On June 22, 2023, Heroic Productions hosted its first ever Event Planner Happy Hour! This intimate event, intended specifically for event professionals, in STUDIO15 with help from our decor partner Festivities, was planned to showcase the latest and greatest in event technology. As attendees sipped on libations and snacked on crudité, the Heroic team went to work showcasing what was sure to blow their minds!
Introducing the Proto Hologram Machine!
While virtual events, LED, and wearable technology were, of course, all topics of discussion amongst ongoing and up-and-coming trends, Heroic had something new and exciting to unveil: Proto EPIC Hologram! One of the only Proto hologram machines in the area, Heroic is proud to offer a home base for this very cool technology. When it’s not out “on the road” in use for our clients, it lives at STUDIO15 and is available for demos and ideation.
This 54”x87.5”x28.5” box is used for professional hologram “beaming” with high fidelity speakers, 4K video, and a touchscreen. Beam a 3D version of your logo, a product, or yourself from Proto to impress your event attendees. Whether your content is premade or live, using this technology makes it simple for you to capture whoever you choose to turn into a hologram for your next event!
Now, back to the June happy hour. Guests were jazzed to try the Proto hologram machine for themselves and jumped at the chance to see themselves as holograms! The room buzzed and ideas flowed freely as the discussion surrounded the endless possibilities of what this technology could provide in the events industry. From meet and greets with celebrities, to trade show activations, to keynotes delivered by renowned speakers – Proto invites a sensational and cost-effective way to interact with event guests with a WOW factor.
Bring the Magic of the Proto to Your Next Event
To discuss ways in which you can incorporate this cutting-edge hologram machine into your next event, contact Kitty Hart.
Experiential marketing events are the perfect way to connect with potential customers, build brand loyalty, and increase engagement in the digital age. From sales kick-offs to Apple iPhone product launches, experiences make the sale.
Interactive experiences have the power to create memorable connections between a brand and a customer. With our clients in mind, we put together this comprehensive guide to provide all the necessary tips to make your next experiential marketing event stand out. For the rest of your event planning questions, give us a call.
Experiential vs. traditional marketing: experiences make memories
Traditional marketing reaches audiences through mediums like magazines and newspapers, while experiential marketing focuses on creating an emotional connection with customers through unique live experiences. Traditional marketing will always be an effective way to get a message to the public, but experiential marketing provides customers with an opportunity to engage with a product.
Although experiential marketing events are relatively new, brands have introduced their products to people in person as far back as the first World’s Fair in 1851. When William Wrigley, Jr. introduced Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum in 1893, he knew people needed to experience it firsthand to appreciate and enjoy its benefits. Wrigley’s investment in the World’s Fair made Wrigley’s brand a huge success.
Fast forward 100-plus years, and Super Bowl commercials aren’t getting the hype that they did just ten years ago. Consumers today are suffering ad overexposure from traditional marketing methods. Regular TV ads are disruptive advertising at a time when consumers can stream TV shows or fast-forward through commercials. It takes a lot to surprise and delight audiences, which has turned experiential marketing into a breath of fresh air.
Live events have the power to turn an audience of uncertain shoppers into dedicated customers. This power has made experiential marketing events an increasingly popular tool for brands to engage with their customers in a meaningful way. By creating interactive experiences tailored to a target audience, companies can boost brand awareness and build customer loyalty. Engaging the five senses can create memories that translate into powerful, lasting brand affinity. Through memorable events, activities, and experiences, brands can showcase their services and give their customers a chance to get to know the brand better.
Organic consumer connections form through events that create memories and encourage word-of-mouth advertising. It attracts more people to a brand. The recent rise in social media and influencer marketing has made events a dominant and undeniable force in advertising. An ad may draw consumers in, but an experience gives them something to remember. And influencers can’t post about their experiences online without having them first.
Launching an experiential marketing campaign? Start with strategy.
When planning an experiential marketing campaign, it is essential to have a well-defined strategy that outlines the goals, metrics, and objectives. You need to understand your audience, how you want to reach your audience, and any communicative challenges that may be in your way. With the audience in mind, you can develop an event plan informed by your marketing goals. Every event is unique, and successful events need a comprehensive approach. These are the basics of how the strategy should form.
Know your audience
The first step in creating an effective experiential marketing campaign is to look at your customer base and determine what kind of experiential campaigns they would enjoy. What do your attendees need from this event? Let those needs inform the event’s agenda, activities, and overall themes. Gathering data on who your customers are and what they want will help you identify the target audience and give you valuable insight into the most successful experience. This research could provide information about new markets to explore and what events will be most effective.
Set clear objectives
Once you have identified your target audience, you must solidify goals to ensure your experiential marketing event is successful. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish with this event and consider the ultimate target of the campaign. Is it to gain new customers? Promote a new product? Enter a new market? Once you know what you are working towards, you can begin to plan the event. Understand what you want this experience to communicate about your company’s values and culture. Build strategy from there.
Prepare a team you can trust
Successful experiential marketing events don’t happen in a vacuum. They require careful preparation and planning, and relationships make all the difference. Solid partners will bring a comprehensive set of tools and contacts to overcome any challenges.
At a preparatory stage, you might consider partnering with an event production company that can create a memorable and engaging experience for your attendees. Look for an experienced event production company with strong referrals and a solid network of event resources. Consider what visuals, interactive activities, and exclusive experiences align with your event objectives. The most successful event teams are highly collaborative and strategic in their approach. Develop solutions with your audience in mind, and don’t forget the fun!
Engage the attendees
Engaging with your audience is key to ensuring the success of your event. Traditional marketing can help you accomplish this. Print or digital ads, social media, contests, giveaways, and other activities are ways you can encourage your audience to interact with your brand. Plan for engagement CTA’s before, during, and after your event. Think about event hashtags. Don’t make this an afterthought. Engagement should be baked into strategy from day one.
Make it immersive
Elevate your event by finding opportunities to directly involve your attendees. Consider what will make the experience most engaging. Immersive elements could include live chat, video rooms, networking, or live Q&A. Whatever you have in mind, collaborate with your event partners and make sure your vendors can facilitate these real-time interactions. Simple attention to an attendee’s needs can make all the difference.
Budget for creativity
A detailed budget will help to guide your location, vendors, and other event resources. Prioritize essentials here, but always leave room for creativity. The success of an experiential marketing event hinges on its unique engagement, and it pays to think outside of the box. Planning far ahead of your event can help your team take the time needed to perfect your budgeting approach.
Plan to track your success
After your event is over, it’ll be important to have a clear assessment of its success. Before your event, determine what metrics you’ll be tracking. Understanding what works and what doesn’t will help you strategize future campaigns. Event value links to an event’s strategic purpose.
Types of experiential marketing events
Experiential marketing events range from intimate press lunches to large public product launches. As you consider what type of event to produce, keep strategy top of mind. Think about what you want to accomplish.
Brand activation: make an impression
Brand activation events are a creative way to build brand awareness and loyalty. Events are an effective tool for generating interest and increasing sales, but more importantly – cultivating long-lasting relationships. To help your brand activation to stand out, you might consider partnering with entertainers and opinion leaders to create fun and interactive experiences that promote brand affinity. You might also use data visualization tools to highlight meaningful insights in a live setting.
Pop-ups: generate buzz
Pop-up events are temporary, unexpected events in unique spaces that capitalize on the element of surprise. They offer a low-cost and low-commitment way for companies to take creative risks and introduce their products to new audiences. Consider what unique pop-up experiences might fit with your brand, whether a kiosk at a trade show or a brewery sampling. Pop-up shops create a sense of urgency and allow companies to sell their products in an environment designed and controlled by them.
Product launch: show vs. tell
Product launches provide an experience for people who may not be sure of how they would use a product or service. Silicon Valley giants like Google and Apple have used product launches to show the public how they can benefit from new technology.
For example, Google recently created a unique product launch event by taking a cupcake truck to the streets of Austin, Texas, to help promote its new photo app. Consider finding creative ways for attendees to interact with your brand. Look for event features that can illustrate the benefits of using your product. The difference is in the details.
Sales meetings: motivate and activate
Sales events can be a major capstone in a company’s year. They offer an opportunity to educate, celebrate, and inspire your team, as well as set objectives for the next sales cycle. The best sales meetings offer team-building experiences and learning opportunities that energize your team and build up their skill set. Set big goals and celebrate your company’s all-stars. The result should be a motivated and activated team.
5 Elements of a successful experiential marketing event
There are many types of experiential marketing events, but they all have a few elements in common. As you plan your next event, keep the following in mind.
