If the word ‘corporate’ is less intimidating to you, how about ‘corporate event planning’ ?
We know. The thought of planning a corporate event can itself spark anxiety. However, it all depends on the scale and type of the event you are organizing. A small seminar or conference might conclude successfully with 4 weeks of preparation time. But the same cannot be said about product launches or trade shows.
The success of any corporate event depends on:
- The strategy you choose
- Team coordination
- How well you have streamlined your activities
We have prepared this all-inclusive and effective guide to corporate event planning. Hope it helps!
A. What are corporate events?
Corporate events refer to any type of event, hospitality, or social activity sponsored by a company. It primarily focuses on either its employees or clients. These events can be organized for a variety of reasons including -
- To mark key milestones with clients and employees
- To educate staff or the public regarding various concepts promoted by the organization
- To encourage collaboration among different entities
- To manage organizational change within the company
B. 7 common corporate event types you’ll come across
Conferences are usually held for a day with the primary purpose of connecting with target audiences. They are used as a medium to educate and motivate attendees to increase collaboration and networking. Conferences will typically feature several keynote speakers and occur at conference centers or hotels.
ii. Product launches
Product launches or launch events are held to announce a company’s new product or service. The role of these events is to create hype and generate PR around the new launches.
The targeted audience expands beyond the people attending the launch including customers, press, stakeholders, and employees, often mixing an information experience with a celebration.
iii. Trade shows
Trade shows are typically large industry-specific events to connect companies with potential customers. The event is mostly held in large indoor or outdoor spaces where various businesses pay for space, advertising, and potential networking opportunities.
Businesses attend trade shows as exhibitors that require promotional materials, exhibition stands, motivated and effective sales teams, and unique marketing to promote products and services.
iv. Award ceremonies
Award ceremonies are often held together with gala dinners. They are hosted to reward the employees, suppliers, and customers or to celebrate the best performers. Many businesses also regularly sponsor and participate in industry awards to promote their business, improve their reputation, and increase brand awareness.
v. Incentive programs
Incentive programs are most commonly targeted at employees and resellers and are typically a combination of event types linked by a teaser campaign. They commence with a sales conference where sales messages and targets are communicated to the audience. Then it is followed by a series of communications to the attendees where they are reminded of the ultimate goals and what is required to achieve them.
vi. Team-building activities
Team-building activities are organized to boost employee morale and encourage collaboration. They are generally focused on employees but can be used for external audiences too.
Employees are allowed to spend time in an informal environment and can be game-charged requiring teams to work together to deliver solutions. This allows for familiarizing with the non-professional aspect of their personalities, boosting employee engagement, building morale, and increasing motivation.
vii. Shareholder meetings
These meetings are held to display a company’s operational performance, strategies, and future goals to its shareholders. The meetings may vary from small meetings to large-scale events depending on the business size and the number of shareholders. The key goal of these meetings is to maintain transparency and shareholders’ faith in the company’s future.
C. Tips for successful corporate event planning
The best way to initiate corporate event planning is to break up the process into manageable steps. It gets much easier to conceptualize this way.
Here is how you can do it-
Step 1 - Understand what your event stands for
The first step is thinking, understanding, and deciding.
Why are you hosting the event? What are your expectations from it? What are your goals?
Once you have identified your goals and expectations, it will be easier to determine what kind of event will resonate with your targeted audience.
Step 2- Understand your audience
The next important step is to define your target audience.
Are they your customers, company executives, business partners, or community partners? Are they for your existing clients or potential partners or a combination of both?
You can start by figuring out what your audience cares about. Think about answering these questions-
- What problems are they facing and what help do they need?
- What motivates your audience members to connect with you?
- What kind of people or industry leaders are they interested in learning from?
- Could community leaders bring them together?
- What is most relevant to your audience right now?
Also, don’t forget to consider audience demographics-
- Geography - countries, cultures and languages
- Career- industry, experience, interests
- Gender- gender breakdown, representation.
Step 3- Set your budget
Developing your budget is the next crucial step. This will help you determine your financial standing and help allocate resources to achieve the goals you have underlined.
It is best to break down your budget into expenses and revenue to get a clearer picture of all the sources of money inflow and outflow.
Primary expenses may include-
- Marketing and promotion
- Speakers and entertainment
- Food and beverages
Primary sources of revenue may come from-
- Ticket sales
- Product sales
Also, don’t forget to add a contingency cost buffer. We recommend 10-15% of the total budget to help you keep a check on all unexpected expenses.
