Guest Column: Trends that drive the most successful corporate events

Ever wonder, what is the difference between the most successful corporate events that drives great business and the events that fail?


The answer is- Attendee Engagement!

Experiential Engagement should never end when the last person walks out of
 the door; you need to continue the conversation. Ever wondered, what creates an
 impact? Is it the food, the lighting, the sound or is the taste, the visual
 delight and emotional perception? There’s a thin line of difference between attending
 and engaging. To get your event attendees to bond, connect and share their
 experiences should be the ultimate goal of any event.

Now, think about the most memorable event you’ve attended in recent
 times. You were probably exhibiting a great deal of excitement in advance,
 eagerly chatting with colleagues and friends about the details. Post event, you
 couldn’t wait to swap photos and experiences. These are the hallmarks of a
 wildly successful event.

Needless to say, corporate events are big investments of time and money
 and it lasts a few days (at most) because time is at a premium for participants.
 The best way to ensure a value return on your event-investment is to 'think
 beyond planning just the set, ambience and structures’, in fact focus on ‘creating
 lasting impressions’ through Live Experiences and ‘Engage’ attendees the B-D-A
 way - Before, During and After the Experience
. The success of some of the
 most thriving events may in fact be attributed to focus on these three phases. 

Infuse Enthusiasm Prior to the Event: In my opinion, the first point of contact for prospective attendees
 with the spirit of the event is when they learn the event is scheduled to take
 place and either receives a personalised invitation or indulges in a one-to-one
 engagement with the event host or lead attendee host. Attendees crave
 personalized and unique experiences. I insist, to be able to create ‘an
 experience’ is the most crucial of all objectives. Putting things into
 perspective, the most successful planners are always looking for ways to create
 value and meaning for their guests beyond the four walls of their meeting
 space. It’s all about the 360 degree experience taking off at the very start
 and continuing well beyond the event schedule. 

Pre-Event Engagement: One of the most
 successful and important stage of any event is the very onset of it. The way
 you begin, sets the mood for the entire event. Building momentum and excitement
 ahead of the event with engaging and fun ideas such as digitally driven
 announcements, games, trivia and photo contests along with brand integration
 activities helps guests in building camaraderie and social spirit. I love to
 share the joy of my corporate clients basking in the successful pre-event phase
 that which results from well planned and structured activities aiming to
 achieve delegate participation.

#Hashtag Experience Economy: We are living in a digital event era, quite literally! Come up with a
 hashtag that’s short, unique, and easy-to-understand. As you post
 relevant content leading up to your event, make sure to include your hashtag
 across your social accounts!  While hashtags are most prominently used on
 Twitter and Instagram, platforms like Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest have also
 adopted them. And Instagram has even gone as far as to allow users to follow
 specific hashtags, making them an even more crucial part of your strategy.

Fishbowl Conversations at Conferences: In Fishbowl Panel Discussions, 4 out of 5 panel chairs are filled with
 guest panellists and 1 chair is left empty for audience participation. Once the
 topic is initiated and panellists start to discuss, any member of the audience
 can, at any time, occupy the empty chair and join the fishbowl panel. Any
 existing member of the fishbowl must voluntarily leave the fishbowl and free
 the chair in case of subsequent audience participation. 

I always say, audiences carry varied real time insights and also the
 potential to contribute and take discussions to an all time high, culminating
 into the most significant deliberations and results. Imagine, how much
 experience you are creating alongside active participation and the impact that
 would probably last a few months!

Power of LIVE: Reach your audience
 everywhere. As part of your event, planning your digital strategy must be on
 your Plan ‘A’. Consider recruiting a live tweeter, purely dedicated to live
 tweeting your event activities and highlights. This is bit of an art; you need
 to ensure you post shareable content, tag your speakers and guests where
 relevant. Incentivise your hashtags for event attendees, feature a Live Tweet
 Wall on event site and you’ll witness how the venue resonates with the positive
 buzz on floor with attendees trying to ‘out-tweet’ each other. Everything you
 do, must be in-line with your project objective of creating valuable
 experiences through engagement.

Tap the Technology: To accommodate a
 genuinely memorable event, corporates are beginning to immerse their guests
 into hearty ‘experiences’. With the artful applications of venue, décor and
 technology, event spaces can be completely transformed, paving the way for long
 lasting and nearly unforgettable attendee experience. Not to miss, effective
 corporate event branding is a guaranteed boost for both employee spirit and guest

Attendee Driven Activities: Exercise breaks and
 healthy bites inspire huge amounts of productivity and creative flow of
 thoughts at meetings, off-sites and summits. Extensive and tiring summit
 schedules can be broken down to include 15 minutes relaxation rooms with power
 yoga, quick meditation routines and green walks in the garden. If schedules
 permit, hosts may offer experiential and rejuvenating morning boot camps and
 sweat-inducing team building slots too.

Innovative Event Designs that foster Social Interaction: Imagine yourself in formals, attending a
 summit/conference/offsite and then they tell you, ‘lunch will not be served but
 has been laid out in Picnic format’! This is what we call Lunch Clubbing. Very
 innovative, easy flowing and friendly, these breakout sessions over lunch
 foster friendship beyond formal lines of communication and sets the floor
 abuzz. Remember, all things social reflect upon what we call a community and
 every business must build an experiential one.

An Event strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and
 encourages them to participate, stay and eventually recall are in fact the most
 successful campaigns any corporate has ever done. No matter how exceptional the
 venue or stirring the keynote, it can still be a challenge to make a corporate
 party or networking event stand out among the innumerable affairs entrepreneurs
 attend all year round. To turn a corporate event into a lasting brand
 impression, creative planners increasingly incorporate unique experiences into
 events, both to make them memorable and to help the objectives, resonate.

2018 is the year of exceptional and meticulous event planning. We’re
 seeing a trend towards events that are strategic and taking to the use of
 creative elements to push the strategy and enhance the overall attendee

Start with the outcome you want and build the experience around that! In
 the end, each event is unique and has its own challenges. We talk about
 experience design, but it’s a skill that has to be developed, honed and
 bettered over a period of time and gets better with experience, yet again! Professional
 event management companies are in fact creating unique experiences that go
 beyond the average and amplify the results in the affirmative, manifold. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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Corporate events white salt entertainment dipti shah

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