Event Management

Event Management

Presenting your organisation/ brand at a function you are holding

ebook160x240It all seems too simple and obvious to me! At some cost, your organisation invites some clients/ guests to a function – you feed them and water them, you might even be providing some entertainment. On many occasions someone from the organisation will make a speech, generally welcoming/ thanking guests for coming along, or alternatively introducing/ selling/ launching a new product or brand. All good so far!

It is highly likely that your guests will be really appreciative which is great!

Quite often the missing “finishing touch” if you like, is the manner in which the organisation presents itself through the use of simple theming and branding. In fact, I often find it frustrating that an organisation can spend many $$ hosting guests without investing a small amount of time in ensuring that all its functions present the organisation appropriately and professionally.

My advice is to have a simple but strongly drafted template to cover simple theming and branding across all external functions that your organisation has. Keeping the “simple” theme, below are some headings which would very easily form the basis of such a template, and which would ensure that the presentation of your organisation is always:

  • Seamless

  • Consistent

  • Professional

  • Promoting your brand/ logo/ colour

  • Cost efficient/ affordable

Invitations

Invitations are a given in the sense that, of course, one does invite people to a function…otherwise nobody would turn up!

What is important, however, is to ensure that the entire invitation process is accurately and thoughtfully carried through ie, the right people are invited, there is follow up and all of this is actioned in a timely manner!

How often at the last minute are “ring-ins” invited to a function (especially corporate hospitality) to fill a table!?

What about a suitable thank you follow up after the function?

Key – thought, accuracy, with timelines and, if possible, something a tad different?

Company branding/ logo

Your organisation will no doubt have a logo which incorporates two or three colours eg red and black.

I am a firm believer that your brand/ logo should be represented at every external function that you have, and your colours used simply and effectively to create colour and theming.

There is no limit to what can be done and achieved and this article provides you with some options – one very simple recommendation is to get two or three pull- up banners with your logo, a tagline and displaying your company colours.

These banners are not expensive, are effective, easily stored and erected/ dismantled.

Have them and use them at all functions,eg one by the entrance, the other at the front of the room, for example it could be located behind the area to be used for speeches/ a presentation.

Serviettes

You need serviettes at every function – yes, your caterer can provide or you can simply get a supply of serviettes from your local supermarket, but why don’t you go one step further and ensure that you present your company through the serviettes.

Very simple options:

  • Get branded cocktail serviettes – this will cost you a few cents each! Use at all finger food functions or working lunches
  • Get branded standard size serviettes for “sit down” functions
  • For important dinners or lunches, use linen napkins (your caterer might even cost these in as part of the food pricing) – don’t just have a plain napkin. Either get printed napkin holders or “dry hire” simple holders using your company colours eg blue satin around a white napkin Either option will look stunning on the table.

On the above basis, you will have serviettes befitting the type and importance of every function.

Chair covers/ bands

Chair covers and bands can really “make” and transform a function and room. As an example, in a marquee situation where plastic chairs are being used, chair covers will instantly change the entire “look and feel” creating a classy and colourful environment.

Another simple illustration is in a function venue which looks “tired” and also has old chairs – use of chair covers will more than spruce up the room.

Using a band or sash with the chair cover is inexpensive, provides a contrast colour and enables company colours to be easily incorporated at the venue eg green and black for the National Bank…instant brand identification.

Table cloths/ runners

As with chair covers, use of linen table cloths is a key component of a “sit down” lunch or dinner (exception being a casual working lunch of course). Fortunately caterers or function venues generally include linen tablecloths as part of the food costs.

If budget permits, also use a table runner – you can either hire using one of your

company colours to contrast the cloth eg green runner on black cloth or blue runner on white cloth.

If you have a number of functions, you could get your own runners in a suitable colour with your logo featured.

Menus

Not so important, but if yours is a very large organisation which has numerous events over a year, why not get your designer/ agency to design a menu shell which can be used again and again – simply but carefully attach an insert with menu and beverage details for each particular function and remove after the function, repeating the exercise for the next function.

This becomes a very effective means of adding colour and sophistication to a function as well as providing instant branding!

Once you have the menu shells, the inserts can be looked after by your staff, again using a template.

Menus can also be used for cocktail functions – dot them around the room on tables, bar areas etc.

Caterers


Not strictly presentation, but much of this article is about having a simple template to cover different functions and requirements for those functions, with the objective of presenting your organisation professionally.

Taking this a further step, if you don’t already do this, and I believe that most organisations do, ensure that you have one, two or three preferred caterers with the following criteria:

  • Catering skills/ strengths cover the range of functions required by your organisation
  • Are good to deal with – helpful with suggestions, receptive to your briefs, not defensive following feedback etc
  • Can deliver to a budget
  • Will constantly provide quality catering and service
  • Will still look after you with a smile for a short notice catering job!

Your staff should be instructed to use caterer x for certain types of functions, caterer y for others etc

In this way, you should receive consistent quality catering to agreed budgets utilising the caterer’s strengths which will again reflect well on your organisation!

Base minimum theming/ branding for a function

Following the template, for a simple breakfast, lunch or cocktail function, you would have the following theming/ branding components:

  • Two or three pull up banners
  • Branded cocktail serviettes
  • Suitable caterer who would deliver appropriate food (and service if required) to the appropriate quality/ budget

Important dinner or function

This logically being the opposite end of the scale, you could look at presenting your organisation incorporating:

  • Invitations using an “Invitation Template”
  • Minimum three pull up banners (one by entrance and two on stage/ behind speaker)
  • