When you hear the term “Corporate Event” you might picture a massive trade show or a convention center packed with ties and heels, but the truth is a “Corporate Event” is any event sponsored by a company that targets employees or clients.   These type of events could include product launches, award parties for staff, dinners to celebrate partnerships, holiday parties, charity events, board meetings, and of course those giant trade shows and conferences.

Just like any other type of event, corporate events have four key components: the perfect venue, a solid vision or goal, reliable vendors, and a solid marketing plan.

The best location for your event is one where your guests will feel the most comfortable that also meets your goal/vision for the event.   A product launch could happen in a corporate setting or it could be fun to hold the launch on-site with the people who would use your products.  An employee appreciation event might work best in a unique or fun environment like an art gallery, or an arcade or bowling alley. 

Defining the goal of your event is the first thing you should do.  Knowing what you want to accomplish will illuminate the who, what, when, and where or what you should do.  Are you looking for local exposure – maybe scheduling key parts of your event during local news broadcast and inviting the media will get you extra attention.  Want to make a family-friendly company picnic? The right venue can do most of the work for you – for example renting space at a local zoo could make for an amazing family experience.

Vendors you can trust will take the stress off your shoulders during the planning process.  Reach out to contacts that have experience with event planning and ask for their referrals.  Let your vendors know who referred you and you may get the special treatment because they don’t want to let down the treasured client that passed their info along. 

The last and probably most important step is marketing your event.  Of course trade shows, product launches, and conferences need a marketing plan, but even holiday parties or employee events need marketing support to make sure your invited guests are save the date and are excited to attend.  The most effective marketing for events tells the story of why the event should mean something to those invited.  Utilize social media, email, and print invitations to connect with your attendees, build excitement, and set the tone for the event.

As event planners we always have the option to think out of the box and bring any event to the next level – this is true in the corporate world as well.  A Board Meeting doesn’t have to be a “bored meeting”.  Or course, there is work to be done and decisions to be made, but infusing a little energy may make the meeting more productive.  Start the meeting with a social moment – even 15 minutes of mingling can get everyone in a friendly mood.   For certain discussions – offer a different way to share ideas – for example if the board is discussing goals for the next year or ways to spend a windfall, have them write their top three ideas on a post it note before the meeting.  Before the topic comes up organize them into categories on a poster board or wall to bring a visual and more organization to the discussion.  

Balloons and confetti may be used sparingly at business events, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative and produce memorable experiences.