Plan for different types of virtual corporate events

Definitive Corporate Event Planning Guide for Growth

Virgil Wadhwa
• October 28, 2022

(5 min read)

Both in-person and virtual corporate events have the ability to grow your business when done right. They can engage and entertain while nurturing client relationships and fostering community. Use the tips and best practices in this corporate event planning guide to take your corporate events to the next level.

There are three key aspects to corporate event planning — identifying the event type, deciding the format (in-person or virtual), and making your event engaging for the attendees. 

Done well, an in-person or virtual corporate event is filled with influential moments that create connections. You can provide opportunities to interact, be spontaneous, network, and engage with others.

Types of in-person and virtual corporate events 

A corporate event can be an absolute win for expanding reach, capturing new markets, and nurturing existing customers. It may also be the secret ingredient to revitalizing your work culture. If you can plan an in-person corporate event—small or large—you can do it virtually too. 

Common types of corporate events that you can do both in-person and virtually include:

Corporate events that propel business growth

  • Summits: Summits are idea-sharing in-person or corporate virtual events with a narrower focus. They are often held to discuss solutions. They involve industry thought leaders and experts,  and attendees explore and discuss focused topics, like “elements of branding” or “creative leadership.” 
  • Trade shows: Think of a trade show as a place to promote your brand. Show attendees why you’re valuable and what you solve, all while being able to present your business in a creative way. 
  • Expos: Expos are centered around a product or industry and share information about development, and offer opportunities to purchase.
  • Roadshows: Take your brand on the road to target different geolocations where your audience lives. A virtual roadshow series has the potential to build awareness in specific locales and engage your audiences on a deeper level.
  • Product launch: Product launches involve teams within a company, stakeholders, and advocates of your brand. Hosting a virtual product launch event can drum up excitement before it’s launched publicly. It’s also a way to make sure everyone has information about the product and its introduction.
  • Conferences and Seminars: Virtual Conferences and seminars are corporate virtual events designed to bring industry members together or gather people who are interested in a skill or topic. These events are optimal for networking and sharing information, making them more open-ended than summits.

Corporate events for fostering positive work culture

Team building events

Team building activities are designed to encourage team spirit and teamwork, stimulate creativity, and the desire to achieve company goals. The options for an in-person or a virtual team-building event are limitless. Team building activities can be anything from solving a puzzle to an elaborate virtual scavenger hunt.  

Social gatherings

From a gala night in a physical venue to a virtual game night and wine tastings, a physical or a virtual social event can be entertaining. They also let people network and make new connections and help teams that don’t see each other often get to know each other better. P.S. Here are some ideas to make your virtual events engaging and fun. 

Virtual classes and workshops

There are times when classes and workshops are necessary for corporate virtual events. They’re often for professional development, onboarding, to go over work culture guidelines, or as a social function. Whatever the reason, doing it virtually can make it more engaging. 

Executive and leadership retreats

Corporate events like retreats give business leaders the tools to tap into their employees’ talents and build a strong work culture. These physical or online corporate events can be innovative and exciting events that help drive company growth, help problem solve, and give space for visioning. 

Virtual town hall

A town hall is meant to address issues or present a certain topic. It’s a way for teams to share their views and thoughts. In a virtual town hall, formats can vary, but features that allow Q&A, chats, and breakout sessions make the event more compelling.

Corporate event planning: How to host corporate events that  move people and drive growth

With purpose and audience in mind, it’s time to really get into planning mode. 

Deliver attendee-first experiences

Every decision you make should be about making sure attendees want to attend and stay through the event. 

Knowing your audiences will help—but it’s also important to think about event pace and breaking up sessions with things that let people relax and connect. 

It also helps to empower the audience and create attendee-first experiences. Are there spaces so they can take a break? Are there ways for them to network and establish meaningful connections? Are there features they can use to provide feedback or ask questions? Are your speakers dynamic, and do they fit your audience? Each touchpoint you provide makes it a better and more memorable event. 

