Make Events Work for You
At The Workshop, we’ve been looking closely at the impact of events in today’s economy. It has become clear that in this day and age, the old event methods don’t reach like they used to.
Today, businesses need events to adapt and employ strategies that leave old and ineffective thinking behind. It’s time to rethink our models.
Impact & Purpose
Events are no longer the soft products of commerce and communications they once were. They’ve become the hard edge tools of executives that demand a return on investment.
· Organizations don’t simply plan fun parties any more. Now they plan engagements that drive purpose.
· Non-profits don’t just hope for gala fundraising success. Now they drive hard goals for short- and long-term advancement.
· Businesses cannot tolerate negative press or weak events. Now, they think in creative outlets to advance the bottom-line.
To many companies, events feel big and heavy; they create a resource strain and the looming possibility of failure.
Ironically, these same companies recognize their events as an opportunity for visceral audience engagement; engagement that can’t be achieved through other means.
The secret lies in taming these scary monsters and getting events to work for us.
Our mantra is “Make events work for you, don’t work for your events.”
It’s with this understanding and need that event designers are developing new strategy-based solutions for event creation. Based on our experience over the last 16 years, The Workshop has grown to develop its own methodology for strategic event creation.
Our method is a strategy-based process that first distills your organizational vision into clear objectives. We then translate those objectives into a unique experience. Together we deliver that experience; building an emotional connection with your audience.
VISION → OBJECTIVES → FOLLOW-THROUGH = CONNECTION
It sounds simple, but it is so easy to overlook the fundamentals. In order to create big event impact, practice-makes-perfect. Try out the checklist below to help kick start your events:
· Define a clear strategic purpose for your event
· Develop event & story objectives that are clear and precise
· Fully align the story with your organizational mission & strategy
· Tell your story in an approachable, simple, authentic and honest manner
· Don’t use “salesy” language to tell your story; instead reveal yourself and your values as if talking to a close friend
· Give guests room within your story to identify their place and their connection
· Look for interaction points with guests during a presentation or event, as opposed to simply pushing your message
Making the Live Experience Strategic!
The secret is to make the live experience strategic. What do we mean? We mean keep your message focused on the audience and on the event purpose. Edit down your message and don’t drift from it. Cut back on the sales speak & generic graphics. Remove the unnecessary speakers and uninspiring “filler.”
Replace the “filler” with focused, real, and emotional stories that deliver the key message that you want the audience to walk away with.
By doing this, you make your experiences more compelling. You grow your audience into a larger community that connects more strongly with your message. If you do these things well, your audience will move towards your organization.
If your events are not growing or hitting expected or historic results, look deeper at the desires of your audience. Work harder to understand the range of their emotional response to your organization and message.
· What is the response compared with guest demographics?
· Which guests respond to which message segments?
What do guests want from your event?
· What are their expectations?
· Are you meeting those expectations?
· How could you exceed them?
Once you understand your guests’ thinking, only then can you truly begin the work of designing desirability into your events. Desirability attracts larger audiences and will ultimately impact your bottom line.
Tie it all Together
Create engagement and emotional connection with your audience. Unite them around a highly crafted delivery of your event message and saturate the event experience with your story. Your guests are already a self-identified community and your brand is their commonality. Take advantage of this.
But don’t stop there – raise the stakes and elevate your story to a higher emotional level. If you’ve really taken the time to understand your audience desires, then you probably know how to increase your commitment to them. Do that and you will find equal commitment back.
Crafting a world-class event with a serious return on investment is hard work. To do it right involves a lot of thinking, careful execution, and a willingness to scrutinize what could be better. Take these steps with your next event, and see if you don’t produce something that exceeds expectations.