Location: Don’t host your event just anywhere. Location can be an enticing incentive for an audience that needs to escape their norm. Let the “why” of your event inform the “where.”
Venue: Look for unique venues that have experience with experiential marketing events. Consider what you’re marketing and why it would benefit from one environment or another. If you’re celebrating something, the environment should be a treat.
Entertainment:Choosing entertainment can make or break an experiential marketing event. Consider timing, audience, and overall—emotion. Who will be in the room, and how will they feel? Look for entertainers who can be enthusiastic about your event and brand — and be prepared to set them up for success.
Technology: Event logistics offer endless opportunities to surprise and delight attendees. From the lighting to the sound and your keynote speaker’s PowerPoint presentation — allow technology to elevate the message of your event. Consider tone. Consider themes. Execute with intention, and trust the experts in guiding your tech.
Strategic product placement: Your attendees should remember why they’re gathering and remember it often. Look for opportunities to brand your attendees’ experience and give them a memory they can take home. Make your swag bags pop. Place QR codes throughout the venue. If you’re sharing merch, make sure it’s the kind they’ll actually want to wear. Details matter. Make the small stuff count.
Heroic is your trusted partner for corporate events
You’ll accomplish the best results when you collaborate with partners who understand your audience’s needs. At Heroic, we’re a one-stop shop for strategizing and producing corporate events. From launching a new product to celebrating your sales team, know all the right event questions to ask and all the right people to call. We leverage years of event management experience to produce experiences that engage your audiences and create measurable impact.
Supportive and experienced collaborators make the difference in event planning. Let’s plan your next experiential marketing event together. Contact us today.
A corporate event, when well executed, is a vital tool for corporations to connect with stakeholders. Interactive experiences have the power to create lasting and meaningful connections, and live events present endless opportunities to engage and motivate attendees.
We offer various tips and tactics for successful corporate event planning on our blog, but to really show rather than tell, we’re spotlighting Heroic’s own ‘Please Welcome’ event series. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at our planning process for a memorable event. We want to show you how much fun we have planning and executing this series.
Define your goals
An event’s purpose should determine format, content, audience, and just about every other element of event planning. Whether you’re launching a new product, celebrating a milestone, or providing a learning opportunity for your team, every aspect of your event should connect to that purpose.
Heroic’s ‘Please Welcome’ event series is designed to showcase speakers and entertainers who are changing the landscape of corporate events. We want to inspire attendees with an impactful, live studio production experience. We achieve that with a stellar studio, engaging speakers, and our team of seasoned experts.
Choose the right venue
The venue is a critical aspect of a corporate event. The atmosphere sets the tone and provides an opportunity to elevate attendees’ experience. When choosing a venue, consider the location, capacity, accessibility, amenities, and event tone. If you’re planning an in-person event, make sure the space is large enough to accommodate your guests comfortably. If your guests would benefit from an immersive event experience, consider using a studio with an LED wall or green screen capabilities.
Heroic’s STUDIO15 is the perfect venue for our event series, as it provides a prime seat for attendees to enjoy our show, either in the studio or via seamless live streaming. Because we do everything in-house, we know that the lighting, sound, and design of our event will be cohesive. A well-prepared team makes for seamless transitions, synchronized cues, and a harmonious atmosphere for our audience. Venues with an in-house team of capable event production professionals make all of the difference to attendees’ experience.
Strategize the content
Corporate event content is a crucial aspect of driving audience engagement because it’s often what motivates your audience to attend an event in the first place. Plan your content around your event’s goals and audience’s needs.
If you’re planning a celebration, consider entertainers that delight and inspire. If you’re planning an educational event, consider inviting industry experts or thought leaders to share their knowledge and insights. Don’t hire just any entertainer you think people will like. Remember your corporate event goals. How do you want attendees to feel during and after your event? Strategize content from there.
Heroic Productions’ Please Welcome event series features dynamic speakers and entertainers who are changing the landscape of corporate events worldwide. We also provide attendees with opportunities to meet the featured talent, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, and network with other attendees.
Our last event featured Daryl Davis, a musician, author, and activist who is known for his work in fighting racism and promoting positive change. Daryl was a keynote speaker and entertainer all in one–inspiring attendees with his beautiful music and compelling testimony of his great work.
Invest in corporate event logistics
Corporate event logistics should have purpose and precision. Ensure all design elements are in place, and don’t make technology an afterthought. Look for ways to synchronize the various aspects of event logistics, too. The lights, the sound, the music, the staging, the branding–should all feel harmonious to the attendee. When done right, your attendees may not even notice how cohesive your production is, but they’ll feel the difference of your attention to detail.
At Heroic, our stage and LED wall create a stunning and visually striking backdrop for events. Our exceptional lighting and sound design further elevate attendees’ experience. For Daryl Davis’ keynote, we chose hues of stunning pinks and purples for the lighting, with his illustrious musical background in mind. From the music that played before he walked on stage to a subtle green light on Daryl’s piano–we considered every detail to set the tone for the night.
The results were beautiful, but logistics don’t stop at audiovisual capabilities. Good planning also means communicating all necessary details to attendees before the event, including the event agenda, location, dress code, and parking instructions. At Heroic, we also limit the studio’s audience to ensure a personalized, engaging, and comfortable networking experience for our attendees.
Pick a team that thinks of everything
Heroic is a one-stop shop for corporate event planning and production. We understand the value of an immersive experience and are ready to handle all aspects of your event–from strategy to execution.
The ‘Please Welcome’ series is a testament to our commitment to excellence. Our next event will spotlight Dr. Luana Marques, an acclaimed psychologist and author who will provide attendees with insights into mental health and well-being. We hope you join us and experience firsthand the extensive benefits of Studio15.
We aim to make your event a success, and we work tirelessly to ensure that happens. Contact us to learn more.
Choosing Kris Campbell as Please Welcome’s First Guest
As we planned our first Please Welcome virtual event we thought, who better to interview than the guru herself, Kris Campbell! Kris is our VP of Speakers and Entertainment with over 30 years of experience in the industry. As a “casting director,” she is responsible for discovering and sourcing the perfect speaker or artist for her clients’ events. As a unique offering at Heroic, Kris is often peppered with questions about how she sources, negotiates, and books a wide array of amazing speakers and entertainers. So, our VP of Client Brand Experience, Kitty Hart, led the charge of interviewing Kris for the kickoff of Please Welcome’s virtual edition.
During this live event, Kris explains how she developed the concept of Please Welcome, and why the event series is such an important marketing initiative for Heroic. She also dives into what her process looks like when booking talent for her clients. She even name drops some of her favorite speakers to book right now! You can see the whole interview right here.
More About Our VP of Speakers and Entertainment…
Kris is a creative, experienced professional with a unique understanding of speaker and entertainment booking. She finds innovative ways to help her clients communicate their inspired ideas in a way that is both relevant and captivating. With her expertise, audiences are treated to once-in-a-lifetime events onstage, onscreen, and in person. Whether it’s for an extra special event or just any day, Kris knows how to choose the right speaker, athlete, or artist to bring the perfect look, energy, and message that her clients’ audiences will appreciate. From local talent to world-famous A-listers, she has the skills and experience needed to ensure every show has its own story.
Need help booking speakers or entertainment for your next event? Schedule a time to talk with Kris and let her help make your brand’s story shine!
Of all the many factors considered when planning an event, there’s none more fundamental, more human-centric than designing an experience that is sensorial, satisfying… sensational. Designed with intention, much goes into making an affair to remember. It marks the collaborative talents, skills, and creative conceptualization of great minds tasked to answer the question “What’s it all about?” Together arriving at the notion that it is form, function, and feeling that collectively weave a narrative of a brand or business’s purpose; resulting in a final display of the harmonious balance of mixing business with pleasure through experiential marketing.
Such a deep understanding of these components is essential in cultivating a successful event, albeit virtual or live, and for Kitty Hart, Vice President of Client Brand Experience at Heroic, it’s all of these things and so much more.
In a recent discussion, the subject matter expert shares her fresh, illuminating views and insights on experiential marketing, what works, and what sets Heroic apart from the rest.
In your own words, what is experiential marketing?
Fundamentally, you are tapping into as many of the senses as possible within an experience. When designing events for human beings, we must focus not to show and tell but to surround one in an all-encompassing environment purposed to engage and enliven our feelings. We as humans see, hear, smell, touch, and taste, and it’s these special, significant wonders that can be infused altogether into a unique experience individually, and enjoyed by all.
How did experiential marketing begin?
