If your Sunday night was anything like mine, it was probably spent watching the Oscars.
For film lovers, the Oscars is one of the year’s most anticipated nights because we get to see all of our favorite film stars gather for a dramatic showcase.
For corporate event managers, the Oscars is their Super Bowl. It provides the perfect opportunity to witness some of the best in the business plan one of the most renowned award ceremonies of our time. The scenic is stunning, the event is entertaining and the attendees look like they’re having the time of their lives.
When planning your next corporate awards ceremony, think like the Oscars. Or at least think like the person who plans the Oscars. Whether you’re recognizing outstanding performers within your company or simply saying “thanks” to your employees for all their hard work, an awards show is a great way to gather everyone together and boost employee engagement. Just ask CPG Co-Founder Steve Friedman:
“Award ceremonies provide recognition to employees, franchisees or dealers and recognition is one of the keys to engaging those stakeholders. It helps demonstrate in a meaningful way that the organization appreciates their contributions to its success. “
If your brand is successful and thriving, there is always an excuse to celebrate. With these corporate awards ceremony best practices, your next show is sure to be an “Oscar-worthy” performance.
Before you even begin planning for your next awards show, you need to determine how big your budget is.
Virtually every aspect of your show, from venue selection to entertainers, depends on how much you have to spend. The last thing you want is to plan for Jimmy Fallon to emcee your show only to learn your budget limits you to Karen from down the hall.
But just because you’re working with a limited budget doesn’t mean your show has to suffer. A smaller budget just means you need to find creative ways to get the most bang for your buck.
You can nix this problem by sharing your event budget with your production supplier. After that, they can help determine what you can comfortably achieve within your price range.
Choose the Right Venue
Attendees expect award shows to be exciting and glamorous, so it’s important to select a location that will help generate pre-event buzz. Throughout the process of selecting a venue space, you should try and find a location that already has some degree of “WOW” factor.
I hate to break it to you but a last minute awards show at the office might not make the cut. Instead, consider historically significant locations within your host city or venues that have hosted award shows in the past.
Get Creative with Your Event Theme
An event theme is a fun and creative way for you to differentiate your awards ceremony from past shows and it gets your attendees excited for what’s to come.
While black tie formal is always a safe bet, try thinking outside of the box. For instance, transport your attendees back in time with a 1950s Hollywood Glamour theme or bring out their competitive spirit with a Casino Night.
Last week, CPG produced the UniGroup Learning Conference, which adorned a “Spring Training” theme. With the season right around the corner, CPG didn’t hold back with the baseball references.
As attendees convened for general session, they were met with signs that showcased famous baseball quotes and the slogan of the event was MLB: “Meet. Learn. Become.” Best of all, the entire event production team were referred to as All-Stars and MVPs.
Set the Stage with Scenic Design
The difference between your typical awards ceremony and a memorable one all comes down to the details; I’m talking scenic design. When done right, scenic amps up the excitement of the show right from the get go and makes your audience feel like they belong to something truly special.
With lighting, you can completely transform the event space and set the mood for the entire evening. There are many inexpensive, yet effective, ways to utilize lighting to really “WOW” your guests, such as moving lights, uplights and patterned effects.
Make your event stage its own key part of the experience by using digital stage banners, widescreens, backdrops and props. When designing the stage, it’s important to keep it exciting yet functional so presenters and speakers can transition on and off stage with ease.
Keep Your Guests Entertained
While the sole purpose of your awards show is to honor the guests, the majority of your attendees don’t win an award. If you spend the entire evening announcing winner after winner, you’ll quickly lose the attention of your non-winners.
Break up the evening with a standup comedian or magician. Consider hiring a local band from your host city to provide live music for the event. By incorporating entertainment into the event schedule, you keep your audience engaged throughout the ceremony.
Create the “Big Moment”
Award show attendees live for the “WOW” moment. It’s one of the main reasons they attend the ceremony in the first place. For award nominees, this is their time to shine and they deserve to feel like superstars.
“Award ceremonies should always be meaningful.” Steve says. “To make the night special, we can celebrate honorees on stage, in collateral, in videos or in the meeting app. It’s also important to give honorees their award in person and include friends and family whenever possible. This makes the experience more personal and impactful.”
Rather than just announcing the winner and calling it a night, try sprucing things up to make their big moment even more exciting.
One method could be to interview and record all the nominees prior to the start of the show. Before the winner is announced, the video will play, the presenter will announce all of the nominees and the audience will be eager to learn who the winner is.
Keeping the award winners a secret from the entire staff is another to way to really build up the anticipation. This will amp up the big moment even further and exhilarate the audience when they finally find out who will be taking home the award.
Produce an Event Video
For the past few months, you have poured your heart and soul into making this awards ceremony a reality. Why not have something to show for it?
By capturing event footage throughout your show and interviewing event sponsors and attendees, you can put together a great post-event highlights reel to publish on your website or social media . Not only will this serve as a great promotional tool for your brand, it can help to secure those crucial sponsors for future shows as well.
Tie It All Together
When it comes to planning an awards show, there is definitely a lot to consider but your attendees should always be at the core of every decision you make. The sole purpose of your show is to acknowledge and celebrate your employees so you should always be thinking of different ways to drive employee engagement.
An awards ceremony is one the most rewarding types of events for your brand because it can help to extend your reach and motivate your employees; after all, without your people, your brand would cease to exist. If you begin and end your event planning process with your people at the forefront, your show is sure to leave a lasting impact. And with this impact, your brand will reap the benefits.
For more tips on building stronger brand advocates, check out our eBook that explains the 8 key steps for strengthening your internal communications strategy.