Your Guide on How to Plan a Corporate Event
Do you have a corporate event to plan? This guide will help you pull it off with ease.
- Important commercial and consumer ties may be developed through corporate events.
- Knowing your goals, your target audience, and your available resources can help you begin the planning process.
- Make sure your strategy is carried out flawlessly after you have a greater knowledge of the situation.
- This post is for small business owners setting up a corporate event to support business growth and fortify relationships with clients.
Any firm that wishes to develop long-lasting relationships, which are essential for corporate success, must understand how to put on professional events. By organizing a corporate event, you may fortify your relationships with current customers and business partners while fostering sincere relationships and luring new ones.
Myke Nahorniak, co-founder and CEO of Localist, noted that events give businesses a personal method to develop relationships with their target consumers as well as increase brand awareness and loyalty. “The important ties created via in-person conversation cannot be replaced by tweets, Facebook status updates, or LinkedIn messages.”
It’s important to approach each meeting with an awareness of the fundamental components of event management: research, design, planning, coordination, and assessment, whether you’re holding a 300-person product launch or a 15-person staff training. It is much simpler to envision and put together the numerous moving parts necessary to bring an event to life after it has been divided into these manageable stages. Here are five suggestions for organizing an occasion that your guests won’t quickly forget.
1.Understand the purpose of your event.
Once you’ve made the decision to hold an event, the first thing you should do is lay out your goals.
Before you do anything else, it’s critical to understand the aims and purposes of the event you’re producing, according to B. Worley Productions’ creative director and owner Brian Worley.
Start by considering your motivations for holding the event and your expectations for it. You may decide what sort of event will appeal to your target audience once you’ve determined your objectives and expectations.
According to Serena Holmes, CEO of Tigris Events, “don’t simply think of it as a business event; think of it as you’re presenting an engaging brand experience.” You want it to be interesting and significant,
2. Decide on your audience.
Identifying your target audience is a crucial step in the planning process. Are they members of your company’s higher management, business partners, or the local community? Is it for current or prospective customers? Maybe it’s a mix of some or all of the aforementioned factors. A successful event depends on identifying your target audience and knowing how to contact them. You may tailor the programme to your audience’s needs and interests once you’ve identified who they are.
Choosing how many people to invite to these occasions is always challenging. Julian Jost, CEO and co-founder of Space base, asserts that it is preferable to invite too many guests than not enough.
Empty chairs and unsold snacks are a waste of money and a terrible look for small enterprises, he claimed. With rare instances, such as locations with very limited space or if a three-course meal is scheduled, having too many attendees won’t usually ruin an event. Even if too many people show up, it’s still effective advertising. The buzz you generate the next day will heighten interest in your upcoming event.
No matter how few or many guests are invited, how they are treated will be remembered. According to Valerie Gernhauser, owner and main planner of Sapphire Events, “everyone attending the event is a potential brand ambassador or word-of-mouth spokesman for… your firm.” “It’s crucial to have a big influence on the guest experience by paying attention to the smaller aspects that every attendee will notice right away.”
3. Set a realistic budget.
To decide what kind of event you can put on, you must first know how much money you have available. Worley advises that you set a budget early on and then budget at least 10% over than that.
Things are always changing, so you should have some extra money set aside for unforeseen needs, he advised.
Knowing where to put the majority of your resources after you have a budget is crucial. Your event may lack substance if, for instance, you spend more on ostentatious décor than on a capable tech team or engaging speakers.
Don’t scrimp on refreshments either, and remember to cater for those with special dietary needs. Although it might not seem as crucial as other components of your event preparation, audiences are more understanding of mistakes when they are not thirsty or hungry.
4. Choose a theme and format.
It’s time to select a subject or topic for the event and decide on the best way to offer it to your visitors once you’ve established your objectives and identified your target demographic.
Organizing a client event with an industry authority, such as a guest speaker, for instance, might portray your business as a trusted advisor rather than just a supplier. Other well-liked choices include peer-to-peer learning with client panels, keynotes, roundtables, and breakout session speakers.
