The Mythology Behind Successful Community Events
Every year, England celebrates a failed terror attack.
Like many social events, this one began to reinforce one group identity over another. This event celebrates the survival and triumph of parliament over Catholic usurprers (and by association, all of Catholicism).
Events reinforce the group identity (often at the expense of a real or imagined threat/enemy).
In difficult times, with divided loyalties, events serve as useful propaganda tools. Many of the most prominent events today trace origins to divided times. July 4th, December 25th, Thanksgiving, Easter etc…all celebrate one unique group identity at the expense of another.
Social science predicts that organizing an event, with a mythology, based upon a specific date, with a unique activity to that group would bond a group together. This in turn increases the level of activity.
Lots of groups, organizations, and, yes, communities try to host successful events. Yet most ignore the key mythology that makes events succeed.
- Pick a date that has a unique relevance. Don't randomly pick a date, select a date that has a unique significance to your audience.
- Embrace existing mythology. Birth of christ, gunpower plot, conquering Britain, gaining independence, great events have a great mythology. Whose birth, what product launch, what significant event matters in your sector?
- Facilitate relevant events. A speaker is fine, running a marathon might be better…for running communities. Your topic will entail unique events to your sector – use these events.
- Plan the interactions. Don't hope interactions happen, structure them. Put people into groups. Host afterparties. Plan who will interact with whom, and when.
- Narrative. if possible, take the audience through a journal during the event. This narrative should be emotional. Highlight or break down progress.
- Closure. Have specific closure. End with a bang. People remember the best part of the experience and how it ended more than anything else.
Remember that events began small. There was a small olympics before a big one. Don't expect the first event to be huge. Events take time to build up and gain acceptance.