Step 4- Create the timelines
Time management plays a huge role in determining the success of your event. Therefore you must plan and section time frames to manage the various aspects of the event which may include-
- Marketing- Set appropriate time frames for email campaigns, social media messaging, and beyond. Marketing activities should begin as early as possible to build excitement for the big day.
- Sourcing speakers - Confirmation about speaker availability may take time, so you must start planning early. Also, keep a safe number of alternatives ready.
- Finding sponsors- Finding good sponsors takes time, especially when companies have limited budgets for sponsorships. The smartest move will be to secure sponsors as early as possible.
- Technical setup- To avoid dealing with any technical difficulties on the event day, start working on your setup long before showtime.
- Branding your event- Event branding requires a lot of time. Make sure you work on things like signage and any other physical materials way before the event day.
- Food and beverage- There are multiple factors to consider when planning for food and beverage like menu, pricing, catering, company, sustainability, health and wellness, and more. The earlier you start the better.
Step 5- Choose your venue
Your choice of venue will depend on the type of event you are hosting. For example, trade shows will require large indoor spaces or an open space while conferences can be held in a seminar hall. It will also depend on the number of attendees and the scale of the event.
You will need to evaluate factors like budget, capacity, location, availability, and logistics to be able to shortlist several venues, and then send out requests for written proposals (RFPSs) and arrange site visits.
If you are hosting an in-person event, make sure to consider-
- Wi-Fi and technical support - Does the venue have all technical requirements like speakers and projectors or do you need to source them? Do they offer technical support to ensure the event runs smoothly?
- Catering options- Does the venue have in-house catering options? If they do, is the menu comprehensive enough to meet the dietary, wellness, and sustainability expectations?
- Location- How far is it from the center? Will the attendees be able to get to your event easily?
Virtual and hybrid events also have their own set of venue concerns-
- Capacity- How many people can participate at once?
- Tech - Does the platform offer live-streaming capabilities? What are the networking and engagement options?
- Integrations- Can the platform integrate with the marketing software that you are using or any other gamification tools, data analysis, and more?
Step 6 - Start with the event promotion
Event marketing and branding play a major role in ensuring that people not only turn up to your event but also speak about it. The key idea is to get the attendees excited for your live event and spread the buzz.
An integration part of event marketing and promotion is the type of content and materials you produce. This includes designing and creating posters, flyers, pin badges, and other accessories to keep the anticipation high.
The marketing assets include teaser emails, social media channels, a branded website, or a mobile event app. You can also create a customized landing page showcasing events that highlight important event details and trivia. A customized website can be used to streamline the registration process making it easier for attendees to find all details on a single page.
Step 7- Finalize logistics
While you are at event promotions, it would be a good time to coordinate the rest of the event logistics. The to-dos include-
- Finalizing the agenda
- Printing pamphlets and other materials
- Coordinating presentations with speakers
- Completing on-site venue coordination
- Confirming audio/visual requirements and production needs
- Mailing all promotional materials to attendees.
- Finalizing the transport and accommodation of speakers.
Step 8- Give your best
Months of hard work, planning, and coordination will finally come together on the event day. Take a few deep breaths and put on your best shoes - you have got this!
Make sure you -
- Have copies of all important materials such as instructions, directions, phone numbers, keys, extra parking permits for VIP guests, seating charts, and guest lists.
- Check in with the caterers and all sponsor teams that are attending.
- Run in sound checks and see all all tech instruments are working okay.
- Assist sponsors, speakers, and other teams as required.
- Have all lines of communication open such as Slack, WhatsApp, and Walkie Talkies.
Step 9- Analyze your event results
After you are done with your event, which we hope was successful, it is time to evaluate your performance. With an event management and reporting tool like Ticket Generator, you will be able to look at event data like -
- The percentage of registrants who turned up for the event
- Average time spent at the event
- No unique visitors at the event like keynote speakers, sponsors, etc.
Planning corporate events can seem daunting but it can also be fun when you strategize properly, communicate effectively, and use the right tools.
While you focus on being creative and innovative to attract audiences, you can leave some of the things to an event management tool like Ticket Generator. With a smooth registration process and simplified corporate event planning process, you can create the best attendee experience possible.