By Nina Watson from Concept Communications.
Detail, detail, detail … the key to ensuring the success of any event, from a business conference to a cocktail party, totally depends on detailed planning. Success is vital to your reputation - no business or organisation can afford to put its name to a badly run event.
The bottom line is that the amount of time, thought, creativity and expertise that is put into an occasion will guarantee its success.
When inviting your customers, clients, prospects or investors to your event, it is an opportunity to demonstrate how professional your company is, whilst at the same time indicating the level of service they could expect when dealing with your organisation.
There are many different but inter-connecting stages, which include the following and more:
· Deciding on a budget
· Agreeing on a theme
· Designing the invitations
· Sourcing and booking a suitable venue
· Finding caterers who can accommodate the budget
Who – What – When – Where – Why?
Who do you want to attend the event? This is crucial, as it will set the tone for the entire event, from invitations to catering, formal to fancy dress.
Your guests should be high on your list of priorities throughout the entire planning process. By ensuring you put yourself in their position along the way, you should be on the road to a happy audience and a successful event.
What message do you want to convey through the event?
First and foremost, decide on your budget and don’t forget the ‘hidden’ extras:
· Do you need to hire in tables and chairs?
· Is there a stage and audio equipment?
· Will you want to produce a delegate pack? If so, have you got presentation files that reflect the event and your organisation?
· Will you need to provide name badges?
It is at this point you have to decide on a budget and write up your wish list. Cost up each item on your list and decide which items are affordable and necessary and which can be discarded. You must be ruthless here, as going over your budget is a sure-fire way to disaster.
Most large events can only be produced because of significant sponsorship alignments with companies who are happy to be associated with the business.
They will only consider investing in your event if you can offer them a high awareness package that ensures a valued return, for example, their logo included on invitations, programmes and staging and their senior executives and clients enjoying high profile seating at the event.
It is important to bear in mind however, that most large companies with a marketing/sponsorship budget allocate this on an annual basis and applications for sponsorship take time to be processed.
Timing has a huge impact on any event, but particularly for time-sensitive events such as a product launch. This event will doubtless be a stand-alone venture and will possibly need to tie in with direct marketing campaigns, public relations, sales promotions or advertising to ensure a successfully fused and co-ordinated overall campaign.
If your event is likely to coincide with peak periods or seasonal occasions ensure you give plenty of notice to your guests, venue and suppliers.
Always plan to post your invitations at least eight weeks prior to the event.
Sourcing and deciding upon the perfect venue requires dedicating a considerable amount of the planning time, as it has the potential to make, or break, and event. You must consider the type of event being produced and use common sense when short listing venues for recce visits, taking into consideration health and safety, access, location, facilities and the all-important ‘wow’ factor.
It is important not to lose sight of your objectives during the planning stages. It is so easy to become embroiled with an event that you forget the overall reason for its existence
It’s the day of the event – you see all the months of planning come to fruition – the guests start to arrive – everything is going to plan – enjoy it and accept all the compliments for having arranged a memorable event!
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