utmost hospitality on behalf of the brands involved.”

Crowds are already headed to events like Coachella. Draw them into your brand by answering their wishes before they even know they have them. Spaces designed both for relaxation and socialization keep spirits high during what can be exhausting festival days.

Part of that means anticipating your guests’ excitement to share their experience! Keep backdrops and visually stimulating displays in mind while planning your event. They’ll be sure to draw the socially-connected, which of course, is good for everyone.

Step 3: Always be looking for inspiration

You’d think producing one epic event after another would leave the team at BMF Media drained of creativity. But, this team of highly passionate professionals practically considers it part of their job title to be constantly seeking inspiration. They’re competing to be the most unique event producers, in the most exciting and unforgettable way. That’s a lot of pressure.

“Within our chosen field we are always feeling the pressure, but it’s our passion to come up with breakthrough experiences that drives us to succeed and produce perfection.”

So, the best way to get started? Follow these experts to keep that imagination peaked and creativity sparked.

Like what you’re reading? Access HER magazine’s monthly publication in iTunes or Google Play – it’s where we feature powerhouse women you can learn from and share exclusive content you won’t find here.

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