The Impact of Events

“Influential events are change agents, catalysts, moments in time creating legacies.”

Events are a moment in time, having impact at a defined place. They are also a catalyst to a journey, an experience over time. They can be a goal, a finale, and the start of something next. They bring together communities, tribes, they change lives, and they change the world. Sometimes forever.

The impact of events is often measured in individual, social, economic, and other measures. The influence or legacy may come in different forms and have differing intensity, longevity  and value. Either way, events should seek to change something and someone.


The problem is many events don’t influence. Or if they do, the influence doesn’t achieve the goals of your organisation. The audience does not buy, they don’t engage, or become aware of your message. Your influence is misdirected. A missed opportunity.

Your Influence

We know that ‘Influential events’ change the world. They are an experience which captures hearts and minds and create a spirit for a moment in time. Where shared ideals and beliefs motivate and influence action. At that moment, before that moment, and in the future. They make the change they seek to make. They bring people together for a reason.

We can (and should) use events as a catalyst to achieve our desired goal. To create attention and action. To connect, engage, and sell. Tickets, memberships, awareness and funds. We should influence. Impact in that moment, and for the future.

Over this series of articles, we have shared case studies on the impact events may have. The influence on individuals, what we think, feel and do. We explored the common elements of successful events.

We’ve looked at why some events are more influential, how they stand out from other events. What we found are some keys to open the gates to success in today’s event world. And whilst we can’t all create iconic events overnight, we can use them as a reference point, as a compass for our decisions.

1. Purposea reason to exist

2. Playactivities engaged in for joy

3. Awea sense of something immense

4. Flowwhere the capability meets the aspiration

5. Shareable together, and after

6. Communitasthe lure of collective joy

7. Impact with legacies, at scale.

The 7 elements of iconic events you could say they are like colours. You can use some or all of them, you can mix these elements to create our own masterpiece.

By using these elements you can create the experience you want to. By adopting these 7 elements you can create the attention, action, engagement, you desire… an uprising, a celebration, an occasion.

You can now use these learnings to create your own successful event.


Our examples can be a reference as you invent or reinvent your event. Learning from the best, as you bring your ideas to life.

Marathons and their purpose has influenced millions to be more active. And fulfil a self-fulfilling goal. The Marathon Majors and marathons like them around the world have had immense social, economic impact.

La Tomatina has used play to influence people to come to Bunol, to travel, share a shared experience, creating financial gains and putting the town on the map. Colour Run has become a global phenomenon, using play to be the ‘Happiest 5k on the planet’. The events have impacted on many lives, making many more active than they would ever have been. Making a visually impactful public statement, in real life, and online. Alongside the societal impact, the commercial gains have been immense.

The Rio Carnival has impacted annually with its awe-inspiring moments. Every event has something to be famous for, and that creates impact. The Rio Carnival creates impactful images which go around the world and lifelong memories for those who attend. Not to mention some awe in economic returns. In 2018 the revenue is expected to be R$11.14 billion, with a total of 10.69million Brazilian travellers and 400,000 international tourists.

The Ironman and the sport of triathlon demonstrates an ability to offer flow states. Offering the capability to fulfil an aspiration. Influencing people to achieve more than ever before, more than in their everyday lives. And Ironman has raised the bar in commercial value, being bought by Wanda Group for a reported $805M, and impacting the economies wherever Ironman events are staged.

Tough Mudder has shown us the power of a shared and shareable event, creating a global phenomenon from nothing, an activity that was virtually non-existent is now a major competitive industry, with a tribal following. The influence on individuals is immense, mostly shared with others, and amplified via word of mouth, and online. It has impacted lifestyles and created a new industry around it.

The collective joy that communitas creates provides impact at an individual, emotional and social level. And this ensures people are influenced deeply in those moments, but also across time. They are immersed and become committed to an event. They come back, and they invest time and money. Whether it be World Cup football or local derbies, fun runs or model train projects, there is significant impact from the collective joy these events can create.

Whether it be the legacy of a Live Aid, the influence of attending Burning Man, running a Marathon, or experiencing a TED Talk, these events have impact. They move people, physically and mentally. They raise awareness and funds, educate and inspire us, changing what we do, and what we believe.

Influential events change the world. They are an experience which captures hearts and minds and create a spirit or mood across a moment in time.

Where shared ideals and beliefs motivate and influence action.

At that moment, before that moment, and in the future.

They make the change they seek to make. They bring people together for an reason.

They use Play and Awe. They create Flow and Communitas. They are shared and Share-able. They have Impact.

They achieve a Purpose. Event people know we can have impact.

You can subscribe here to read ALL the ‘Iconic Events’ case studies on each of the 7 elements in action.

3 Questions for you:

  1. What influence are we seeking to have? In who? What behaviour and attitudes do we want to influence?

  2. What wider influence are we looking to make? On a community (a large or small tribe)? Economically or commercially? What profile and message to we want to create?

  3. How will we know when we have achieved that? What will success look like? Intangible, measurable ways? And what will success look like in some intangible ways? What will people think, feel, and say?

We will find a guide to these answers in the Experience Design Playbook. Please contact me now to chat through how we can make this happen!


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LETS TALK?

+ 61 423 359 354

andrew @ andrewoloughlin.com

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