AA Customer Spotlight: Heason Events

Rock climbing, orienteering, skateboarding, and adventure racing are not seen in the Olympics but these exciting, sometimes grueling and tough sports, all have stories behind them– from the lives of the athletes to the terrains they seek and conquer, to reaching new heights (even literally) and milestones.

Who doesn’t love a good story? A story presented well has the power to be an art form. It can serve to inspire people, to make them understand something and to give them a call to action. Heason Events from the UK knows good story telling. They have successfully married the excitement of live lectures with the magic of big screen cinema into their events  that adventurous spirits and minds always flock to. And thus, Heason Events carries over their expertise in storytelling to engage their community of enthusiasts using mediums like AppAddictive’s Vimeo and YouTube Gallery Apps on their Facebook Page as well as craft short messages via Twitter (@HeasonEvents). Let’s learn how to do things the Heason Events way!

1. What is the story Behind Heason Events?

Matt Heason launched Heason Events in spring 2003.  It began life as a series of grassroots rock climbing talks in Sheffield.  His aim was simple – to create slick, multi-media, digital presentations to excite, entertain and inspire audiences around the country.

Not long after, Matt started putting on the Best of Kendal Mountain Festival nights on at Sheffield’s Showroom Cinema.  The evenings proved such a hit that in 2006 the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival was born.  This year’s trailer had more than 100,000 hits and every year for the past 8 years 100% of visitors said they’d come again and recommend it to a friend.

Every summer, Matt partners up with Sheffield City Council to put on the UK’s biggest outdoors festival for outdoors folk – Cliffhanger.  With more than 20,000 visitors the aim of the event is to inspire & involve. Featuring elite competitions and / or professional demonstrations in rock climbing, orienteering,  mountain biking, running, slacklining, adventure racing and more, visitors are able to watch incredibly talented sports-people of all ages at the top of their game, and then take part in the very sports they have just been inspired by.

Matt also runs a successful speaker agency – his ‘Serious Adventure’ Speakers Portfolio is the most comprehensive network of serious (but not humourless!) adventurers, explorers and extreme sports athletes in the world.  As he puts it, if the person you’re looking for is not on his list give him a call as he probably knows them or will be able to track them down.

Two years ago Matt teamed up with Lissa Cook – a former Radio 4 news journalist and PR.  She’d moved to the Peak District to seek the good-life with her adventure sports writer and athlete husband, Nik Cook. Matt was impressed by the serious amount of media coverage she was generating for her handmade childrenswear business, Peak Princess, and got her on board.

It proved a dream team – with ShAFF ticket sales increasing by more than 75% in 2011 and another jump of nearly 50% this year and hundreds of pieces of press coverage.

2. How do you keep your community engaged and excited about your events? How do you keep people coming back to your events? 

We “talk” to people & create a community of people who love adventure sports – we make sure we share plenty of great video content, interesting links to people we’re working with, products we’re reviewing, eye-catching images etc.  We put a lot of effort in to responding via email, facebook and twitter so it’s a 2-way conversation.

3. Why did you create a FB brand page and why did you download the AA Vimeo app?

For a lot of film-makers Vimeo is a great way to share video content in high quality. Downloading the AA Vimeo app meant we can have a one click app where we share our Vimeo content.

4. What advice can you give to other businesses that want to succeed in their FB and inbound marketing efforts?

Don’t just broadcast what you’re doing – ask what your community of fans and followers are up to. Respond and react. Have fun. Share great quality content that fans in turn will want to share.