Successful Corporate Events
When it comes to corporate branding events or spoiling your clients, a generic, forgettable event will be just that—forgettable.
Celebrate your company’s latest success, launch your brand’s newest product, or throw a spectacular customer appreciation event for your very best clients and stakeholders. Any event creates new opportunities to reach potential customers you might not otherwise reach. So give yourself permission to go all out for a stunning, memorable corporate event that will impress current and new customers. And it doesn’t have to break the bank to be exactly what you need.
Planning a Corporate Event
Everybody loves a great party. The mere act of getting together and spending time in a new setting with your ideal customers helps you to build trust and a relationship. But to make the most impact with your event, you need more. The event needs cohesion and something to make sure attendees won't soon forget the event. How do you make that happen?
Start by developing a plan.
Where do you start with your plan?
Create a Vision
Building a successful business event within your budgeted resources begins with a vision. What's your vision for your event? A clear vision will bring the event (and the planning for the event) together. It will allow you to move forward with a clear picture of what needs to happen to make the event an enjoyable experience for everyone.
After all, the better experience your attendees have, the better chance that your event will create buzz and increase sales. So how do you give them a great experience?
Make It Personal
You've heard the old idiom, "It's nothing personal—just business." It's time to demolish that saying.
You already know that your best customers are those who feel a personal connection with your business, brand, and products. Those are the customers who keep coming back and refer friends. They are also the ones who never bat an eye when you raise your prices. The avenue to securing more customers is through a personal connection. So it's time to get personal.
How do you do that?
Talk to your customers whenever possible. Ask them about their lives. And listen to their answers. You'll learn all kinds of useful information. If you offer a high-end luxury item, you may discover that your customers' purchase from you specifically because of the scarcity or exclusivity of your product or services. They feel as if by purchasing your products or services, that they're marking their financial success.
Or perhaps your customers who prefer the scarcity of what you offer purchase from you because they know that no one is getting the exact same experience as they are when buying from you. They like to know they are different, set apart, and experiencing a more one-of-a-kind journey in life.
Reinforce those feelings by providing them a unique experience. Start with the music. Choose a DJ who has experience with high-end events (such as Behind the DJ Booth) who does more than simply play music. Choose a DJ who takes pride in offering a seamless soundtrack based on their artistry, fine-tuned to tastes and preferences of every guest to keep them engaged in the event.
Choosing an event DJ and the perfect venue is important. These two choices will set the tone for the rest of your event.
Brand Your Brand
What is unique about your business? Whatever it is, highlight it. Plan around your brand. Think in terms of how to bring your logo and corporate message to life, and how to connect directly with your guests. Define your key messages, next steps, and takeaways for your guests to mull over once the event has ended. What do you want to do with the information? What is your call to action that you want subtly conveyed throughout the event?
Keep all of these top of mind as you plan all of your event details. Make sure your brand leaves an impression on every person who attends your event.
Work with a Professional
You work with a specialized professional for all of the most important aspects of your business, and planning an event is no different. Hire an event planner.
With any major event, there are many details to consider, not to mention day-of coordination and orchestration. You're busy running your business. Spend your time doing what you do best and leave the event planning to an event planner because that's what they do best.
Event planners are an all-around excellent choice since they have so many relationships with vendors and other professionals in the industry. They know the best of the best, and as an industry professional, they already know many of the pros and cons of every decision that can come along.
Event planners are great at working within a budget. Once you’ve determined your allocated budget, an event planner can help you get the most bang for your buck and assist in bringing your vision to life by working on everything from event layout, catering menu, timeline for the event, to DJ.
A professional photographer is also a huge plus if you don’t have one in-house. You’ll want professional photos for use later on your website, social media, presentations or marketing materials, or for press releases. If you have key business duties to attend to at the event, a professional planner can definitely save your sanity, and you may actually get to enjoy the full experience yourself.
An event that is full of blunders and worst-case-scenarios will impress no one. Hire a professional so your evening goes smoothly.
