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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