Event Savvy: Business Creativity
Event pros around the country are getting creative at driving new businessby Rachel Globus | Published in November 2009 business | event savvy | Departments
Event pros around the country are getting creative at driving new business
When the going gets tough, the tough get going, as they say, and event pros are no exception. Indeed, the challenging economy is driving a great deal of creativity — but instead of applying that just to tabletops and props, event pros are using their creativity to innovate business ideas. Here are a few forward-thinking solutions that caught our eye.
Share the Cheer
From shared “co-working” spaces to the rise of family-style shared servings, collaboration is in — and one Philadelphia-based caterer is taking the cue. When calls about holiday events were sluggish this September, Feastivities Events launched “Snow Balls” — all-inclusive, shared corporate holiday parties. “We felt that our corporate clients needed to have a holiday event to lift morale,” said Feastivities vice president Meryl Snow. The solution is not only a networking opportunity for attendees, but allows businesses to close out the year in a fiscally responsible way, without forgoing the traditional festivities.
Show the Power of Events
To highlight its value proposition to potential clients, Atlanta-based event management firm eventAcuity created the 2009 Working Lunch Contest, in which local companies could win an invite to an interactive, Iron Chef-style lunch provided by Bold American Events & Catering. “We wanted to emphasize, in a fun and interactive way, how the hospitality industry works in tandem with Atlanta’s business community,” said Leslie Swiedom, eventAcuity’s marketing communications director. “Every person involved in an event … is an important cog in the workings of the Atlanta economy. When businesses hold events, they stimulate the economy for all of us. We need to work together to come out of the recession.”
Help Yourself by Helping Them
Help yourself by helping others — that was the idea behind a recent marketing piece by Concept Design Productions highlighting five markets that are still going strong for events. Focus on finance (which will make a comeback in 2010), medical (recession-proof), large charities (need is greater than ever), education and training (a more challenging business landscape demands better-equipped employees), and government (expanded government programs mean more dollars to spend), advises the company — you’ll know whom to call for scenic design when you nab that next big client.
Case Study: inVNT
While most event businesses were retrenching, communications agency inVNT saw revenues for the first half of 2009 jump 50 percent over last year’s second half, with success continuing as the year draws to a close. Mid-2008, when the company launched, was not exactly the most welcoming business environment, so what has driven its growth? “InVNT has been so successful so quickly because we create meetings, trade shows and other live events that generate leads and strengthen business relationships for our clients,” says managing partner Scott Cullather. “The key to our success has been strategic creative thinking about how to prioritize spending to create the maximum impact on the target audience.”
Case Study: Caravents Inc.
Having launched her Los Angeles-based event production and design company in 2001, Cara Kleinhaut knows about surviving a tough economy. “For me during the recession, it was all about not necessarily making a profit, but staying in business and keeping my relationships with my clients alive. Eventually they’ll have the budgets again,” she told ES during a break from Elle Women in Hollywood Awards’ setup. Here are her tips for other business owners:
- Don’t say no to opportunity. There’s always something to learn (even if it’s what kind of client not to take when you can be more selective).
- Partner with others; it’s about staying open to possibilities.
- Keep your overhead down. You can service large clients just as well, and they may even appreciate the cost savings of working with a lean organization.
Drive Awareness through eBay
Pacific Park got inventive this year to book holiday parties. The iconic amusement park, located on the Santa Monica, Calif. pier, posted five unique holiday party packages on eBay, with minimum reserves reaching as low as 40 percent off their retail price. “We are rooting for companies with employees that are most in need of a lift in holiday spirit this season,” said marketing and sales director Jeff Klocke.