1. Identify your business objectives and outcomes of the eventIn business, events should always be powered by the objectives or outcomes that drive them. An event without a focus is like a rudderless ship. Attendees are less likely to take anything memorable away with them, let alone help support the achievement of an objective by taking a necessary action (a sign-up, a sponsorship, saying yes to a meeting). Objectives and outcomes don’t need to be expansive either: even the simplest goal such as wanting to reward hard working employees by giving them a chance to have fun still has an outcome: a sense of fun. Being clear and concise about the objectives and the desired business outcomes of the event, and then communicating this to all stakeholders, will ensure your event keeps its focus, and will also help all those involved in its planning and delivery. Before planning an event, consider asking questions like:
- What do we as a business hope to achieve from the event?
- How will we know when we have succeeded?
- What keywords can we use to easily describe the event?
2. Determine the wants of your audienceIdentifying the wants and needs of your audience is key to creating a good atmosphere in which a memorable experience and good client relationships (as one example) can blossom. If your objective is to capture new business, then perhaps your attendees will need an event that balances an informative introduction (or refresher) to your company, alongside an opportunity to build rapport with your senior business figures. This can be achieved by booking a convivial activity with a shared sense of fun for instance. If your audience has their wants and needs met, they are far more likely to come away from the event feeling engaged, motivated and most of all - wanting to share the experience with others. Good questions to ask to determine audience wants and needs include:
- What type of experience or message do you want to convey through your event?
- What type of activities does this target audience typically attend?
- Are the activities within your event budget?
- How much time will be needed for organising?
3. Choose the right date and the right timeThis might seem like surface level advice, but it’s actually more important than you might think. The right date and time can make a significant difference to the success of your event. Have you considered school holidays, or major sporting matches? Does your planned event date land in the middle of a major industry conference?
4. Choose the right venueJust as important as choosing the right date and time is making sure you choose the right venue. Never underestimate the power of the right setting for an event, which itself is capable of generating a good or bad response from your guests. Find a venue that is the right size, with the right layout, and the right atmosphere. All these elements should blend to deliver the right experience. As we regularly project manage each element of the event at the Tasting Quarter, we have long had a checklist of things we look for when assessing a venue. Important points we look for include:
- A good or accessible location, including access to accommodation and security services if necessary, as well as having the correct setup for seamless audio and visual production (especially if the event will have AV, hybrid and/or broadcasting elements).
- Individual venues with character and verve, capable of capturing people’s attention.
- Venues with configurable space, which can adapt to client demands in the run up to the event day.
5. Make each touch point with your audience countExperiences contain a mix of elements, both before the event and during it. How those elements flow and interconnect with one another determines both the success of the event, and the experience it delivers for your guests. Carefully plan each stage of your attendee journey, from initial invite and registration, through pre-event communications, on day event delivery and post event follow up. Key touch points include check-in systems, apps, front of house operations (like waiting staff), and anything else that has any bearing on the attendee’s journey. It helps to:
- Identify and then list the major touch points throughout the lifecycle of your event. Major touch points refer to those where attendees will be impacted - these are the most important to map.
- List the opportunities and ideas for creating a memorable experience under each major touch point. This may be things like business branding materials which are personalised with attendee names, through to larger elements which come as surprises for attendees (like a gift).
- Ensure that your branding and messaging are being delivered at each touch point. At the Tasting Quarter, we integrate our clients' branding into our events, not only to add a touch of bespokeness and exclusivity, but also to place each client centre stage.
6. Discuss the event management processOnce your event has a location, time, date and has an identified objective and guest list, it’s time to communicate the event management process with stakeholders and senior management. Involving stakeholders is a vital part of the event management process, not only because their sign-off is required, but also because they may have additional ideas that can enhance the event and the overall experience. Providing stakeholders and senior management figures with a detailed description of what the event experience is going to look and feel like is the best way to achieve this inclusivity. Visual tools are able to display things like the physical design, production and layout - 3D imaging where needed can render things like floor plans and AV production. This level of planning all helps in ensuring that the event and all of its elements are working synonymously to deliver an experience capable of reaching and achieving your business objectives. This planning is nothing though if not communicated to all relevant parties. Need some corporate event ideas? Find illustrations here.
7. Determine how to measure the success of your eventFinally, the question of what makes an event memorable cannot be answered if there are no guidelines or points of reference to work from for the future. Measuring the success of your event is just as crucial as correctly planning the time, place, event itself, and venue. In many cases there is nothing stopping you sharing relevant information post event with your audience - this all helps to crystallise the experience in their memory. Making an event memorable is often built on continuous innovation and improvement. Setting benchmarks is vital in making sure that an event has the best chance of delivering success. To set benchmarks, identify which type of reporting your business will need to measure. Ways to measure success could include:
- The number of qualified leads an event secures
- The number of positive ratings an event secures in a survey post event
- The number of requests for a similar event in the future
- The number of meetings requested after an event