Corporate events are more important than ever. They’re an integral part of every business strategy, and as such, they should be taken seriously. Planned correctly, they can have major positive outcomes for a business and its employees. But where do you even start? What makes a corporate event a success? And how can you ensure your time and effort don’t go to waste?
It doesn’t matter if your event is for 20 people or 2000, or even what industry it’s for. As a planner, it’s your responsibility to think about each and every detail of the day. For the event to be a success, you need to have a corporate event strategy that outlines your event.
We’ll show you how to build a strategy from the ground up, what you need to include and how to effectively put it into practice so that your corporate event is a total success.
If you’re an event professional or you’ve worked on a team to organise a corporate event in the past, you’ll be aware of the stressors involved in the process. At any point, things can go wrong. Speakers may call in sick, or suppliers could let you down at the last minute. In other words, there are a million things to think about and many of them happen at the same time.
The good news is that a simple but practical corporate event strategy is exactly what you need to keep all your ducks in a row. A solid master plan will ensure that you, as the event organiser, are focused on the overall picture and prepared for almost any issue.
Now that you know why they’re so important, let’s discuss what actually goes into a corporate event strategy. Naturally, the kind of event you will be hosting will determine how to build your approach.
1. Set Goals & Purpose
The first question to answer is why you’re hosting the event in the first place. The ‘why’ is a critical question because for an event to succeed, it needs to have a clear purpose.
When we talk about event goals, we’re talking about what needs to be achieved. Goals should be specific, tangible and realistic. Here are a few examples of goals that may be applicable to your event:
Brand awareness has never been more important than it is in 2020. Competition is fierce but the good news is that events are a fantastic way to maximise brand recognition. This is, in part, because brand awareness and visibility begin long before the event happens and ends long after the event is over.
Face-to-face interactions are powerful and can produce emotional reactions that are conducive to sales. If increasing your revenue at an event is one of your goals, it should form part of the strategy for your upcoming corporate event.
Product launches can take the shape of an experiential event which gives potential customers the chance to engage with the new product. A face-to-face product launch increases the chances that those who attend will post on social media about the event. It’s the perfect way to demonstrate a product in an exciting way and to motivate people to want to find out more.
2. Create an Event Strategy Template
If you’re an event organiser, chances are that this is just one event of many that you will be involved in. The planning phase of an event strategy is hard work, and the framework you create should be able to be replicated. Sure, each event needs to be tailored to a unique set of goals but in general, an event strategy template will save you a huge amount of time and effort in the long run.
Keep in mind that your template should be as extensive as possible. Include details such as how to select the best date for your event. Selecting a date well in advance that doesn’t clash with any other significant events is a great example of a useful detail that will help in the future. Remember that this template should make planning easier, not more complicated.
3. Determine a Budget
Setting a budget is a crucial aspect of the event strategy. You need to explicitly indicate from the beginning how much money is at your disposal. Although you may not know every cost of the event from the get-go, you can put a rough estimate of what you’re expecting to spend on those large costs like food, venue and entertainment. A key part of this process is to be practical and set realistic expectations- you don’t want to go well over your budget. Take note of what resources are available to you so that you won’t have to invest in any unnecessary costs.
Keep in mind that an event incorporates both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are simple and easy to track, like venue rental, entertainment, catering, and travel. Indirect costs are allocated based on resource assignments, like salaries and other shared resources. Your finance team may need to step in to assist with these processes.
4. Find the Correct Venue
Your chosen venue can really make or break your event. With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, people are unwilling to spend their precious time in another generic boardroom on an uncomfortable chair. It’s time to think outside the box.
These days, nothing is too quirky or cutting-edge. Think about unusual, unused venues, surprise locations, pop-ups, and interactive technology. Push the envelope even further as many companies are starting to do with their elaborate, over-the-top themed events. There’s been a ‘festivalisation’ of corporate events recently that have got people talking. This includes transforming outdoor spaces into glamorous settings with stretch tents, intricate lighting and exotic decor. These days, no idea is too big or unrealistic.
5. Create Event Awareness
As we’ve spoken about, a corporate event works to market a brand or organisation effectively. At the same time, it’s essential to create awareness of the event itself. It’s helpful to think of event marketing in two ways. The first is how the event links to the overall marketing of the organisation and the second is the individual event promotion.
The extent of your marketing depends on your budget but should always include creating a wider reach by using email and social media. Focus on shares, retweets and general social media hype. Competitions are a great way to motivate people to engage with your social media marketing. Incentivising a retweet or repost is a sure way to boost your reach.
Event marketing goals are essential and rely on your understanding of your target audience. You must also understand the trends and latest techniques. A mobile event app is a great example of a cutting-edge tool that provides a central hub for sponsorship and branding. In 2020, a mobile event app is the way to go if you want to maximise your attendee engagement and networking potential. Along with this, an event website provides more information about the event.
6. Post-Event Analysis
We’ve spoken about goals and how important it is to establish a clear purpose well in advance. Every decision made will relate back to the overall goals you first outlined. You must also decide which metrics are useful and relevant when looking to measure the event’s success. Were the goals achieved? What could have been done differently?
In some cases, event organisers choose to deal with performance indicators after the event has occurred. We suggest that they form part of the planning process. In the same way your goals are outlined from the start, your choice of analysis should also be planned in advance. It’s vital that you match up your goals with your specific metrics of success.
The Next Steps
Today, people value experiences that show them that a brand cares. With so much choice, consumers are no longer happy to be cast aside. Instead, they want to be involved in events that demonstrate a particular brand’s expertise. Similarly, well-thought-out corporate events will prove how much a company values its employees.
After reading this article, it should be clear that a corporate event strategy is critical to any company’s growth. The great news is that an event has never been easier to tackle. Now that you’re aware of the vast number of diverse elements that go into event planning, you’re more prepared to begin the process of outlining an effective corporate event strategy.
Remember that it’s never too early to start the planning process.