Writing an event concept
If your event is at least a little more complicated than an in-house planning meeting, you should write a concept for it. This should be a document that describes your vision for the event. What will it be like when it happens. It is possible that the actual event will differ from your preliminary expectation. Take it easy. This is a kind of offer to the market. Even if in the end everything does not go as you planned, you still need to make a preliminary plan.
The concept will help you understand where you want to get to. Include in the draft concept what you could tell a potential participant of the event over a cup of tea. It doesn't have to be all the information about the event, including the budget and the resources involved. This is still internal information. Include in the concept what you could (and would like) tell the participants.
The concept can describe the goals and objectives of the event, the audience of participants, who the event is designed for. Give arguments why it is necessary to participate in this event. Include technical information there: date and venue, information about the organizers and supporting organizations, partners and sponsors; specify the cost of products, contact details, etc.
The concept can later be used as a basis for creating an event website, informational brochures, etc.
Now let's take a closer look...
What is the concept?
Many organizers intuitively feel what can be done and what cannot be done, what will decorate the event and what will spoil it. Also, for example, when driving a car, you sometimes "just feel" how to act without thinking about the rules of driving. But the rules of driving still exist, as well as the rules of events.
Quite often, events are held using different concepts. What is the event concept? The word "concept" is used so often that its original meaning is practically lost.
Concept (from Lat. conceptio - understanding, system), - a certain way of understanding (interpretation) of an object, phenomenon or process; the main point of view on the subject; a guiding idea for systematic illumination.
Think about it, what is the concept of the United States as a country? Their concept (understanding the purpose of the country, its perception) is the idea of Freedom and self-realization: any shoe cleaner can become a millionaire. And this idea attracted and attracts people in America. What was the concept of the USSR? The main idea carried by the Soviet Union was the idea of equality and justice. It is precisely such big ideas that become concepts of such a complex phenomenon as the state.
Now let's come back to events. Creating a corporate event is a much simpler task than creating a state. However, you also need to choose a concept for the event, a certain guiding idea. And then a trap awaits us. What is the idea of the "Hawaii party"? Is it being made for a Hawaii company? Do you sell surfboards? If not, what is behind it besides the design of the hall or the dialing of numbers? Phrases like "We just want to give guests a fairy tale" are excuses. Real fairy tales are wise, they taught us a lot when we were children. The concept should carry the idea of the event and somehow change us.
Too often, the purpose of the event is called the desire to "just entertain guests", "distract them from everyday life", "allow them to plunge into another world". Does this remind you of anything? Events are not a substitute for drugs! Just entertainment cannot be the meaning and idea of the event, there must be something more. Your guests are not fools, they understand what is meaningful and what is not. And meaningless (that is, literally - without inner meaning) events will be considered a waste of money. Even if it's beautiful.
Ideally, the concept is a kind of social action plan, such as, for example, an "environmental event". The concept does not necessarily have to contain the idea of altruism and concern for all mankind. But still, the concept is an Idea with a capital letter, and not just a set of rooms and decorations united by some common theme. Something like this happens in restaurants - the design of the hall and the uniform of the waiters prepare you for the fact that you can order Mexican food, but the restaurant does not seek to change you and force you to act (to commit revolutions, for example).
Not all events need a concept. Very often, the concept is a redundant element. For example, a business conference, as a rule, takes place without a special creative component (although sometimes in an unusual format - a talk show, a teleconference, a "duel" or a "battle"). Or the event is intended for a very narrow group of regular partners, who may find your concept annoying, and all they need is a personal, informal approach and an impeccable organization that corresponds to their status.
So first of all ask yourself the question: do you need an original concept? Next, a few features of the concept at your event, an explanation of how it works.
How does it work?
The concept is the rules of the game. The concept instantly sets a whole set of rules, thereby allowing you to save resources - you just need to say a few words in the invitation. Then we will need clarifications, animators, actors, the evening program, the host, but we have already managed to convey a lot to the audience with the help of one or two words.
The concept is the territory of the event. The concept forms the internal space and time of the event. It gives the guest an idea of how you have transformed the interior space of the event and what elements will be in the program. The concept gives an understanding of the scenario. Remember that there are no concepts in our everyday life! And its very appearance means for a person to go beyond the boundaries of everyday life.
The concept is an enhancement of emotions. The concept enhances communication as an artistic medium. Works of art allow us to feel emotions, make us worry, struggle with our indifference. The concept of the event has the same function - it enhances emotions, manages experiences. In order for a person to experience emotions, you need to come up with a story with a climax and denouement, a whole world with laws and inner space. Both this world and this story must be convincing and not fake.
For example, a lonely palm tree in the corner of your playground will not create the feeling of a "desert island". Knight's armor made of cardboard will only cause a grin. Be realistic in key details.
