Throwing an awards show for your business is both a great branding exercise and a positive way to reward your employees’ hard work and success. Awards shows allow businesses to network with influencers, VIPs, and industry titans that have a strong interest or relationship with your brand. More importantly, awards shows are a great excuse to party!
Unfortunately, a good awards show often requires a huge budget for prizes, entertainment, food and beverages, RSVPs, etc. With a budget and an amusing theme in mind, you can follow these must-have tips to throw the best awards show party money will buy.
The first step to planning an awards show is promotion. Utilize online platforms to perform social media outreach and create dedicated landing pages on your domain where people can go for more information. You can use a dedicated hashtag to promote your awards show over Twitter and submit press releases to relevant publications that your target audience will read.
If your awards show requires a submission and is not exclusive to your company, you could run paid advertisements online across relevant websites that provides a link to the submission form.
Target any influencers you have connections with and any sponsorships to see if they can promote your event to their audience.
When inviting people you personally know, send out a formal invitation with an RSVP to reserve a table. Write a brief on the different awards presented, the theme of the party, and where the proceeds go to.
Finding a Venue
Next, you need to find the perfect venue that will conform to the size and budget of your awards show. A banquet hall is ideal and it’s always good to ask whether catering can be arranged at the venue.
Make sure that all tables and seats are in direct eyesight of the stage and how lighting can be applied throughout the venue. Consider whether you need to hire your own vendors and what services are rendered at your selected venue? Be sure to rent out the entire venue in case there are multiple events that will happen simultaneously.
After finding the ideal setting, it’s time to decorate it to theme you desire. Strobe lights and a disco ball are always a nice touch, but some cheap confetti and streamers will always do the trick. Decorations should not only match your theme, but your brand and its colors as well as.
Attracting VIP Guests
An awards show is only as good as its guests. Unfortunately, too many awards shows parsimoniously choose to forgo hiring an actual host. An awards show is only as good as the charisma of its host.
Inviting experts to deliver speeches on important topics to your industry will also pull in a large crowd. Inviting VIP guests and industry recognized leaders will create buzz for your event and allow you to network to grow your personal and company brand. Networking is a great incentive for VIP guests to show up so it’s important to plan out breaks in the ceremony for cocktails and martinis to mingle.
Be sure that you hire trusted, erudite judges who will remain objective. Even the slightest whiff of bias will destroy your ceremony’s credibility and probably be the last awards show you throw.
If you’re already spending thousands of dollars on entertainment and guests, you might as well hire a photographer who will record your event and provide press.
Finally, if you want to attract upscale guests, than you might as well make your party upscale by making it a black-tie event. This will provide a layer of sophistication for your brand.
Food and Beverages
When planning out dining options, you’ll have to decide between a stand up buffet or between a choice of gourmet plates. Both impart their advantages so it really depends on how neatly it will fit within the general ceremony.
Be sure to provide neutral options so that somebody with a food allergy doesn’t feel left out. Better food equals better brand perception, so don’t be afraid to spend for that added touch of elegance.
Above all, you can never go wrong with a little alcohol. Champagne always provides a cosmopolitan touch. Consider whether the venue offers services for bartenders and an open bar. You may need to hire a caterer depending on the venue and the size of your event. Check out their menu offerings and shop around.
Once you have all of these items checked off, the last requirement you need to provide is entertainment. There are many options for live entertainment to choose from, such as a DJ, live band, or a comedian.
If you’re using a projector or hosting live entertainment, it’s important to provide a large enough stage so that the audience can see the ceremony from their seats.
Most importantly, ensure that your entertainment aligns with the theme of your ceremony. Remember that it is a celebration so sometimes it’s good to feature some fun, pop music instead of the classical orchestra music.
One of the most important factors to consider is that you want to be remembered long after the lights and music fade for the night. If you really want to take your awards ceremony to the next level, offer some free take-home gifts. Give away some branded merchandise to all of your guests. Think hard about your gift ideas because the more people use your merchandise the more your brand will appear top-of-mind.
Consider giving out special prizes to winners and nominees as well. A cool pair of sleep headphones, customized rubix cubes, or even a classic gift basket are great ways to reward people who participate in the ceremony and give them something of value to take away.
There are many DIY tricks out there that will help you save money on your awards show. Ultimately, the success of your event will depend on how well you plan it out and who you invite.