If you think about it, consider way, way back to the early 1800s, there are traceable roots of experiential marketing. For example, at the Chicago World’s Fair, many of the industry legends whom we know today were present. These vendors took their products, food and otherwise, and placed them into the hands of patrons with the idea to have them touch, smell, taste, and purchase. But, far more than sales, the idea was to introduce an experience and something to remember into a person’s world.
What do you deem essential to creating a successful experiential marketing event?
It’s imperative for a brand to establish its objectives and define what the goal is. Posing questions like “Are we selling a product?,” “Are we educating?,” or “Are we celebrating?” All help to define the reasons behind an event and will then inform and aid in shaping the creative and design. This leads me to revisit my prior statement about employing ALL the senses. Not every event will require a total sensory scenario. A speaker’s words may be touching but in a completely different manner than in hand. Yes?
When it comes to planning an event, what do you feel needs to be in place?
Just as we have the five senses, we have the “who” and the “what.”
Who is it for? What’s most important to them? What creative ideations should we explore? Most importantly, how can we make this different and, most importantly, memorable?
What are some of the trends in experiential marketing, and of the many, is there one that may seem gimmicky versus actual marketing?
Remember when flash mobs became really big? You don’t see those popping up anymore. Yes, they were really fun and cool, but they became overdone very quickly. I feel that fundamentally, showing up in a place that you’re not expected to is a showstopping component that elicits surprise while evoking delight.
As trends go, influencers are super hot right now. They are reimagining the modern experience. Let’s take a step back. People worldwide would tune in to the Superbowl just for the commercials, curious as to how great they were going to be. For the last 10 years or so, all the chatter afterward would be words of amazement. However, now the digital landscape has changed, and this new influx of social influencers is wreaking havoc on the traditional world of advertising. The advertising world is dying, and brands are tapping into the influencer markets more, and I think it’s really something to watch out for.
How would you decipher whether or not an event was successful?
Great question! I feel there are a few different ways that you can measure the success of an event. As marketers, we’re all about collecting data, wherever possible. Most marketers employ post-event surveys. The only challenge there is getting people to fill them out. The most tangible way to measure success is based on what sort of chatter commences on social channels. We gauge how many impressions are created, and what people are talking about. What are they sharing from the event? We collect this information and report back to effectively measure results from an experiential marketing experience.
What’s Heroic’s edge in experiential marketing? What sets your events apart; ranking Heroic as the expert and go-to source for events and experiential marketing?
Heroic is one of the few production companies that has speakers and entertainment built into our full-service offering. We talk a lot about how infusing the right talent into any experience allows you to truly transform the event from just a normal everyday experience into something truly unique. It’s our secret sauce and our power to get the job done. Do you want Pitbull at your event? Done. It’s not a normal thing to hear when you’re talking to your agency partner. But, we can do it!
A Heroic production has momentum, a crescendo, and an escalation of mood and impact – always ending on a high note. At Heroic we illuminate the possibilities to amplify the excellent.
As for what sets us apart from others? To put it simply, we aren’t just a vendor to our clients. They view us as a true partner because we only focus on what works for our client and their specific event. That’s our style and it’s one our clients appreciate and value.
Need ideas, inspirations or help planning your next event? Schedule time to talk with Kitty to learn more about how Heroic can help make it memorable.
A large-scale, dynamic event requires an event production company’s creative and logistical expertise–one that understands what it takes to make a game-changing event for your organization. Partnering with professionals at the right event production company is essential to event success–and how you approach that partnership will be critical to maximizing results.
The success of your partnership will also, in part, rely on collaboration. When you trust an event production company to take the reigns with your event strategy, you can expect targeted solutions and measurable success, making the partnership a worthwhile investment.
Clear event objectives
Before hiring an event production company, take a moment to understand why you are hosting the event and how that fits into your organization’s goals. Once you’ve developed a strategy, everything else—from the venue to the catering—will be built around it.
Whether crafting a product launch event, implementing a new sales initiative, celebrating successes or fundraising, there must be an overarching purpose for gathering the group in the first place. Consider your audience. Consider your brand. Then look for event production partners who understand your strategy and are poised to advise you and deliver on your vision.
Order-takers or strategists
When working with an event production company, carefully consider the scope of the event to determine what you’ll need from your partners. You may only need your partners to process an order for lighting or an AV system. But if you need the expertise of a creative production expert to offer more creative solutions, experienced event production partners will take the time to strategize with you and explain how their resources will bring your vision to life.
Focus on your event objectives and consider your needs. Either way, it helps to get input from an event production company’s leadership. Their expertise will provide you with the best creative execution to give your event the look and feel that you envision. Bonus: it can also help guide your decision-making, so you don’t waste valuable company time and resources.
Solid Q&A time
A strategic event partner won’t just ask what you need them to do. Instead, they’ll look for an in-depth understanding of your event objectives, needs, and logistical considerations. Don’t take the easy route of simply asking them to repeat events you’ve done in the past.
A properly run discovery phase will consider all possibilities to allow your event production partner to tailor solutions to your brand’s overall goals. So set aside a little time and prepare to put some creative brainpower into event strategy. Your event production partner—and your attendees will thank you for it!
Teamwork makes the dream work
Effective event planners possess the knowledge and skill to get the job done. Still, your enthusiasm and desire to work together will help them breathe life into your event. The professionals at an event production company understand the big picture and know when to outsource. Be ready to work with them on timelines, budgets, and resources.
Events are just more exhilarating with a bit of teamwork. Forming positive and supportive relationships with everyone involved in your event makes the experience all the more enjoyable. It’s contagious—your attendees will feel it too.
Your event strategy and planning event logistics should always be tracked by metrics. Will post-event surveys be an effective way to gather feedback? Are attendee numbers helpful or a given? Your event marketing strategy should guide your metrics.
Also, remember to share the results with your event production partners. Event results provide valuable insight into what went right (or wrong!) and will give your partner the information they need to plan ahead.
Keep up the momentum
Use the results from your last event to begin strategizing your next one, no matter how far out that event is. Working with the same team at an event production company creates continuity.
How did the attendees feel, and how do you want them to feel next time? While the particulars of each event are typically different, successful events should leave your attendees feeling engaged and satisfied. Quantifiable data and clear objectives will continue to be your guiding light.
A trusted event production company
At Heroic, we are an event production company that brings highly experienced event strategists to the table—not order-takers. We help you reach your event goals by crafting an event strategy tailored specifically for you. From increasing sales and creating relationships to raising awareness and providing learning experiences, our experienced creative production experts take the time to figure out exactly why you’re organizing your event. Our collaborative enthusiasm and creative expertise create the perfect event plan for our clients.
A social impact event is a great way for companies to make a positive difference while strengthening relationships with customers and employees. A thoughtful approach to event strategy can elevate your company’s commitment to its core values – but an inauthentic impact initiative will always fall flat.
If generating long-lasting change from your next social impact event is your goal, strategize with careful intentionality.
1. Align the social impact event with your core values.
Organizing a social impact event is an excellent way to demonstrate a brand’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Still, ensuring that the event’s cause and objectives align with your company’s overall mission is essential.
Before you choose your event’s focus, reach out to key stakeholders about the company’s CSR goals. The purpose of a social impact event should ideally reflect the views and concerns of your company’s employees, customers, and investors.
If unsure of your team’s values, consider a company-wide survey. Encourage your team to get involved in the planning process. This open dialogue will help to inspire employees, build community, and ensure that the event reflects the views and concerns of those most impacted by your company’s actions.
Once you understand better what your stakeholders expect from your event, you can set clear event objectives. These objectives will inform your event strategy and help ensure that social impact event efforts support your company’s core values.
2. Choose credible partners – and amplify their voices.
A reputable organization can offer invaluable input and resources to help ensure your impact initiatives are effective and useful to the cause. An unreputable organization may take your money and run. So pick an organization already making substantial waves in whatever cause you’re tackling, and get ready to create a serious impact together!
It also helps to partner with an organization with a reputation for supporting your cause. Your company is a trusted authority in your respective field. Who is the authority for your impact initiative? Research thoroughly and find partners with solid references.
Partner with local organizations when you can. Looking for partners representing the community you hope to be supportive of can be especially beneficial. Community members know what they need and how to distribute resources most effectively, so a designated community representative may be more effective in advising your organization on making an impact.
3. Create an experience that tells a story.
What’s the message you want your event to convey? Once you have found partners and considered what message you want to share, you can find authentic stories that illustrate your message. Authentic storytelling might be the stories of people who have benefited from your chosen impact initiative. It could also mean telling the story of your company’s commitment to social impact.
