When considering hosting a corporate event, you might think “Our company just isn’t big enough to hold an event large enough to make a difference. Where am I going to find the budget?”
Well that’s just not true! Corporate events, when done right, are a successful technique for marketing, engagement and networking with your audience and peers. When looking for entertainment for corporate events, bigger isn’t always better – even when you have the budget. What’s most important is spending your event budget on what will make the strongest impact and deliver your message to the audience you need.
Here are Winking Derby’s Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts on how to spend your corporate entertainment budget to create maximum impact with minimum headaches.
1. Strategies and Event Ideas
Don’t treat events like an afterthought. Plan ahead. Budget for them. Be strategic about objectives. The event should have a business-driven purpose beyond “It’s nice to have a Christmas party.” Be creative when looking for after dinner entertainment ideas, or hire creative people!
2. Bars and Happy Hours
Don’t assume that a hosted bar, in which you pay a set amount per guest, is the best deal. In most cases, a consumption bar, in which you pay for what people actually drank, is a more cost effective option. On a hosted bar you are paying the same charge if a person drinks soft drinks all night or a string of Alabama Slammers.
3. Avoid Hidden Fees
Corporate entertainment can be a costly venture, try not to forget any additional fees that may not have made it into the budget. Hotels are a source of endless fees – chef fees, bartender fees, service fees in addition to charges for power, loading docks, security, etc. A good event planner or event entertainment agency can provide you with insights into which fees are negotiable.
4. Real Mail
Every day your guests are bombarded by useless emails – spice it up! Instead of an email invitation, design an invitation to stand out and spend the money to mail it. Services like Vista Print or local design agencies can help you provide a unique invitation for your event.
5. Music, is it Live?
It used to be that a live band was the prestigious thing to have but DJs are hot again. A great DJ is more fun than an average band at half the price. Design a cool stage set or grab some balloon arches for the DJ. Balloon arches and a great set make a great visual and will boost the energy level of any corporate event!
6. Pay for Quality Entertainers
Avoid the third party websites where entertainers will bid for the lowest price. The best corporate entertainers are busy and charge appropriately for the service they provide. They may be not be the lowest bidders, but most have spent years honing their skills and craft making them an asset to any corporate event entertainment line up. People will remember a memorable entertainer longer than the expensive brie you served.
7. Balloon Decor and Arches
Balloon arches, balloon columns and balloon centerpieces – they are bigger and more amazing than flowers and similar in cost. Your guests will be stunned when they enter your event through a 20 foot colorful archway. Better yet balloon sculptures can create balloon topiaries that are 6 feet tall and allow your guests to see each other across the table!
How many mugs, glasses and t-shirts do we really need? Instead of handing out party favors and swag at your corporate event, add an experiential aspect where people can be engaged and get involved. Hire a balloon artist or corporate comedian to make custom balloon hats and wrist bracelets made right before their eyes! It adds color and action to your dance floor.
9. Get professional talent
Professional entertainers know how to work the crowd – they will engage and interact with your guests. Short on after dinner entertainment ideas? Magicians, Jugglers, Hypnotists or a Mentalist can add punch to any corporate event. Many performers offer custom programming where your message can be incorporated into the show. Make the product appear or the CEO!
10. Less talking, more watching.
Don’t have the boss or a hired industry leader speak to the crowd from the front of the room. Boring! Instead, take those dollars and invest in a compelling two-minute video featuring your employees and senior leaders. They’ll appreciate it! Don’t disregard the two-minute rule for videos. There are almost no exceptions to this. Videos should be less than three minutes. There is a reason commercials are a minute or less. The most successful viral videos on YouTube are short. Shoot less b-roll and spend more time in the editing room. Make the most of this opportunity to brand your company!