How to brief and event agency

How to brief an event agency – a template

Topic: Insight /

Successful events are about balance: between planning and delivery, vision and budget, form and function.

Some creative agencies focus on the feeling, tone and experience of an event, with little thought about the practicalities of space or footfall. Those focussed on delivery and logistics may create a space that can hold the expected numbers but may not engage them in any meaningful way.

To ensure this blend, Rapiergroup undertakes a comprehensive briefing exercise before each event. It serves as the starting point for a collaborative engagement, ultimately covering every aspect of the experience, from planning to delivery and beyond.

While every creative brief, will be different, each covers three broad aspects of event delivery: the strategic, the functional and the pragmatic.

Here are some of the things the brief covers:

The strategic

The strategy is the first port of call for the brief; it establishes the thrust of the event, the style and direction, and the measurements of success.

  • Who you are, and what you do

    For large corporates, this might seem obvious: Renault is Renault after all, they shouldn’t need an introduction. But it may not be quite that straightforward. Different departments or sectors often operate as individual concerns within global businesses. We will provide the research, and make this clear on the brief.

  • The scope of the project

    After pinning down the ‘who?’, our next questions are ‘what?’ and ‘why?’. What is the project, what is the scope and what are the aspects that you need help with? Again, key context is provided by asking why you are undertaking this project. Is the event a short-term, tactical activity, or is it part of a long-term strategy?

  • How the project relates to the wider business strategy

    Whether tactical or long-term, it is important for us to understand what your wider business strategy is and how this project fit within it. Does it form part of an existing campaign, or launch a new one? Is it about retaining your existing clients, or acquiring new ones? We will work with you to align our work with your own.

  • Audience or target market

    Once the detail about you as a client has been fleshed out, it’s time to turn our attention to your target audience. Here, the key demographics of the end-user of your product or service are stated, along with the nature of the B2B relationships that you may be looking to nurture.

  • Competition

    Once we know the target audience, it’s important to establish who else may have them in their crosshairs. Who are your competitors? What is the key differentiation between you and them? How do you stand apart? What can you offer that your competitors cannot? (and vice versa). We will research their previous event activity, and look for opportunities to offer much more.

  • Tone and image

    The next element of the strategy relates to the message and the goal. What image do you want to portray for this event? Bold or friendly? Techy or approachable? The tone for a particular event may differ from the general perception of your company; we want to establish one which resonates.

  • Overall goals, and how they’re measured

    Possibly the most important section of all. An event without purpose is costume jewellery – sparkling and impressive from afar, but ultimately without substance or value.
    We have to be clear about what your ultimate goal is. Is it about growing a mailing list, building awareness, or shifting more product? Or is it something as disruptive and fundamental as complete image change? Once the goal has been established, the next step is to determine both what success looks like and how we can measure it. 10 percent more sales? Hitting 4,000 subscribers? What if the goal is an image change? How can that be measured?

  • Previous design and marketing materials

    More useful context comes from looking at the marketing materials you are currently using. We also like to get a feel for the aspects of your current marketing you are happy with and feel are working for you, along with those that may be less successful.

The functional

Once we have a firm grasp on the strategy, the functional section aligns the creative with the logistics of delivery.

  • Logistics

    With the strategic context of the event fleshed-out, the next step is to drill into the detail. What have you actually requested? Did you supply a written brief, or are we working with a summation of our previous discussions?. Here, we will list out the features that you have requested, be it digital displays, corporate cookies, or somewhere to park a Formula E car.

  • Assumptions

    There are also likely to be assumptions on both sides – it is important to record these to ensure that we are both very clear on expectations. One of the key advantages of the collaborative and consultative approach to event design is ensuring that there are no surprises for either of us. Gaps in knowledge and expectation must be filled quickly. The consultative approach also allows us to understand your ways of working and gives us a view of the bigger picture.

  • Assets

    Where you have existing brand guidelines, either for your business as a whole or for this campaign in particular, we will use any assets you already have. There is little value in us conducting research that has already been done in great detail, but we can use the data to draw our own conclusions and insights. ‘Re-sight’ is probably the best way to look at it. Having access to previous assets also ensures a consistent look and feel.

The pragmatic

If the creative is the fuel behind the event, and the logistics are the engine driving it along, then the pragmatic concerns are the chassis: solid, a bit dull, but essential for holding it all together.

  • Technical and business constraints

    The creative process may baulk at the shackles of constraint, but it is when the constraints are not taken into consideration that delivery can revert to form over function. Most obvious are the technicalities of an event, such as the nature and size of the venue, and any building regulations or architectural limitations.Also important are any business constraints you may face, such the availability of your key staff, or your hours of operation. The potential logistical constraints associated with moving large amounts of equipment, product or people should also be considered.

  • Budget

    The most important consideration of all is the budget. Without having an idea of your budget in advance, it’s virtually impossible for us to pitch a practical solution. On occasion, your vision may be in danger of overreaching your budget, demanding a tricky balance between innovation and cost, but these two aspects do not have to be in opposition. The best option is to have a detailed brief and a defined budget, but with the flexibility to be creative. Based on the context provided by the brief, Rapiergroup can see the bigger picture and think beyond the event itself, allowing a focus on the overall experience. The consultative approach ensures that gaps within the brief are filled at the earliest opportunity and that the delivery of the event goes beyond simply erecting stands at a venue. A great brief is more than just a set of instructions; it is a recipe to ensure that the outcomes deliver on your expectations, while building a foundation for creativity and innovation.

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