According to J.J. Barnes, chief marketing officer of Envisat, “always provide opportunities for participants to do something enjoyable, unique, and entertaining that they wouldn’t ordinarily do anywhere or anytime else.” This may be playing golf on a fantastic course, listening to a renowned speaker, comedian, or band, or experiencing something novel, exhilarating, or exclusive for the first time.
According to Worley, an effective business event is both immersive and instructive.
The ones that are participatory, as opposed to spending all day in a ballroom listening to a speaker, are more effective, educational, and enjoyable, he claimed. In order to connect visitors with the ideal people and settings for networking and learning, we make a significant effort these days to develop experiences that go beyond theater-style sitting.
Worley said, “Decide what you are going to do to make this a ‘out of the box’ event. Spend the time now determining what will set your event apart from others in the same business or even others you have previously produced.
5. Establish a project timeline.
You must manage a variety of responsibilities while planning the event. The creation of a comprehensive master checklist can help with this. You may stay organized and simplify all the little things with online project management software.
The overall planning checklist is a tool that is used throughout the planning process, according to Gernhauser. She said that her staff begins with a list for 12 months in the future and completes checklists at intervals of 9 months, 6 months, 4 months, 2 months, the month of, 2 weeks before, the week before, and the day of the event. “This work list breakdown makes it easier for our team to anticipate the timeline of goals we need to aim for.”
You may manage your checklist without special software by making a spreadsheet with separate tabs for each event area, such as location, speakers, time, agenda, and transport. You may then identify each activity or assignment, the individuals in charge of each step in the process, and all pertinent due dates. Although Microsoft Excel is frequently used, there are other spreadsheet programmes available. For your convenience, we’ve gathered a selection of Microsoft Office free alternatives.
6. Select an appropriate location.
Finding a location that enables you to realize your idea is important once you’ve decided what kind of event you want to organize and laid out a budget. Even if you haven’t yet settled on the goal of your event, it might be tempting to go ahead and reserve a location you’ve heard good things about or that you are aware is a hotspot on the rise. According to Worley, this is a mistake.
A round peg always has a hard time fitting into a square hole, and the same is true with events, he observed. “First create the event architecture, then look for a location that meets all the requirements for success.”
“Location is essential to attendance,” says Barnes. She advises choosing a place with a lively environment at an accessible location so that guests would feel at ease and be ready to travel.
Jost advises cutting expenses by organizing the event at a less busy time when the location is more likely to be accessible, such as hosting a media breakfast on a Monday morning, if you are on a low budget.
Gina Argento, president and chief executive officer of Broadway Stages, advised being as inclusive to the neighbourhood as you can. “For catering requirements, different rentals, and many other essential things, we always employ local providers. By doing this, we are assisting the neighbourhood and offering residents the chance to network and grow their companies.
7. Plan the logistics of the day.
You must find, evaluate, and hire all the required event professionals if you want your event to be successful. This might include, to mention a few, caterers, audiovisual specialists, printers, designers, photographers, florists, and security people. Of course, you must also get presenters and speakers, such as well-known individuals, subject matter experts, or influential personalities, who can effectively convey the concepts you want to spread across the gathering.
Establish a schedule for the event and make sure everyone on your team is aware of what areas of the day they are in charge of managing to ensure that everything goes as planned.
You must make a conscious effort to strike a balance between maintaining attendance’ attention and allowing them some flexibility with their schedules. According to Jonathan Chan, a former Insane Growth marketing director, “people become tired rapidly.” You’ve essentially spent a lot of money on a vanity event if there isn’t enough variety to keep people engaged.
You also don’t want to load the timetable too tightly. The itinerary has to provide for flexibility to handle any potential unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, your participants require some alone time to reflect on what they have learned, refuel, and socialize with other attendees.
Choose presents that make a great impact and a little footprint instead of the usual promotional handouts with the company logo as your approach to end the day. Jost believes that a digital take-home would be a far superior concept.
