The Big Cheese

The Big Cheese with cievents’ Christian Marchand

This week’s Big Cheese Interview is with Christian Marchand, Producer of Innovation Week at cievents.

The great thing about my job is

The ability we have to be creative and bring a vision to life. It is a lot of hard work, long hours, but the reward at the end is so worth it. I always take a few seconds when we open doors to look at people when they enter the room.

Great to see the smiles and the reactions. Many of my best memories come from events I attended and this is why I try to create when producing an event: a moment that attendees will stay with them long after the event has finished and leave them inspired to make a change in their lives (personal or professional) in the case of conferences.

The challenge for industry is

To keep up with all the new technologies and find out how these can be relevant and applied to improve the attendees’ experience. Clients are increasingly including ‘digital’ and ‘technology’ as part of their brief. At the moment, technology is often included as an after-thought or because clients feel they have to.

Content should always be king, and then technology is used to enhance the delivery and the engagement. Therefore, it’s important for us to really understand the new technologies and which ones do make a difference in creating an engaging event.

This can be challenging as there is so much out there and constantly changing.

My greatest achievement is

Looking back at the last few years, all my greatest achievements are the events that have been challenging to produce as they push you out of your comfort zone and usually result in something that you would have never thought possible at the end.

Seven years ago I made the decision to leave my family and friends behind and move to Australia (from Canada) on my own in order to pursue my dream of becoming an event producer.

It was a pretty bold and courageous move at the time, but I took the leap of faith and it has paid off.

The biggest thing in MICE this year will be

Personalisation. More than ever before, big data and technology including RFID and beacon tracking is giving us the chance to create a more tailored and personalized experience for our attendees.

There is also the trend of ‘unconference’ where attendees have more ownership over the content, which results in higher engagement level.

I’ve been wanting to go to C2 Montreal for a very long time as it’s a great example of best case practices in how they really challenge the way we think about content creation, networking, and conferences in general.

I try to relax by…..

Going outdoors. A run, a swim or a hike! I can’t sit still…

I don’t understand why

There is such a big hype around virtual reality. I feel like it defeats the purpose of an event, which is to bring and connect people together. The virtual reality is such a personal experience.

Its best application is probably at expos where suppliers can take the attendees on a ‘journey’ and experience their product as if they were there.

Having said that, for me, augmented reality is much more exciting and I can see a lot more applications of this technology in the events space to enhance the experience.

My favourite venue is

This is tough, similar to when someone asks me for my favourite place in the world. I’ve got many favourite venues, depending on the look & feel I want for an event.

I am a big fan of warehouse type venues, but my latest venue ‘crush’ is Metropolis in Melbourne. It has a beautiful architecture and panoramic views of the Yarra River and Melbourne skyline.

I’ve always wanted to travel to

Thanks to Instagram, I’ve got an ever growing bucket list of travel destinations!! At the moment it is a close tie between a Eurotrip and an epic road trip along the West Coast of Australia and scuba diving at Ningaloo reef.

I am scared to death of

Jellyfish!!! I am an avid scuba diver and swimmer. I can deal with sharing the ocean with the sharks, but if there is a jellyfish in the water, I am out!

I can’t live without

Travel. To travel is to live, they say.

I really wish I had

As part of our cievents innovation week, we asked everyone to tell us “if you could invent anything to make your life better, what would it be?”. Mine was a robot that would pack and unpack my bags!!!

If I could invite four people to a dinner party, they’d be

Elon Musk, Jess Mauboy, any spare seats would be made up with my family from Canada!

For anyone starting out in the industry one piece of advice I’d give would be

Internships are probably the best way in – and volunteer as much as you can. Get experience on different events – be curious! And be prepared to do the tidious tasks, just keep a positive attitude and see every opportunity as a learning experience.

I’ve also had great mentors along the way which helped me become the producer I am today.