5 Useful Tips for Holding A Company Event In A Post-COVID World
Now that COVID has receded slightly and local governments are allowing businesses to open their doors again, we’re once again seeing a resurgence in company events.
And although there is some justified hesitancy to return to full tilt, people are gradually once again reuniting in person.
That means corporate picnics could return before the summer’s over, and company holiday parties are back on the docket for 2021!
But for many companies (and the managers and admins who are often tasked with running events), in-person events haven’t taken place since March 2020. That’s more than 16 months ago!
We may have all gotten rather experienced with holding Zoom calls, that’s no substitute for real human connection!
With that in mind, we’re highlighting some of our best tips on coordinating company events in 2021.
How to Successfully Hold A Corporate Event: 5 of Our Favorite Tips
Here are a few ways you can make your event planning a little easier:
1. Make the RSVP as easy as possible.
People don’t want to work harder than they have to.
If you want RSVPs to come in quickly so you have a relatively accurate estimate of guests to help you set your final budget, make it incredibly easy for them.
“Easy” largely depends on the format of the invitation.
If you invite people online—through email, Facebook, the company intranet, etc.—they should be able to RSVP with as little as one click.
If you invite people through the mail, include a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) with your invitation so recipients don’t need to do anything more than check a box and pop everything back in the mail.
Whenever possible, simplify.
2. Make every touch memorable.
If you really want to make an impression, don’t wait for the day of the event to show off. You can get people amped up with exciting teaser videos, stylish invitations, and clever marketing techniques.
But it doesn’t need to get expensive.
Inviting people through snail mail? Pick interesting card designs and unusual shapes to become memorable.
Inviting people through email? Use excellent graphics and engaging copy.
Inviting people through social media? Rely on video—and make sure your video is polished!
Every time you tell someone about your event, ensure you work to make it as impressive as possible.
Nail the invitation and reminders, and you can get your attendees jazzed for your event.
3. Check, double-check, then get it all in writing.
I’ve personally been involved in events where we had all of our logistics (food, budget, etc.) approved by the venue manager weeks in advance—only to have them reach out and tell us our plans were no longer doable days before the event was scheduled.
Trust me: This is not pleasant.
If you’re hashing out details with the venue or another vendor, confirm the details multiple times so everyone is on the same page, then get everything in writing in a signed contract.
If they decide to pull the rug out from under you at the last second, they'll still be legally obligated to help you get everything s=sorted.
4. Lighting can add an incredible touch.
I’ll admit that this is our Events Coordinator Regina’s specialty, which is why it’s close to my heart.
But it’s true: Lighting makes a massive difference.
For one of our recent events, the client asked that we coordinate everything in the basement of a bar/restaurant—a space they were actually quite familiar with since they’d already visited there once before.
When we visited the venue to get a feel for it, we were surprised by its various design influences. Although it had obviously been renovated in certain areas within the last five years, the ostentatious light fixtures were in stark contrast to the ugly ceiling tiles and old, peeling wood on a few of the trim boards along the perimeter of the room.
To us, it felt like they had given up on making it a really nice room halfway through.
Regina compensated for this with a splash of uplighting. The uplighting helped make the room feel larger by emphasizing the height of the walls, drawing attention away from some of the room's more unsightly features.
Combined with the elegant tablecloths and decor, what was once a subpar room looked quite nice.
If you’re not a lighting expert, that’s OK. Just remember that you can use lights to highlight your focal points (like a display table or the speaker podium) and colored lights help create mood.
5. Give your guests something to remember you by.
I’ve personally been to numerous conferences where booths handed out tons of cheap “swag.” I’ve walked away with branded tote bags filled with branded flash drives, branded refrigerator magnets, branded stress balls, branded water bottles… The list goes on and on.
Quite honestly, the only item I ever kept was a metal water bottle that I liked because they wrapped all of their marketing into a faux newspaper article printed directly onto the bottle.
As a writer, that appealed to me, so I kept (and used it) for years.
But even that was ultimately a marketing failure. I can’t remember off the top of my head who the bottle is supposed to market because they hid all of their branding in the article (instead of in a massive headline).
Think about that for a second: Over the half-dozen conferences I’ve gone to, I half-willingly accumulated probably $1,000 worth of stuff and none of it helped to convert me into a customer or improved my perception of the brand.
Don’t fall into this trap.
Party and event favors are still exciting and worthwhile, but you should put as much thought and effort into them as your marketing team puts into every touch with your company’s customers and target audience.
At the same event we mentioned above, the client wanted their entire event to have a touch of elegance. So we made them custom wine labels and ordered them a few cases of branded wine.
At the end of the night, every guest went home with a branded bottle of wine.
Here's why we liked this idea: Most people drink socially. So when they drink their wine, they’ll probably share it with a friend or two. When someone sees the label, they’ll naturally ask about it, which leads to a conversation about our client.
Just like that, the guests get to experience the event a second time as they tell about the night they enjoyed—all while explaining what the client does and how they help shape their community.
Regardless of whether your guests are employees, community members, or potential clients, your party favors can have a massive influence over how they remember your event from years to come.
Know When to Ask For Help
If you feel like you're in over your head while trying to coordinate your company event, that's OK. It's tough work! When necessary, don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Poetica Marketing provides event coordination services to companies in and around Allegheny County.
Ready to learn more? Visit our events page!