Don’t just plan an event . . . DESIGN an experience! Event producers are being told, “You’re an experience designer.” But what does that actually mean? – especially when it feels like the world turned virtual overnight (even though virtual and hybrid events have been around for years – for more perspective read our recent post).

The good news is whether you are designing conventional events or virtual events, meaningful content and design is the key to making strategic choices that resonate with your audience, brand and mission.

So how do you do that? It starts by reviewing our 3 simple tips to start thinking differently about your event design-experience.

  • Unconventional: Get outside your comfort zone
  • Unexpected: Create memorable moments that stand out from the noise
  • Unbuttoned: Design that places audience engagement at the center of the experience

Unconventional: Because different can delight and engage in unexpected ways.

Tip 1: Shake up your space. Breakouts, learning sessions, networking, online environments – they don’t all have to look the same. Your audience (even in virtual) needs a change of scenery. Create immersive moments of escape and play within the architecture. Polling, gamification, word clouds, social engagement are great ways to do this inside your virtual event OR create smaller chat rooms for networking that combat screen fatigue by allowing attendees to shift focus, move their mind and engage across the event.


Tip 2: Let’s get weird! Ask yourself, how can you give an unexpected experience? We recommend combining virtual and physical elements in all your events. For example, virtual attendees receiving a pre-event package with content they can use during the event to get some pre-buzz energy flowing OR maybe the audience members have the option of designing their very own event avatar to show off during the event. Whatever the solution, it starts by asking how are you planning to give your audiences “you had to be there” moments that they can’t get from anyone else?


​Tip 3: Get emotional. You don’t need to deliver complex content in order to create a memorable feeling. Simple statements stick with people when they are accompanied by a feeling​. “Design is not just how it looks and feels, but how it works” – Steve Jobs​. Allow your brand to show up authentically, and attendees to express themselves, their passion in what they do and how you can affect that, positively. Acknowledge that, we all want to feel good – question what that means for your audience and celebrate it in the moments that they are convening. ​Unexpected methods of content delivery – voices from your subject matter experts; your partners; your customers; your attendees​. Ideas such as creating curated partnership stories featured as a gallery or give speaking opportunities to more junior members of your organizations to get to the heart of the why you are connecting. If budgets are an issue, production value can be forgiven if the content is striking the right chord for your community. Try something new and go for it! Authentic voices build connection and that’s exactly what you are trying to do!

Design of visitor experiences is considered central to the delivery of any successful event.​ This places Marketers (YOU) in a new role – driving the design decisions and processes forward.​ Creating a differentiated experience is what will elevate engagement, drive community and deliver the desired actions of others.

So, how will you stand out in future events?

Experiences must be "On Brand" and Authentic


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