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Creativity wins

Dax Callner, strategy director, Smyle, provides insights into breakthrough event planning through sustainability and DEI.

If two years of a pandemic have taught us anything, it’s that people are very picky about what they choose to spend their time on. As anyone with a television, computer or phone knows, there are millions of channels and platforms vying for our attention.

Research also tells us that people crave unique experiences. As event marketers, it is up to us to deliver creative, interesting experiences that deliver value to brands and their target audiences. That leads to a key question which should inform any creative ideation session: what will be of value?

When it comes to brand value, it usually means: positive impact; how people feel about the brand; and how to drive behaviors that are aligned to business priorities (i.e. sales/retention).

With target audiences it can be a bit trickier, but there are two macro-trends Smyle is paying attention to.


The first is sustainability. Minimising environmental impact when it comes to events is simply a must. We risk damaging brand reputations if we don’t address this authentically and transparently.

But sustainability goes beyond the environment, and it can make for a more creative experience. For example, consider how the brand and audiences can contribute meaningfully to a relevant cause - using the event itself to drive positive social outcomes. This can lead to goodwill all round.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

The second is diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The DEI macrotrend unveils a critical creative imperative: make sure everyone in the target audience can get parity value out of their experience. As a creative exercise, try starting a brainstorm by thinking about how the event can deliver value to physically disabled people or people from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. Or consider how to create an experience to suit the needs of the neurodiverse.

When it comes to diversity and content, Smyle is experimenting with techniques aligned to how people learn, which is not the same for everyone. We look at designing distinct content experiences for visual, aural, read/ write, and kinaesthetic learners (the VARK model). This makes for very interesting ideas.

Experimenting with technology

Technology, of course, is another critical driver of creativity. We’re not fans of doing tech for tech sake, but emerging technologies do often inspire. For example, we’re fascinated by metaverse-style platforms and the expansive digital worlds that are possible. VR/AR/MR has come a long way – we do think it’s worth paying attention to what people are doing (particularly gaming companies) in this space. We’re also experimenting with immersive audio technologies, as these can help to immerse audiences in a multi-sensory experience (both for physical and digital events).