Creating a concept
Have you decided to come up with a concept for your event? Good. Its development is best to start with the creation of the main message. The message should be concise. You can't tell everything. But at the same time, participants should understand from the first time what you want to tell them.
The message should be end-to-end, that is, correspond to all parts of the event. The message must necessarily be related to the company's overall marketing strategy and supported by other marketing tools.
Now about the concept itself. Here are the requirements that it must meet.
"I recognize her!" The concept should be 100% known to the audience. Every single guest. There are many beautiful, subtle, clever, funny concepts that will never turn into successful events. Only because the symbols, images, or facts to which they appeal are not widely known.
Surely all readers have seen the movie "dArtagnan and the Three Musketeers", but not everyone knows about the computer game Doom. The book "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is not a mass one, and although its author Douglas Adams has a community of fans, it will be difficult for you to organize an event in the style of this work.
A bright central element. The concept should be easy to visualize, and this implies the presence of bright, characteristic elements in it. Bandits, pioneers, carnival, pirates - all these widespread versions of concepts are also such because they have a vivid image, a visual element. Having demonstrated it, you immediately tell the guest about your concept. The principle of saving resources works 100% at the event: its idea should be revealed to the guest in one or two moves.
However, if you are hosting an event for your regular customers, its concept may be more complex. You can invent a new world for your 50-60 regular customers, because you have the time and opportunity to tell them the "history of creation" of this world and the "laws of the world order".
"To feel, to smell, to taste...". It is impossible for the concept to appeal only to one sense organ. A guest is a fortress. Your event is an army marching on the fortress. The task is to take the fortress, seize it (with the attention and loyalty of the guest). The concept of the event should use all possible moves to take this fortress. You need to use everything - tactile sensations, hearing, smell, taste - as well as the usual visual range.
Imagine that you wanted to make an event in the style of the Great French Revolution. The idea is very strong - Freedom, Equality, Fraternity. However, most likely, apart from the Marseillaise and vague memories of a picture with revolutionaries on the barricades, nothing will come to your mind. So, this concept will have to be abandoned.
"No routine." The concept should be beyond the usual. "St. Petersburg, autumn, 2009" is a bad idea for an event. As well as many other stories taken from our everyday life. We don't want to meet at the event what we see every day, what we are used to. For you, airplanes are romance, but for an airline it's just routine. Its employees will not want to see planes at their event. Remember, an event for Clients is a mini-vacation, a way to take a break from ordinary life.
Harmony of the concept and the central message. The concept should be harmoniously combined with the culture of the group of participants and the objectives of the event. This is an obvious principle, but it is often forgotten by the organizers. They like a good concept so much that they often forget to correlate it with the corporate culture of the Client company, its current position, audience, etc. The event, like any other marketing tool, is evaluated in strict categories of effectiveness. The aesthetic enjoyment of the organizers of the result of their labors is important, but is not a priority.
And now let's look at which concepts can correspond to which events
Dictate of the concept
Organizers often try to find a compromise with regard to the concept: its elements are reduced, the impact of the concept on the event is minimized, and as a result, participants do not understand what it was. And that's why we want to introduce another key term - "dictate of the concept". If you are doing an event within the framework of some concept, then the scenery, background music, musical chops, program, and catering should be subordinated to it - it should be viewed in every detail. If you cannot provide this, it is better not to use the concept at all - you will save money.
At an event for a manufacturer of goods for children, where guests were immersed in the atmosphere of childhood and freshness, we not only organized an individual transfer (in a taxi, each guest was waiting for a soft blanket, which is so nice to wrap up and maybe take a nap on the way), but also offered them a special baby soap in the room, a book fairy tales with beautiful pictures on the bedside table, teddy bears, candy, and in the morning... a real children's menu! All these details accompanied the guests to the very end of the event. Only when they returned home the next day, they realized that the event was over. Only here the feeling of a fairy tale left them.
Testing the concept
It is necessary to test your concept - to check how effective and effective your event will be. You can make a table and tick the boxes, you can mentally evaluate the idea of the event that you want to bring to life.
Event and brand
What is the difference between events held by different companies? The event of a well-known and very well-known company can be predictable. The fame of the company guarantees attention to it. By and large, getting to such an event is already a goal. The event of a little-known small company should surprise and stand out. You need to sell both the event itself and the company.
How is the company name and brand integrated into the event?
The brand is used in the design of the event, in gifts to guests, in the performances of presenters and artists and in materials mentioning the brand. A product or an element with a brand name is used by guests within the framework of the event. Moreover, this application should be firmly connected with some positive changes. For example, you can vote with the help of plates with a logo. The event scenario itself should communicate brand values
Remember: all your ideas should be accessible and easy to read, but keep in mind that people like to get to everything on their own, understand and feel the values of the brand... Such "guesses" are remembered better. This is one of the professional dilemmas of an event manager.