'The last event followed a more interactive format. This was a departure from the formal conferences of previous years and a great success; therefore we are looking for new and creative ideas to build on this success and suggestions should be included in your tender.'
OK, I'll chuck in some interactive techniques and hope for the best!
'The annual conference has been running for the last xxx years and is an opportunity for the leadership team to provide clear strategic direction for the year ahead to senior and middle managers. In addition, the event also provides the opportunity for networking and recognition.'
Fine as far as it goes but wouldn't this be true for every management conference? What do you want your audience to think, feel or do differently this time?
'We want the audience to go away feeling motivated, joined up and engaged with a clear understanding of the strategy and their role in executing against this.'
OK but wouldn't you have said that about every other event you've held? What's special about this one?
You get the picture.
Mind you, they're not all dull. Take this one for instance:
'We are looking for the successful agency to help us create a real 'wow' factor – to unite and inspire each respective sales force collectively to deliver a significant ramp up in performance and to encourage the behaviours that underpin a winning mentality. These behaviours will form the basis of the themes and content we want to build the conference around. The conference should be focused on motivation and inspiration as well as educational – delegates need to leave the conference highly charged, ready to sell and fired up for the challenges ahead.'
Putting 'the wow factor' aside (there seemed to be a time when every brief had to have one!) this recognises a key truth about the events medium – their true potential is about
motivation and inspiration rather than the offloading of shovel-loads of information, most of which will be forgotten. However, you could argue that it is still quite generic (ie. like most other sales conferences.)
So, this brief-writing business isn't easy, is it?
Perhaps we should draw a distinction between regular events and those that are linked to something big happening in the organisation – a major product launch, a merger, re-structuring, a new brand. At least here there will be some obvious issues for the client and agency to really get their teeth into – exciting customers, dealing with staff morale, driving up commitment. But despite the fact that we are constantly being told 'change is here to stay' (and 'change' will always provide plenty of issues to deal with), when it comes to writing the brief for a regular event inspiration somehow seems to desert the brief-writer.