How to create meaningful events.

How to create Meaningful events, with Kahshanna Evans [Interview]

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Posted on May 21, 2019

“To develop, manage and deliver meaningful events takes a team immersed in the process.”

There’s no shortage of professional attributions to Kahshanna Evans. She´s a media/PR strategist, performer, lecturer, and businesswoman. Now, the New York-based Head and Founder of Kissing Lions Public Relations talked to InEvent about shaping events that do not deliver only metrics but also the wow factor.

IE: Let’s start from the beginning: who is Kahshanna Evans when she is not planning the next event?

K:  When I’m not shaping strategy for my clients online and offline, I am somewhat of an introverted nerd. Also, I’m a lover of raw smoothies and an artist at heart.

I think because I was formerly in the fashion, film, television, and entertainment industries where I had to master performance and find my way towards being comfortable in front of others. People can imagine what they see on the outside matches my inner world.  I love binge-watching MacGuyver, Hawaii Five-0, and Law & Order. I enjoy volunteerism and speaking at conferences designed to support parity and emerging women entrepreneurs. More recently, as a passion project, I’ve begun working on a mini-documentary with The Womanity Project.  

IE: What does it take for one to master event organization? In other words, as stated per Kissing Lions, “develop, manage and produce meaningful events”?

K: My skills as a MarComm, PR, and Event Strategist carry over to event management. But I have the utmost respect for event aficionados who only manage and produce events.  It takes impossible patience and incredible organization. This is not to mention the maddening unanticipated loopholes and pivots that need to happen seamlessly at a moment’s notice.

To develop, manage, and produce meaningful events, though, takes a team that is as collectively immersed in the pragmatic process. They are not just taking credit for what many event professionals refer to as the “wow factor” when all of the work is done.  The developmental stage of an event or series is one of my favorites because the most creative talents can really bring all of their big ideas to the table. Once an event is officially in pre-production, it definitely takes top talent to keep up momentum and morale.

The ideation and pre-production stage is a time when I encourage teams I work with to consider MarComm and PR strategy. So we continually focus on shaping a brand narrative that delights and inspires event guests. In all, humanity and consideration can’t be faked at events, as consumers are forgiving but are too smart to be fooled.  While all events can be meaningful, this is as important as social impact events. No matter what the budget was, the effort has to show people how much they are a part of a community and a part of the causes and experiences they care about.

Kahshanna Evans. Courtesy of Samson Binutu / Sambition Photography

IE – Digital transformation brought a lot of changes during the last years in the events industry. Having such an intensive journey and over two decades of experience, you´ve developed projects in quite distinctive areas. How do you see the event industry 10 years from now?

K: In ten years from now, events will have made more milestones with sustainable practices.  As consumers continue to be savvy with regard to the experiences and lifestyles they seek, they will cater less to redundant events. For instance, obvious disappointments such as tech events with wifi issues.

I think the experiential gap will close between AI, artificial intelligence, and EQ, emotional intelligence. It relates to events that actually connect people to one another, create movements, and foster real growth rather than merely digital impressions

Social impact and purpose are driving interest for Millennials. So I speculate that for-profit events will take heed and partner with organizations really upholding causes that attract and impress consumer groups increasingly.

IE – Events have a huge potential for connection, there´s no doubt. However, let´s talk business: what´s the impact you notice on a client/company after delivering a successful project?

K: Mainly, the niche and emerging brands and startups I’ve consulted for have communities that are intimate in size that are expressive when they had a great experience or otherwise.  They engage in person and online! Of course, numbers don’t lie.

But beyond typical ways to measure successful projects and events (such as how many invites are opened, how many RSVPs were received, etc.), are people really communicating what inspired them.  If people say they had a great time and have more ideas for the next events, you’ve successfully created a better relationship with them. And therefore, also a sense of community. Sponsors will come back for more if you’re project is successful. Even if it wasn’t perfect.

Looking at the really big picture, a successful project or series grows and changes while keeping the core function. It has to delight and inspire guests, clients, or partners who also benefit from the collective strategy.

IE – You are a successful businesswoman. You’ve been a regular contributor to major media outlets such as Industry Rules and HuffPost. You’ve got a marvelous history of life. In conclusion, what´s one thing you’d say for Event Planners out there on the verge of following your steps?

K: For event planners out there, you are amazing.  There is no one like other event professionals who knows your value and the painstaking steps you take to foster excellence within any given event.  Most of the amazing event professionals and strategists I know already do this. But I’d just say to consider fostering inclusivity. Keep educating newbies in the hopes they perpetuate best practices. And therefore, masterfully combine the old with the new. You may just be training the next generation of committed allies interested in contracting or partnering with you.

Don´t forget to check these other valuable tips on events mastery:

Visit Kissing Lions Public Relations to check the newest projects Kahshanna Evans is working at the moment. You can also find her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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