“Pictures or it never happened,” is a phrase no longer limited to friends sharing a story. More than ever it also applies to events – corporate or otherwise.
The question–as so often–is how. How can you get all the people attending your carefully orchestrated branding event tell others how great it is? Enter: Pretty Instant; a new interactive social photography service from Boston.
Founded by entrepreneurs Chris Thomas, Ben Maitland-Lewis, Doug Rogers and Chris Cave, Pretty Instant comes to your shindig and captures professional photos aimed to market, brand and personalize the event experience. Taking the “booth” out of “photobooth,” this mobile-only company photographs live events and allows event guests to distribute branded content to their followers on the platform of their choice.
Pretty Instant photographers can snap a photo, send it to their app and give clients the ability to custom brand, email, Tweet, Facebook, display via live slideshow, or print their photo on the spot. The service is riding the wave of branded content and its trendy cousin native advertising, two strategies that in one way or another try to distribute advertising messages that don’t look like advertising. This kind of marketing makes sense in a world inundated with marketing messages and where especially Millennials rely on recommendations from peers and friends more than from experts when gathering information and making buying decisions.
“Our photo teams are mobile and trained to engage, interact, and really help brands uniquely communicate and add a human element to the event experience, bridging the offline with the online,” said Maitland-Lewis. To do this, Pretty Instant aspires to do more than document and share an experience. As self-described “Event Curators”, the company wants to tell the story of an event with the input and personality of the guests.
To accomplish this, Pretty Instant employs trained “Executive Agents” alongside professional photographers to break the ice, entertain and network during the photo sharing experience. In addition, these agents can do informal surveys and gather other marketing insights. As a result, event hosts can learn more about their guests and use this data to inform future decisions.
Duct-tape and a good idea kickstarted this interactive photography service. “At first, it was a duct-taped open computer in a backpack and a bunch of other people’s apps that we tied together to make it work,” Chris Thomas explains. He goes on to say that there has been little need for marketing their service because of the word of mouth and sharing nature already built-in to the service itself.
Clever marketing or not, the concept has clearly hit a nerve with brands. Established in December 2011, Pretty Instant has already served well-known clients such as Yoplait, General Mills, Time Magazine, TNT Channel and more. Now, the company plans to expand nation-wide aiming for contracts with sports and mobile marketing brands.