As a woman, I must say that planning a corporate event can be a time-consuming and stressful task. Figuring out a budget, location, guest list and guest speakers can feel a little overwhelming and intimidating. Get a few ideas of corporate events that have worked for other companies.
Special Guest Speaker
Depending on what type of company you are involved with, you might want to hire or ask a special guest to speak to a room of clients. To draw interest, your guest should be someone of interest—or at least someone you can create some mystery around. If you work in technology security, hire a hacker to speak to your clients about the types of threats that their businesses might face. Find a guest speaker who is able to convey a message about your company while entertaining the crowd at the same time.
People love getting out-of-town and any excuse to get away from the confines of the city will help draw a crowd to your corporate event. Choose an overnight retreat that complies with your company’s brand and your mission. If you are a local wholesaler of foods designed for spas, choose a spa that will let you display your products on the shelves. Or, ask the spa to serve your food at mealtimes. You’ll probably need to provide free food, but you might get a discount on the retreat if the spa doesn’t need to provide food.
Host a Fundraiser
Show your customers you have a heart of gold by hosting a fundraiser. Find a cause that is important to you or your company. Perhaps one of your employees has discovered she has Multiple Sclerosis? Host an event to raise awareness (and money) for the cause. Display your products at the event and tell guests that a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to your cause. You can even go so far as to tell guests that for a select amount of dates, a percentage of the proceeds of your product will be donated to your cause. Customers will feel even better about your product—and they’ll feel swanky after they’re invited to a benefit.
Not every corporate event needs to be an expensive endeavor. You can wow your clients by simply getting them in a new environment. Host a camping event or a day hike if you want to save money on your retreat. Or, give them a day of zip lining, snorkeling, ATV riding or Frisbee golfing. Getting people out of the boardroom or office and into the wilderness opens up their minds and allows them to drop their defenses. They will be much more open to hiring your company or buying your product.
Online Classes and Webinars
You don’t need to be in person to impress your colleagues and clients. If you have funds to host a guest speaker or a guest teacher, host an online class or webinar. Your clients and employees will learn about an overarching task (how can big data help your company?) while promoting your product (use our data graphs to help understand big data output). Obviously, the more relevant the class and the more well-known the teacher, the bigger your turnout will be. Offer a class for free that is usually extremely pricey or difficult to take—as long as your clients download a free trial of your product.
Rent a Function Room
If all else fails, throw a party. People love parties and they love getting invitations to elite invite-only parties. Try drawing customers in by offering a “play hooky” party. Rent a function room at a local center and throw a party at two or three in the afternoon where you ask your clients to ditch work for a few hours. Offer “play hooky” cocktails, wine and beer—and plenty of bar food to soak up the alcohol.
In renting a function room, you can have the entire event catered or you can provide the food yourself. The center can set up the room anyway you’d like, whether it’s a dining room, theater or cabaret-style set up, you can choose the format that works best for your theme.