The results can be transformational if you reveal a story with a sensitive and genuine approach. Think about who the keynote speakers for your event might be, and talk to your event partners about how best to share their stories.
Storytelling goes beyond guest speakers, too. Map the event, considering the elements that could make up the storytelling experience – from graphics to stage lighting and sound. Look for themes and consider how to communicate them with respect and genuine appreciation. And most of all, look to trusted impact partners for a voice of authority on these questions.
4. Be authentic in your social impact event planning.
A successful social impact event should evoke compassion, hope, and other motivating emotional responses from attendees that are authentic to CSR goals. Leadership can put their best foot forward by being confident, committed, and vocal in their impact intentions.
You know why you’re hosting this event. Share your mission. If you’re raising money, share exactly where the donations will go. Be transparent in communicating goals for this impact initiative and what your company has to gain from it. At your core, you’re trying to make a positive impact, and it helps everyone involved if you say that loudly and clearly. One foot in, one foot out reads to audiences as insincere. Standing up for what you actually believe in makes all of the difference.
5. Call the audience to action.
During your event, encourage attendees to get actively involved in the cause. If it’s a fundraising event, make donating easy. Have donation stations with already prepared tablets and computers located around the venue. If you’re hosting an event to raise awareness, use social media channels, email lists, and other marketing tools to point attendees to actionable items. You will help attract more participants, build community, and further increase the impact of your efforts.
Repeat what works (and leave everything else).
After your event, measure the results to understand what worked well and what you could have done better. Whether you’re counting donations, followers, or otherwise, clear metrics will help you refine your approach for future events and ensure that your next initiative has maximum impact. Also, your attendees will likely want to know how much they made a difference! Sharing event results in real-time can help create a sense of collective ownership and improve attendee morale.
Strategize your social impact event with Heroic
Heroic brings years of event management experience to producing experiences that engage audiences and ensure measurable results. Contact us to discuss your next social impact event.
Check out a social impact event Heroic worked on, The One Forum, here.
Planning and executing a successful event can be challenging, regardless of whether you are working with more limited resources. Let’s consider 5 tips to help you make the most of your corporate event budget, whatever its size.
Corporate event budget tips
1. Set clear objectives.
Before you start planning your event, it’s crucial to set strategic goals and think through what you want to achieve. Why are you gathering this group? Consider the event’s tone and what types of activities will help set the atmosphere. If your team has faced budgetary setbacks, consider attendees’ perspectives going into an event. It could be beneficial to acknowledge company challenges while encouraging everyone to celebrate their accomplishments.
Ultimately, a corporate event creates an environment where attendees can engage in meaningful conversations. Tailor each event to meet your organization’s needs, including what attendees may need. Consider what discussions you want your attendees to have, set your goals, and build an event strategy from there.
2. Prioritize the essentials to maximize your corporate event budget.
With a strategy in mind, you can develop an event to meet your goals, all while prioritizing what’s most important. Put yourself in the place of the attendees to understand what they need. Do you want to provide them with snacks or full-course meals? Certainly, you don’t want your attendees to leave hungry, but consider where your investment will be most valuable for them when developing your catering budget.
Would music set the atmosphere? Or a post-awards dance party? The difference is in the details. It costs nothing to be thoughtful. If your company is hosting challenging discussions this year, you might consider offering breakout sessions, allowing attendees to process the information they’re getting from event speakers. Give them time to have offline conversations to gain valuable insights from one another. Taking this approach can help build team morale and give your attendees a positive and hopeful post-event feeling.
3. Reconsider your venue.
Venue selection is a major factor in the success of your event, but choosing an exciting location doesn’t have to mean breaking your budget on tickets to Hawaii. Instead of an expensive team getaway, consider hosting an event in a local museum, art gallery, or brewery. A local garden party could mean more to your attendees than a banquet room hours from home. There are so many unique venue options between a costly five-star resort and the no-cost office breakroom. Get creative!
Another option is to find an in-budget price by booking your venue during an off-peak season or daytime hours. Give yourself time for this strategy. By leaving some wiggle room in your schedule, you’ll be able to take advantage of discounts and avoid last-minute costs.
4. Use available technology.
If your corporate event budget doesn’t allow a particular guest speaker to attend in person this year, there’s an app for that. Virtual meeting rooms can enhance your event without draining event funds. Technology options go far beyond Zoom. You might consider incorporating virtual reality, social media, and live streaming to add an extra layer of excitement to your event.
Technology gives us opportunities to liven up events and make them more engaging for attendees. If you’ve opted not to hire a band for the sales meeting this year, you can still rent a disco ball and a great sound system. Or, better yet, why not ask everyone on the team what their favorite artists are and make a Spotify playlist from their selections?
There are free or inexpensive applications available for marketing and promoting your events. Eventbrite is a free option to register attendees and measure engagement. Other options include Eventzilla, Whova, and Splash, which offer comprehensive solutions for corporate event success.
Messaging should always be a key part of corporate event budget and strategy, especially when a message may be more difficult for attendees to process. It sends an unsettling message when a company hosts an annual sales event and visibly reduces the budget for one of the events. Perhaps even more disconcerting is when a company announces layoffs and hosts a high-budget celebratory concert in the same year.
Before you plan an event, think about the messaging for your attendees, and be as clear as you can in communicating that message. There’s no shame in hosting a team-building event locally for the first time in ten years, but it may help attendees to hear their CEO explain why there was a change. A tightened corporate event budget doesn’t mean letting go of the fun! But in our experience, honesty is the best policy.
The corporate event budget must go on!
Corporate events should be entertaining and—no matter how big or small your corporate event budget is. Corporate events will always be a great way to build relationships and showcase your company’s values. Get creative and think ahead. With careful planning and precise execution, an event can be a valuable investment in team building and driving business growth.
To strategize your next corporate event budget, talk to us.
As corporate event managers, we know how important corporate events are for developing meaningful employee and customer relationships. Choosing the perfect event can be challenging. Whether planning a conference, trade show, product launch, or team-building event, you want to ensure the experience is memorable and effective for all. When you take a moment to consider all aspects—your audience, goals, and resources—you can create the perfect event.
Experienced, savvy event planners share five tips for planning an unforgettable event for any budget.
Pro tip: your event strategy always comes before you source a venue or start any planning.
5 secrets from corporate event managers
1. Know your audience.
When deciding what your new event will be, corporate event managers first assess who the attendees are — especially if it’s an external event. When you know your target audience, it’s much easier to imagine an event idea that will resonate and create a lasting impression.
Demographics, such as the average age and occupation of your attendees, are essential but also consider your audience’s feelings. You must meet attendees where they are emotionally on the day of your event. Consider how they will feel when they arrive after a long flight. Think about how you want them to feel once the event is over.
Once you understand your audience, you can develop an event strategy around the audience’s needs. If you don’t know your audience, consider creating a pre-event survey to get to know them better. You can ask prospective attendees what they’re looking for in an event, but you can also ask them broader questions to get a sense of how they feel about your brand, career, and relationship with your company. Find out their frame of mind and what they need to get out of this experience. One way to do this effectively is by sending a pre-event survey.
2. Strategize event themes.
Once you understand your target audience, you can consider event themes like venue, location, activities, and entertainment.
For example, with a strategy in hand, the objectives for your event will determine whether an audience may benefit more from a relaxed, networking-style event or a high-energy, team-building activity. Does a team-building theme need an open bar or a group training session? It may be both, but not in that order. The theme helps to inform a more cohesive and memorable event. Consider the activities you might want to include in your next event, and develop those activities around your event’s theme.
Recommended Reading: Corporate Event Strategy: The Secret Behind A Successful Corporate Event—and How to Get It Right, Every Time
3. Timing is everything.
The timing of an event will affect the overall flow, and choosing the timing for your event is an excellent opportunity to get creative with strategy. Should a sales event be during a busy time of year, such as the holidays? Or would sales representatives benefit from hosting an event ahead of the holidays? Advanced planning gives you more venue options and potential early-bird booking discounts.
Timing also allows you to plan around conflicts with other events, industry conferences, and weather. The impact on your attendees’ experience depends on timing, especially when the climate is a factor for the venue’s location. If you want your attendees to accept awards in a garden, you’ll need to plan far ahead for a sunny season—or be prepared to buy plane tickets somewhere warm.
4. Resources guide logistics.
Knowledgeable corporate event managers understand their resources, especially when it comes to the budget. Your event strategy and budget will help you choose an event that fits your financial parameters while providing a memorable experience.
