After years of working in the events industry, where I managed (or assisted in the management of) seminars - ranging from seminars where we hosted 5 people, to major events or conferences with 2,000 + attendees, there were common themes that emerged whether we were catering for a handful of people or an entire company! I thought I would share my thoughts with you about some things I learned about how to host a successful event / seminar or conference.
Make your attendees feel special and looked after
No matter if you're the CEO of a company that has all the confidence in the world, or if you're just new to the work force, everyone feels a little bit overwhelmed as they walk into a new environment; especially to an event. Your job as an event manager or assistant is to greet all your guests with a warm smile, politely ask their name, provide them with a name tag, and direct them what to do next. It might be to tell them to help themselves to a glass of wine at a table a few meters away, or direct them into the correct conference room down the hall. They will appreciate being taken care of and directed.
Food and drinks are important!
We often asked delegates to fill in a quick survey after the event, asking questions about the speaker, the topics, the room, the location, the food, and anything else. More often than not, the delegates would comment on the food.
No matter if the topic of the event, food was really really important to the guests. Make sure as an event manager you sample the food from your catering supplier before taking them on as caterers. If you don't LOVE the food that they have brought for you to sample, move on and keep looking until you find a caterer that you love. Your guests will be grateful for it. People know deep down that the caterer has nothing to do with your company, and that you hired them to provide food for that particular event, but they will still think badly of you and your company if you do not provide good food.
On the other hand, if you provide beautiful, tasty food, the guests eyes light up when they see your food spread, and they are happy to be at your seminar after sampling the beautiful food. Don't underestimate the power of catering to your company's brand image.
If you have employed waitstaff to hand out food or drinks to guests, or have them behind a counter pouring the drinks, you MUST pick the correct staff to fit your function. Again it is all to do with brand image. If you are a fun, crazy brand, then have fun staff, with big smiles serving.
If you are a brand that is more demure, ensure that the waitstaff or bar staff understand they cannot jump around and be loud and silly with the guests or with other wait staff.
Of course, as servers, they need to be well groomed, pleasant and smile, but they need to fit the company's image, as on that night, they are representing the company that they are working for. The worst thing is unpleasant, unsmiling, unobservant wait staff. It makes your guests feel unwelcome / negative.
Provide them with a gift bag and giveaway (or information) as they are leaving the venue
Unless there is important information in the bag that guests need to use during the event or seminar, it is best to give the event bags away as delegates are leaving the premises.
This is for a number of reasons: the bag wont get crushed, ripped or bent out of shape as people place them by their seats which then get stood on by other delegates, the room can start to look like a mess with everyone's bags propped around the room hap-haphazardly, it is nice to receive a 'present' from the hosts after attending their event, and it is annoying for the delegates to carry the bag around whilst trying to balance a glass of wine, a morsel of food and shake hands with other guests.
I hope I have provided you with a quick overview and a few tips for your next event! Good luck!
After spending probably thousands of dollars (or even tens of thousands of dollars!) on your event materials, products to display, furniture, maybe more staff, and the booking fee or stall at the expo itself...amongst numerous other costs, you then realise you need event bags.
Having worked in event management and marketing for years, and having ordered event bags for numerous events and expos (before starting my own bag and box business) these are my thoughts and tips for what you need to consider when you want to order event bags:
1. What is going in the event bag? Do you need the bag to fit a bulky magazine and a water bottle, or just a few little flyers and small give-away?
Make sure you gather all your collateral together and measure them to figure out the size of the bag you want. There's nothing worse than having a massive event bag with a few flyers hiding down the bottom. It feels weird for the delegate carrying it around too. Nor should you make the bag too small. Make sure the gusset will be wide enough to fit your give-aways in. For example if you are giving away a bottle of water and a magazine together, make sure they can both fit snug in the bag, by ensuring the gusset (side of bag) is wide enough. You don't want your bottle busting the bag, or if you do manage to squeeze it in, having an outline of the bottle that has obviously been wedged into the bag! My advice: measure, measure, measure!
