Pulling off a successful event is a thrilling experience. You and your team have spent countless hours planning even the tiniest details of the experience, and it’s rewarding to see the efforts paying off.
However, running an event comes with its own set of challenges. Budget overruns, logistical problems, and technical glitches can quickly cause chaos and ruin the event experience. There’s a reason why the event marketer’s job is one of the most stressful jobs in the world, after all.
But it’s not all bad news! With the right plan in place, you can ensure that the event runs without a hitch. And in the rare event you do run into any snags, you’ll be prepared to manage them without breaking a sweat.
The first step of this process begins by creating a document called the event brief. 📄
In this article, we’ll explain the concept of an event brief, its importance in the event planning process, and how you can create one for your event. Let’s go!
An event brief is a comprehensive document that covers all essential elements of the event. It includes details like the event date and time, venue, budget, logistics, timeline, and the agenda/event programming. It can also include the speaker, attendee, and sponsor information.
The event brief acts as a blueprint to help you plan each stage of the event carefully and plan for any contingencies.
Just remember—the event brief shouldn't live in a silo. Make sure it is available and easily accessible to your entire team so that they can use it as a playbook and track event progress.
Organizing an event is like going on a voyage.
Similar to a voyage, it takes a lot of planning, time, money, and resources to run an event.
A poorly planned event can drain you of these resources, whereas a well-planned event can get you disproportionate results. These results can vary but often include metrics like revenue, leads, and brand awareness.
An event brief acts as the map that you can use to steer your strategy and team in the right direction to meet your event objectives. Here are three key reasons why an event brief is key to the success of your event:
✅ Establish a clear timeline for various event phases. This ensures that you complete activities in the right order without getting stuck in a catch-22.
✅ View budget allocation for each activity. Working on a budget lets you stave off any last-minute budget approvals and costly overruns.
✅ Streamline communication and coordination between different teams and third-party vendors.
The event brief is a more straightforward, simplified version of the full event plan, so it doesn’t contain every single detail of the event or strategy. The goal is to fill the marketing team and other stakeholders in on the key event details to keep them updated on the go.
Let’s take a look at the six essential elements of an event brief:
The event overview section should include the main details of the event, such as the name, the purpose, format, structure, and key activities you are planning to run during the event.
If it helps, you can also offer a bird’s eye view of the event objectives to help others understand the concrete goals you are looking to achieve.
The event website, marketing materials, and merch will prominently display the event and brand identity. To ensure that the event brand appears coherent everywhere, include brand guidelines that you want the event team and vendors to follow.
These guidelines can include the event name, its abbreviation, hashtag, logo (and its acceptable variations), tagline, fonts, and color combinations.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but mentioning the date and time in the event brief helps event marketers with the event schedule, speaking sessions, panel discussions, and networking sessions. Confirmed dates let event coordinators book accommodation and share travel itineraries with speakers and sponsors.
Mentioning the venue in the brief lets you find hotels and commute options in the vicinity, which you can communicate with the attendees, speakers, sponsors, and vendors.
It also helps to talk about the venue capacity, catering options, services, and accessibility details.
The event timeline provides a sequence of tasks and events with resources and deadlines mentioned to help you manage the event effectively. Depending on the scale of the event, you can break down the tasks into 12, nine, six, or three-month brackets to organize the activities depending on their priority.
You can further prioritize the tasks into teams or departments for convenience.
Break down the budget into various categories and elements so that the team can plan the expenditure accordingly. The key areas where you need to provide a budget include marketing, logistics, technology, equipment, venue, catering, entertainment, speakers, and staffing.
It’s optional, but you can also include the revenue generation streams for the event, such as ticketing and sponsorship packages.
The previous section outlined the critical components of an event brief.
In this section, let’s look at how to write the ultimate event brief. Follow the steps outlined below to create an event brief template that you can reuse for all of your upcoming events.
As your event brief gets more detailed, you may have to sift through a few pages to find the details you need.
Eliminate this issue by concisely outlining key details at the top of your brief. Think of this section as a cheat sheet that you can refer to anytime. Consider including the following information:
When you are investing so heavily in an event, it is essential to know what you are trying to get out of it. Describing the “why” or the purpose of your event will align your team on the vision and get everyone working towards the same shared goals.
Explaining your “why” with the following two points of view:
This section should talk about the purpose of the event. Why is the company organizing the event? Are you launching a new product, looking to generate more leads, or driving brand awareness? Providing clarity over these questions will allow you to set tangible goals, and the team can plan their initiatives accordingly
This section answers the value your attendees get from your event. For example, if you want to establish your brand as a thought leader in the industry, you would want the event to feature industry leaders talking about the latest trends and innovations in your niche.
Similarly, a new product launch would feature talks and discussions covering the pain area your product addresses along with a free product trial.
Although the event briefs should include key details, it is essentially an event outline. Think of it as the first page to your wiki rabbit hole that runs for more than a page.
So, instead of putting all information in one single document, use it to let the team know where they can find the specific information they are looking for. If you use digital asset management software to store files, creating an event-specific folder makes everything a cakewalk. Otherwise, you can mention links to the following resources:
The event budget gets very granular, and tracking it in the event brief is not an efficient practice. While you will continue tracking the budget in a separate spreadsheet, don’t forget to add key points of the event budget in the brief.
As noted earlier, mention the budget allocated to different departments and activities. You can also break down the budget columns into allocated budget and budget spent so that the team knows how much they can spend.
You should also mention the benchmarks for various marketing activities. For example, if you are planning to increase registrations for this year’s event, share this year’s target, a summary of how you’re planning to hit your target, the promotional budget, and a short comparison of last year’s event goals and performance. The purpose of including a budget summary is to make the frequently needed information easily accessible.
Similar to the budget, the event timeline can get very detailed. Therefore, mention only the key milestones in the event brief. Some of the milestones include finalizing the venue, confirming the speaker line-up, early bird registration deadline, and important marketing and promotional activity schedule.
You can visualize these milestones using a Gantt chart so that you can identify the dependencies and collaborate more efficiently.
David Allen, a famous productivity expert, notes, “Things rarely get stuck because of lack of time. They get stuck because the doing of them has not been defined.”
Preparing an event brief helps you define priorities and set the event off in the right direction. This article provides a general outline of how to approach writing an event brief, but feel free to tweak it as needed to meet your own event needs. Just remember to keep your brief objective and actionable, and you’ll be right on track for a flawlessly executed event.