What is an event management plan
Corporate event management! What is that, actually?
And how do you do it right? Life is shifting more and more to the internet. Many companies, especially with classic products or services, have therefore discovered corporate events for themselves in order to maintain direct customer contact and strengthen their own brand. Experience marketing is booming, because what you experience remains in the mind. This is all the better if people can associate positive experiences with your company's brand. This is exactly where corporate event management comes in, but goes far beyond that.
Corporate event management - definition
A corporate event is an event that in most cases is aimed at a closed group of people. These are predominantly employees, customers or business partners of the company. Another target group for corporate events can be shareholders or, in the case of cooperatives and associations, members.
The costs for the corporate event are borne by the company that organizes the event. Most of the time the costs are not passed on to the guests. Achieving profits is therefore not the direct goal of a corporate event (although the indirect goal of every entrepreneurial measure is, of course, profit maximization).
So you could say that a corporate event is always a means to an end, which is also the main differentiator to "normal" events.
The common denominator of corporate events is their use as an instrument to change internal corporate behavior or the external behavior of customers towards the brand, company or the products of the respective company. Corporate culture and corporate events therefore also have a mutual influence on each other.
By definition, corporate event management deals with the organization and implementation of corporate events.
In many cases, this task is outsourced to external agencies. Large companies, however, sometimes have entire departments that deal with corporate event management and employ specially trained event managers.
What corporate events are there?
There are a large number of corporate events, some in the area of event marketing, others are mandatory events for companies, such as the annual general meeting of a stock corporation. The term compulsory event should not hide the fact that companies also want to present themselves from their best side at these events and a perfect event is also mandatory for these compulsory events.
... are a good way for companies to announce new products or to inform shareholders and the public about current topics.
VIP events / private customer events
... are corporate events in the field of event marketing, the purpose of which is to bind particularly valuable customers closely to the brand and / or the company.
... are a form of event marketing. The initiators of the fair are not industries or associations, but a single company. The orientation of the fair is thus aimed directly at the sale of goods or services.
... are held by companies, for example, when they open a new branch. The purpose is, on the one hand, to promote the new office to customers, but on the other hand, brand building in general is also the goal.
... are events that usually have the sole aim of introducing a new product to a specialist audience present (most of the trade press). These product launches became known to a wide audience, especially through the keynote speeches by Apple CEOs, especially Steve Jobs, at the presentation of new Apple devices, e.g. iPhone.
... are the mostly annually held events for the information and resolution of the shareholders of a corporation. In corporate law, they belong to the three organs of a stock corporation (management board, supervisory board, general meeting).
... in Germany in registered cooperatives and associations is the meeting of all members to make corporate decisions. General meetings can be seen as a counterpart to general meetings with the difference that each member only has one vote.
... offer the possibility of replacing the general meetings of the cooperative banks if the number of members exceeds 1500. Just like at general assemblies, resolutions are passed here and the representatives are informed. The representatives are elected by the members of the bank.
... are mostly to be found in associations, but also in many cooperatives. That is why we also count them as corporate events. Take the FIFA General Assembly as an example, which is an absolute high-class event every year.
... are events that are aimed specifically at the employees of your own company. If these are still easy to organize with a small number of employees, they can, however, grow into complex events in large companies / corporations. The employee events include team building events and compliance events as well as the annual Christmas party or a summer party. Employee events are always an investment in human resources, be it in terms of further training or in terms of employee loyalty.
How do I go about planning a corporate event?
Planning a corporate event is a project in the sense of classic project management. It is also a good idea to use the methods of classic project management in order to make a corporate event a success. Of course, the crucial point is always an idea that needs to be realized. In order to make corporate event management in a company or for customers effective, it is advisable to approach the whole thing strategically.
The conception of the corporate event
The first step in planning the event should always be a first concept. The idea is worked out and written down. In classic project management, this step is also described as a project definition. The concept can of course be as detailed as you like, but one page should be sufficient, since the main thing here is that all those involved (planners, customers, employees, etc.) get a more precise idea of the planned event. The following points should be observed:
- Description of the corporate event with mission statement, vision and key objectives
- Roles and responsibilities of the main parties
- List of stakeholders (project participants / interest groups)
There is no doubt that the project management, the project team, clients, contractors and investors are among the stakeholders. But not only the employees of an event are stakeholders. You should also include the guests as well as all suppliers and service providers. Depending on the event, you should also list people or organizations who at first glance have nothing to do with the event.
