In an exhilarated voice delivered with animated gestures, C. Russell Brumfield describes an example of what he calls a techno-chic event. Known as “The Wizard” by many in the meeting and event industry, Brumfield is highly regarded for creating his own innovative style of corporate events that incorporate engaging technologies, captivating special effects and a rapidly growing trend called “Gamification.”
Simply put, Brumfield stages productions, and not your standard, static and forgettable “traditional” meetings that leave attendees yawning and daydreaming about being anywhere but the uninspiring gathering.
A longtime entrepreneur who built Wizard Studios into a multi-million dollar venture that has produced more than 20,000 corporate, sales and incentive business events around the world from its multiple locations, Brumfield took a hiatus from the corporate arena in 2006 to pursue his love for travel, while his former employees took the helm. His globetrotting odysseys down the Amazon and across Russia completed, this charismatic man who has authored multiple books, launched several multi-million dollar ventures and carved a niche in the corporate meetings industry has returned.
“The Wizard” is back, and his newest addition to the Wizard group of companies – Wizard Global Events – has already staged memorable productions for giants like ESPN, Carrabbas, Campbell’s, and Obama’s most recent Inaugural.
“Producing a spectacular event is not a simple process. It involves multiple methods of approach,” said Brumfield, who is a dynamic motivational speaker and the best-selling author of Whiff! The Revolution of Scent Communication in the Information Age (2008.). “Creativity and capability are essential, but transforming the process into proven formulas that differentiate you from the others helps one to transcend the industry.”
Brumfield’s strategy for delivering engaging experiences for corporate meetings – regardless of budget – is the same now as it was when he first entered the profession. He calls it the APS formula: anticipation, progression and surprise.
“The objective is to evoke a sense of perpetual anticipation,” Brumfield explained. “Once you’ve created a thought of ‘what will happen next?’ it is vital to add twists and turns, bringing any number of new or changing elements into the event.
“The key to making it memorable is to inject surprise after surprise,” Brumfield added. “That supercharges the audience’s anticipation even more.”
Long before Brumfield became “the Wizard,” he spent his childhood in a blue-collar family that resided in a Florida trailer park while thirsting for knowledge and envisioning entrepreneurial pursuits. He studied pre-med and psychology while serving four years in the U.S. Air Force and then opened a catering business at the age of 24. Six years later, he had produced more than 1,000 weddings and developed the moniker of “Caterer to the Stars.”
Brumfield had never spearheaded a corporate themed event until he received a request in 1990. He was given 10 days and a $10,000 budget to coordinate a business gathering in a ballroom.
“My catering team and I brainstormed and came up with a swamp themed party that included 150 trees, a truckload of vines and Spanish moss gathered in the forest, black water pools, newly built stilted shacks and comical swamp characters in costume,” Brumfield said. “It required 15 people working two full days to get the set ready.
“Since I had very little themed event experience, I didn’t know what was standard,” he added. “It turns out that what we created was so unusual and memorable, we sold another million dollars in swamp parties in the following 18 months.” With the creative juices kick started, he spent the next decade creating hundreds more themed events.
Brumfield has implemented unique aspects to the corporate meetings industry long before they were common, like the industry’s first color-changing tables and bars and scent delivery machines.
He spent his thirties building Wizard Studios and in 2009 created Wizard Event Technologies, which brought a new line of high-tech products to enliven meetings, events and marketing campaigns.
As a unique part of the technology brand, Brumfield introduced the latest marketing trend of Gamification into the event industry. Using RFID, QR Codes and mobile applications, his team incorporates game dynamics into strategically themed games that incite motivation, participation and engagement.
Brumfield is now delivering the next generation of game-changing products. Wizard Global Events now offers touch screen tables, bars and dance floors, 3D Projection Mapping, outdoor laser graffiti and the latest in high-tech entertainment products.
In the true style of a Wizard, Brumfield speaks in terms of formulas and methodologies. “The experience is everything,” he says about corporate events. “It’s not rocket science but it’s definitely a deliberate science of interactive engagement and entertaining experiences.”
For more information, visit www.wizardglobalevents.com.