Dear Aunty B,
I am not sure about “events”. Every time I put on a client lunch or dinner, it turns into an organisational nightmare. Should I be spending the money in other ways?
In all honesty, sometimes the most effective relationships can be built over a simple café latte, one-on-one. Six bucks. No banners, no canapés, just caffeine.
Another alternative is to invest the events budget into sponsoring a charity or other non-profit (with branding rights of course) and promote the brand that way.
Remember that VIPs from any business sector are in hot pursuit and will be lured to dine on wagyu beef, personally cooked by Neil Perry, private golf lessons with Tiger Woods with Elton John jetted in to provide the music. It can be really hard to compete.
A good event/launch/award night can be great for your brand, bring associates together and beautifully build relationships; a bad event is a waste of time, effort and money. My vote is to do the bare minimum of functions very well, and make sure you are not wasting anyone’s time.
I don’t know about you, but I know I was not put on this earth to fart around with RSVPs for corporate events, trying to make sure the “big fish” come to the event.
If you are hell-bent on functions, here are a few handy ingredients.
- Be a great host, revive the lost art of introductions and get people talking.
- Avoid sit-down functions unless people know each other well.
- Keep the presentations brief, brief, brief – and make sure you see the rehearsal so there are no surprises.
- Don’t rule out low-key, two-course price-fixed lunches in good restaurants – they are a one-stop shop with no bills from event managers, caterers, music etc.
- Keep the numbers down (unless you’re launching a mobile phone or designer beer of course, then you want to fill a barn).
- Set a goal for the function – say thanks to clients, win new contract, introduce new product/service, end of year p*ss up – then measure the success of the event; did it bring new business, raise company profile? Otherwise it is a waste of money and should be canned.