As there are many kinds of events, there are equally as many inspiring concepts. From a creative perspective, we look to event engagements that excite, inspire, and are truly experiential. There are many trends for how to achieve this, but the most important considerations are always to know your client’s brand and know your audience, and build your engagements based on real data-driven insights. Good insights provide creative with the tools it needs to craft an effective idea, whether simple or complex, that makes that ethereal connection.
Beginning with conference formats, the most inspirational approach is the ‘un-conference’. WPP Stream is a great example of this in practice. Un-conferences are based on the supposition that there is always more collective expertise in the audience than what can be put on a stage. They use an open format for collaborative discussions and sessions built around whatever subjects the audience wishes to discuss. Micro-formats such as Pecha-Kucha’s 20x20 – 20 slides in 20 minutes – help create dynamic and informative presentations that truly engage audiences and push speakers to hone their message.
In regard to event design and engagement tactics, one of the more innovative conferences is C2 Montréal. This business leadership conference continually breaks boundaries by combining quirky, technology-enabled engagements – like a meeting table and chairs suspended off the floor, and immersive projection mapped spaces – with group engagements that demand participation. The conference utilises tracking enabled badges and data to understand how the audience participates and how to speak to them after the event, providing organisers with insights for the next conference.
Underpinning both inspirational event formats and innovative design is a strong sense of story. The favourite industry buzzword is ‘authenticity’. It is thrown about too much, but it is absolutely essential in its pure form. Circling back to real insights, ‘authenticity’ can only be achieved by engagement tactics through a real connection to both the brand and the audience. In creating inspirational events, gadgets and tech come and go, but purpose and story are where inspired event experiences begin and end.
**An edited version of this insight appeared in PCMA website on 19 July 2018.