5 engaging ideas for your next corporate event

Capturing the hearts and minds of your event guests is everything.

Engagement encourages guest behavior which drives strategic outcomes. Sharing your event on social media, recommending your brand to other industry players and committing to future events from your company are just some of the many benefits that come from ensuring guests are engaged at all times.

Of course, it's easy for corporate events to be the opposite of engaging. Even the most passionate members of an industry may lose interest in a relevant event if it's not presented in a way that is innovative or inspiring.

Here are five ideas to add a breath of fresh air to your next corporate event.

Idea #1: Unique event venues

An event venue is not just a place where people sit and listen to another person talk: it's an integral element of the whole experience. 

Hotel ballrooms and conference centers, however high-quality, can contribute to a sense of sameness which can leave an otherwise exciting event seeming unoriginal or stale. This perception alone can be exceedingly damaging to attendance numbers, let alone the engagement of your guests. 

Surprise your guests with outside-the-box event venues.

Surprise your guests with outside-the-box event venues.

As traditional business cultures are growing increasingly flexible and we say goodbye to our expectations of formality in the corporate environment, it stands to reason business events should reflect the same shift. Hence, non-traditional venues such as night clubs, museums or adventure reserves are growing in popularity and now exceed everyday venues in terms of demand, according to global industry research by American Express.

Consider whether the venue for your next event is "expected". If so, you can change the entire perception and frame of your event by shifting to a wildly original space. 

Idea #2: Integrated storytelling technology

Incorporating technology into your event is an absolute must. Not only does it capture data to analyse behavior and drive decisions on the ground and post-event, it creates a fantastic channel for innovative storytelling and engagement.

Gamification is a simple way to provide context to technology and provides a platform for further storytelling opportunities. Based on the simple principle of rewards, incorporating a games element into your event can easily incentivize engagement among your guests. By utilizing a smart phone app to do so, you also discourage disengagement at the hands of social media, as guests' smart phones are no longer a distraction but a key part of the event.

The vast majority of adults today and constantly connected to their devices, and often use a smart phone as a second screen when consuming any media - whether that's television or a live event. Audiences commonly use their phones to look up general information or share what they're experiencing. You can utilize the second screen in your event by encouraging viewers to engage in a relevant hashtag on social media or give feedback directly to the speaker via polling or questions apps. This taps into the preferred channels of attendees, rather than combating them.

Keep guests engaging with each other and your event, even with their phone in hand.

Keep guests engaging with each other and your event, even with their phone in hand.

Furthermore, an app opens up a whole new avenue for creative brand storytelling. Reflecting the themes of your event in both the game's narrative and the way it's played could be extremely rewarding for your engagement metrics. A the same time, encouraging your guests to engage with your event using the assistance of their smart phones allows a simple means to track and collate engagement with both the app itself and the broader event. 

Idea #3: Local providers

Invite your guests to feel immersed not only in the event itself, but in a unique destination.

Drawing the inspiration for your event from the producers and talent local to your venue is an exciting way to capture the attention of guests who have traveled. 

If running an event in a unique location, likely to be unfamiliar to the majority of your guests, this is the perfect opportunity to emphasize the food and culture indigenous to the area. Invite your guests to feel immersed not only in the event itself, but in a unique destination. Choose a destination with strong ties to the purpose or themes of your event to strengthen your messaging.

Attract local providers to contribute to your event for an authentic, immersive experience.

Attract local providers to contribute to your event for an authentic, immersive experience.

For example, Iceland is known for its success in sustainability, so may be the perfect location for an event showcasing your business' own efforts. This is then furthered by reaching out to local caterers for uniquely Icelandic dishes celebrating the nation's famously sustainable fishing industry. 

Idea #4: Festival events

In a similar vein, designing large-scale events like a festival - spanning multiple days and venues - actively motivates your guests to see, feel and take part in an entire city's culture.

Start by breaking your event down into individual aspects: an exhibition or showroom, various speakers or workshops. Next, consider the individual needs of each scheduled item. Do you need a single venue to encompass everything, or could your event benefit from engaging a range of venues across the city?

With festivalised events, an entire city can become the playground on which you event takes place.

With festivalized events, an entire city can become the playground on which you event takes place.

Pick a starting point for your attendees to register and perhaps attend the opening keynote, and then provide loose programs which encourage guests to spend their time at your event attending only the most relevant parts. Allowing guests to design their own programs according to their interests ensures they remain engaged at all touch points.

This also makes way for the creation of dedicated networking opportunities, breaking up the day with casual gatherings at local cafes, bars or restaurants, mitigating event fatigue while still providing engagement and value.

Idea #5: The element of mystery

What better way to keep guests on the edge of their seats than to build palpable suspense around major aspects of your event?

Anticipation is amplified when guests are waiting not just for the event or an item within it, but the knowledge of what "it" is. Withholding select pieces of information about your event - whether that's the venue, guest speakers, entertainment or otherwise - leaves guests wondering what's ahead, building excitement and generating buzz among attendees. 

Understanding the delegate experience is key to designing an engaging event and innovation helps you appeal to your audience's preferences. The cievents team is comprised of innovators in event management, production and creative services dedicated to pushing the boundaries of what your business can achieve. Find out how your next event can exceed expectations by reaching out to cievents today.

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