Looking for a unique way to promote your company, improve your brand and offer an enriching experience for your staff and clients? Hosting a corporate event can help you accomplish all of these goals – and possibly boost your business in the process.
"When you host an industry event, you are essentially investing in your clients, peers and your employees," said Heather Monahan, a mentor, speaker and business expert. "When a business decides to invest in this meaningful opportunity, you immediately position yourself in an entirely different playing field. You are suddenly not trying to sell or push something, ask for something or demand something; you are offering something for free to educate and better others."
"Events provide businesses a personal way to build relationships with their target audiences, build brand recognition and loyalty," added Myke Nahorniak, co-founder and CEO of Localist. "LinkedIn messages, Facebook status updates and tweets cannot replace the meaningful connections made through in person communication. Plus, event content allows brands to further understand their customers through audience insights — providing the intel to make smarter long-term marketing decisions and build stronger relationships."
Mark Miller, CEO of TicketSocket, agrees that hosting an event can help a company's reputation, both as a business and as an employer. People will begin to associate their time at the event with the company, and the company with their own self-development, which creates a stronger platform for effective business to be done, he said.
Planning your event
Once you've decided you want to host something, your first step will be figure out what kind of event will resonate with your intended audience and accomplish your goals. For example, said Monahan, coordinating a client event with an industry expert, such as a guest speaker, can position your company as a trusted adviser instead of just a vendor. Or, if you're looking to create an opportunity to network with guests, you can incorporate a pre-cocktail hour where people can jump from table to table, she said.
Monahan advised asking for employee input so you can deliver the most value for attendees.
"Be sure to give your team a voice in what direction you go," Monahan said. "Ask them what topics they think clients would like to learn about. The more buy-in and support you can get from the team, the better chance you have at attendance and support across the company."
One thing to consider when hammering out details is how you can involve your local community in the event, said Gina Argento, president and CEO of Broadway Stages.
"We always use local vendors for catering needs, various rentals and many other crucial aspects to planning a business event," Argento said. "By doing this, we are supporting the local community and giving them the opportunity to network and expand their businesses."
If your budget allows for it, Miller suggested planning to accommodate "plus ones" (significant others, friends or family members) to allow your culture to grow and thrive.
"Creating new bonds and triad relationships with people who didn't know each other strengthens the bond between all members of a company and even potential clients," he told Business News Daily.
Promoting and managing your event
With the event type, date, time and location pinned down, it's time to start spreading the word. If people don't know about your event, of course, no one will show up.
"Sometimes you've got to buckle down, make some calls, email connections, and organize yourself," said Jonathan Greenstein, president and expert-in-charge at J. Greenstein & Company. "The interest and the passion will come."
Regarding logistics, Monahan noted that you should check dates ahead of time and allow for ample time for invitations to go out.
"You never want to plan an event to find out that the date falls during spring break and all families are out of town," she said.
"I always invite more people than I need, because not everyone can commit to the event, and even those who RSVP 'yes' don't always end up showing up," added Miko Branch, CEO and co-founder of Miss Jessie's.
Monahan advises business owners to stay focused on their goals and work with a team to execute their event, before, during and after it occurs.
"Send out a follow-up email to all that attended asking how you can bring them more value in the future," she said. "The event doesn't have to be perfect; the fact that you are doing this for your customers and employees has already made you a winner."