5 Tips on How You Can Rethink Existing Event Concepts
Nowadays, live communication is essential for a brand. Whether it’s through conferences, trade shows, roadshows for clients, or internal company events, it’s more important than ever for brands to connect with their community. Creating event experiences conveys ideas, visions, and a strong identity all while connecting with an audience, and sharing meaningful moments that will stay long in memories.
But to be successful in communication and creating a good experience, you need a good event concept. A clear objective in the context of your strategy to engage your community through live communication. There is no “one size fits all” concept. As an organizer, you need elegant, innovative and flexible solutions to develop the right event concept that will meet your goals.
In this blog article, we provide you with 5 insights that will help you develop contemporary event concepts, and give you a structure to work with and make event production less complicated.
Events are complex – Think in event modules.
In 2020, events suddenly went digital due to a global pandemic. It was remarkable how many organizers adapted to this new situation with creativity and speed, making the impossible possible: keep connections alive.
However, we have seen that established event concepts were often directly transferred to the digital or hybrid space without much thought given to how the concept might not fit the new format, which meant that the events weren’t all successful. We all remember “coffee breaks” in empty meeting rooms where participants were supposed to network, but no one was there. Or the 8-hour-long conference programs that were simply live-streamed while the participants in their homes had tuned out after the first 30 minutes.
What always worked for an in-person event doesn’t translate as well for a hybrid to a fully virtual format. What does that mean for event organizers?
Every event has always had different objectives, which were answered by coming up with a solid event concept to ensure the realization of said objective, all while ensuring a good experience for the attendees. Lecture programs may aim to inspire participants. Seminars provide concrete learning outcomes. Networking formats create chance encounters. Trade shows generate measurable leads. Incentives and company events aim to express gratitude to employees.
Each of these goals is a potential module to be added to your overall event concept. And those event modules have a significant advantage: you can rearrange them endlessly, thus ensuring constant novelty. This is why our first piece of advice is: Think in event modules.
If your event’s goal is to impart specific knowledge to your attendees, consider the formats that best achieve that objective. Create a physical or digital environment consciously tailored to teaching and learning. If you opt for a digital format for your event, some other modules (such as networking) may not work as well in this format as they would in another. So, remove the networking module from your concept and consider what else you need to make your event a success. Don’t get stuck a pre-existing event structure; instead, build your event concept freely with the help of event modules.
The result doesn’t have to be a traditional two-day conference with evening events; it could become a roadshow or a series of smaller events in both physical and digital settings. Great event concepts are all about creativity and novelty.
Events are multi-hybrid. – Think about adding new elements.
What does hybrid really mean? Something between digital and physical? Even though it has been the buzzword in the events industry for months, there are few clear definitions. But maybe that’s not so important after all.
What is relevant is that hybrid is an adjective. Whether it’s participants, speakers, content or exhibitors—everything can become hybrid, but not everything has to be hybrid.
Consider which elements can be adapted to a hybrid format. Your attendees can participate in the event in a hybrid (either digital or in-person) manner. Your exhibitors can have a physical presence on-site, but you can also offer them “digital square meters.” These could include online elements like a demo case on your website, automated lead tracking, or a presence in a (video) podcast.
That’s where our second tip comes in: it’s all about adding new elements and modules. These new elements should aim to make your event concept more audience-focused and ultimately provide a better experience for all involved. When it comes to in-person events, you can add modules that will generate additional digital visibility for your exhibitors or enhance digital services for your attendees. In the case of digital events, they can be enriched with specific physical elements like satellite events, networking evenings, or local meetups.
Cleverly combining and expanding with these event modules makes your event multi-hybrid and uniquely appealing.
Events are ephemeral – Make your content last longer.
In the era of hybrid possibilities, your events are no longer bound by time and location. There’s more before and after—an extended lifecycle. What happens live on stage and what’s spoken during your event still is your main focus and core. However, there are now many more ways to keep your event content alive using “multi-hybrid” elements and modules.
Before the event, think about how you can involve your audience in your event planning. Activate them through surveys, collect opinions, and identify top discussion topics for the upcoming event.
After the event, use selected content created during the event and make it accessible to a broader audience. Create summaries in the form of infographics and as audio/video content.
There’s an abundance of content generated during events and you should take this into account when creating strong event concepts. Use this content for your post-event communication and pave the way for a year-round communication strategy that bridges the gap to the next event or the next year.
Events are inclusive – Expand your audience.
The past few years have brought significant changes in your audience’s behavior. On one hand, organizers are faced with declining attendance numbers, reduced training budgets, and less willingness to travel from their attendees. On the other hand, attendees now desire more flexibility and a customizable agenda for events.
But this new behavior when it comes to events is actually a unique opportunity that you should not pass out on.
Digital and hybrid components allow you to reach more participants with your program. People whom you couldn’t reach with in-person concepts (due to their location, travel readiness, and personal constraints) are now an integral part of your audience.
This applies to your audience as well as to the individuals on your stage. Consider which speakers you can now welcome digitally “on stage.” Additionally, with the mentioned new elements, you can make your event more inclusive and expand your audience as well a give an international reach to your event.
Events are brands – Use them as platforms.
Your event is more than a gathering limited to time and space. Consider your event as a brand—a recognizable entity that your event represents and that your audience associates with.
What elements make your event unique? These can be both on a professional and an entertainment level. Professional events and emotional event experiences are not mutually exclusive.
How would you complete this sentence:
“My event is the only one that…”
There’s incredible potential in that sentence. Turn your event into a brand that your audience loves. Get to know your audience better and create additional offerings that align with your target audience and your event brand.
These can include additional event variations, pre- or post-event local satellite events, job fairs, press days, award shows, startup initiatives, meetups, training sessions, activities for young professionals, and more.
Build communities, engage with your audience, and use the knowledge of your target group to create new offerings. These can be offered with careful consideration, either for a fee or for free. In any case, they contribute to turning your event brand into a platform offering a diverse range of activities, 365 days a year.
The Bottom Line
Feel free to share these five insights with your team and continue developing them together. Everything is a “work in progress,” and none of these tips will ever be conceptually “finished.” However, they can provide you with a perspective on how to further develop new or existing event concepts in various directions.
Would you like to delve methodically into the topics described and take action right away? As an agency, we also offer workshops on event conception. If needed, we can also create a customized agenda and embark on this journey together.
Our joint work always revolves around what unites all events: bringing together interesting and diverse people. At this point, your event concepts must always outshine any artificial intelligence in the future.
PIRATEx Head of Sales