2. How heavy are the contents? Again, if you've got a 750ml bottle of water and a thick magazine, you could be looking at over 1kg. You probably don't want to go for a 70gsm (thin) kraft bag.
You will need a sturdy bag (probably a classic boutique style bag), and you will need to think about reinforcing the handle holes and the bottom of the bag to ensure your contents don't rip through the bag and land on the feet of a very embarrassed delegate! My advice: tell your packaging supplier (preferably us at Custom Printed Bags & Boxes!) what your contents weigh. We will be able to reinforce the bag to ensure non-breakage.
3. The bag design. If you don't have the budget to engage a Graphic Designer to create a fantastic stand-out design for your event, then you should just go with printing your logo on both sides of the bag, (and even print on the gussets).
If you buy in bulk, you can use the generic branded bags throughout the year for other events. Otherwise, to really stand out, you can print a message on the bag relating to the event itself.
My advice: custom printed bags are so important because it shows you're a professional organisation, and when people walk around with your bag, it gives you brand exposure.
Best of luck with your event!
We are excited to announce we got a two page spread in the December 2012 issue of the 'My Business' magazine!
We featured in the Packaging News! Please click on the link below to view the article written about Custom Printed Bags & Boxes:
If these products above were the same product and price, which would you buy for a present?
Remember the value of packaging on customer's purchasing decisions.
At this time of the year (if you love the festive season), you’ll be starting to think about presents for friends and family – maybe even writing present lists, and being organised and going out and buying presents already. If you’re like me, you’ll go to the store where you think you could purchase that item on the list, and find a good array of the same type of product. Say you were thinking of buying a nice tie for your brother. You go into a department store, and you see all the ties laid out in a glass case, and next to them, a beautiful branded rigid gift box. Then you see ties in another glass case with no branded rigid gift box…. I know myself that I would go for a tie that comes in a beautiful box, to make the present I’m gifting look beautiful (and appear much more expensive!)
No matter how organised you are, there will always be someone you forgot to buy a gift for – maybe a neighbour or a colleague that gives you a gift close to Christmas and you realise you didn’t get anything for them, so you need to slip out to the mall or shopping strip as soon as possible to find a present.
From past experience, my eyes will go directly to the packaged gifts selection on the shop shelf. I will buy a product in a beautifully presented bag or box. I will even by-pass superior quality products that are sitting on a shelf next to it, just to get a product that is beautifully packaged!
I’ve even started seeing supermarkets stock their shelves with beautifully packaged items – so if you’ve forgotten that person at the last moment, you can even pick up a beautifully packaged gift in the supermarket! For example my local supermarket has started selling gift boxes in the beauty isle: for example a collection of soaps in a nice square or round box, with the soap company’s branding on the box, with cellophane and festive coloured ribbon, for a quick purchase decision sale.
Think about your product. Could you package it in a beautiful bag or box for easy last minute purchase decisions? For example, if your hand creams range is stocked at a pharmacy, why don’t you consider packaging up some of your items into a beautiful, unique branded box, and present it as an already wrapped gift? Make it look a million bucks! Make the purchaser proud to give your product away as a gift, and make the person receiving it feel special, because they have a beautifully presented, expensive looking gift in their hands.
Look at what your competitors are doing. Go to the shops where your product is sold and check out how your competitors are presenting their products for the festive season. If they have them in already-wrapped boxes for easy customer purchasing, then you need to think about doing this for next year – but make your gift box even better than your competitors! Even if your product is the superior quality product on the shelf - remember that some customers don't know your product and are just looking for a quick purchase! You will find that last minute shoppers might reach for your competitors product if it is beautifully wrapped and presented - even if your product is better on other levels. Don’t let this happen to you! Make it easy for your customers to choose you!
All the best for the festive season!
Clara Cassidy, Founder and Marketing Manager of Custom Printed Bags & Boxes, is a marketing professional with years of experience in branding, promotions and events.