Reto Leder explores the mother of all event planning: the raison d’être

In the world of human connections, events are not just a significant sales platform, they are also a mirror of society’s communication needs. Each event, to be successful, must have a distinct “raison d’être,” a purpose that goes beyond the mere gathering.

Understanding the “Raison d’être”

At the core of every successful event lies a convincing raison d’être. An underlying purpose that breathes life into the event. This purpose serves as the guiding force, influencing every aspect of event planning and execution. Whether it’s fostering connections, disseminating knowledge, celebrating achievements, or championing a cause, the “raison d’être” is the heartbeat of any event.

Events as Catalysts for Change

More than just social affairs, events function as powerful catalysts for societal change. For instance, conferences bring together thought leaders and professionals, generating intellectual growth and innovation. Celebratory events mark significant milestones, nurturing a sense of accomplishment and unity within diverse communities. Fundraising events channel collective efforts towards supporting noble causes, embodying the spirit of philanthropy.

Defining the Raison d’être

Determine the purpose of the event

Think about the main purpose, the main goal, or the main reason why this event should take place at all. Possible reasons could be knowledge transfer, networking, entertainment, or promoting a particular cause or idea.

Example – Product Launch: The raison d’être for a product launch event is to generate excitement and publicity around a new product, driving sales and market success.

Example – Team Building Retreat: The raison d’être of a team-building retreat is to enhance teamwork, improve communication, and strengthen relationships among employees or group members.

Identify the target group

Define who the target audience of the event should be. Which people or groups should benefit or be addressed by the event?

Example – Product Launch: Existing and potential customers. Marketing & sales teams. Production teams.

Example – Team Building Retreat: Specific teams (e.g., innovation, sustainability, sales, production, etc.). Cross-functional teams.

Define the added value for participants

Think about what added value the event should offer participants. What benefits should they gain from attending? These could be new ideas, information, inspiration, contacts, or concrete solutions, for example.

Example – Product Launch: Product features and benefits. Best practice cases of applicability. Sales training for resellers. Networking opportunities.

Example – Team Building Retreat: Get to know each other better and strengthen relationships. Get a better understanding of employees’ needs from an employer perspective. Gain a better understanding of the company’s vision and mission.

Define the unique selling points

Identify the unique selling points of the event. What makes it unique or special? What distinguishes it from similar events?

Example – Product Launch: Meet the innovation team behind the product. Meet other customers who have already successfully used the product.

Example – Team Building Retreat: Teams can interact and collaborate, not just listen and nod.

Define the results or impact

Define what results or impact the event should achieve. What specific goals should be achieved?

Example – Product Launch: Turn stakeholders into product ambassadors.

Example – Team Building Retreat: Team integration. Improved workplace environment.


Now we need to summarize all of the above points and formulate the “raison d’être” of the event in one or two clear and concise sentences, that can be communicated to the team.

Example – Product Launch: The purpose of the product launch event is to wow all invited groups with the benefits and success of the new product, prompting guests to go home and talk about the product everywhere they go.

Example – Team Building Retreat: The purpose of the retreat is to unify the team to such an extent that “collaboration” is not just a buzzword, but a philosophy and a (work) lifestyle.

Defining the “raison d’être” of an event not only helps you to plan and design the event, but also enables participants to recognize and understand the value of the event.

Reto Leder is CEO of the Convention Centre Trafo Baden, just outside Zurich in Switzerland. With 40 years of working experience in the international hospitality industry, Reto is the consummate service professional. Together with his team at Trafo Baden, ... (Read More)

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