The art of storytelling in experiential events

"It's not just about the event itself but the storytelling that drives it."

By Jalaja Ramanunni

The Middle East is a hub for major events such as government summits, world-class exhibitions, and corporate conferences at the moment. 

This year, Identity, a global full-service events company with over 20 years of blue-chip experience, announced the expansion of its business to the Middle East by opening two new offices in the United Arab Emirates.

In an interview, Michael Gietzen, the CEO of Identity, says to Campaign Middle East, “There is a strong commitment to delivering experiences, memorable human experiences. It’s not just about the event itself but the storytelling that drives it.”

Are you in Riyadh on May 31st? Do you want to meet the movers and shakers in Saudi media, marketing and advertising? Would you like the latest information and insights into the industry in KSA? Then join us for our Campaign Saudi Briefing 2023: Talent and Technology. Click here to learn more and register.  

He says it is critical to be present in the area as the UAE shapes the environmental discourse leading up to COP28, one of the most prominent and significant summits where over 130 countries come together to take action on climate change, at Expo City in Dubai later this year.

The sustainability conversation

Gietzen reveals that ‘conversation’ is the key theme for this year in the lead-up to COP28 in the UAE. As the Paris Agreement’s Regional Climate Weeks inspire people and organisations to join the movement, Riyadh is hosting the Middle East and North Africa Climate Week (MENACW), kicking off the region’s environmental conversation. 

“Climate and sustainability-conscious action impact all of us, and collaboration is vital to achieving a more sustainable events sector. Learning from each other is crucial, and at Identity, we promote forging the path to a more sustainable industry. For the events sector, there is an ongoing and ever-growing commitment to inspiring positive change by paying attention and bringing awareness to the impact on the environment and local communities.

Identity has been on a journey to implement sustainability and social values at every level. “We have changed the way events are produced and delivered. We have made considerable progress over the last two decades with sustainability and social values. In the past three years, we have implemented initiatives to help achieve our goal of being Net Zero by 2050, including Identity’s Journey to NetZero and Carbon Reduction Plan – Sep 2022.”

With the Paris Agreement and UAE Vision, there is a drive to achieve big goals by the year 2030. “The world is at the mid-point of 2030, a critical year as we know, and we’re also thinking of our long-term strategy to create experiences, integrate, innovate, and navigate with our regional peers, partners, and the wider ecosystem. Our expansion is just the starting point and more positive disruptions will come.”

Identity is shaping its organisational structure in the UAE to create a new market space – especially as it is the perfect hotspot for the team and industry practitioners alike to propel this fast-paced region. Gietzen says, “Expanding our regional footprint to the Middle East now is an opportunity to offer more of and nurture our production expertise – building on our existing portfolio and delivering seamless and memorable events in the region. “

Events are becoming more experiential, and digital transformation has disrupted the events market. Gietzen adds, “As we recognise the calibre of change in the events industry, we must adapt to a full capacity and capability to execute accordingly. Helping clients navigate the complexities of digital transformation is vital and an opportunity for live human experiences, embracing the multisensory virtual realm, and marrying the live and digital worlds to bring to life memorable hybrid events.”