With a budget in mind, you can select locations based on the climate, time of year, and audience needs. You can also begin hiring vendors and assess entertainment options to meet your attendees’ expectations.
Corporate event managers looking to make more of a budget prioritize essentials and, above all–plan ahead. For our budget tips, check out our post 5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Corporate Event Budget.
5. Prioritize high-value partnerships.
Event partners reflect a company’s capabilities, so you’ll want to research and select vendors who align with your values and experience. These partnerships will guide your choices for your event. That’s why we always recommend reading reviews and requesting customer testimonials before booking a vendor. Look for knowledgeable vendors who can provide the services you need. Trusted partners who come highly recommended can offer creative solutions that will leave your attendees in awe. Events are most successful when you choose team members, especially corporate event managers, who can collaborate and strategize an event’s production from start to finish.
Heroic’s corporate event managers can help
The strategic collaboration is where Heroic comes in. We’ve been in the business for a long time and know how to adapt to changes. We’re a one-stop shop for producing dynamic and effective events. We leverage years of event management experience to produce experiences that engage your audiences and create measurable impact. Please reach out to connect with our corporate event managers.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then imagine the value of combining the sight, sound, and experience of an “I didn’t see that coming!” live performance at a corporate event!
World class entertainment, positioned correctly, will generate a buzz and improve corporate event audience engagement. It gets people excited about what’s coming next, and it doesn’t have to blow the budget!
There are lots of things to consider, but here is a great place to start:
The Triple Wow. Do you have the budget for all three “WOW’s?” Does it even make sense for your event? Let me explain.
Your attendees consider the event and unknown (but fabulous) entertainment a success, and say, “WOW! What a great event! It was fun, surprising, and memorable.”
It comes down to what you’re trying to create. Corporate event audience engagement should always be the goal, but budgets sometimes don’t allow for the “triple wow!” That’s okay, imaginative planning can still create those moments of surprise that inject energy and generate lasting memories.
Pro tip: If you are hiring a lesser known (but fabulous) artist for a final night celebration, find a way to tease the audience during a general session. This could be a short performance during the beginning of the show. For example, the right song to introduce the CEO as he takes the stage, or an unexpected interview with the artist about something relevant to the audience (their version of successful marketing, innovation, trends, etc.).
This will inject energy into the general session and will create anticipation for the performance. Many audience members are not big music/theater fans or have very specific taste, but that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy a great performance! Give them a taste of what they are in for. You’ll be surprised how much excitement you will create.
Proving good event ROI is one of the most important practices a business can develop to shore up the budget for future events. While measuring ROI can sometimes be elusive, if you align your event strategy with company goals, you’re better able to build a solid business case.
Event ROI is tied to the event’s purpose, which should be guided by a company’s strategy. When the value of an event is measurable, event strategists can best demonstrate how future events will help to propel company goals. Company events are typically tied to four purposes: bringing people together, introducing new messaging, launching a product, and educating your team. Here’s how to measure event ROI for each of those purposes.
Bringing people together
The ROI for bringing people together can be determined by an event’s effect on a company’s culture and community. This is measured in how your attendees respond to an event. First and foremost — do they attend? Be prepared to design your gathering based on how potential attendees might feel about the event and how you’d like them to feel walking away from the event. If your company just laid off 100 people, your team may not want to see the red carpet rolled out for a celebration. But if you always host an annual event and cancel it this year, what signal does that send? The impact of the investment determines its value.
Whether you’re celebrating a win or rebuilding from a loss, an event can be a great way to build team morale. If you want to honor your achievers with the gift of a significant experience, make it memorable. Some people don’t want to travel with coworkers, even if it’s an all-expense paid trip.
If the event is at an attractive location, it can be an incentive for teammates to get to know each other better. If you’re going to take people away from their regular routines, an investment in an experience can make it worth their while. If it’s January at your office in Chicago, a trip to Hawaii is worthy of consideration. Once you make the decision to invest in an event, its value can be measured by the response of your attendees. This not only includes their willingness to attend but also how much they enjoyed themselves. How did the event make them feel? Consider asking with a post-event interview.
With any rebranding initiative, control over the messaging is of the utmost importance, and an event’s ROI is measured in the successful execution of the message. Getting your employees to unify behind messaging is a good investment to ensure a successful rollout. You can control the narrative of your company’s rebrand. The value of investing in this type of event can be as simple as a question and answer session to clarify any misinterpretations.
For example, if you’re introducing a new logo and brand name to your company, you could email that branding to thousands of team members, but when new messaging is emailed, you’re not able to create context. There’s no forum for questions.
Instead, a virtual meeting with your CEO can more clearly communicate the message, providing a firm foundation for connection before its lost in translation. In some cases, companies have hosted in-person meetings where cell phones are put into lockers to limit distractions. When a team is united in messaging, they’re less likely to leak an announcement before it’s been properly communicated to the group. The ROI of an event like this is best determined by measuring engagement with the message. Positive feedback, or the absence of negative feedback, is indicative of a successful messaging campaign.
Experiential marketing is nothing new, as brands have been putting their products in front of people as far back as the first world’s fair. Infusing human senses create memories that can translate into a powerful and positive emotional response to a product or service.
That type of event ROI is typically measured with sales. Wrigley’s introduced their chewing gum to the masses at the world’s fair in 1893. Needless to say, that proved to be a solid investment of time and resources. With modern-day events, many companies rely on event applications to track attendance demographics and the timing-related specifics of sales. Some of the more popular event apps include Whova, EventBoard, and Attendify.
The introduction of something new is a delicate process, and there’s inherent value in taking your time with a persuasive launch. People are often hesitant to accept change, with reactionary tendencies that reject new ideas. Investing in an event provides an opportunity to show and tell stories with multimedia, multi-sensory, immersive experiences. Whether it’s William Wrigley showing the value of chewing gum, or Steve Jobs showing the value of an iPod, it’s very effective for consumers to experience a new product in person.
Educating your team
If you’re rolling out a new product line, you may not see sales results for a year or more. The same can apply to an initiative to educate a team. To consider the value of training in person, we think most about retaining information. In our virtual world, it can be challenging to keep people’s attention with an online course.
One of the biggest advantages of an in-person educational event is the opportunity to remove people from their regular schedules and into an environment that inspires creativity. By providing an immersive experience, you give your team a chance to be present and retain information. When you share with your sales team what they need to know to be successful, that event ROI is going to show up in your sales metrics. Another way to measure that ROI is with a thoughtful post-event survey. Did your attendees really learn anything? Ask specific questions and find out.
Measuring event ROI with strategy
Whatever your event goals may be, the value of an in-person event is here to stay. Educators, entertainers, and marketers alike are asking their audiences to put phones down and engage their senses. The results are invaluable.
To determine the value of your next event investment, start with strategy and then measure with precision. At Heroic, we ask the right questions so that you can invest with confidence.
The Conference stands alone in the entertainment industry by providing unparalleled networking opportunities with the entertainment industry’s leading innovators and decision makers, professional development, and current entertainment options.
Attendees include entertainment industry professionals who buy, book, and promote talent. So of course, Kris Campbell, Heroic’s VP Speakers & Entertainment, was there.
IEBA Annual Conference Highlights
Having just returned from the Nashville annual event, Kris said, “The two highlights were the Corporate 360 Session and three days of an on-going showcase of great live entertainment.”
The Corporate 360 Session is for entertainment buyers and producers who work in the corporate event market and agents who represent talent who also work (or want to) in that market. This year, the session highlighted a panel discussion with an agent, a band manager, a promoter, and a buyer. There were many aha! moments felt throughout the room, which was fascinating, given most attendees were seasoned professionals. Proves the point that there is always something to learn!
There was also time for round table discussions, where attendees discuss learnings from the past two years. The pandemic was obviously tough on the events industry and the music/touring world. In spite of the difficulties all experienced, it was clear many were forced to be more creative which produced innovative ideas. For instance, we all know the traditional meet and greet events were tough, or even impossible to execute, during the pandemic. One alternate solution was to do a VIP Q&A with a band. This experience starts with selecting a cool venue with a bar and then placing the band up front, socially distanced. Then, let the attendees ask questions! Everyone felt it was more meaningful and less awkward than the traditional meet and greet.
Kris also commented, “There is no other place to experience so much exciting talent, meet with agents/managers, and learn about new trends – all in a couple days! This conference is essential for those who book talent for the events industry.”
Still Curious about The IEBA Annual Conference?
Would you like to hear more about the content that was shared at IEBA and Kris’ HOT entertainment recommendations? You can contact her directly here!