If clients or stakeholders are attending, these events can also help with lead generation and drive growth—you are getting people caught up in the excitement.

Understand your goal

Why are you hosting a virtual corporate event? Who’s your audience? What are you trying to accomplish? Some of the example goals for corporate events are: 

  • Business – This may include generating a new pipeline or increasing customer retention
  • Product – Product-oriented goals could involve boosting awareness, improving adoption, or collecting feedback
  • Networking – A networking goal should support connecting people in a meaningful way
  • Learning – Your goals for learning can cover anything from having experts provide insights to professional development, thought leadership, and discussion

Virtual company events help you communicate messages, build camaraderie and excitement, inspire innovation, and collaborate to solve issues.

Determine a budget

If you’re hosting an in-person or a virtual corporate event and are on a pricing plan, consider what you can do. However, you’ll want to consider things like:

  • Venue/virtual event platform cost
  • Any food and beverage costs
  • Swag
  • Prizes
  • Resources/handouts
  • Entertainment costs
  • Support staffing
  • Promotion or marketing costs

Pick a theme and choose a format

If your event is corporate, keep it branded. Then build out your theme (or the event’s purpose) and formats from that foundation. For example, your theme might be upcoming marketing trends. The goal may look at how hosting a corporate event on digital marketing trends can establish thought leadership and give you an opportunity to call decision-makers at your event. Your format should support connecting with them, winning their trust, bringing them into your funnel, and converting them down the road.

Decide how you want to approach that. It could be a summit, seminar, or industry leaders speaker series.

Once you’ve decided on the theme and format, move on to your strategy and event’s content.  

Set your timeline

Break down your event into achievable goals with due dates. Think about:

  • Registration/invites
  • Send an event overview to attendees
  • Generate excitement
  • Pre-event tasks (purchases that need to be made, setup, scheduling entertainment, etc.)
  • Event day
  • Post-event tasks (thank yous, surveys, payments, etc.) 

Promote event awareness

How do you get people to want to attend an event? You have to get their attention. Engage them through different channels and make sure your messaging gives them a reason to attend. 

How to host a corporate event virtually 

One big benefit of hosting a corporate event virtually is that a lot of event components are wrapped up on one platform. Virtual event platforms can include registration, branding, planning, and support features.

During your corporate event planning phase, decide how you’ll engage people in a virtual environment and how you’ll foster networking and connections. Some of the features to think about are:

  • Fluid Space – Let attendees move around to join various groups and encourage impromptu meetings
  • Gamification – Get the audience excited and draw them in with some friendly competition
  • Lounges and breakout rooms – Create areas that support interaction, connection, and networking
  • A backstage area – Provide an area for speakers and entertainers to prep
  • Booths – Set up an area for exhibitors  
  • Engagement tools – Optimize audience participation with surveys, chats, and Q&A sessions

Use the same best practices and steps above, but think more in terms of virtual event platform features and how to use them to make your corporate events more enthralling. 

Our guide to virtual events can give you more insights. 

While it’s helpful to understand the different corporate events you can plan and produce virtually, it’s beneficial to see some real-life examples.

Corporate event planning best practices

Spur business growth, engage stakeholders, and boost employee morale using virtual corporate event best practices. You’ll want to:

Personalize the experience for your target audience

Your corporate event planning should be done with your audience in mind. But to do that, you have to know who they are. Work to identify what you’re trying to tell them and how they would best receive the information. 

Consider the best event type and format for your objectives

Once you know who is going to attend and what your goals are, you can tailor the event type, presentations, and features to what engages your audience best. What fits with your objective? 

Think about if you want to boost morale with a celebration or inspire teamwork with a challenge. If you’re focused on growth, how will you strengthen relationships with prospects, find new customers, or expand your reach? The more clearly you’ve defined everything, the more captivating the event will be.

Ensure your event content entices action

Events should be lively and exciting for attendees. The content and engagement opportunities should be designed to entice action. Make sure you plan ample networking activities and options for interaction, so you draw audience attention throughout the entire virtual gathering. 

