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How to take brands to the edge with events


In the ever-evolving world of events and brand experience, businesses need to push themselves past their comfort zones in order to survive. This includes designing for the grey area, getting clear on brand identity, and injecting art and creative thinking into the business space. Here are some ideas to help push brands to the edge:

The art factor

Some of the most inspiring event design I have developed and seen is when art meets brand experience. To me, this is what brings in a different kind of “human energy” into the business space.

Bringing art and art form into experience to elevate the human condition is brave—consider injecting 'live show' elements into what is typically a B2B space. We work with a few clients on this, and it's an exciting and dynamic time.

Be clear on identity

In a time when traditional business models are experiencing disruption in ownership, leadership, and values, it’s important to re-establish the ‘living’ relationship with the DNA of the business. While most companies were established with a clear intent, some may have had their goals and values diluted through time.

You have to get to the essence and the story of why the company was created—that's what you want to convey. You want to create an aspirational brand story and bring it to the fore so it can change people’s lives for the better.

Being absolutely clear about your brand's identity will not only make for a stronger and more truthful message to the consumer, but it will also attract the best talent to work for the business.

From myopic to visionary thinking

When many businesses may be operating in their comfort zone, it's our job to get businesses to rethink the way they operate in order to stay relevant and profitable. Sometimes taking businesses to the next level entails tough, but very necessary, conversations.

Our synapses are wired for familiarity and habit. So people say, “I don't want to change and I don't want to hear about it.” I can guarantee there are a lot of companies out there that are trained, wired, and organized around a system that's pre-disposed towards myopia. How do you pry that open? That's what we're trying to do. We are trying to build a culture of openness to diverse thinking.

Designing for the grey area

Forward thinking can help businesses stay ahead of the curve, but the real key to ongoing success is agility and flexibility. This takes a certain bravado and gumption, especially when change strategies need to be designed years before they are implemented.

With the rate of change we are currently experiencing in the events and live communication industry, a brand strategy could be completely out-dated in two years. So we need to design flexibility in all of the ideas we're putting out there. If you want to live in the grey, you need to incorporate a flexible approach to all areas of business—creative, production, and operations. You’ll need a lot of dexterity, because only the most agile businesses will survive.

Peter McGrath is senior vice president, creative at event agency FreemanXP and member of the Freeman Design Leadership Council

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