Talk to anyone in the events industry and they’ll tell you that storytelling is one of the key aspects of planning and theming an event. Guests love being more than just bystanders, involved in the event instead of looking in from the outside.
Storytelling can do so much more than simply adding an experience to your event, it can also help bring your brand to life, both at the event and afterwards when people remember the day and associate the memories with your brand. Live events have boosted in popularity for that very reason, allowing the customers to build loyalty and connect with the companies in a more meaningful way.
Simon Lockwood, Creative Director at The Brewery, who works on all the events we hold – from Halloween and Christmas parties to weddings and conferences – believes the best way to start when creating an interactive, immersive event is to create your story.
“Like any good story, your event should have a clear and cohesive narrative which guests are made well aware of in advance. Start with the invites so that they know right from the outset that this is no ordinary event.”
Establishing expectation is key to building the kind of experience that guests will be talking about for months afterwards. Building up anticipation, teasing just enough of the event to get people theorising, is a great way to give enough to intrigue guests while leaving the surprise for the night itself.
“When telling a good story, it’s often the things you leave unsaid that stand out the most. Even if you don’t think it will be appreciated or noticed, the little details often make all the difference to guests and is a great way to highlight the intricate thinking that goes into your brand activations.”
An example of this can be seen in our House Macabre Halloween event in 2016. We gave guests individually personalised tarot card invitations, which included a link to the digital website and led guests to an online clock, counting down until the event.
The event drew out the element of anticipation even further on the night, starting with guests arriving at the venue to see a crashed car outside the front wall, heading up the stairs to the venue space surrounded by hanging black and white photographs, and squeezing past a weeping widow, before entering the venue space. Creating a journey is a crucial part of the storytelling experience, since it dramatically speeds up the feeling of connection between guests.
“Implementing this can be a hugely effective method for brands and businesses to create a sense of community in a short period of time,” Simon explains.
One of the ways that we engage our guests is through the use of a themed cast. Each of our Christmas and Halloween parties includes a group of cast members, dressed in the style of the event theme, who mingle with the guests and tell their stories, adding to the depth of the event narrative.
“A great tale drags us in and makes us feel like a member of the cast. That’s exactly what you want to achieve through live events. You want your guests to be active members of the story rather than passive observers going along for the ride.”
As Simon adds, “Immersive events should do everything they can to keep guests wrapped up in the story being told and avoid breaking the illusion at all costs.” This approach, making sure that every detail is considered, is a fun way to show showing potential clients that serious consideration has been put into your event. This sets the scene for your performance as a business as a whole.
Your guests want to be part of the collective experience, part of something not only bigger than themselves, but part of a once-in-a-lifetime event. This emphasis on storytelling not only brings your brand to life, and to the forefront of your guests’ minds in the months following, but also creates an event that’s worth much more than its individual components.
The messages that your guests will receive, beyond the story experience itself, of dedication, adept planning, creativity, attention to detail and a sense of community will stand you in good stead far beyond the final curtain fall at the end of the night.
“If you can create an incredible story, fill it with intricate and amazing details and then make your guests feel like the star of the show, you’ll create an event which is worth much more than the sum of its parts. For us, that’s the true hallmark of a great storyteller.”
If you’d like to book a Christmas or Summer party at The Brewery, or talk to our events design team to find out what one-of-a-kind theme we could create for your conference, event, wedding or party, simply contact us here and we’ll get that creative, storytelling journey started.