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Design experiences, not events.

You can design and deliver what you think is the most emotionally engaging experience ever, however, the successes and failures of any experience are defined by how the consumer feels before, during and afterwards.

Before you go above and beyond designing your event experience, stop.

Then, through a process of discovery, ideation and challenging assumption, you need to answer the basics.

 
Why are you doing this event, activation or conference?
 

The process of discovering the true "Why" for your event is not as simple as it may seem.

Having worked with many clients and brands across a huge array of events, activations and conferences, we see events that fail to provide a true emotional response from their delegates, and typically they are designed with the two “F’s”;

A finite mindset.

Event designers who believe they are designing something that only generates value and has an impact within a fixed set of dates risk falling into the trap of making your event an instance, instead of an experience. 

An instance is something that happens once, its' a singular "thing" with fixed parameters like a clear start and end end (finite), an instance has no secondly residual value to offer your attendees because its not been designed to do so.

An experience is infinite, and as such when your designing an infinite thing you must look at it's ability to generate and give value for an extended period of time. 

An early focus on function.

Nobody is saying that what we design for our events shouldn't be achievable (that would be ridiculous) ,however, the key is to allow the discovery and ideation stages of the process to be a creative space where nothing is un-imaginable without being stifled by too much of a focus on delivery, logistics or and the tangible objects, services and “things” we need. 

 

Experiences that provide residual value long after the event itself are designed by teams who:

Play the “why” game

Every time our clients explain what they want from their event or they try to articulate its purpose; we ask them why?

This workshop technique forces clients to look deeper and challenge their assumptions about what is needed to make an event memorable. This technique should inevitably get you to a point where you answer the question:

How do you want people to feel before, during and after your event? Is it Informed? Inspired? Safe? Recognised?

Then we build the event up from this sound emotional foundation so that every idea we have, every concept we illustrate and every decision we make about the event merge to form a truly human experience for the delegate and consumer

Remember that experiences and events are infinite.

Memorable experiences should stay with us forever, and so from the first discovery session through to the post-event communications and impending throwback Thursday posts on Instagram.

Memorable experiences should allow attendees to close their eyes in reflection and remember for example; how they felt when their name was called out as a nominee or their life's work was celebrated in front of their peers, all before eating the mouth-watering food and dancing the night away to live music with their colleagues and friends.

 

Conclusion.

Simple really. An experience is something that Is felt, so spend your time questioning how you are going to create  memories and not things for your event attendees that start being formed long before and live long past the event itself.

 Humanise your thinking to achieve a greater, long-lasting impact.