We View Events Differently

Best practices to elevate and energize in-person gatherings

Words by NJI
Published November 20, 2023
Last Updated June 26, 2024

Every event is an opportunity to impress, so it’s crucial to get the messaging, experience, and strategy right. With multidisciplinary expertise and innate hospitality, we take a bespoke approach that blends best practices and emerging technologies.

For policy-focused clients, events permit one-to-one connections with decision-makers and help to build advocacy pipelines for policy and regulatory efforts. For associations, events are a vital opportunity to demonstrate value to members and maintain essential revenue. Whether a brand or organization is giving a presentation, creating an activation, or convening their own event, every detail of the experience should support their objectives.

Successful events draw premier audiences because they are creative and elevated in every detail. High-caliber gatherings are like a perfectly hosted dinner party: flawless and intentional yet seeming effortless, with no hint of the planning and problem-solving involved.

Here’s how we do it.

Fire on All Cylinders

We tap our deep bench of expertise, bringing everything we know about creative strategy for public affairs, storytelling, video, graphic design, web development, and project management. We gather our team and watch the questions—and the sparks—fly.

How does color work in the event space? How can we create emotion? As people walk through a space, how do we create flow and build a story? How will attendees navigate a digital touchscreen or interactive experience? What does it all look like, from digital signage to custom swag? With crowds and sounds competing for attention, how can we manage distractions so people can converse comfortably?

On a main stage or panel, how do we engineer the sound to ensure audience members hear every word? When a speaker delivers a message, how do we reinforce their points through audiovisual design? Above all, what is the important takeaway? What will move the needle in the direction our client wants?

“All of that comes from strategically analyzing the physical space that we have—and how people are going to engage with it—and then designing into that,” says Vice President of Media Production Ryan Raybould. “It’s hyper-focused in a really creative way.”

Keep It Fresh

For all that rides on an event—and all the resources organizations invest—a surprising number are reruns. Event hosts simply dust off last year’s agendas, room setups, and signage. After a while, attendees know exactly what to expect, and they stop coming because they have limited time, limited budgets, and other choices.

Simply gathering people together is no longer enough. Events entice when they evolve, offering at least one or two new elements each year. The right partner can breathe new life into an exhibit hall, speech, or sponsorship event. An agency that supports events across industries brings a discerning eye, a fresh perspective, and knowledge of trends—then adapts these insights to craft a custom strategy for each client.

“There are plenty of events that are successful, but there’s nothing special about them,” says Account Director Vincent Levin. “NJI doesn’t follow traditional event-planning practices. We know we need to approach events differently to capture attention and keep audiences coming back.”

The Event Never Ends

Increasingly, organizations use events to generate content—not only to increase ROI, but also to share workshops, seminars, and thought leadership with members and non-members. For instance, an association could use social posts to bring event panels or exhibits to the attention of Washington, DC, stakeholders. Event-related content also opens up new possibilities for paid campaigns, from reinforcing a message during an event or capturing video footage to feature in subsequent ads.

Often, events are the rare occasion when multiple VIPs are in one place, so we help clients maximize that opportunity—for example, recording video interviews that can support future communications. With our background in policy and public affairs, we can help shape talking points and build a narrative to ensure a message resonates.

Every Detail, Every Time

As specialists in creative strategy for public affairs, we often support events that draw policymakers, and there’s usually a messaging component. We help clients refine their message and their delivery to leverage these opportunities to the fullest. Whether we’re focused on a single booth or a multi-room setup, we ensure every detail supports our client’s objectives.

We have one of the best project management teams in the business, so we also support clients with vendor coordination, planning leadership, and troubleshooting. Engaging a strong team from the outset maintains consistency and allows for a smoother process overall.

“The more variables and vendors you have, the more there’s a risk of something getting lost in the mix,” says Senior Project Manager Dora Milan. “We position ourselves as a leader among vendors so we can ensure, on behalf of our clients, that vendors are held to our same standards.”

Look for the Next Wave

The average event today is passive: Attendees wander from room to room while being talked at and shown things. But events are only memorable if they engage and surprise: less lecture hall, more music festival or amusement park.

“Events need to be two-way interactions: designed so that attendees can choose their own adventure while still walking away with exactly the message you want them to get,” says Levin.

We’re excited about immersive video, artificial intelligence, and personalization. One of the most effective ways to reach policymakers and decision-makers is to enable them to see an issue from someone else’s perspective, which virtual production makes possible. When we bring 3D video and AI together, we can even personalize an experience for a single person.

“How do you engage with them at a personal, experiential level?” says Raybould. “That’s where you’ve got to be to get the most sentiment shift, value, and impact.”

Successful events aren’t easy, but they’re worth it. We can help you get the right people in the room and then make the most of that opportunity.

Planning your next event? Make it special. Give us a call.

Read about our work on the McCain Institute’s Sedona Forum and NJI’s own 15th anniversary party.