Corporate Events: Savour The Sensory Experience
In this guest post, Kim Jones talks about corporate events and how catering can be used to heighten the experience for attendees.
Perfectly captured in movies like “Chocolat”, life revolves around food! There is an art to weaving emotions into the preparation of a feast or simple meal.
Add to the bowl a mix of weary and hardened corporate hearts! Impressing your guests can be a minefield for the fainthearted especially when you’re trying to make your corporate event memorable and keep guests wanting more.
The art of eating is enhanced with timing and creation of concoctions connected to the purpose of the event. Beautifully illustrated in the movie “Babette’s Feast”, it’s unwise to compromise with pedestrian catering! Make your event a visual and sensory experience to remember.
During my 20 years in ASX100 companies I learnt that the project management of a corporate event can be successful, yet sadly will leave no memory of that moment. Our aim is to:
- celebrate milestones
- acknowledge an outcome
- share the company’s vision
- develop lasting relationships, or
- remember a moment in time.
Corporate events need to share the same vision as your company. You need to find a way to weave your message via sensory and culinary delights so that your guests are:
- full and satisfied
- wildly challenged
Many stuffy corporate events fail to leave an impression because they didn’t inject the beguiling mix of fanciful and grounded sensory experiences. The idea is to lead your guests to a final point of subliminal dedication and emotional commitment that embodies your company’s vision.
What’s The Plan For Your Next Corporate Function?
The Big Picture
You have been given the go-ahead for a corporate event for a specific reason. Here are a few tips to help you create a successful event.
Align The Elements: Link the purpose of the event (fun, legal, actions, culture building), the company culture and vision to the look, feel and style of the function.
The Theme: Is there a theme for the event? Adding a theme can add life to the function and make it memorable.
Measurability Factors: Are you expected to meet some expectations by hosting this event?
Ask management what outcomes they expect so you can put things in place to measure your success.
Plan Ahead: Give yourself plenty of time to find the right service providers who can work at your chosen venue. The good ones are already booked months in advance so plan early.
Time Management: The length of the event can often dictate the venue. If for example your function is a company update, within business hours, with minimal down time for employees, no alcohol allowed, then you’ll need to course a venue close to headquarters.
However if the function is a thank you to valued clients or customers, the function may be longer, a sit down three-course meal, on a weekend so partners can attend, with alcoholic offerings and entertainment.
Location And Venues: A lot of venues have a resident caterer, AV teams, and support staff so be sure to check what resources are available to you when booking service providers. They can usually help you with:
- Advertising & Marketing
Customising Your Catering
Once you have worked out what the feel and format is for your event, the fun part is aligning your catering to match expectations. Don’t forget that you are bringing different elements to life that that align and complement your company’s purpose.
The CEO of our financial services division, in the first year of when he started, wanted a fun event for employees around money.
The venue created a gambling room and the food was themed to money. We had chocolate money and food was shaped as roulettes. Everyone was encouraged to dress up with the CEO lead the way, wearing a roulette tutu. The theme, dress code and catering set the fun tone for the night.
Plan To Please The Majority
Planning a corporate event can be draining on staff who not only need to attend the function but also “work” the room. It’s good to keep the following outcomes in mind:
- have fun
- communicate across teams
- see the fun side of the corporate environment rather than red tape
- seeing management as approachable and willing to engage
- have fun
- acknowledge employees and objectives met
- engage with employees in a more casual environment
- be open to feedback in a safe, non-threatening environment
It’s up to you now!
So get planning and have fun with it! There’s a lot to do and partnering with the right service provider will make the event enjoyable for everyone.
More about the author
Kim Jones is a non executive director on private company, government and not-for-profit boards.
Kim is also a management consultant, with more than 30 years experience with roles including superannuation trustee, investor relations and communications specialist with ASX100 institutional fund managers and financial services companies. The earlier part of her career was spent as a marine scientist, high school teacher as well as promoting new technology at the University of New South Wales.
Kim holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree from the University of Sydney, a Graduate Diploma of Education, and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).