Many people hold the prevalent misconception that corporate event design is just tablecloths and centerpieces. Others can’t see the difference between corporate events and social gatherings, equating the importance of time and thought of a corporate event to that of a birthday party. And from that perspective, it’s easy to see why these things may be considered “fluff.” They are easy elements to achieve and by themselves don’t seem to carry any weight or potential lasting impact. But that’s not design, that’s decoration.
Nobody hosts an event for the sake of hosting an event. There is always a deeper purpose, and it’s the planner’s job to achieve it. True design takes into consideration the larger goals around the event and turns them into the strategic driving vision behind every decision.
That said, these are the four pillars upon which every corporate event should be designed.
Creating meaningful purpose begins by talking with your stakeholders. What are their goals? Current internal initiatives? Vision for the future? How should people feel after the event ends?
Being able to articulate the answers to these questions not only deepens your understanding, but it also provides the entire event blueprint. By knowing what your objectives are you’ll know what your impact features should be, and consequently where your money should be going (read: budget efficacy). No matter what the objectives are, brand authenticity is essential. Approach goals from the same values and vision of the company to create genuine experiences for attendees.
Themes & Messaging
Themes and messaging are often likened to logos and while there is certainly space for branding in the more traditional sense, logos on everything from coasters to cookies does not get the gold star.
Events can be remarkably impactful because they speak to the guests. Everything they see, hear, read and touch all affect their perception and experience with the event. Because of this, every element should be carefully selected, representing the brand and the overall message that guests should leave with. Multilevel touch points that frequently and subtly reinforce the collective vision of the event and the values and enterprises of the company as a whole become what attendees hear and internalize.
Whereas many professional interactions live somewhere between the inbox and the conference room, corporate events break free from those confines and create spaces where people can engage and be inspired. By sparking people’s emotions, they can begin to care, and caring leads to action: buying, supporting, connecting, sponsoring and investing. Take the time to design an event that lets people create memories now and daydream about similarly interesting experiences with you in the future.
Décor is the tangible heart and soul of events setting the tone, energy and expectations—it is what wholly creates the environment. The planning, strategy and objectives all come together through stage sets, invitations, lighting, place settings, entertainment, gifts, engagements, music and food and transports guests into a completely new space filled with the possibility of creative freedom and connection.
Décor is how guests interact with your event and consequently, your entire message. Décor lets guests play, imagine and (most importantly) helps them buy into your purpose. A well-designed event will elicit emotion and makes the time attendees have spent with you extraordinary.
Corporate events have the power to inspire, influence, encourage, solidify loyalty, create meaningful relationships and so much more. They harness the potential to actually change companies and the people within them. Corporate events aren’t just happy hours or ballroom dinners, they are the vehicles of inspiration and long-term impact. But thoughtful change through events, just like anything else, isn’t haphazard. It’s more than decorating a birthday party with tablecloths— it’s designing an experience to remember.
Victoria Rosenblatt, creative director for Andavo Meetings & Incentives, focuses on the personality, vision and goals of her clients to create inspired designs and elevated guest experiences.