He explained, “That may be a promotional code that provides discounts to guests or it could provide access to internet material from the event, such images and videos. It could also provide the opportunity to pre-register for the following event. Give visitors a reason to keep in touch.
8. Make use of technology.
The days of tedious mile-long lists to keep track of all the moving pieces of an event are long gone. There are a tonne of event management software platforms and applications available today (some of which provide a free basic product), and they can be used for everything from smooth on-site check-in of participants to improving the attractiveness of workshops and presentations with simulations and virtual reality games.
According to Nick Jackson, Digital Marketing Manager at Brandix Agency, using event apps may greatly expedite preparation and boost attendee engagement.
Event teams may construct their own custom-branded event apps to use for several conferences and events throughout the year, or event data can be rapidly filled up using spreadsheet templates and instantaneously published into an existing event container app, according to Jackson. The majority of event applications contain features that provide participants access to all the information they need before, during, and after the event while also enabling them to give feedback to the speakers and organizers.
Large displays across the space may readily display interactive elements like live polling and session Q&A, and some applications incorporate gamification elements like scavenger hunts. If your speaker slides are in the right format, you can simply upload them to the event app to make them available to attendees.
While keeping your occasion on schedule, event management software also makes it simpler to collaborate with suppliers and other creative partners.
Gernhauser, who uses Basecamp, a well-liked cloud-based project management system, and Social Tables, another web-based event planning platform known for its event-diagramming and seating capabilities, said that streamlining communication among all the parties by using a project management system we can all collaborate on has been extremely helpful in reducing the frustrations of relying on email communication alone.
9. Promote your event.
It is crucial to come up with innovative strategies to spread the news about your event since nobody will turn up if they are unaware of it. You may just send out invites for a small event with a modest guest list, but for larger gatherings, you need to be more daring.
A range of advertising strategies are needed to increase attendance in the current digital era, according to Barnes. “We normally begin by emailing our database, putting advertising in trade publications, submitting our event to listings and directories, and enlisting the help of our sales teams to promote [our conference] while on-site with customers or partners.”
You should approach the advertising of your business event as though you were creating a marketing plan for your event and its timetable. Of course, marketing strategies are frequently created on a larger, more general basis to assist direct your efforts toward raising awareness. This can help your particular event succeed if you apply it to it. To help you adapt these abilities on a more micro level, we provided advice on how to write a solid company marketing strategy.
From there, you may spread the word with the help of your team and advertise on social media. Create a landing page on your present website or, at the very least, an event website. Additionally, you may use guest blog articles, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter updates as part of your social media marketing strategy. Maintain consistency by utilizing the same handle, hashtag, and messaging across platforms so that it is always obvious that the buzz is about a certain event.
Additionally, you may look into potential sponsorship options for your event. A portion of the event may be funded by sponsors, which aids in cost reduction. More significantly, sponsors have a financial stake in publicising your event. Make a list of potential sponsors whose businesses, causes, or products would best support your event. You may create a variety of sponsorship packages and talk to them about possible alliances. The easiest way to do this is to concentrate your pitch on emphasizing the importance of attendees to potential sponsors.
Barnes stated, “We collaborate with media sponsors to speak at our events. It’s a win-win arrangement since they gain “free” exposure and mindshare in exchange for promoting our event.
10. Celebrate and evaluate your event planning success.
Congratulations if everything went off without a hitch at your event! But you’re not done yet. Sending final payments to suppliers, balancing your accounts, and having a post-event debrief with your team are just a few of the loose ends that need to be tied up right now.
Most essential, you need to get visitor feedback. You may utilize a feedback feature on an event planning software to pose questions to participants. You may use this information to assess if the event achieved your initial objectives and to ascertain whether or not it had any effect on the attendance. After that, you may tell all the necessary parties so that a suitable follow-up can be organized. You may improve your planning for the subsequent event by using the lessons you learn.
Some of the comments you receive may not be favourable if you are organizing these events or working on a team to put them together. We discussed how critical it is to offer and accept constructive criticism in order to help people better grasp how to give and receive this kind of feedback.