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The Secret Sauce for planning a Killer Event #EVENT at the Museum of Contemporary Art – #VividIdeas

A feature post by Anna Kochetkova


Sydney is currently hosting one of the most exciting events, Vivid, which is largely known as a light show. However, Vivid is not just about pretty lights but a whole range of exciting events, intriguing art and, most importantly, ideas and their expressions. Vivid Ideas is ideas’ parade happening every day, several times a day over the period Vivid happening in town.

The ideas represent a wide spectrum of events from music and cinematography to aboriginal storytelling and digital marketing trends’ pitch nights. It is really an amazing opportunity for like-minded and self-categorized peers to get together and soak in whatever they enjoy talking about, learning about and exchanging ideas about.


Personally, I find many events like that inspirational and motivational which makes me think harder and create more. In other words, one or two ideas I usually pick up during seminars and summits often become my next steps in life, new hobbies, new projects or improved existing practices. Moreover, meeting new people from so many different parts of the professional world is a priceless and fun exercise.

Enough of fluff! The 6th of June morning was wet, miserable, cold and almost depressing in Sydney. I caught a train to the city to visit one of my favorite spots in Sydney – Museum of Contemporary Art. As you probably would imagine, a museum of that type of art would be heavily involved with something like pretty light Vivid.

The Secret Sauce of planning a Killer Event seminar organised by Eventbrite together with Vivid, Wildwon, General and Sydney Festival was an event to be at. I didn’t hesitate much before booking my spot. Why? One of my favorite spots, a good bunch of awesomely creative and successful people in one room and fantastic Sydney views from the MCA’s balcony… what else would you want to be a part of on Friday morning?

In case you are not very familiar with the organisations I’ve mentioned above I am happy to enlighten you because I believe it is a must to be very familiar with them.


Eventbrite is a large ticketing web site which I personally use for all my events for myself and my clients. It was originally founded by Julia and Kevin Hartz. They have now opened an office in Australia (Melbourne) which is really exciting. The URL was only registered in 2011.

Wildwon is only about a year old, which I must admit surprised me a little. These guys organise some grand events. They work with projects, not just killer events. I absolutely love their work, personally. I encourage you to check their projects’ page out to get a feel of their awesomeness. Yvonne Lee, the creative producer, is a very inspiring and enthusiastic person. So much positive energy! During Yvonne’s talk I picked up a lot of cute and creative ideas for my clients’ events, more importantly, not involving stretched budgets.

For me to introduce General to you I need to confess that I had no idea who they were. I understand they provide courses and workshops which are within the digital space. Well, I am currently looking for more certifications so… Tiffany McHugh is their Outcomes & Alumini Producer. Now, do you know what is it?

Finally, a Sydney well-known (I hope) Sydney Festival community is responsible for all the arty stuff happening in Sydney during summer. I am sure you’ve seen the giant Rubber Duck and went to Sydney Food Festival. Well, SF is who organises them for us. They only operate 8 - 26 January. Their digital marketing manager Julia Thomas appeared a little shy on the seminar; however adorable; and shared some useful insights of SF operations. The only surprise I’ve experienced during her panel talk is that they do not really follow any system, their marketing operations flow organically, accordingly.


‘The Secret Sauce of planning a Killer’ event took off at 9am on the top floor of MCA, Sydney. As soon as I walked into the room I felt like flying. The white milk crates everywhere, white chairs and orange Eventbrite cupcakes, homemade MCA cookies, tea, coffee and even orange juice… It was just so welcoming.

I went to the event alone. When I do so and I enjoy the event I attended I always feel sorry for the rest of the world who wasn’t there. This is why I feel obliged to share the priceless ideas I picked up that morning.

‘What are you going to be in 5 years?’ is no longer the correct question. I had no idea three years ago that I would be in marketing today. A year ago I wanted to be a zoo keeper and not sure if I will be one in the next couple of years. I’ve been a writer for over 10 years; however I did almost no writing throughout 2008 and 2009 years when first arrived in Australia. Why this question is no longer valid? Our world is dynamically changing, quicker than the light speed. We change. Environment change. Social and economic situation and demands change. In Dan Gilbert’s word, the only thing we can be certain about is change. Therefore Yvonne (Wildwon creative producer) struggled to answer this question when she was out of university. Instead she replied to ‘What excites you?’ instead.