An example: Your big corporate event lasts into the evening hours. Some neighbors of your event location call the police and complain about disturbance of the peace. This means that the neighbors are now also stakeholders (are annoyed by the disturbance of the peace) and the police (have work because of your event).
In addition, you should work out the following things at the first conception and include them in the project definition:
Do you want to increase your sales, make your brand better known or inform shareholders? The goals for corporate events are at least as different as the corporate events themselves. It is essential to define the goals for a corporate event in advance, because this is the only way you can evaluate afterwards whether your event was a success.
When it comes to goals, always remember that they should be formulated SMART, i.e. specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and timely. When defining the goals, make arrangements with other departments, such as sales or marketing, because especially with corporate events, the goals are almost always outside your department.
For example, a goal of your event could be that you want to achieve a no-show rate below 5%. This goal is specific and measurable because we have given an exact value. If your no-show rates are otherwise higher, it is also attractive. Whether this goal is realistic depends of course on other factors (for example a no-show rate of 0% would be unrealistic). The goal is of course also scheduled, because we have an exact date for the event.
Every single decision comes from the purpose of your event, and having a consistent purpose makes every single decision a little easier.
In addition to the ROI, you should also define other key performance indicators (KPIs) in advance, which you can use to define the success and failure of the event yourself, for example the attendance rates or the no-show rate.
The success of a corporate event is thus measured on two levels. On the one hand on the classic, predefined event KPIs and the previously defined "global" corporate event goals (for example ROI).
The important question is, of course, how are goals that cannot be attached to hard numbers measurable? The whole simple answer is: a poll.
With the right corporate event software, you can easily create a survey and invite all participants present at an event to take part in the survey. A tip, from the definition phase onwards, write down all the questions that arise in the project planning and that are suitable for a survey. You can then later generate a survey from this question memory.
Just like the goals of a corporate event, you should also work out the target group of a corporate event in the project definition. What is of course easy at events, such as a general meeting, can turn out to be more complicated in the area of event marketing and usually requires the involvement of other departments, such as marketing, at this point as well.
The budget is very important in corporate event management, as is of course always in business life. However, the basis for corporate event management is completely different, because the basis for the budget is not the number of tickets sold, for example at a concert, but a budget made available in advance. This budget should of course always be based on the goals.
If, for example, you define a goal of a profit increase of 10% in the current quarter, then of course the budget should not exceed this profit increase. The return on investment (ROI) is the decisive factor for calculating the budget.
Planning and implementation of a corporate event
As soon as the concept is in place, the planning and implementation phase usually goes very quickly. In many theories about project management, these areas are strictly separated from one another, but in the area of event management this is often not possible at all. Think, for example, of speakers or bands with whom the contracts have to be fixed long before you even think about catering.
At this point, it makes sense to create a work breakdown structure (PSP) that clearly shows which steps are necessary for planning and implementing the event. This work breakdown structure is of course not the same for every event. In order to give you a more detailed idea of such a work breakdown structure, I have presented a project breakdown structure for a general meeting below. It should help you to create such a plan for your corporate events as well.
The project (general meeting) is clearly divided into many sub-projects in the PSP (e.g. general meeting -> location). These in turn are divided into many work packages (e.g. general meeting -> location -> cleaning). A sub-project can also be divided into several sub-tasks (e.g. general meeting -> entertainment -> speakers -> speaker 1). The project management (PM) itself should always include you in the PSP, because this also incurs working hours and costs. Controlling will thank you. You should also store a code in the PSP that can be used internally by the planners, but also, for example, in accounting. The first speaker at the general meeting is then HVUR1 (general meeting, entertainment, speaker 1).
First of all, you should choose the city in which you want to hold the event. This step is usually not necessary for small, locally active companies, but especially for large, internationally active companies, choosing the right city is often very important. First of all, consider your target group. For example, if you can assign a large part of your target group to a certain region, then the city should also be in this region.
