How many times did you have to go to a corporate event and actually be excited about it? Christmas parties, seminars, team-building retreats, they all sound great as a marketing tool, yet are so painfully dreadful for employees.
While the company’s spokesman is boasting about how the company did great this last year, you are wondering when it’s acceptable for you to leave or how many chores you have left at home. The speech drags for eternity when you eventually eat and engage in pretentious polite conversation. After which you rejoice in the fact that – at last! – it is acceptable for you to leave.
This is what happens when corporate events are not made for teams. When companies don’t value the influence and effect a team’s bond brings to the table.
Simply put, this is how to create an event that is dreadful, obnoxious and, quite frankly, plain boring.
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What about unforgettable events?
Is it even possible to have one you might wonder. Yes, it can be done. With the same budget and resources, you can create something so irresistibly authentic, people will talk about it, brag about it, post about it, and basically do half the work for the marketing team (without your manager forcing you to do it!)
What you need to do is to focus on the right elements:
Let's put a smile on that face
Yes, it’s a Joker reference. And no, I couldn’t resist myself
3 elements to focus on: Brand, Aesthetic and People
These 3 elements will help you to create a one of a kind event.
By taking a mere glance at your event, your Brand should be the first thing to pop into your head. It should scream your Brand identity. And we’re not talking about having banners or your logo printed out. We’re talking about the colours, the texture, the activities, the overall experience from the smallest details to the highlight of the night. One great example of successful branding is done by the video game streamer Dr. Disrespect – his Brand is so well-made and unique he has managed to differentiate himself from his fellow streamers quite impressively.
Remember that your Brand is the core of your business. Think about it not as the Brand being integrated in the event, but rather that the event is an extension of the Brand. The Brand gives birth to the event, not the other way around.
In order to achieve this, you need to have an incredibly clear understanding of why your Brand exists, what it stands for, what its ultimate purpose and philosophy is and how you plan to achieve your goals.
This is where the Brand Manual is unimaginably helpful. If you don’t have a clear vision of your Brand, creating a Brand Manual will help you put everything down on paper, communicate it with your team, and implement it on every business activity – including events. We can create a Brand Manual together, or you can make one on your own by documenting your Brand’s:
This is your higher purpose, it needs to have depth and a long-term ambition (other than making a profit!).
Example: Pythian Quest’s purpose is to create a sustainable and virtuous way of life & work that embodies nature and magic.
Its values & principles, the way it behaves.
Example: Pythian Quest’s philosophy is following the virtues Wisdom, Justice, Courage and Moderation
Where you want your Brand to be in the long-term (typically in 10 years time, its vision is set over long periods of time).
Example: Pythian Quest’s vision is to create a community where we embrace nature and wildlife, where we act with virtue, where we enjoy our craft and do our best to live a fulfilled and magical life.
Actionable goals that can be achieved in the relative short-term (within months at most) and specific steps taken in the short-term.
Example: Pythian Quest’s mission involves establishing an audience and connecting with people with a similar vision, short-term actions include a detailed plan involving marketing and day to day activities.
Creating a Brand Manual might feel overwhelming, but it is unbelievably important to your Brand’s progress. Without a clear plan is like going to the jungle without a guide – you are bound to get lost.
After creating your Brand Manual, we refer to it to make sure we apply all elements to the event. The event should reflect your Brand’s purpose and philosophy (which is the hardest part because they are intangible and more abstract concepts), while using its vision and mission in a more practical way to achieve our short-term goals.
Once everything checks out to be in line with the Brand, you are one step closer to organise a Branded event!
When talking about a corporate event, the aesthetic and design aspect of the event might seem excessive and only for the artistic types, but don’t underestimate its importance.
Just because it’s a corporate event doesn’t mean you have to reside to the typical white clothed table and minimal flower arrangements. Our aim is not to create a typical corporate event, but an authentic branded event.
Now let’s have some fun!
What is our event’s theme? Is it a yearly party? A seminar? A product launch or a team-building event? Depending on our theme we’ll have a look at our budget and utilise every last penny to make the event seem as glorious and fascinating as it can be. Whether you’re planning the event in-house or recruiting professional event planners, make sure you choose people that think outside the box. Creativity is a big factor so that you can create something refreshing and new.
Get that Brand Manual, have a look at what your Brand’s essence is and what your goals are and start brainstorming with your team about the design aspect of your event. Involving your team, however briefly, will make them more invested and excited about the event. Tapping into their creative side will create a more playful and childlike fun, which is a big factor of bonding with them. Use their ideas and make them proud of the outcome, make them feel that they are as much a part of the event as your Brand is.
Whether we are talking about your team or consumers, in the end we are basically talking about people. The schedule and activities created should revolve around making people be impressed, feel intrigued, and ultimately creating an opportunity to further strengthen the relationship between them. There is no better marketing strategy when authentic relationships are developed – you just can’t fake that.
Focus on the purpose of the event. Is it purely for fun? Is it to introduce new members to your team? Is it a seminar or a new product launch? However big or small the event is, it needs to have a purpose to avoid having a tiresome and boring experience.
After getting clear on the event’s purpose, we now create the event’s schedule. Forget about conventional methods, start from the very beginning with an open mind. What kind of food would your team enjoy? What kind of music will loosen them up? How can you impress them? What would make them feel relaxed and engaged? Spend time talking with them, finding out their interests, likings and common passions. Do a little bit of research and plan the activities around what people will enjoy, and don’t forget to align that with your Brand.
You might think it’s pointless to spend a certain amount of money to impress your team, associates and consumers, but in the end it’s an investment. If you are successful in creating a great experience, you are building a stronger relationship with them, you are establishing loyalty, you are creating advocates of your Brand (and free marketing!). Note how productivity and efficiency increase, how people start respecting the Brand and feeling connected with it. How people will get out of their way to help your business grow irrespective of salary.
Mind you, it’s a challenging endeavor. You might not be as successful as you would like to be from the first try, that is until you figure out what works for your people. But it is unquestionably worth the trouble. Once you hit home base, the return on investment will be so alluring, that having a corporate event will be a game changer for your business and not a boring drag.