Regardless of a company’s size or industry, all businesses can benefit from a well-planned and executed corporate event. In fact, a Meetings Mean Business (MMB) commissioned survey of 400 business owners conducted by the international opinion research firm APCO Insights found that 96% believe that company events deliver a positive return on investment (ROI). That said, many corporate events, whether a sales or annual meeting, new brand or product launch, training program, holiday party or annual picnic, fall short of achieving their goals. Those that do are often ones where planners have learned how to leverage event technology to achieve events that check all the boxes for success. To harness the power of event technology, it is important to understand how different event technologies can be applied to make your event soar.
Corporate Culture and the Event Landscape
Although it’s been a while since many of us have attended a company event, it’s no secret that many routine company events are met with a groan or a grin by employees. Either they don’t want to go, anticipating another boring and uninspired event, or they are already joking about the expected non-motivational speeches, self-aggrandizement, or humdrum agenda. This is especially disappointing when you stop to think that management has the right intentions and wants to use the event to engage, motivate and reward employees. Too often, however, the execution does not live up to the mission. Part of the blame rests on the broader corporate culture issue. If there is not a clear corporate culture, it is difficult to execute an event that captures and reflects the essence and goals of a company in a meaningful way.
Whether a company’s culture is purpose-, caring-, learning-, innovation-, market-, enjoyment- or authority-driven, as examples, an event should be designed to reflect this culture. Event technology can be used to do so. A company that prides itself on a positive, fun environment for its workers could, for instance, incorporate gamification using an event-specific app. A company with a learning-based corporate culture conducting a corporate training session would benefit from an interactive whiteboard-like technology and audience response system. An innovation-driven culture might want to leverage interactive technologies that enable real-time engagement with content that drives dynamic brainstorming related to new ideas and product concepts. What’s important is the application of event technology can support the organization’s culture.
Applying Technology to Drive Event Success
Here is a look at three different events and how technology can be used.
A Creative Session
Imagine a national branding agency looking to get the best creative ideas for an important client’s new product launch campaign. The agency calls upon its corporate event planner to create a forum through which its team members’ creativity and productivity will flourish and result in some exciting strategic concepts for the client’s product launch. Instead of using a static whiteboard, the event planner recommends an advanced touchscreen display with integrated apps, lifelike ink response and fully-equipped microphone and camera. Wall-mounted or placed on a mobile stand, this event technology facilitates engagement and collaboration for up to ten people working simultaneously, all captured by the camera to also enable engagement for others in the same room, as well as those participating remotely. To further boost engagement, the agency could also leverage interactive 55-inch touch tables for participants to further participate in the meeting, collaborate and exchange ideas.
It is important to note that in the current “new normal” due to the pandemic, there has been an inclination to avoid touch technologies or, at the very least, implement safety protocols such as providing and requiring the use of hand sanitizers and wiping down screens between uses. Assuming a return to pre-pandemic operations, touch technologies are among the most interactive and appropriate for driving engagement at corporate events.
A Virtual Annual Meeting
While conducting an in-person annual meeting was not an option for a private equity firm due to the global pandemic, event technology proved to be able to provide an effective solution. Creating a virtual annual meeting for the organization and 60 VIP investors required advanced planning, the right event technology and optimum application in order to assure a successful event. A sophisticated, secure event hub platform, requiring unique pin code registration to ensure that proprietary information remained protected, was specified. This event hub provided a centralized location for attendees to log in and view all of the meeting presentations. Also provided to each speaker was a professional presentation kit encompassing a laptop equipped with full HD camera and enhanced audio to assure the highest quality. To further ensure that a well-executed annual meeting would result, a dress rehearsal was held with all of the speakers and the event producer to make sure that their presentations were in synch with the onscreen materials and that the event flowed. It was a tremendous success with overwhelmingly positive responses received from the attendees, noting that the event was one of the most impressive virtual meetings they had attended.
A Dazzling Brand Roll-out
For a professional service firm launching a new brand identity, it was important that staff as well as VIP clients be fully engaged. Not only was the goal to communicate the brand and the messaging behind it, but also to capture enthusiasm, excitement, and fun during the kick-off event. The event planner decided to make it more of a launch party rather than a staid business event. From dazzling lighting and high-performance sound systems to a giant iPhone, video booth, and graffiti wall, the event went full-on high-tech. Using intelligent lighting to add color, motions and patterns to the venue’s wall made the room pulse. To bring the firm’s new brand into the spotlight, logos and taglines were projected onto walls along with various value statements. A popular playlist of music was managed from a state-of-the-art smartphone app and broadcasted through a high-quality sound system that brought everyone onto the dance floor.
There was a giant iPhone in the room which enabled attendees to interact with one another during the event and share comments about the new brand. An onsite video booth was provided where shareable videos could be created featuring employees posing with props, dancing and singing.
As a way to make the new brand roll-out event even more memorable, the firm added a virtual reality (VR) experience. With VR booths, attendees were able to participate in a variety of games and activities and travel to far away destinations. Additionally, there was a graffiti wall created with a robust touchscreen display that allowed employees to create drawings for viewing by their colleagues and clients.
As these events demonstrate, the right technology can transform the ordinary corporate event into a dynamic and memorable experience that both management and the event planner can look back on and realize a high ROI.