Special events play a major role in your business plan.
You aren't hosting conferences, meetings or gala dinners simply for the sake of it - each style of event is motivated by specific strategic goals related to your overall business objectives. Well-planned events can help to boost employee and channel partner engagement, build brand awareness among B2B contacts, generate revenue, launch a new product or service, among a number of other critical goals.
With your event intrinsically tied to achieving your business goals and growth, it's vital you have a clear strategy in place to ensure each one is more successful than the last.
Let's take a look at five common event formats, the purpose behind them and a few ways you can make your next one stand out.
Conferences should position your company as an industry leader.
The conference is a forum for like-minded professionals within the same company or industry to come together, learn new things and build their network. Your typical conference features one or two keynote speakers, establishing the overall theme of the event, followed by a series of further presentations from other industry players. Auxiliary networking events such as a cocktail evening are also common.
Bringing together industry minds under the banner of your company positions your brand as a thought leader and shows you're capable of providing real value to attendees. It can also be an opportunity to provide professional development opportunities to your staff and channel partners. Thought leadership is no small goal, and registration can often be expensive, so mastering the conference to surprise and delight your guests is a must.
How to deliver a memorable conference:
- Create unique concepts. From the very inception of your event strategy, you need to be thinking about the point of difference your event has over the competition. This can be a fine line to walk, as every choice needs to be driven by your strategic goals to feel authentic. Without authenticity, innovation can quickly feel like a gimmick or another passenger on the trend bandwagon.
- Choose your keynote speaker carefully. They should be an eminent personality within your industry whose appearance will attract more delegates and whose perspectives will challenge and inspire your guests. At the same time, there's value in delivering the unexpected, as long as your choices are authentic and consistent.
- Leave no box unticked. Even if your conference takes place in a single room, you need to consider the entire delegate journey from the first point of contact through to post-event messaging. How will you weave technology, branding and meaningful moments together to create a fully realised delegate journey?
Meetings are an opportunity to impress and engage key stakeholders.
Business meetings, small or large, should never be overlooked.
Internal meetings, whether hosting the board, sales team or the whole company, should be run as a special event wherein the needs of each delegate are carefully considered and the environment supports the intention behind the meeting. Your meeting can quickly become devalued when attendees are tired and unengaged by yet another glass-walled board room. Where external stakeholders or business partners are concerned, the need to inspire is even greater, as the quality of your hospitality reflects on your organisation as a whole.
How to make your next meeting more engaging:
- Say "goodbye board room". It's easy to fall back on the traditional hotel board room venue - but is there any danger in the expected? Consider a more unique venue for your next meeting - a rooftop garden, a nightclub or an art gallery. Inviting your delegates into an exciting or unconventional space can switch their brains on and keep them engaged and open to new information. You can access a huge range of venues from functional to eclectic using cievents' innovative live booking and strategic meetings management platform, cimeetings.
- Focus on fast-paced. Delegates become bored when meetings are allowed to drag on too long or people waffle unduly. Building a strict time-boxed agenda keeps people on their toes.
Your launch party needs to create genuine excitement for your next release.
Your product launch isn't just to tell people you have a new product or service available - you could do that with social media.
A launch party is all about buzz - that feeling of excitement that quickly becomes contagious in a large room full of like-minded people. Your goal is to ignite a spark of passion among your delegates, have them thrilled and inspired by your release and bring you the benefits of word-of-mouth marketing.
Genuine, lasting excitement doesn't happen by itself, however. A product launch must be designed to encourage real anticipation.
How to generate real buzz at your product launch:
- Promote a solution, not a product. The core messaging of product launch should not be "we've released something new". Rather, your event strategy should focus on a problem your new product solves. In doing this, you place the emphasis on the people in your audience - how you can help them, not how they can drive your profit margins. When people feel like something will genuinely improve their lives, they're more likely to promote it emphatically.
Make a point of difference with unique road show iterations.
When does your event benefit from being on the road?
There is a great deal of logistical considerations to undertake when planning a road show. All those turning gears need to find their way to and from each destination without disruption. That said, when a road show belongs in your event strategy, it can amplify event attendance, allow for more careful demographic targeting and create a more unique delegate experience.
How to plan an impactful road show:
- Choose your destinations strategically. If you're planning to take your event to four different cities across four countries, you need to seriously consider why. Will this help drive attendance from your most valuable audience, or would you benefit more from targeting four cities in just one country? What are the logistical considerations around moving between your chosen destinations? Use data to inform your decisions and ensure each location will justify the format.
- Embrace locality. Consider how your destinations can personalise and differentiate your event. By drawing from each location, you can incorporate the preferences of the local demographic with regards to your catering and entertainment, and promise that every iteration offers delegates a unique experience.
Reward and motivate your staff with exciting celebrations.
Your celebrations can and should play a major role in motivating and engaging your staff.
Whether this is your annual gala, awards dinner or Christmas function, company celebrations should be considered an investment in employee wellness. A massive 85 per cent of employers claim their Christmas parties have a positive impact on the morale and motivation of their staff, according to Eventbrite. To truly engage your team, your celebrations need to feel like a reward - not an obligation. It's easy for a poorly planned celebration to quickly become an occasion for twiddling thumbs and excuses to leave, which not only disappoints your staff but wastes your money.
How to host a successful celebration:
- Nail the food. Catering is critical in any event, but in celebrations, it really needs to take the cake. This is a special occasion and, for many of your line staff, it may be the only event they attend within the year. Food and beverages are easy avenues to surprise and delight when you provide high-quality, unique offerings that pique the interest of anybody and everybody. There's a fine line to walk between gourmet and crowd-pleasing, but nailing food such in a way that everyone delights is immensely rewarding.
- Maximise your space. Consider every room at your venue. Rather than one specific function space, look into utilising smaller rooms for use as green rooms or dedicated wind-down spaces. Providing a range of rooms and atmospheres means guests can move through the venue without becoming overwhelmed.
Whatever the event you're planning, the cievents team is here to help. From production through to full-scale management, we're the perfect extension to your team, handling any and every aspect you need. Don't wait - contact cievents today to find out more.