Events that will dazzle your audience and make them want to come back can only be achieved with great planning. The first step is to find a creative event concept. This step might be the most frustrating for some, but we are here to help you organize your thoughts and make a start.
At the end of this guide you should be able to answer these 5 questions;
- Who are you organizing the event for?
- Why are you organizing the event?
- What will the theme of the event be?
- Where will the event take place?
- When will the event take place?
Let’s take it step by step now.
Creating an event concept step by step
Step 1: Who are you organizing the event for?
Knowing your audience is extremely important, as you are organizing the event for them and the concept should resonate with them. Some concepts can work on one target group, but not another. You can create your audience personas by creating surveys or using surveys from previous events. An easy way to create surveys is by using Typeform, SurveyMonkey or Google Forms.
After reviewing the surveys you should be able to answer questions such as:
- Who is your target audience?
- What do they like about your events?
- What are their interests and why do they go to such events?
Your audience is the one going and participating in the event, so creating an event concept that they will appreciate is really important.
According to Eventbrite “4 in 5 Millennials (79%) report that attending live events makes them feel more connected to other people, the community, and the world”
Let’s say for example that your target group is millennials. Knowing that they want to feel part of a group, you should design your event so that you offer them that opportunity. They will appreciate it.
Step 2: Why are you organizing the event?
What is the importance of the event? What is your objective and what will your audience gain from it? Are you doing it for brand awareness reasons, lead generation, to share knowledge with the community or internal events for employee satisfaction and empowerment?
It is essential to have SMART goals (SMART for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-based, so that you can then evaluate the event outcomes. Did you reach your goals? What should you be aware of the next time?
Step 3: What will the theme of the event be?
Depending on your goal and your audience’s needs, you are then ready to answer the question of “what”. Will it be a conference, a workshop, a networking event, a gala? Will it be free or will there be a ticket or fee?
Extending the experience beyond the event, for example at check-in lines, can transform dull moments into exciting ones! An interactive game or activity can be very fitting for your event concept, in some cases. It is going to engage your audience and create an extra micro-experience within your event.
Find some examples of extraordinary event concepts in the bottom of this post.
Step 4: Where will the event take place?
The answer to this question depends on what the event will be. Will it be a small event, so you can even host it at your workplace or is it, for example, a conference or a summit, which are large events and need a dedicated space?
Other than the space requirements for the event you should also consider the accessibility, cost, and comfort. There always needs to be a compromise between all these parameters, but with good planning, you should be able to find a great place for your event.
After you have found the space, you will then know how to utilize it to create a unique experience for your audience, that matches the event concept.
Step 5: When will the event take place?
Depending on who your attendees will be, you need to consider which day and time of day would be convenient for them to attend. Will it be after working hours or on a weekend? If it will be an outdoor event, then you need to consider how the weather might be like on that day. Also check whether there are other big, similar events going on on the dates you are considering, as that might be a deal-breaker.
Make sure that when you set the date of the event, you will have enough time left to do your research and organize all the aspects of it. Event organizing needs time and involves a lot of uncertainty, so always reserve some time for the unexpected.
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A venture capital firm wants to increase brand awareness and knows that its target audience is entrepreneurs, new startups and business people. Knowing that the mentioned target group appreciates sharing of knowledge and needs networking, they decide to organize a free workshop, organized by a well-known entrepreneur of the local community. The talk is followed by some time dedicated to networking, coffee, and croissants.
The event will be for around 100 attendees, so they decide to hold the event at their office, where they have enough space, decent access to public transport and costs nothing extra, which allows for it to be free. Because their target group has relatively flexible working hours, they decide to hold the event early in the morning, so that the participants have a dynamic and engaging start in their day.
Inspirational event concepts
Everyone needs some inspiration from time to time, so here are some inspiring event concepts out there.
The Lost Lectures
Secrecy has always attracted people. That’s what this group of people saw and decided to start organizing an underground series of talks in different cities each time, the Lost Lectures. The location remains secret to the public until shortly before the event. This way people feel the thrill and the excitement of anticipating the event. The organizers create immersive and thought-inspiring experiences and invite world-class speakers for their events.
Geeks on a plane
Geeks on a plane is an event concept made for adventurous entrepreneurs in the search for new experiences, ideas, knowledge, and inspiration. Every year 500 Startups organizes this invite-only trip for entrepreneurs, investors, and executives. They all travel together to different places each year, form strong bonds and learn about high-growth technology markets worldwide.
The Secret Cinema
The entertainment industry has changed rapidly and companies are trying to keep up. The idea behind the Secret Cinema is to offer an immersive experience to its attendees and make them feel like they are part of a movie. Every year they organize a theme concept event, fusion of film and live action role-playing games, where people can choose to be observers of the plot unfolding in front of their eyes or actively shape it.
Dedicated Q&A Tracks
Many people who attend conferences and talks want to get the most out of the events. That means that giving them the opportunity to easily ask questions to the speakers and leaving enough time for questions will make a great difference in their overall experience. For example Startup Grind had a dedicated Q&A section after each speaker’s presentation. The attendees used the Sli.do App to submit their questions and then the speakers tried to answer as many questions within 30 minutes.
This concept for an event is fairly easy to implement and setup. Depending on the concept an interactive screen can engage, inform and connect the participants. At the ‘#LIKEAGIRL Unstoppable Confidence Summit’, the brand Always installed an interactive graffiti board where attendees could write inspirational messages, which would then be projected on a digital wall.
A creative and well thought-through event will make the difference and attract your audience. An amazing execution will make them want to come back as well and if it exceeds their expectations they will become enthusiastic advocates and spread the word. So now you know how to create an event concept that stands out. Gather your creativity and start planning your event!