Are you planning your first conference, and you're not too sure where to start? It takes a lot more to plan a corporate event than you would initially think.
Organizing any big event (even a virtual event!) can get stressful and overwhelming. You are bringing people together from all over the world to learn and discuss something important to you. So it's no wonder that the pressure is big.
But even if you are planning out a smaller event, it's difficult to know where to start. There are so many little details that can be easily overlooked.
So let's dive right in because we prepared some foolproof steps that can help you plan out a conference that everyone will remember.
Step one: Choosing the theme for your corporate events
Before you start the actual planning of any corporate events, you need to have a theme. One key message will be delivered to the participants and conference attendees.
You need something catchy, that won't leave their minds even after they leave the conference. One phrase is guaranteed to trigger interesting conversations and discussions.
Pick your words wisely
You don't want something too long that people will have a hard time remembering. On the other hand, you also don't want something too generic. So instead of "Team Building", why not choose the theme "Success through Synergy". It creates a clear picture while still being catchy and on-trend.
The best idea would be to discuss a few theme options with the people working the closest to you. That way, you will know if the theme has a mass appeal, or if it's just attractive to you.
Decide on the theme wisely, as it will guide your future branding and promotion. It will affect many little details of your conference, such as the logo design and media hashtags.
Step two: Prepare your budget
Now that you have a theme, the next step is to establish a budget (this applies to any corporate events).
It does not matter if your corporate conference is funded by sponsors or if you are paying with your own money. Either way, you will need a budget.
The easiest way to plan a budget is to determine what your fixed and variable costs are.
For example, a fixed cost is your event venue. Variable costs include decor, transportation, food, and drinks.
Never underestimate the true cost of a conference
When planning a conference, there will be a lot more variable costs than fixed ones. Those are all the little costs that will be determined by the number of attendees and the extra touches that you might decide to add.
Don't underestimate the cost of a conference, so even after you decide on a budget, the best thing would be to have some extra money left.
You never what could go wrong and what could need some fixing, and these last-minute expenses could pile up.
Step three: Pick a date for your corporate event
The date you choose for your corporate events will be more important than you might initially think. Always set your conference at least six months ahead. That way you will have enough time to plan, and your attendees will have enough time to make reservations.
In addition to deciding on a date, you will also have to decide how long your conference will last. If you are planning a larger conference with hundreds of participants, your event needs to stretch out to at least two full days. But if you are planning more of an intimate event, even one full day will be absolutely fine.
The perfect time for a conference
When choosing a date, there are a few rules of thumb that you should consider.
Foremost, avoid summer and winter holiday periods, when people tend to go on vacation. Choose a realistic time of the year when you know most people will be able to make it. That's why most conferences happen in the fall and springtime.
Don't plan your conference on the weekends or on dates that conflict with other big events. For most participants, attending the conference will be part of their job.
Aim for Thursdays and Fridays, so people flying in from other countries have some extra time for sightseeing on the weekend or flying back home without.
Step four: Choose your team
It takes a village to host a conference or any corporate event. You will need volunteers, speakers, and authors, but also people responsible for catering, technical support, the press and so much more.
Each of these people will have their area to operate, and each of these tasks is important in its way. Because there are so many people involved, you will have to structure leadership in your team. People need to know what their job is to do it right.
When it comes to the speakers and authors, you have to choose wisely. You have to be realistic about someone who will want to take part in your event. But that someone also has to appeal to your attendees.
Diversity is a key factor
Chances are that you will have to cover the travel costs for your speakers, so keep that in mind if you want to bring someone from overseas. These transportation costs could take a huge part of your overall budget.
Diversity is a key factor as well. Maintain an equal number of both young and more mature, male and female speakers. There is also the chance that something happens and your speaker cancels last minute. So try to have a plan B as far as your main speakers go.
The team you pick will be the most important thing that determines how your conference will be accepted. It's not only about the speakers, but also the waiters you hire, the staff greeting the attendees, or the people making sure your technical difficulties get solved as fast as possible.
Step five: Build up the hype around your corporate event
Now that you have this great conference planned out, you want people to know about it, right? Then let's create some hype around your corporate event, so people want to attend it.
Chances are that social media will be your strongest platform. Never underestimate the power of a good hashtag and marketing campaign. That's the easiest way to inform people in different areas about what your event has to offer.
Paid Google Ads and social media ads are also a great way to spread the word. Be consistent with posting and don't shy away from any form of social media platform. Even the newer ones you might not be too familiar with.
If you aren't sure about how to create a good hashtag or viral social media posts, consider hiring a marketing agency to help you out with that. They have the tools and knowledge to make it all come together in a catchy and modern way.
If the entrance to your conference isn't free, it has to be extra appealing so people and companies want to pay to take part in it. That's why this step is one of the most important ones!
Conclusion: Hiring an agency is the way to go
Planning a conference or any other corporate event is a lot of work, isn't it? It can get incredibly overwhelming, especially for someone doing it for the first time. You have to think about all the little details while keeping your budget and general theme in mind.
There is no denying that the whole process will be a whirlwind, and even if you have months to plan it, doing it alone will be a lot of work. You will have to put in your time, patience, and a lot of money.
That's why we would always recommend hiring an agency. They already know how to overcome all the obstacles that may come their way. Even with the steps we listed, the planning process definitely won't go as smoothly as you might anticipate.
So many things can be overlooked while planning, and leaving the job to professionals will make the whole experience a lot less stressful for everyone involved.
Jasmina is our Social Media Specialist. She's a dynamic and active person who loves to spend her free time at the gym or in nature.
She strongly believes that we can achieve everything we want as long as we have a clear goal in mind. That's why her favorite quote is "You can't be what you can't see".