Get beyond event Groundhog Day

Turn events into collaborative communities

It’s almost a natural law. Like the sun setting and the moon rising. Once an event is over, the music stops and everyone gets on with business as usual. All the good work – the investment of time, effort and money – is allowed to slip away quietly. Many good intentions and much of the priceless inspiration and enthusiasm are allowed to fade. Much of the effort, is seemingly in vain. And these days, it’s a huge effort. Company resources are more stretched than ever, so why do they allow their hard won gains to be squandered?

But it’s not just goodwill and positive energy that are allowed to dissipate. Often, even the event theme is put into early retirement. Pledges and promises made onsite fail to materialise as viable programmes. All the enthusiasm and understanding fades quickly through a half-life of a distant echo.

Then, when the next year’s event is planned, everyone starts from scratch. How often do speakers look back at previous content, key messages and event identities, before plotting out their presentations? Don’t answer that …

Create engaged communities

So, here’s the remedy. Don’t look at an event as a moment in time or a piecemeal cascade. See it as community coming together to hack strategy, bond and collaboratively scope plans for transforming the business or market. Slick, straightforward technology exists today to engage stakeholders before, during and after the event. The key is creating a community manager to energise the conversation. Involve participants. And, most important of all, to respond. Because if participants get a response, they stay engaged.

Keep the collaboration live

View the event as an holistic exercise. Create collateral that can be reused and rescheduled for audiences in the months which follow the event. Invest in rich content through online portals and platforms designed to attract, engage and hold visitors. Keep exploring, expanding and emphasising this content across your communications activities.Make sure your brand, marketing and internal communications teams are involved and fired up, early. Then plan the next year’s event as a continuation of your existing messaging and ongoing, constantly evolving and always engrossing programme.

This not only maximises ROI. It also improves communication and energises stakeholders to embrace change. That way, you’ve got them where you want them. But, best of all, they want to be there. 

Christopher Joyce, Copywriter at Shelton Fleming, a creative agency that produces live events which transform how you see the wider-world, business and brands. We do this by designing intelligent, personalized experiences for global brands.

Further reading