Think outside the box when it comes to your event venue!

Cynthia Samanian

Founder and CEO

Location: San Francisco

Hidden Rhythm is an experiential marketing agency for natural food and wellness brands. Founder and CEO, Cynthia Samanian, started the agency as a result of her deeply rooted passion for bringing people together over food and shared experiences. Hidden Rhythm’s mission is simple: to spark engaging relationships that build loyalty between brands and their communities. From interactive influencer dinners to consumer-facing pop-ups, Hidden Rhythm designs and produces events that build meaningful brand loyalty.

What are some tips for creating an elegant and memorable event on a tight budget?

Think outside the box when it comes to your event venue! You’ll save some serious money and create a stronger impression for your guests. Before you begin your search, list all your must-have criteria. How many people can it accommodate? Is it in the right location for your target audience? You also want to keep an open mind. For example, don’t let the lack of a full kitchen deter you from hosting an influencer dinner at a venue. There are plenty of chefs and caterers who embrace the challenge of working in non-traditional spaces. Nearly anything is possible with the right vendors. Our favorite unconventional venue so far? A flower shop!

Companies should also explore teaming up with another brand. Events are all about building community, not only with you and your customers but also with other brands. Consider partnering with a like-minded brand that offers a complimentary product or service to an audience that’s aligned with your brand. You’ll be able to split the cost of the event and grow your brand’s exposure. We recommend partnering with no more than two additional brands to avoid diluting your brand’s presence at the event.

What inspired you to launch your own company in the event industry? How long did it take from initially having the idea of setting up and starting to attract a client base?

While working more traditional jobs in finance and tech, I explored my interest in food through food blogging, photography, styling, and of course, cooking. Despite not having professional experience in the food world, the decision to turn my passion into a profession was actually pretty natural.

I stumbled upon the events world through my first venture, Confetti Kitchen, a new media company dedicated to entertaining and hosting for millennials. When I wasn’t recipe testing or shooting photos, I hosted pop-up dinners to promote the site and build the community offline. Little did I know at the time that I was doing experiential marketing for my own brand!

Over the next year, I found the experiential business to be more interesting and full of opportunity, not only for Confetti Kitchen but also for brands looking to build loyalty. In 2018, I pivoted my company and rebranded as Hidden Rhythm, an experiential marketing agency for food and wellness brands.

What’s the first event you can ever remember planning and how did it go?

Our very first event was a launch party to grow brand awareness of Confetti Kitchen. We invited friends and family to a festive food truck park in San Francisco and donated all proceeds to No Kid Hungry. I had been planning the event for several weeks and to see it all come together was magical. I was definitely bitten by the event bug after seeing all of my friends, and even strangers, connecting over what we were building at Confetti Kitchen. The offline energy and community building left a lasting impression. From that point on, I produced events on a monthly basis, and eventually pivoted the media company to Hidden Rhythm, a full-service experiential agency!

What are some things you wished you knew before starting your businesses?

Your business will change. As I mentioned, my business pivoted from a food media company to an experiential marketing agency. It was a windy path and every step of the way lead to key learnings that helped me develop the business.

Build a business that doubles down on your strengths. My first venture in food media didn’t tap into my strongest skills. I’m a project-oriented person who enjoys diving deep to solve a unique creative problem before moving onto the next project. The consistent, on-going nature of publishing digital content was a total mismatch. Now, I’m able to leverage my project management skills and unleash my creativity to design and produce experiential activations for natural food and wellness brands.

Niche down. The value of a niche is something I had read about but really didn’t take to heart until reading Seth Godin’s latest book, This is Marketing. Hidden Rhythm has been able to gain traction because we choose to only serve natural food and wellness brands. In today’s noisy marketing world, it’s nearly impossible to stand out unless you overserve your customers. You can only do that by being obsessively focused on their needs.

What’s the most surprising or unusual request you have ever received from a client and were you able to fulfill it?

Most recently, we designed and produced a pop-up for Bare Snacks called the Bare Beachside Orchard. Essentially, we built an indoor apple orchard a block off Venice Beach and brought the season of fall to a city that never really gets to experience it! We had an apple blossom installation, apple picking, and huge leaf pit, among many other experiences that brought autumn to life in Los Angeles.

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