Your next big event will help foster your brand’s growth, so choosing a corporate event production partner is essential. Whether you need technical support or complete event design, the right partner will make all the difference in accelerating your brand’s growth.
Your needs may vary depending on your company’s brand goals. An effective event production partner should always offer strategic thinking, experience, and collaborative expertise. At Heroic, we know the signals that determine what makes a good partner, so let’s look at some of the green and red flags any brand should consider when choosing a partner for a make-or-break event.
Before designing an event, corporate event production partners need to understand their audience, how they want to approach the audience, and any obstacles. With this in mind, the best partners will always offer solutions informed by your marketing strategy and branding. This strategic mindset comes with assessing the overall value of an event and letting that value guide corporate event production. Every event is unique, and successful events need design partners who bring a consultative approach to production.
Look for partners who ask questions and offer creative ideas. A successful discovery phase goes far beyond repeating and refreshing successful ideas from past events. Partners who seek to understand their clients’ company culture and needs will best understand what factors may impact their results.
Red flag: order-taking
Order-taking may be the right approach for some of your needs. There’s a distinct difference between a “what do you need us to do” question and probing questions that uncover your needs. Be on the lookout for order takers. A strategic partner will ask questions about timing, culture, logistics, and specific objectives that best guide their advice.
Proven track record
Corporate event production partners reflect a company’s capabilities, and whomever you bring on board should be aligned with your company’s level of expertise. At Heroic, we look for vendors who demonstrate our sense of professionalism, urgency, and problem-solving know-how. Every event comes with challenges. If and when something unexpected happens, you’ll want a seasoned team ready to pivot. A proven track record shows that an event production team has the knowledge they need to evolve and offset whatever comes their way with alternative solutions.
Green flag: referrals
Trust partners that other industry experts consistently recommended. Vendors that come with referrals are more likely to have built long-term relationships that improve the quality of their work. It helps if you’re looking for a recurring relationship, too. The more you work with one partner, the more expertise they will bring to your event needs.
Red flag: lack of specific know-how
If a vendor is seasoned but lacks experience relative to corporate event production, they may not be a good fit for your event. Make sure a potential partner’s skill level matches the needs of the event. The specific knowledge, network, and flexibility it takes to solve corporate event problems come from years of experience. The best way to determine this level of expertise before hiring someone is to ask detailed questions about their previous work.
A collaborative approach
You achieve the best results when you work with experts who can collaborate and understand the whole of an event instead of one piece. When leaders surround themselves with trusted partners, the chances of success grow exponentially. Find a team that already has its team. You’ll know you can trust their ability to work together as professionals. Relationships you have throughout the corporate event production world make all the difference in the work when working long hours on an event, making it more enjoyable. Solid partners already have a strong network of working relationships that can meet any number of needs.
At Heroic, we understand our core capability and know when to outsource. When we call our partners to fill in the gaps, we only choose creative partners as meticulous with timelines and budgets as we are. We also only select partners who are parallel in values in the way we work.
True teamwork and collaboration happen when your attendees don’t feel the difference between the professionalism of a brand and its vendors. One event—one team committed to keeping your event moving efficiently. Solid partners understand a company and its initiatives enough to be unified in their execution.
Red flag: the blame game
When something goes wrong, and an event partner points fingers—it’s not teamwork. The best partners don’t look to blame anyone but instead calmly and efficiently get to work. No one wants to hear excuses. We want to hear “I’m on it” and see accountability for actions.
Invest in corporate event production partners who care
Experience, strategy, and collaborative skills are necessary, but that doesn’t add much if a partner doesn’t show passion for the work. Partners that communicate genuine enthusiasm for a project can better deliver the level of service that a company expects.
Heroic is a one-stop shop for staging, production, and creativity. Our experience makes us flexible to changes, and we’ve already vetted the pieces of our events puzzle—a determining factor in our readiness to deliver consistent results. Companies consistently partner with us because we choose our partners with professional integrity and understanding, and care for our client’s needs.
Contact us to discuss how we can apply our integrative approach to your next event
As an event highlight, corporate event entertainment has the potential to engage and inspire your attendees. It creates shared memories that will last far beyond the event. It’s a chance for them to snap out of their everyday thinking and experience something new. Your attendees might as well be back in the office if they don’t think they’re using their time productively—or if they’re not having a good time.
Choosing the entertainment for your event can be the difference between a so-so event or a great one. You can avoid common mistakes when you book corporate event entertainment for your next event. Like every aspect of event production, entertainment choices are most effective when guided by strategy.
Strategize a balanced event
When designing and producing a corporate event, it’s crucial to understand what purpose the entertainment will serve at the event. Once you’ve uncovered the need for entertainment, you can make strategic entertainment choices. You can then determine how best to measure the success of those choices.
For example, if your primary event goal is to share new information, you may want to formulate a plan to balance entertaining and educating your attendees. Seating your attendees in classroom-style rows to listen to speakers all day might not be the best way to keep your attendees engaged.
You might consider live music or a dance group to create energy as people walk into the General Session or an idea wall during a break outside the ballroom (or meeting room). It’s essential to capture the collective brain power in the room that will be lost by the time everyone gets back to the office. If your attendees have been watching PowerPoint presentations for a few hours, allow them to get up and move with a dance instructor or something that involves interaction. It may be exactly what your event needs to gain more powerful momentum.
Timing is essential for corporate event entertainment. Understandably, the entertainment for an awards show on the final night will differ from a general session. The entertainment should benefit the overall flow of an event. That can mean a musician between breakout sessions or an illusionist to reveal the CEO. Corporate event entertainment is an excellent opportunity for event managers to get creative within the strategy for the event.
The room layout will affect the entertainment experience. If you want your attendees to dance or sit during a musician’s performance, you’ll need to plan for that and create the room layout accordingly.
Think about your audience
Who’s going to be in the room? Corporate event attendees are often a very diverse group of people, and it can be challenging to find entertainment that reaches every demographic of your audience. Consider what will be most exciting and engaging to everyone who’s there.
For example, executive leadership may have different entertainment preferences than most younger employees. Is there an entertainer that the 30-somethings and the 60-somethings can all enjoy? It may be that Lionel Richie would create a better overall experience than Harry Styles (assuming both are in budget).
To create a successful experience, work with leadership and follow their lead to create the appropriate experience. If a team has experienced significant setbacks this year, they may not be looking to celebrate with a concert. But if sales are up and employees are ready for their first post-pandemic reunion, then it may be time to party (Karamu, Fiesta, forever…all night long).
Artists with corporate event entertainment experience
Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll want to prioritize finding artists who can be enthusiastic about your event, ideally with experience and a willingness to give the audience the attention they deserve. A corporate event requires special attention and great performers willing to provide it.
You must be ready to set your entertainers up for success. For example, they’ll need information about the organization, the attendees, and the messaging of the event. Your performers should know who they are performing for and the event’s purpose. Performers should also understand any challenges with the company or venue regarding timing, content restrictions, or sound ordinances.
When given preparation time and information, we’ve seen rockstars bring down the house with unforgettable performances of original songs written specifically for a corporate event. On the flip side, we’ve seen what happens when comedians haven’t been correctly informed or guided, to the shock and dismay of leadership (particularly HR). For better and worse, the effectiveness of corporate event entertainment strategy lies in attention to detail.
Have some fun
Corporate event entertainment has the power to transform the mindset of your attendees. When it’s all said and done, you can measure an event’s success by your attendees’ engagement. Best case? Your event attendees will be talking about the performance long after it’s over, cherishing the lasting memory of an event that brought people together around a common goal.
If you’re looking for corporate event production that goes above and beyond, call Heroic.
If your team already knows what to expect from your annual company meeting, or they’ve seen some version of the same PowerPoint presentation ten times now, you may be due for some fresh corporate event planning ideas. Your attendees will thank you for it!
Corporate event planning ideas should be guided by your brand personality and strategic goals, with thoughtful consideration of location, entertainment, and timing of activities. The key to your attendees’ delight is in the details! To make your next gathering one to remember in all the right ways, here are a few corporate event planning ideas and tips to keep in mind. To illustrate how impactful these corporate event planning ideas can be, we’ll be using an example of an intimate event set at a beautiful Napa Valley vineyard that had pitch-perfect planning and execution.
Carefully evaluating a venue’s location is integral to the success of any corporate event. If you’re gathering in person, gather with purpose. With that in mind, it’s important to let the “why” of your event” inform the “where” and “when.” When companies were hosting events at the height of the pandemic, they had to select locations that allowed planners to create standout experiences while also adhering to health safety protocols. Also, sometimes it’s just more fun to be outside. For example, we were wowed by a financial service company and their perfectly executed corporate event at a Napa vineyard. The ideal location and California sun gave attendees a refreshed perspective and a memorable experience.
