A growing number of companies are beginning to talk about the power of the event story, and how these stories can save events from boredom and low ROI. But what is this type of story, and how does it impact events? Let’s take a look – and talk about what you can do to encourage the right kind of stories.
The Event Story: Building an Experience
So, what do we mean by event story? It’s all about connection. When an event has a story, it connects to the past and future of the company, as well as all attendees. That creates two different categories of story. The first is the event story itself: Why this event is happening, how it’s going to improve the company, how it will enrich attendees, and the direction the company will be moving afterward. It gives the event purpose, clarity, and vision.
The second category is the individual story that each attendee is forming: These narratives tend to be highly personal, all about how the attendee feels about the event, how it pertains to their current life and goals, and how it is changing their perspective. These individual stories are very important because they impact how the event is shared discussed, and remember later.
Either way, the more your event can focus on “story,” the more effective it can be, and the more buy-in you can create by showing everyone why it matters. The key is encouraging this story perspective whenever possible.
Marketing with the Story
If you want a powerful event story, you have to start with one – and that means marketing the event as a story from the beginning. Talk about the event as a natural move for the company to make in its current environment. Give the reasons for the event, how it will make a difference, and why attendees should care. Instead of focusing only on features and “fun” activities, talk more about why this event is uniquely important, and how it will change both the company and the employees. Not only does this help you focus on the real meat of the event instead of the fluff, but it also allows you to frame everything as part of a greater purpose – and that’s a great way to increase interest among employees.
Encouraging Stories Throughout the Event
So, you’ve got all your attendees to the event itself – now how do you help them form stories of their own? If you’re looking at a younger, more active audience, we suggest setting up options like a company geofilter for everyone taking Snapchat photos, or a social media contest for those who can send in the best photo.
Even if your audience doesn’t have much time to use those apps, you certainly can. Apps like Facebook Live, Periscope, and Instagram are excellent for capturing the event as it happens, then describing it in terms of a story (who is doing what, and where? Why is it happening? How does it all tie together and why are we a part of it?). Post visual cues throughout the event to establish a “plotline” from beginning to end, and clue in those who are watching online.
Spreading the Story Afterward
Encourage attendees to share their own stories and insights after the event. Additionally, take the plotline you have created (you may want to run it through something like Storify first), and share it with all attendees and other interested parties. The story can still be experienced even after the event is over!
Looking for more ideas about how to help create event stories? Fourth Wall Events can help! Take a look at the different ways we can support your next big event.