The purpose of your event should be the center of your strategy. It should be a clear statement. For example, “we want to introduce our new product to brand advocates and stakeholders so they can promote it and we can drive awareness and growth.” 

Think about the event elements you want. Maybe you want a speaker panel or Q&A. Perhaps you’ll have breakout rooms or networking lounges. Get really specific about what the event will “look” like.

Find a host and speakers that optimize engagement

When corporate event planning, remember that both the host and speakers you consider should add energy and excitement to your event. The more revered the speakers are, the higher the audience engagement.

Event hosting is a special skill, so ensure that your host knows how to captivate a crowd, and look into speakers whose style and subjects fit your audience. If you’re not sure where to look, start by asking for referrals, researching speaker websites, and looking at social media.

Time your invites and make RSVP easy   

Invites for small events should be sent out at least three weeks before your virtual corporate event, while large events should be announced a year in advance.

RSVPs should be straightforward and simple—one click if possible. Allowing people to import the event to their calendar is also beneficial and adds value to your attendees.

Reward your sponsors

Your sponsors are important and should be rewarded in a way that encourages a long-term business relationship. You can reward them by doing things like:

  • Ensuring their brand awareness at your event
  • Providing them with data on how their sponsorship impacted your event
  • Helping them capture leads at the event
  • Sharing any post-event survey answers that mention them 

Connect with vendors on LinkedIn

Used LinkedIn as a way to connect and organize potential or existing sponsors, vendors, speakers, or swag providers. Having a pool to pull from for events makes the planning process that much easier.

Inspiring corporate event examples 

Look at these virtual corporate event ideas to help you identify some virtual activities for your next corporate event.

Corporate event #1: Virtual global conference

For many conferences, the ability to network is a huge draw for attendees. It’s not easy to bring a vast amount of people from around the world to meet in person—but it’s easy to do virtually.

One company used a virtual event platform to bring 2000+ attendees together for a global conference. One main goal was to offer numerous networking opportunities. 

The company achieved success and gained attendee awareness through Q&As, virtual lounges and chats, and moderator-led sessions, which fostered enhanced communication. Some sessions were also live-streamed on social media to reach an expanded audience.

Using Airmeet allowed the company to host a large number of registrants seamlessly and expand their brand awareness.

Corporate event #2: Town Hall

One company hosted a spirited town hall. They customized their virtual stage to reflect their brand and kicked off the event with a bold question that employees were encouraged to answer through the chat feature. It automatically grabbed attention and engaged the attendees.

During the event, several company leaders were able to present. They paused for Q&As, and let employees share their own thoughts and ideas by participating in breakout sessions. People left these sessions with a feeling of camaraderie and excitement.

Using Airmeet engagement features, they conducted surveys during the event that drove some of the topics covered. The event ended with a question and gratitude session: What do you love about working here, and what would you like to see us add to promote employee well-being?

5 Ideas that nurture engagement in a virtual environment

Here are some virtual activities for corporate events that you can try.

  1. Virtual coffee break with a special guest speaker
  2. Online education workshop – select the class by surveying marketing leaders and businesses and asking them what they want to learn
  3. Virtual trip – take your remote team on a virtual tour of somewhere fascinating
  4. Once a month virtual happy hours with live entertainment (e.g., interactive magic shows, concerts, movies) – bring stakeholders, clients, or remote employees together for some networking and fun
  5. Virtual company anniversary celebration – use a virtual photo booth to document this team-building event

Using these corporate event planning best practices, tips, tools, and examples, your next virtual corporate event can help you achieve your business goals, whether it’s building a stronger team or driving up revenue. They can also be used to develop your own fun corporate event ideas.

Take a moment to explore Airmeet and see how we’ve become feature-packed for maximum networking and engagement. With all the available innovations, you can take your corporate event to the next level. You can also see how other companies have used our platform to produce unforgettable events.

If you’re interested in hosting a virtual corporate event on Airmeet, sign up for a free demo today.

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