Timing is also a big factor here. If your vision is to create attendee experiences outside of a hotel’s 4 walls, there’s such a thing as too much heat (and humidity) and then there is the hurricane season. Consider both the geography and the time of year if you want ideal outdoor conditions.
A venue’s layout also affects the flow of the event, so be sure to consider how open or intimate a space you’d need to achieve your desired impact. Have you ever attended a breakout session in a rock climbing gym? You wouldn’t forget it if you did. How about an early yoga lesson on the beach? Don’t be afraid to get creative with the space!
Get creative with entertainment
Strategy should guide all corporate event decision-making, and entertainment is no different. Whether you’re hiring a musician to play between work sessions or a comedian to roast the CEO at your awards show, unique entertainment choices are a great way to engage and inspire your attendees. Think about what kind of performance might help your employees break out of their everyday mindset. Could they use a laugh right now? Or do they want to be inspired? The difference between the success of a stand-up comic or a motivational speaker could lie in the needs of your attendees.
Whatever talent you might hire, the best way to make corporate entertainment unique is to incorporate it in a creative and surprising way. If you’re hiring a band, consider asking them to write an original song specifically for the event. If you’re hiring a magician, think about which team members have great personalities for being on-stage assistants—it could add an extra touch of fun and connection to the performance.
Make it interactive
Interactive performances and events make an impact. Any opportunity to directly involve your attendees is only going to elevate the event. This could be as simple as inviting attendees on stage or offering attendees to “drink and draw” along with an instructor.
Going back to the winery event example, a highlight was the team of jugglers that performed at the award ceremony. Some jugglers were dressed as waiters, and, midway through the presentations, began tossing wine bottles about as if by accident. This fun and unexpected surprise kept attendees engaged throughout the ceremony. Creative entertainment choices like this excite your attendees and have them looking forward to the company’s next event for months to come.
Personalize the experience
Another great way to keep your attendees engaged is to design the experience with them specifically in mind. What do your attendees need? Let that need guide the event idea. If your employees haven’t met yet, and they need a team-building exercise, an escape room might be a fun corporate event planning idea for the team. Or even if you know that you need your attendees sitting in chairs all day, there are ways to personalize that experience.
Let’s go back to the winery example one more time (we really loved this event!). As the attendees moved through a beautiful winery all day, enjoying the wine country scenery and juggling waiters, they were also each given a personalized wine bottle. The wine was delicious, the inscriptions on their labels were thoughtful, and no one left the event feeling like a number. It’s attention to detail like this that makes all of the difference for event planners’ success.
Don’t forget the fun
When designing an event, consider your attendees’ feelings and how you want them to feel. Let the meeting agenda and your unique event activities evolve from there, and whatever you do—don’t forget the fun. It’s safe to assume everyone wants to let their hair down every once in a while, and a unique corporate event planning idea has the power to transform your attendees’ mindset.
We’ve all seen the same presentations over and over. We’ve all sat in familiar rows of chairs, facing a seemingly endless lineup of corporate speakers. For your next event, consider flipping typical event planning ideas on their heads. When you think outside of the box, you’ll inspire your attendees to do the same.
If you’re looking for a corporate event production team that thinks of everything, contact Heroic today.
On Thursday, August 18, Heroic Productions launched a brand new, innovative event series called “Please Welcome”. Designed specifically for corporate leaders, marketing, and event professionals, Studio15 @ Heroic buzzed with the sights and sounds of live production, in front of a studio audience. But don’t worry! If you weren’t there, you can catch the broadcast in a few weeks.
“Please Welcome” is a quarterly experience, created by the event strategists at Heroic. Kris Campbell, VP of Speakers & Entertainment, explained that one of many challenges event professionals face today is selecting and booking the best talent that represents, enhances, and punctuates overall event objectives. There are many, many options. And often, while conducting an online search, the one that rings your bell is on the page you didn’t get to because you ran out of search-steam. That’s exactly why working with a talent strategist like Heroic is the answer.
As an example of how the right talent enhances a brand experience, Heroic welcomed and presented Denise Soler Cox onto the inaugural “Please Welcome” stage. At the onset of the event, Kitty Hart, Heroic’s VP of Brand Experience, told us we were in for something special. And she was right.
Denise Soler Cox is a first-generation Latina, award-winning filmmaker, podcaster, and keynote speaker. She floated onto the stage with grace and wrapped her arms around the audience with a beautiful explanation of what it means to create a sense of belonging; something she realized is a deficiency for many.
Resonating with corporate leaders all over the country, Denise is in high demand as she poses the question, “How can we ask people to be their ‘full selves’ at work if we don’t provide a space for people to experience Belonging?” As leaders understand that DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is now DEIB (B for belonging), there is still much to be done to help people understand the critical nuance needed to authentically build the feeling of belonging for EVERYONE.
Events are powerful tactics to deliver messaging. They’re also meaningful ways to celebrate achievements, train employees, and inspire attendees. Whatever the specific event goals may be, organizations rely on corporate event management teams to strategize, plan, and execute meaningful experiences.
You wouldn’t trust just anyone to plan a million-dollar wedding, and you shouldn’t trust just anyone with your million-dollar meeting, either. Corporate event management comes with all the moving parts of movie production or concert experience. Execution of that level of production requires thoughtful design. Expert event managers bring the advanced talents and strategies needed for producing events, all to surprise, delight, and motivate your attendees into post-event action.
Collaboration is vital
It’s not cost-effective to have your internal staff produce an exceptional event. Tapping an experienced production partner is an excellent and often necessary option when organizations don’t have the staff to execute corporate event management and logistics. Experts know what works. Choosing corporate event management teams with the experience and know-how to execute a successful event and ensure company goals are met can be the difference between meeting organizational objectives and an event that falls flat.
Beyond the need to secure the right venue, technology, catering, and entertainment, event managers bring expert knowledge and a fresh perspective to an organization’s event strategy. They know what’s new and what works and can apply an objective view of a company’s initiatives to build something unique rather than recreating the same event year after year.
Will some of your colleagues prefer to attend the conference from home this year? Corporate event managers have already thought through the unique circumstances that can change the event’s dynamics. They know which vendors have the capabilities to make just about anything happen. Corporate event managers get the right specialists in the room and know the right questions to ask to ensure the job is done the right way and on budget. Use their expertise to get the most out of your event.
There aren’t many event crises that a seasoned event manager hasn’t experienced. The best event managers approach challenges with curiosity, creativity, and an affinity for problem-solving. When a last-minute vendor cancellation could otherwise mean failure, an event manager already has the contact information of other vendors who can get the job done.
Years of experience prepare event managers to handle any issues that may arise. Veteran event management teams approach event productions, understanding that events are living organisms, adapting and evolving to many constantly changing factors. The best event management teams know those factors before they arise, from when your speaker will need a snack to how a venue’s floor plan might affect your attendees’ emotional response to a breakout session.
For example, if you want sparks to fly (in a good way) at your event, your attendees need room to network. Is there an area where your award winners will want to chat after their big moment? Designing solutions for team-building moments to take place is critical, and an experienced event manager has the expertise to identify those important opportunities.
Careful logistics execution is crucial to an event’s success and requires superb collaboration. Logistics don’t add up to much if it’s not grounded in a solid event strategy. Event strategy is where it all begins and continues throughout the event.
Corporate event management experts must zoom out to consider the big picture and ask the right questions:
What are the demographics of the attendees, and how might that inform their experience?
What’s happening in the company’s culture that might affect the attendees’ perspective?
Have the attendees faced setbacks that need to be acknowledged, or are they overdue for a celebration?
Will attendees benefit from a cathartic breakout session after the keynote speaker?
Event strategy should guide all decisions. The answers to the right questions will directly impact each event detail, from the schedule flow to the entertainment. Experienced corporate event managers will create solutions to help organizations meet their goals and objectives.
Event managers don’t just jump in and start building. They develop a vision, determine what success looks like, and then deliver what attendees will need to make an experience worthwhile. This attention to detail is imperative to executing on-strategy.
Let experts be experts
Specific outcomes matter and those outcomes are achieved with thoughtful consideration. Corporate event management teams bring the strategic expertise to design and put together the intricate pieces of an event’s ever-evolving puzzle.
You want your event’s schedule to be planned with purpose. The logistics of your event should be so flawless that no one notices the complexities involved in the event’s planning. And most of all, you want your event attendees to leave with sparks, ideas, and feeling a part of something.
