Growing up, we were always taught to never judge a book by its cover. Great words to live by (even if it often proves difficult) because as people, we shouldn’t let appearance dictate our opinions.
As corporate event planners, we give you permission to throw these words out the window. Sorry, mom.
There’s a reason why book covers continue to be judged on a daily basis: First impressions are everything.
In the event world, they can make or break the attendee experience, plain and simple. The atmosphere of your conference should blow away your attendees the moment they arrive on-site. Think about it – if your event looks dull and boring, it’ll feel dull and boring.
The whole point of your annual corporate event is fire up your people and drive home your brand message. In order to do that, your event production elements need to be on point. By really honing in on the creative and visual elements, we guarantee your next business meeting will be nothing short of “wow” worthy.
Corporate Event Scenic Design
When attendees convene for general session, your event’s scenic design is the first thing they’ll see when they walk through the doors. It’s the perfect opportunity to set the tone and amp up excitement from the get go.
Plenary scenic design typically consists of five main elements: stage sets, lighting, banners, backdrops and graphics. All of these branded elements play off each other to provide the overall look and feel of your general sessions.
But scenic isn’t just limited to the stage and general sessions. In fact, producers will often carry the design over into the booths and signage of the expo hall as well. This makes your attendee experience more congruent and reinforces your brand message in an enduring way.
Your attendees will feel like they’re a part of something truly special and return home with exciting stories to share. When done right, scenic design will intensify attendee engagement and leave a lasting impact on your audience.
Corporate Event Theming
An event theme separates your annual conference from past events and amps up the excitement among attendees. It’s no secret why themed events are so popular – for a brief moment in time, guests feel as if they are transported to a whole new space.
To really tie everything together, weave the theme into other elements of the event, such as the registration areas and expo halls. An immersive experience all comes down to the minor details and big moments. Your event theme will help to solidify your central idea at each level in-between.
Corporate Event Branding
Every corporate event has a purpose. One of the best ways to bring that purpose to heart is to connect stakeholders with your brand and brand story. Ask yourself, “What is the key message I want to convey?”
Understanding the objectives behind your brand message will help dictate what medium works best to tell your story. This story, like every other great narrative out there, should consist of three main parts: a beginning, middle and end.
Looking back at how far your brand has come is a great starting point. What experiences have shaped your brand into what it is today? How has your journey looked? How have your employees been a part of this journey?
As you transition to the meat of your story, this is a good time report about where your brand is now. Whether it’s finances, goals, thought processes, etc., your people need transparency into your company.
In each phase of your annual event, use speakers, breakout sessions and a variety of entertainment to support the key points you’re trying to convey.
Unless you thread the brand message throughout the experience, your employees will be left confused and unsure of what to takeaway from the event.
To go out with a bang, wrap up your story with an exciting look at your future goals. Think of this as the “how” part of your event. Show your attendees where your brand is headed and how you’re going to help them reach these goals.
At this point, your employees should be emotionally dialed in and committed to driving results. If you send your attendees home with a story they’re proud to be a part of, you’ll create stronger brand advocates.
Corporate Event Entertainment
If your attendees spend their entire conference listening to session after session, they’ll grow bored.
Sure, the main objective is business-focused, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun along the way. Incorporating entertainment into the event schedule is a sure-fire way to keep your audience engaged throughout the entire event.
Consider hiring a local band from your host city to provide live music in between sessions. Bring a funny, engaging emcee to the stage. Explore creative concepts that match your brand and provide disruptive, exciting departures from the mundane throughout your attendee experience. Essentially: Do whatever it takes to immerse your audience.
But, entertainment doesn’t have to be limited to the stage. During a cocktail party or networking event, have a comedian or magician work the crowd. Ever had a gospel chorus appear out of nowhere to kick off the event? Find the emotionally charged form of entertainment that fires your people up and tracks back to the key idea you’re trying to convey.
Engaging, Emotional Video
Video content is an important element to include into your event schedule because it functions as an emotional charge, as well as a transition tool between presentations.
Each video needs to advance your story. It’s important to think about the message delivery.
As attention spans continue to shorten, even great videos might lose your audience after a few minutes. Rather than trying to cram a lot of content into one long video, create a series of shorter videos instead. These can be used as interstitials throughout the conference.
Interviewing real people from your brand is another great tactic because it makes your content relatable. “Day in the Life” videos or interviews with peers tell great stories that inspire your people to act.
Out of all the video tips in our arsenal, the most important is to keep your content light and entertaining. Remember, funny content is memorable content. Videos that communicate a real message, while also invoking some laughter, will always have impact.
Never underestimate the power of a good video. When used correctly, it has the potential to be one of your most compelling vehicles of communication.
It really is a beautiful sight to witness all of your corporate event production elements come together and work as one. By evoking the right emotions at the right time, your event production gives your brand the opportunity to connect with your audience on a whole new level. Not only will your attendees enjoy their experience, they’ll be actively engaged and nothing ensures success more than that.
Happy attendees, happy life, right? Okay, that may not be the right phrase but it still rings true.
If you really want to set your annual conference apart, get creative with your event production elements. When your event comes to an end, you’ll send your attendees home with some pretty awesome memories and there’s no denying they’ll be counting down the days until next year.