By Alistair Turner, ILEA UK President.
At ILEA (International Live Events Association) we talk about the curation of events. The idea that the act of organising an event is more than managing an itinerary, venue selection, getting the powerpoint slides right, and making sure the tea and coffee are served on time.
What the best #eventprofs have become proficient at is understanding audiences, of telling story’s that help them take on a message about a business or brand. They understand the power of a positive, shared experience.
Curation is how we create our events to tell these stories; visually through design, through dialogue, though presentation, or through theatrics and drama. The results of a curated event are memories, inspiration, education at its very finest. It is also about incentivising the people that matter most to us; visitors, communities, staff, customers etc.
At ILEA UK we are surrounded by event professionals that understand this, and that are part of a growing conversation in the events industry. This is a conversation that looks to where events sit in the wider marketing or sales mix. It’s a conversation that concerns itself with how events can ignite social media campaigns, how they can give businesses and brands a direct and physical link to their customers.
The event industry is growing rapidly; its currently worth around £42.5bn and is anticipated to grow to £48bn by 2020. We believe this is because the above conversations are happening, not just within ILEA but between event professionals and businesses every day.
Ours is the end of the industry that is driving growth across the UK events market place, and it is done because we can show our value, our impact and because we can do this in front of businesses and brands. Let’s not forget that few events exist without the support, in some way, shape or form – of businesses and brands.
So how are we doing this? How can we get business and brands to continue to support us?
We need to understand where we sit in the marketing mix. We need to understand the other marketing mediums and how we can complement them and vice versa.
We need to align ourselves with social media. There is a symbiotic link here; social amplifies events, and events trigger social media. Where they reach communities in a digital space, we reach them in a physical one.
We need to put deep water between an event that has to happen, and one that earns its place in front of businesses. Poor events don’t deserve to exist, we’re not talking about them and we’re not representing them – we’re talking about the good stuff!
Curation adds value. It’s by carefully selecting messages and moments, and pulling them together in a narrative, that stories are best told. Events tell stories in a physical, highly impactful way.
Content comes from inspiration. A brand or business with an amazing story to tell should engage event professionals to tell it in the best way possible. It starts with the message and then turns into the event.
So how do speakers and human content work in this environment? Let’s remember that our job is not just to inform but inspire. It’s also to surprise. For us it’s about using a speaker to tell that part of the story, and to do it in an innovative way.
Remember, the CEO is always ‘great’ but they won’t be surprising. Celebrities are impressive but won’t always tell the story. Delegates respect leaders, innovators, disruptors and those with a great story to tell; any story can be entertaining if its told well.
So at ILEA UK we encourage #eventprofs to challenge the conventional speakers, to work with agencies who counsel them on not just the headline grabbing but the subtle and surprising. This way we retain what is most important to the event; the telling of a story, the curation of an experience, the creation of impact and memory. A great event.
The International Live Events Association, or ILEA (formerly known as ISES), was founded in 1987 in the USA to help event professionals share and improve their industry knowledge. For over 25 years ILEA has been a valued and trusted partner in the events industry, and today it has over 5,000 members in 53 chapters across the globe.
The ILEA UK chapter brings together event professionals including: caterers, meeting planners, decorators, event planners, audio-visual suppliers, party and convention coordinators, educators, journalists, hotel and venue managers, and many more. We are proud to be a vibrant community that encourages our membership to network and trade, as well as to learn from and educate others.
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