The location itself should of course offer enough space for all guests. If you have lectures, you need a hall. If you also have an exhibition, the venue should have a foyer or something similar. You should also keep an eye on the technical conditions at the venue. If your keynote speaker needs a presentation platform, then you should also consider these challenges when choosing your venue.
Of course, you should keep an eye on the traffic connections to your venue. If many of your participants come from further away, an airport should be easily accessible. If, on the other hand, many come by car, there should be good motorway connections and enough parking spaces available.
Corporate event planners often ignore the area around the venue. After the event, your participants may want to have a drink in a nearby bar or take advantage of the city's cultural offerings. Also consider these factors when choosing the city and location.
The technology or audiovisual is a nice example of why planning and implementation often go hand in hand in corporate event management, because the technology area can usually not be planned at all unless the entertainment area has been implemented almost completely in advance, because you can only It is difficult to know which lighting or audio technology you need if you do not yet know which speaker or which band will provide entertainment at your event.
Be it the invitations or the accreditation, and of course everything to do with voting at a general meeting, the area of administration is usually extremely complex and varies greatly from event to event. For the smooth management of your event, use software that supports you with participant management and everything that goes with it.
The entertainment should of course always fit the target group and the event. Here you can also express yourself creatively and particularly influence the design and vibe of your event.
For most people at an event, probably the most important things: Eating and drinking. Here, however, special planning is considered. Do you have a buffet, menu or à la carte? Again, the goals and target group of your event should not be disregarded, and especially the budget. You can achieve more planning security.
Hotel and arrival
You should decide early in the course of your planning how you want to deal with accommodation and travel for your guests. Do you provide your guests with allotments for hotels free of charge? For example, do you plan airport transfers for your guests? Do you offer your guests the option of booking a hotel for a fee during the registration process? When making these decisions, always keep your goals, target group and budget in mind.
At the same time, consider these factors as an incentive for your guests, because free accommodation and easy travel will make it easier for many to decide to take part in your event.
Logistic work is mostly the process that requires a lot of experience and a certain organizational talent. Therefore, work out the logistical challenges with your team early on in the planning process and analyze the specifics of your event and the venue. In addition, compare these with your goals. Always keep an eye on your budget.
The topic of design plays a particularly important role at a corporate event, because regardless of whether it is the invitations, the table decorations or the decoration of your reception, the whole thing should correspond to your corporate identity, but also be compatible with the event and the target group.
The third level of the work breakdown structure
The nice thing about this work breakdown structure is that you can set it up in the planning, you can always expand it downwards and go one level deeper at every single point. Since you will not work through the work breakdown structure alone at large events and will probably even outsource some tasks, this is exactly where the work breakdown structure shows its strengths.Give a point in the work breakdown structure to an employee and ask them to work out the planning of the point and to implement it after you have approved it. The following graphic shows how a point can be worked out based on the speaker in the area of entertainment.
The great advantage of this deepening of the work breakdown structure is that individual parts of the lowest level can now also be passed on to different locations during execution. For example, the contractual information can be handed over to the legal department when the speaker is booked, or the payment can be sent to accounting. This is clearly laid out in the work breakdown structure and clearly recognizable for everyone.
Why all this, one might ask now. Fortunately, I can give you more than one answer to that, because a structured approach to corporate event management brings advantages on many levels. First of all, a corporate event can no longer be viewed as a one-time thing these days. With a structured system, you, as well as your employees and partners, can learn from event to event, identify problems and continuously improve.
In addition, it is not advantageous for a company if knowledge is tied to just one person. Of course, it can work perfectly for 15 years if an event is planned by a person without a special structure, but at the latest when this person leaves the company, the knowledge is lost and the process starts all over again. With a structured plan, the knowledge gained can be passed on in a simple and easy-to-understand manner.
Responsibility is perfectly assignable in structured planning and you can be accountable to superiors or customers at any time in the project.
In addition, a well-planned event is always less stressful for the event planner, because the chance of forgetting something important is almost zero and you are well prepared for unforeseen events that occur at every event.
William O'Toole & Phyllis Mikolaitis: Corporate Event Project Management. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2002
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