Capturing the Magic


Eventify’s Stu Katzen says use immersive storytelling to amuse and excite audiences.

Stu Katzen

“Once upon a time …” These are the immortal words that herald a story. As children we allowed our imagination to float away with visions of magical worlds with princes, princesses, and beautiful fairies.

As we get older the stories have changed — now it’s “Game of Thrones” or “Angry Birds” — but the idea of escaping reality and exploring an alternate world remains.

As events professionals, we are tasked with creating an alternate reality for our clients and their guests, an encapsulated space to hold guests whilst disseminating a message. In other words, we are storytellers.

Without a story, the audience flounders. Just like in life, every event requires a clear vision and intent to drive it forward.

Too often I see and experience events where the concept hasn’t been realised, where there is a hint of the story, but for whatever reason this was not carried through. Or, the concept is a cookie-cutter event that has been trotted out for the umpteenth time. Our job is to make sure that every detail drives the event concept in a creative way. We are not here to simply tick boxes.

Always create a fresh approach. It’s up to us to come up with new ideas, or even a different approach to old ideas. We get paid to think outside the box. Many creative agencies claim to be “ideation” experts, but how many actually deliver?

Recently, I was working with a new client, who wanted a “white event” and, of course, we delivered to the brief. It literally snowed white inside and we even gave out snow goggles on arrival.

Then, we turned the entire event on its head. All the staff arrived on the floor in primary colours, the lighting changed and made the room look as though it had been drenched in paint. In a flash we also changed the furniture to reflect the new colour palette. We even changed the scent of the event. All done fast and seamlessly. The whole event had a new look, evolving in front of our guests’ eyes.

We engaged all the senses to change the look, style, feel, and experience of the event. The more the guests experience, the more they take away.

Rather than simply observing, guests need to experience an event on every level — it has to be immersive. When planning your next event consider whether there is a better way to see, hear, feel, touch, and taste the event. With a little thought, bravery, and budget, imagine what you can do for your guests?

Trick, surprise, amuse, and titillate your audience. Bring back the magic and make them remember your event.

Stu Katzen is the owner and creative director of Eventify, an experiential design and events management agency based in Sydney. This article was compiled by staff at Untangled, a Singapore-based content, marketing, and business strategy consultancy.

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