What makes an event remarkable? Is it the caliber of the speakers? The food you serve? Or perhaps, it’s the brand experience it provides?
Although these are all certainly important, they don’t encompass the real core of an extraordinary event. What makes an event truly memorable is the creative production that leads to the unique experiences and feelings your attendees will have. But what is a creative production?
When it comes to planning, logistics are only half the work. The creative production, on the other hand, involves the experience design, focused mainly on what your guests will see, feel, and think. It’s the fairy-tale part of the event that makes attending an event so exciting. To achieve a good production that will actually move your guests, you need a well-defined concept.
According to Kevin Van der Straeten, "A strong concept seeks to play on the imagination of your target group, exciting their sense of fantasy and exploiting the zone of uncertainty which exists between curiosity and confusion. The gradual buildup of tension and excitement ensures a lasting effect."
How can you design a creative event concept that will lead to a breathtaking production? Here are few suggestions:
Make use of innovative design
A truly creative event concept will always combine problem-solving with creative solutions and design. A different type of furniture, a new space layout, and a groundbreaking dynamic to foster co-creation and interaction are all elements of innovative design.
Find the solution to a question; for example: How do I get my attendees to solve a problem together? Then, start searching for creative solutions that could involve play, interactive content, live polls, etc.
The main idea of innovative design is searching for different approaches to solving the same old challenges.
Provide a holistic approach
When designing a creative event concept, you should consider the entire attendee journey map, starting with getting the invitation or registering for the event. How will future attendees react when they access the event website? Will they get excited and want to attend? How spectacular will their first impression of the venue be? How easy was the check-in procedure? What are those extra-value add-ons that will make their experience memorable?
An event concept should contain all these elements, which will subsequently make the production itself inspiring for your guests.
Develop the theme of your event
What’s your event about? As Kevin Van der Straeten remarks, "To strengthen the objective of your event, you can choose to work with a central theme or storyline, which links the different elements in the program. It takes time and creativity to develop an original theme of this kind, but it is certainly worth the effort, if you can pull it off."
Small theme elements can make a big difference - they will definitely help you stand out from the crowd and be different. So when designing your creative event concept, ask yourself what’s the main story you want to tell and how do you want to make your attendees feel.
For example, if your event is about cruise tourism, you can decorate the venue using a maritime theme and colors. It will brighten up your attendees’ day and help them have an immersive experience.
Make the stage construction more appealing and engaging
Where is an attendee’s attention usually directed throughout the entire event (apart from his or her phone)? The stage.
At least, that’s where your speakers will be sharing their knowledge and insights, thus all eyes will be on them. Instead of going with the usual (and kind of boring) stage, you could get creative and try new formats.
For example, you could plan a round table inside a ring box. Or invite your speakers to talk while sitting on wooden swings. These unusual formats will change the way speakers and attendees interact with each other and provide a different framework for knowledge sharing and discussions.
Generate fully immersive attendee experiences
There’s nothing more meaningful and valuable than getting your guests into the flow state. This moment, as explained by psychologists, represents a fully immersive experience when people are so engaged in one activity and enjoying it so much, that they can’t feel the passing of time. One thing that most people enjoy is playing games.
So if you want to achieve extraordinary results in terms of co-creation and fun at events, include some games in your creative event concept.
They’ll serve as means for interaction, attendee engagement, and group work. This will get people to deepen their subject knowledge and have better conversations while immersed in a fun activity.
Creative event conceptualization and creative production is what makes events phenomenal. This is actually the essence of a well-planned event. Flawless logistics and an awesome design are crucial, yet the heart and real character of an event lies in those creative details that help your guests forget about themselves for a few hours and enjoy different experiences with other people.