Corporate Event Planning - A Comprehensive Guide to Success
Time to read 13 min
Time to read 13 min
In today’s world, corporate events stand out as pivotal milestones. They are not just gatherings that bring people together to inform; they are powerful tools for brands to build connections, enhance their brand, and help foster a sense of community.
A successful corporate event is an event that resonates with every attendee, achieves a desired business objective, and leaves a lasting impression. But how do you go about planning and executing an event like this?
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with a framework to help you plan a truly memorable and successful event. From understanding the purpose and your audiences, to mastering the logistics of running an event, to ensuring a flawless execution, we cover it all.
Corporate event planning is the process of organizing and executing events for businesses. Events can range from conferences and trade shows to holiday parties, opening ceremonies, team-building experiences, or mental health and wellness events.
Corporate event planning is more than just setting up meetings to help plan an event.It is a specialized field that combines strategies, coordination, and execution to achieve a specific business objective like building credibility, enhancing brand awareness, launching a product or service, training or rewarding employees, or even influencing potential customers towards the brand.
The process often involves months-long work and can include a wide array of activities like figuring out a theme for the event all the way through to post-event details like analyzing attendee feedback.
Whether you’re hosting a 500+ or a small wellness event, the basic elements of how to approach event planning and management are the same and follows the 5 phases of event management:
Once an event is broken down into the main event management stages, it becomes easier to conceptualize and break down all the smaller steps and processes needed to bring the event to life.
During the research stage of the event planning process, you discover the objective of the event, and the needs.
Three main aspects to consider during the research stage include: determining the audience size, the purpose of the event, and setting a realistic budget.
Is your audience your company’s executives, upper management, your clients, or your community? Part of the research planning process is to define your audience so that you know how to best reach them. Once you know your audience, you can cater the program to their needs and interests. How you cater the event to their needs and interests can also differ depending on the event size:
Once your business decides to host an event, your first step is to define what you hope to accomplish. Start by asking yourself and your team why you are hosting the event and what you expect from it. Once you’ve identified your goals and expectations, you can then determine what kind of event will resonate with your audience. Here are a few types of corporate events and a general overview of their purpose to help get you started.
Purpose: Focused on connecting with the audience to either educate, motivate, or engage them with your product or service. These events are also used to network and collaborate with other businesses.
Purpose: Showcase products and services. Network with potential customers and partners.
Purpose: Internal special occasions like work anniversaries, celebrating a milestone or a holiday party. Generally used to communicate with, motivate, or reward employees.
Purpose: Aimed at improving communication, trust, motivation, conflict resolution, morale, and decision-making abilities among employees.
Purpose: Improving employees’ overall health and personal well-being. Can range from mindfulness exercises to group physical activities.
Purpose: Enhance work culture. Generally for relaxation, appreciation of employees.
Purpose: Showing gratitude and appreciation to loyal consumers, customers, and clients.
Purpose: Recognize and reward employees, managers, or staff for their accomplishments and hard work.
Purpose: Aimed to train or communicate valuable information on specific topics.
Purpose: High-level events to introduce new products and generate buzz. Demonstrations, speeches and PR activities are usually involved.
Purpose: events in partnerships with charities or nonprofits aimed to raise funds for a cause. Generally includes auctions, raffles, galas, and more.
Purpose: Bringing employees together for collaboration, training, and socializing to enhance team morale and relationships.
Purpose: Boost culture and to enhance familiarity and friendships amongst employees.
Purpose: encourage teams to try new activities together, creating shared memories, cohesion and increase collaboration.
Purpose: Intense collaborative events focused on problem-solving or creating new products/services to foster innovation and teamwork.
Purpose: provide opportunities for teams to contribute to the community, support causes, and foster a sense of shared purpose
Purpose: casual events outside of the office for team bonding and enjoyment
Each type of event serves a distinct purpose, from increasing teamwork and collaboration within employees to rewarding performance, to promoting products and networking. Choosing the type of event to plan depends on the company’s objective for the event, the intended audience, and the desired outcome.
During the design phase of the event planning process, you’ll work on establishing a theme, concept, and content of the event. Once you’ve determined the theme, proposals and estimated project timelines are created - which often includes a recommended agenda, activities, preliminary budget presentations, and initial contract negotiations with major suppliers.
A successful corporate event is both immersive and educational. Determine what you’re going to do to make your event more interactive and put the right people in front of each other for networking and learning.
In this phase, the budget, venue, and timelines should be finalized. This phase consists of the bulk of your event planning portion and when done well, gives you the edge in making your event a success.
The planning process allows you to view all the minute details and account for unforeseen situations and developments.
Need help deciding on gifts for your employees and attendees?
A corporate event planner is a professional with experience in planning and executing successful events for businesses and organizations. This can range from conferences to trade shows, to red carpet events, holiday parties, and even team-building events.
Typically, corporate event planners:
Come up with the initial concept and theme of the event
Book the venue
Coordinate the logistics of the event
Manages the budget
Successful corporate event planners are versatile and come with a variety of hard and soft skills. These people have excellent communication skills, great organizational skills, the ability to work well under pressure and last-minute changes, are creative, excellent problem solvers, and are great at negotiating too.
The 5 P’s of event planning are: Product, Price, Place, Promotion and People. Each ‘P’ represents a core element essential for a successful product promotion.
Product: The tangible offering you’re selling AND the experience of your event.
Price: The perceived value of your event. A fine balance between affordability and perceived quality.
Place: Accessibility, ambiance, and how logistics fare during the event.
Promotion: How a narrative is shaped, and how captivated your audience are with your event.
People: Understand and cater to the diverse needs of your attendees, sponsors, collaborators, and stakeholders.
As you can see, even within the 5 main phases of corporate event planning, there are plenty of little details that you’ll need to stay on top.
To help you stay on top of your next corporate event planning, here’s Puppysphere’s checklist and steps to make sure your next corporate event is effective and successful:
1. Determine the overall purpose and goal of the event
2. Identify the audience type and audience size
3. Validate if the event fits into the company’s long-term objectives and goals to ensure stakeholder buy-in
4. Set a budget by making a comprehensive life of all categories and items you’ll need pre-event, during the event, and post-event
5. Determine the team’s roles and responsibilities
6. Establish a schedule for planning meetings with the team
7. Decide on the date(s) for the event
8. Prepare a preliminary budget based on past costs and supplier quotes
9. Create a list of venue requirements
10. Compare and negotiate venue and supplier needs
11. Plan the event layout
12. Plan the event agenda
13. Secure speakers, moderators, equipment, etc.
14. Develop an event marketing plan
15. Prepare an event timeline with contingency for delays or technical difficulties
16. Reserve accommodations and transportation if needed
17. Plan catered food, menus, and refreshments
18. Prepare and print event collateral
19. Confirm or recruit event staffing
20. Do a dry rehearsal run of the event if required
21. Follow-up and thank attendees, teams, and speakers for attending your event
22. Conduct surveys, secure feedback, and finalize costs for future reference