A Grand Entrance
There’s no better way to greet and wow your guests upon their arrival than with an over-the-top entrance. Get creative—create a branded backdrop for photo ops (also called a step and repeat), roll out the red carpet, hire a doorman. Your guests will feel welcomed, energized, and well-cared for from the moment they arrive.
Eliminate Opportunities for Awkwardness
Inevitably, there is dead space between the grand entrance, photo opportunity, coat check, and event check-in. This is an often overlooked moment that is full of potential. As guests are typically in a holding pattern at this point, carry on the excitement the step and repeat. Use this as a valued space for your product placement and demonstrations. Arrange for comfortable, engaging experts from your company to be on hand to chat with guests about your new products or latest company endeavors.
Get creative with your designs and partner with an amazing fabrication company. Think visual, interactive and tying it all back to your brand and logo color scheme. Ceiling projections, gobos—set the tone for the event.
Encourage Digital Engagement
Make use of the moments after your guests' entrances to find out what’s on their minds. At check-in, invite your guests to text to your event’s social account or big screen. This local number can receive text messages or provides a link to a web message form making it easy for them to join the conversation. This also firmly puts the attention back on your guests, engaging them in the evening and allowing them to feel part of the event.
Make sure you have a company moderator fully engaged in real-time to manage the conversation, keeping it rolling and appropriate. Having a moderator actively monitoring these messages also improves the quality of the content that appears on the live wall or social media so it’s more interesting and encouraging of engagement. Monitors can ask live questions about your company’s new products, client experience, what they’d like to see in future products, and more.
The Main Event
As your guests enter the main venue, this a perfect place for some of your company’s executive team to welcome guests. Have team members invite them in to partake of the refreshments you’ve selected. Make sure your team is well aware of the key stakeholders on the RSVP list so those VIPs can be greeted accordingly. Encourage them to have their latest 20 to 30 second elevator pitch ready for small talk with guests.
Gently remind them to mix and mingle. Nothing is worse than a company’s senior leaders huddled together at event discussing shop talk and paying little attention to their important guests who have made a commitment of their time to be there.
Make your guests feel special and comfortable. Nobody is happy when they are hungry, too hot, or too cold, and their iPhone is dead. Make sure there is plenty of seating, shade or warmth if outdoors, excellent food and drinks and incredible music. Plan for charging stations for their technology. Take good care of them and they will thank you and remember you for it.
Whether you choose to pursue food stations (which are great for keeping guests mingling) or a sit down affair, keep it exciting, delicious, and branded. If your venue is outdoors, go for fun food trucks handing out fresh cheeseburgers sliders or street food with your logo or brand on them. Mini dessert bars with branded cupcakes, doughnuts, crepes, or gelato will let your party-goers indulge their sweet tooth while socializing. For the bar, get creative, request a mixologist to design some signature drinks named along the lines of your company name, brand and logo colors.
Select a professional, innovative DJ. Your choice is especially critical as your DJ will guide the flow of your event, interaction with your guests, and direction to any activities. A good DJ will help you keep your agenda on track. Give your DJ insight into the guests you have invited, so they have a better of idea of the genre of music which would best suit your event and venue.
Set a clearly defined agenda and messages for the event. For example, the timing of a warm welcome with short, very to-the-point key messages, toast, and a thank-you-for-attending speech from your CEO, president or member of your company’s senior leadership team will keep the evening rolling and on point.
Who doesn’t love awesome swag bags with clever items that correlate with your logo and brand? Nobody wants to carry them around throughout the event. After your event is well underway, turn your check-in table to a parting gift table for guests to pick up on their way out.
Capture the Moment
Once you’ve celebrated your off-the-chart event, be sure to keep your digital return on investment rolling by posting professional photos from your photograph to your company’s website, social media accounts and any other marketing materials that are appropriate. Share the news, illuminate your company’s success, energy, and brand—you deserve it!