This is the question I believe we should be asking our children from the day they start talking.

‘People might not remember what you did or who you were but people will always remember how you made them feel’. I am a great believer and advocate of creating the right environment and atmosphere, or the feel and the touch, in other words. It can be costly, it can be cheap; however always a win if you run events whether it is a large corporate conference or smaller fun birthday party.

‘Events start way before the actual date enabling an opportunity to communicate to your audience‘ & ‘the event never finishes’ meaning it takes different appearances with each step but never really stops. If you are an event organiser you know how hectic this job can be. Finishing an event never means your job is done. Same goes for your audience. Your attendees are now talking on social media after the event praising it or complaining. You work your hardest following up with them planning the next event already. In Yvonne’s words, ‘events never stop’.

‘Find you’re A-team’ is a very important advice I’ve taken aboard some time before coming to the event. No matter how amazing you are, unless you are a super man (woman), you cannot pull a killer event on your own. Event planning encompasses almost endless amount of tasks; and you need help with them because there are only 24 hours a day unfortunately. In Yvonne’s words ‘you can’t do it alone‘.

‘E-mail blasts no longer work’ so stop spamming. In addition, the Spam Act has been recently updated disabling businesses to e-mail blast anyone they Google. I believe it is all about developing relationships nowadays which mean more effort and time spent on actually communicating with your audience rather than simply ‘targeting’ it, as marketers would say.

You buy ticket, you get excited, share it on social media – your friends get excited, share it… ‘ says Kelly Burge. It is almost a circle of life. Social media is a large part of our lives whether you like it or not. Use it or walk away from whatever you doing.

Tell me what you want and I will make it happen‘ is a combination of two quotes from two different people. I combined them together because they make so much more sense that way. I find this idea very important in the modern relationships’ world we live in. Communication is priceless and communicating ‘what you want’ poorly often results in making wrong stuff happen. Practice expressing your thoughts. Practice makes it perfect. It is especially important in the business world.

‘Use all set of eyes in your team’ was a really good point I could strongly relate to. As a marketing manager, I often wish I could see my clients’ business through the eyes of the founders, sales teams and customers, I always want to feel what they feel and hear what they think. Julia Thomas (marketing manager from SF) was giving an example of grabbing images of her team members who were for example taking behind the scene pictures for the sake of fun which ended up creating awesome content for SF. Cooperate with all members of your business; each member brings their own point of view diversifying your work.

‘Bring data into your conversation’ makes your talk influential. As Tiffany McHugh (from General mentioned, data never lies.

‘Make it easy for everyone to access your event and be invited’; in other words, make it really hard not to attend your event.

‘People can really tell when things are done with or without integrity’ makes a lot of sense to anyone who has ever attended an event. You can feel if the atmosphere is fake, inspiring or confusing. As mentioned earlier, people always remember how you made them feel.

‘Instead of BUY NOW tell a story’ represents our quickly changing society no longer wishing to only be told what to do. We now want to be talked to, we want to hear amazing stories and be a part of awesome events.


Another awesome tip I took away from the seminar is to engage volunteers, freelancers and contributors. It goes back to building relationships, developing your network and make people feel great. In Seth Godin’s words, don’t worry about taking a credit for your work, let others own it – they will come back to you for more.

Anna Kochetkova

A journalist by training and a marketer by accident, Anna Kochetkova has evolved into a freelance writer and currently works as a marketing & social media manager & events coordinator, researching her inner self and pushing the horizons of creativity.

Anna’s written a bunch of awesome articles about fitness, lifestyle, travel, exhibitions, finance and events. She won’t stop there! Anna always keeps up to date with business, marketing and international studies out of curiosity, as well as a part of her professional interests. Anna is a Russian author living in Australia whose cultural difference inspires her to investigate different cultures, traditions and beliefs travelling throughout the diversity of our world. Feel free to say hi to Anna on LinkedIn, Facebook and visit her personal blog. Speak up and share your story & opinion.

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