Designing an impact event.

Recently, we worked with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), to develop an event brand and experience around the annual parliamentary impact showcase. An opportunity at the heart of government to connect and inform the diverse range ARENA stakeholders of the organisation’s intent, achievements, and ultimately their impact on accelerating renewable energy technologies to market. This was the ‘Innovating Energy Summit’.

Nuanced, distinct

Work of this kind in a government context is distinct, but not divorced from a corporate, or startup environment. We still began at the beginning; identifying key achievements, strategic priorities, stakeholder groups and their needs. We then set about conceiving an overarching creative concept broad enough to unite theme and purpose, but deep enough to allow layering of detail and delivery of relevant messages to audience segments.

Ultimately, the primary purpose of this event brand was to generally connote, and specifically communicate the output and impact of the agency to those responsible for ARENA’s ongoing mandate and funding. B2B or B2F* communications by any other name.

*Business to funders

A multi-stakeholder environment

Every project has an identifying quirk, something that informs the approach to a creative response, and ultimately shapes the output. For the Innovating Energy Summit, this was the complexity of a multi-stakeholder audience. Technologists and project proponents, ARENA staff and specialists, partner agencies, policy makers, politicians, media and the public, all in one room on one day, with wildly divergent need and intent.

We defined a broad event theme ‘It’s happening’, linking the organisational identity and purpose of ARENA to the output and impact they were tangibly delivering. Connoting momentum, achievement and progress, through a visual identity scheme that was intensely colourful, contemporary, and captured both movement and measurement.

If you’re interested in what form Ellis Jones’ creative response took, you can read our case study for detail and visuals. There is a link at the bottom of the article.

Designing an impact experience

An holistic approach to the brand and event experience was key to the success of the project. ARENA’s internal event team integrated with the EJ project team for the duration; most importantly in early workshops, brainstorming and concept development. This ensured a valuable voice of ARENA’s world view. Interest and involvement at a leadership level meant direct access to ARENA’s key strategic priorities and specific organisational context. ARENA understood and supported the event concept from the outset, and were steadfast in support Ellis Jones to deliver across physical, spatial and digital touchpoints. The result of which was an event brand and visitor experience that was consistent, cohesive and immersive. From the die-cut, interactive VIP invitations, to the internal digital promotions, to the lighting scheme and screen presentations on the day. The creative concept of “It’s happening” was universally present and built a platform for exhibitors, proponents and ARENA itself to share specific stories of organisational impact with their relevant audiences.


Ultimately, the Innovating Energy Summit event brand was effective in activating ARENA’s brand, vision and achievements to a diverse multi-stakeholder audience. It introduced a narrative around progress and achievement that has continued to be built on over following months, and has created anticipation around the 2018 instalment in a way previously unknown. For Ellis Jones, it marked another step in our partnership with ARENA, and led to more exciting and innovative work, including designing and developing the physical and digital annual reports for the organisation for FY16-17; further opportunities to explore communication of organisational identity and impact outcomes.

See design in action. Visit the Innovating Energy Summit project in our Design Studio. And talk to us about communicating your impact.