Essential Tips for Planning a Successful Corporate Event

Corporate event planning is imperative in assisting the client to publicise its brand to its customers, clients, competitors and whoever is exposed to the corporate events. Corporate eventing is also a great connector of people and provides a variety of different ways to communicate with the audience at the event.

Naturally there are a number of challenges to corporate event planning, one of the biggest being the budget. The budgets dictate what you can and (maybe) cannot do. Location, location and location can be another difficulty where one could also have to battle weather obstacles. Availability of the correct MC or moderator to assist in setting and maintaining the tone of the production, as well as other talent also needs to be tackled.

Event Goals and Objectives

One of the best ways to create a successful event is to define the client’s goals and objectives and what success looks like to them. It is important to hear not only the Opinion of the client – but who their audience is, i.e. directly, people who will be at the event as well as their indirect audience – who may not be at the event but could be affected by the outcome of the event.

Clients need to be guided in terms of setting a budget for the event, this is where the expertise of the event production company comes in handy. The production company needs to advise in terms of the outline of the budget and which elements are required to achieve the best event possible. A good budget also ends up being a great check list for the event as well as a production schedule for the event itself. There should also be parameters with regards to any flexibilities when it comes to budgets.

As mentioned, location is (almost) as imperative as the budget. The venue should be a canvas that the production company will paint on to produce what has been promised to the client. It should be central to the clientele – as one does want guests coming to the event. It goes without saying that venues should have safe and ample parking for working crew and guests. People should feel safe working at the event and attending the event at the location. Service is imperative, a venue that has top notch service providers is key or even better if a venue allows you to bring in your own preferred suppliers. In this day and age venues need to have a rain plan and of course a power back-up system.

Event Design and Theming

While sourcing and confirming the venue, one needs to find the correct theming and décor. Gala events would generally have a different look and feel than a team building, which would be different to a breakfast launch, which could be different to a cinema seating style conference.

One important elements is what can be called the golden thread – common elements which are carried throughout the event, from venue, colouring, speakers, entertainment even down to the menu can all carry this golden thread.

And this should all be incorporated with the company’s brand in the event design. This can be done in a number of different ways; besides the obvious way of a logo (of course as per the CI) also through registration, to the lectern, on any menu or programmes etc. A creative production company will find various ways to incorporate the client’s / event logo through décor elements, staging pieces even throughout food items and gifts given to guests.

Entertainment and Speakers

We all know how important and influential speakers and MC’s can be to the flow and energy of the event. With the diverse cultural groups that we have in South Africa, it is imperative to not only have entertainment and speakers who communicate well and are understood by the audience; they must carry through the message of what the event is about and also represent the brand well. One also needs to find a balance of talent that make the guests feel entertained but also represent the objectives of the client/s.

The best way to try and get the finest talent for your event, is to try and book them as soon as possible. The more time that you have between booking the talent for the event, the more wriggle room you could have for any possible negotiations. Also brief your potential entertainment correctly, this helps everyone involved in booking and execution of the event.

Production companies need to create and leverage on their relationships with Talent booking agents, managers and the talent themselves directly. Always be fair and kind to talent – it will get you very far.

Food and Beverages

Food and beverage elements need to discussed as soon as the venue is identified, as venues could influence if you have options of bringing in your own catering supplier or if you have to use the venue’s food and beverage menus.

One should have a number of good catering suppliers who can cater for a number of different types of events as well as for different sizes of events. There should be suppliers who also provide great menu options for diet restrictions and preferences and provide good guidelines on what does work instead of what guests think could work.

Be sure to be clear on the strengths and weakness of the different suppliers. Again, this is about creating networks and strong relationships.

At times, when confirming the menu and drinks one might need to guide the client in ensuring that the menu needs to be for the guests (the majority) who are attending the event and not just for the (few) executives attending.

Event Promotion and Marketing

There are a variety of ways to promote corporate events, depending on the type of event/s:

    • if the event is private or public function,
    • the type of event; e.g. conference VS brand launch
    • if there are any costs involved for the invited guests, e.g. cash bar
    • depending on the MC’s or talent who will performing be at the event

Promotion of a particular event is very important. The event experience begins when guests receive a save the date communication and a call by the RSVP team to confirm their attendance or not. Again the thematic golden thread should be part of the invitation process.

Social media has become a big component of the marketing of events; one can use the production company to help with this. It does not have to be expensive, apps as simple as WhatsApp can be used.

Event production is not just party planning. Corporate event planning is specialised and requires strategic thinking and execution from the event producers.

  • A few points have been touched on, but event production is so much more than what we have time to discuss. It is a craft which requires the below but not limited to :
    • patience,
    • teamwork including working with collaborative suppliers,
    • creativity,
    • hard work – not all that glitters is (just) gold,
    • holding the clients hands while bringing their objectives to life,
    • empowering and employing scores of people from various fields,
    • and it goes without saying, producers who know how to develop, run and reconciliate budgets.

Successful events are not only great for the client but also for the brand of the event company which has produced the event. If you have all the correct traits as well the patience and passion for this industry, go forth and conquer.

We at 360 degrees are always here to advise, assist and produce, so please do feel free to reach out and connect with us