How to create an impactful event sting

What is an event sting? In simple terms, an event sting is a short piece of animated visual content and sound, designed to grab people’s attention and set the whole tone of an event. ‘Stings’ have their origins in the broadcast world, where they are also known as idents and are widely used to reinforce channel branding. Typically just a few seconds long, they provide short visual and musical punctuations between programmes, and capture attention before shows begin. These stings give TV channels a real personality, and sometimes even become more popular than the programmes themselves – think of BBC1’s swimming hippos or BBC2’s fluffy back-flipping logo. Likewise, a good event sting has flair and personality. It brings branded events to life, turning static logos or event identities into dynamic audio-visual experiences for delegates. Here are our insider tips for producing great event stings:

1. Grab attention quickly

Stings can kick start conferences or be used to get people to take their seats at awards dinners. As the name suggests, stings should be short and sharp. In the broadcast world, they’re sometimes just 4-5 seconds long; in the events world, we’d certainly recommend no more than 1 minute in total. Countdowns before your main sting can create a sense of excitement and expectation. When we produced the Great British Pub awards, we capitalised on the Wild West theme by pretending to shoot giant bullet holes in the opening sting, which certainly got people’s attention!

2. Energise with music

Don’t underestimate the extent to which the right music can really make your event fly. Music both sets the tone for an event, and provides an atmospheric undercurrent. We typically shortlist 3-4 tracks for clients to choose from, each of which we know will set just the right tone for our sting.

3. Minimise lengthy text

Good stings keep text to a minimum. Fewer, bolder words work better – headline facts should be no more than 7-8 words each, and only a handful in any one sting. Animated typography effects or clever scrolling messages can keep people’s interest and make for a much more comfortable viewing experience. Good stings often feature a mix of content – from 3D graphics, to stock footage, existing graphics or original footage – just about anything is possible.

4. Consider screen formats

16:9 widescreen ratios are the most popular format for stings, but often much greater impact can be had on 4:1 ratios for playout on super-wide stage sets. Sometimes, even circular screens are best of all, if it suits the event branding. Will you just use one screen, or a twin screen set up for added interest? And don’t forget to consider whether you need to use your sting content in other ways, post-event which could influence the choice of format.

5. Credit sponsors imaginatively

Event sponsors will often need to be credited in stings. But are they going to be part of an integrated overall sting design, or just dropped in to a sponsors section at the end? Headline sponsors might justifiably expect a bigger billing, and stings can bring this out in creative ways, cementing commercial relationships. Event stings are like packaging for events – the first thing people see, and often a key factor in persuading them to ‘buy in’ to the event theme. If you’d like to see some examples of stings we’ve produced for a whole range of clients and events here at Corporate Events, just give us a call on 01793 234422 and we’d be pleased to help.

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