We’re all missing in-person events as we take Zoom calls from our couches and heat up another pot of coffee. One thing we’re not missing, however, is the switch from the traditional branded tchotchkes to more elegant digital swag bags. Everyone attends at least one conference where this happens. You’re handed a bag and know…
The 5 keys to planning an unforgettable large-scale event
A big product announcement. Your end-of-the-year holiday bash. A Dreamforce reception for MVP clients. Your company’s executive retreat. All of these occasions are times you need to go above and beyond to service your vision with a large-scale event. But where do you start when your team or company’s reputation, employee morale and/or impression on the C-suite is on the line? We asked our resident event services expert Laura Burningham to give us her top pointers for executing a once-in-a-lifetime, memory-making, over-the-top event . Burningham, a 15-year veteran of the event planning industry, has masterminded, planned and executed Kapow’s Platinum events for the last year and a half leveraging the Kapow platform and partnerships.
But first: what does a large-scale Platinum event entail?
“Kapow Platinum events,” explains Burningham, “are any large-scale program that involves multiple components such as hosting at a large-scale venue or hotel, room blocks, catering, entertainment, photo booths and other amenities. Usually it’s anything outside the traditional scope of a Kapow experience with a budget of $15,000 or more.”
“We work with a lot of tech companies and field marketing managers to book Platinum events,” Burningham says. Other times, executive assistants or other busy professionals reach out for help with a holiday party or a customer-facing event that really needs to ‘wow’ the target audience.
But what goes into making a large scale Platinum event? Generally, there are the following five steps.
1: Planning starts early
Ideally, the partnership between the event planner and the Kapow Platinum team begins at least three months before the event date. This allows Burningham and her team to collect details of the event planner’s vision for the event, and present options from Kapow’s platform and partnerships. Once the client makes a selection, the team hits the ground running to make the vision a reality.
2: The event fits your audience and goals
From there, the workstream can take different directions depending on what kind of event the planner has in mind and their role.
“Field market managers tend to have to meet with their sales teams, so they’re really driving and pushing us to be more creative with our events,” Burningham says. “The sales team is responsible for driving attendance to the event, but if we don’t come back with a cool experience where potential attendees are excited to attend, then it becomes a challenge. So it’s up to us to provide a really cool experience that’s going to help drive that experience for their target demographic.”
By contrast, clients in leadership positions look to Kapow’s Platinum team for ease-of-use. “When we’re working with someone in leadership on those programs, they’re usually not as heavily involved in the process,” Burningham says, “They want us to take it, own it, run with it and then just see where we’re at and then they’re moving on. The heads of marketing are giving us entire control of the event, resting assured that we have all those details under wraps and aren’t bothering them with small stuff.”
3 & 4: You choose a partner you trust and have a single point of contact
It’s that ability to take a kernel of an idea and bring it to fruition that allows Burningham and her team to build trust with clients. “I’m there from the start to the finish of the event, so I’m heavily involved in how it’s sold, but I’m also the singular point of contact to handle the logistics, as well as your onsite contact and follow up liaison post-event. I think our clients like the way we do it because it gives the opportunity to build trust and and have arapport with them, and you definitely need that level of trust to produce these kinds of events successfully.”
Having one point of contact, rather than a team, also cuts down on expenses and limits potential loss of information. “Our fees are very competitive with other services that provide this kind of experience, Burningham says. “Because I’m your one point of contact from start to finish, there’s less chance of details being lost as they’re relayed along a chain of command.”
5: You go big and go bold
“For the RSA conference in San Francisco last year, we hosted an event at Mezzanine,” Burningham says. “It was the client’s first time not having a booth within the event and just hosting an event outside.” Ahead of the event, Kapow and the client worked to market the venue to potential attendees with branded pedicab transportation around the conference and street teams outside it with selfie filters emblazoned with the venue’s name and branding. “There were a lot of guerrilla marketing efforts on our part,” Burningham explains.
For the event itself? “We had Kevin Mitnick (the famous hacker turned cybersecurity expert) give a talk before dueling DJs came out so it was this cool, informative session followed by this fun, over-the-top after party,” Burningham says. “The client had a big number for target attendance, but the whole spend was substantially lower than having a booth at RSA, so their return on investment (ROI) was huge in comparison to what it would have been otherwise and they were able to capture just as many leads and client facetime.”
“It was so successful,” Burningham says, “that the client just reached out yesterday to start planning 2019 programming replicating that exact event experience. They saw a lot of traction from a sales perspective from those attendees, and their leadership team was floored by the comprehensive experience we were able to provide.”
UNIQUE EVENT IDEAS. REAL-TIME BOOKING.
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