I’ve been working with people on the purpose of their events and activities for a few years now, and that’s proven to be valuable – for 2 obvious reasons
– and then 1 that is often forgotten, but is even more important for you. 1. Your event needs to have a point to it - a reason to exist 2. What you offer must be something people want to do together and... 3. What you create, must help you achieve what you want.
‘Purpose’ may have become a bit of an overused word, I don’t think we can deny that starting with ‘The Why?’ (and to keep on coming back to it) is essential, and a valuable thing to be doing.
The reasons why
For starters, the value of knowing the purpose of your event is important, in that we need to know why something exists, so then we can go and achieve it. But what we’ve been doing is going a bit further, to understand how sharing a purpose may make it even better, for them, and you.
Why a 'Shared Purpose'?
Because at the basic level, events are all about bringing people together to share an interest in something. A type of sport, music, an artist, these people share a passion or belief in something. And whatever it may be, they could do this alone, but as event organisers, we bring them together for the purpose of sharing it.
It's better together
We can do lots of things by ourselves, and that’s great, but so often when we do it with other people it takes on a whole new meaning. Running, singing, watching, whatever it may be, doing it with someone else amplifies the experience.
You can play an instrument, or sing by yourself, that’s cool, but if you do it with a few other people, say in a band, or at a bigger gig, it's even better. Or if you do what these guys did, if you amplified that even more, to play with 999 other people. Now that is a very cool, shared experience.
The fundamental purpose
The basic thing that we all do as event organisers is given a special name by sociologists - it is called solving a ‘coordination problem’ for people – where we coordinate people who share an interest to come together, at a certain time and place - so that they can share that together. And that is a basic way that we can serve a purpose for people.
To come together people need ‘shared knowledge’, that the event is happening, and that other people like them will be there.
A higher level purpose
So for starters, the purpose of the event must be clear so you know what it is that you’re creating and giving to people. Secondly, that must meet the purpose of your audience, otherwise, no one is going to come. And thirdly, if your event has a higher purpose, then that’s what people are looking for today…
While you are thinking about why your event exists, it’s worth really trying to understand why people would want to be involved. Because as consumers these days, where we decide to spend our valuable time and energy, needs to align with things that we value, and things that share our values. Whether that be a brand, a movement, or an event, we all seem to be seeking experiences that provide a higher purpose (something that we believe in).
So it may be that you need to evolve what your event offers or start aligning to new things, so that it has a point, and a really meaningful purpose.
Cause-related events hit the mark, but also in 2022, all events need to link to a cause.
But what’s it all for?
We need to align our events to a purpose, and that of our audiences, but also just as significantly - we need to achieve something which is valuable to our organisations.
Which somewhat surprisingly is something that is often missed, in that an event doesn’t contribute back to the organisation behind it. The purpose of it doesn’t connect with what the organisers are all about. Whether that be promoting their sport, the brand, the cause, whatever it may be, their purpose is not achieved.
As I like to say it’s great to throw a party, but if everyone has a great time, but the host is left to clean up and pay the bill - and doesn’t get anything out of it themselves - then what’s the point?
and why for you?
Behind all of this, and even more important to us, is the team and the individuals behind these experiences. What is important, but often forgotten is that you and I must share the purpose of the event with the people that we are providing for.
It’s important because we need to be able to connect with that purpose, and also so that it will fulfil our aspirations, so that we get back from all that we are putting in.
The power of the people – and a shared purpose
Most of today's great events have often come from a small group of people, who shared a passion and a strong sense of purpose with some like-minded people. And what they have all have in common was a shared purpose, between those people, and in the organisations behind them.
At my old agency Limelight Sports, I worked with our team to create a purpose of
'creating an active world, together'.
And they still are, bringing people, the team, and brands, together.
So whether that be for a cause, a sport, a brand or a belief, whatever the context around the purpose of your event, as people start coming back together and you start interacting, it’s worth knowing what the purpose is, for them and you.
Because having a purpose is great, but a shared purpose is better.
If I can help with that just let me know.
How to get the Why...
You may find that all this talk about purpose is important, but can often be difficult to find, or define. And there are a few parts to it, but in a basic sense, giving it some thought and facilitating sone discussions are the best way to achieve this.
The tool we use to facilitate that is the 'Match Model', where we understand what the shared purpose is, between the PEOPLE and the ORGANISERS, and what the EXPERIENCE needs to be.