The team here at Heroic can do it all—from strategy to execution. Let’s partner on your next event and put our corporate event management expertise to work for you. Contact us today.
Event success is as measurable as it is achievable—and if you have experience producing successful events, you know it’s all about event engagement. With engagement goals baked into your event strategy, you can effectively and accurately measure the success of your event.
But the age-old question remains: how do you quantify event engagement?
Your purpose is your best metric. Do you want to increase sales? Cultivate relationships? Share a branding message?
When your event has a clearly defined purpose, the metrics you’ll use to measure engagement will be easily definable. Engagement tools can help you learn whether attendees are moved to act on your purpose, helping you quantify event engagement.
You may think it’s over when attendees walk away smiling and buzzing with compliments, but engagement goes beyond how attendees feel about the event. It’s what attendees do as a result of the event that matters.
So, ask them what they’re doing post-event. A thoughtfully crafted post-event survey can generate meaningful feedback only if you ask the right questions.
Put yourself in the place of your attendees when you develop your survey. Consider how you want them to be empowered in the days and weeks after an event. Net promoter scores help measure approval and room for growth, but more specific questions informed by clear goals—such as sales numbers, if applicable—can determine whether your attendees were properly engaged.
Find ways to learn about attendees’ actions after the event, if any. Don’t be afraid to hear them say it was a waste of their time. Candid questions and responses are best: you’ll never know unless you ask. When you engage with emotional perception and understand how it motivates attendees, you get vital insights that will inform the strategy for your next meeting. At the very least, you want to know what held your attendees’ attention—and what didn’t.
Event feedback shouldn’t stop at event attendees. Strong relationships with sponsors and speakers are just as meaningful—and measurable. Find out what your sponsors got out of an event, and don’t shy away from asking what they’d like to get out of the next one. You can ask about event messaging: was it clean and clear? Ask them if on-site teams felt supported by the venue and planners.
How you ask questions impacts your results: the more thorough you are with your surveys, the better. Whether you’re sending out a survey as a mass email or setting up a call with your attendees, the effectiveness of event engagement data can vary significantly based on your approach to gathering it.
Event apps and social media
Many platforms support event management, and with those applications come helpful tools for measuring event engagement. The event app adoption rate is a valuable metric for understanding engagement levels. Your goals can determine any metrics you use beyond that.
For example, Whova provides tools to market your event, register attendees, and measure engagement with in-app polls and surveys. It can gauge how long attendees stayed at your event. Most in-event applications—EventBoard, BusyConf, Grupio, myQaa, TapCrowd, QuickMobile, SpotMe, Eventmobi, CrowdCompass, Attendify, and Pathable—can provide this kind of data and more.
Social media applications provide free data regarding click-through rates, post engagement, and page visitors. For example, LinkedIn metrics can provide information on social media traffic on the day of your event. Hootsuite and other social media performance tools can track the success of promotions across platforms and when attendees may have engaged with your event announcements. You can gain insight into when attendees clicked and why. If you experienced an engagement boost on social media after your event, social media tools can tell you exactly when it happened.
If you allow your attendees to register for event updates, you can also offer them an opportunity to rate the speakers and programs they attend. With an in-event app, they can rate what they see within minutes of a session, providing much more accurate feedback than a post-event survey taken days after an event. You can use data to consider making changes to your next event if you find less-than-stellar engagement.
Raw numbers matter
While a thorough survey can provide invaluable qualitative data, sometimes the clearest indicator of event engagement is in the attendance numbers. Still, engagement tools in event applications can collect more detailed information on timing and demographic-related specifics.
Maybe your attendees rushed to the ballroom for one keynote speaker, or perhaps your attendance numbers were inconsistent over the course of the event. If your attendees aren’t making it to every session, those numbers might also indicate factors that deter involvement—location, timing, personal preferences, or otherwise. Use this information to inform the strategy for your next event.
There are many ways to measure event engagement, but if the event ends with attendees taking action and speaking positively, you must capture these sentiments. Whatever insights you garner may be worth repeating with future events.
Always ask the right questions, even if it’s uncomfortable. Consider how the results match your strategy and make adjustments accordingly.
At Heroic, we focus on event strategy before any planning begins. That means success can be as accurately defined as it is measurable. Ask us the questions about event engagement you need answered, and we can build a strategy together.
There’s a secret that the best corporate event planners know—and it has little to do with creative menus, spectacular venues, or swag bags chock full of trendy products. It’s this: strategy comes first—and the most successful corporate events get built around that.
If you follow that single principle, corporate event planning becomes an extension of your brand’s marketing and communications objectives, and everything else—theme, program, food, decor, entertainment, swag, or more—can fall into place. That’s because every decision and detail either furthers your central strategy—or it doesn’t.
For corporate event planners and their clients, the key question then becomes: how do you establish and execute a clear and achievable event strategy? Simple. Answer these three critical questions.
Question 1: Why are you gathering people? What’s the message or goal?
We’ve all been to the meeting that could have been an email, the lunch that could have been a call, and the call that should have been canceled. This principle intensifies with an in-person corporate event.
So why are you gathering this designated group at this particular time? Is it for a product launch or a new sales initiative? Maybe it’s to celebrate a corporate merger, make key leadership introductions, or rally the troops after a milestone year. Take a moment to consider what you want to achieve—and how that will be measured.
What’s the key message? What are the metrics of success—the data that will convey you’ve gotten the message across? This might be ROI, quantified by sales lift, stronger customer relationships, or some other measurable KPI. It might include attendee happiness, as demonstrated by a certain percentage of positive post-event evaluations (hint: consider the questions you’ll ask them before you start planning). What other data do you want to gather to track the success of your event? These will differ according to your greater purpose—but being clear on these metrics helps you know what you’re aiming for.
Time is valuable, and attendees will appreciate your thoughtful crystallization of why they’re being brought together for a few hours or days. And when whatever you’re hoping to communicate—the magic of a new product, the synergies of a merger, the vision of fresh leadership, a collective monumental achievement—gets soundly received in a way you can quantify, you will know your event has been a success.
Strategists figure out the “why” so planners can figure out the “how.” Now that you know what your event is intended to achieve, you can fill in the event details.
First, ask yourself what kind of event would serve your strategy best? Is it big and high-energy or smaller and more intimate; splashy or discrete; daytime, evening, or multi-day; fiery or icy; loud or soft; eccentric, trendy, or classic? Or somewhere in between?
Question 2: What’s its shape, structure, and flavor?
Next, put yourself in your attendees’ shoes at every stage of the planning process. Great corporate event planning results in attendees feeling seen, thought of, and cared for. You want attendees to feel a gamut of emotions: from motivated to empowered to connected, surprised to energized to delighted. Understanding the emotional journey and how it evolves will help you sustain engagement throughout.
Design branded and customized experiences. Think about the continuity of the message throughout the event and even how the food and beverage can tie into that message.
Impact all five senses when possible.
For example, use script writing and creative visual support to awaken sight and sound (and to prevent ‘death by PowerPoint.’)
Use stellar food and beverages and even aromatherapy throughout to tantalize taste and smell—and to carry the continuity of a well-crafted message.
Think about volume control and temperature. When will you make things cozier? When would you cool things down?
Build on previous successes, or utilize learning moments drawn from past events.
At every step, go back to your objective and event strategy. Make sure that every decision you make supports and aligns with that strategy.
Question 3: How do you keep everyone safe?
Covid changed the rules—and the expectations.
Pandemic added new challenges to event logistics, and it raised the stakes, too. Anticipation is currently soaring. Most event attendees have been working remotely for two years, and they’re ready to celebrate. Maybe this is their first opportunity to meet—and bond with—new colleagues. Maybe they’re experiencing concerns about Covid, and you’ll need to assure them they’re safe.
Covid has also changed timeframes: lead times are much shorter now, with two or three months settling into more of a norm. For one thing, it’s challenging to plan when it’s unclear if there will be a Covid spike, a new variant, or a transportation barrier. For another, communication with venues has become challenging, due to staffing shortages.
The best event planners are prepared and adaptive, with an affinity for problem-solving. Now picture this: it’s been weeks, and people are still buzzing about your corporate event. The word is that everyone left the event feeling like it was time well spent—connections were made and the level of engagement hit just the right mark.
So the event was a success? Well, you tell us. You now know the secret.
At Heroic Productions, we are supportive, strategic collaborators. We know the right questions to ask, and how to guide you toward solutions that serve your company best. And we know how to create an event strategy—and complete it.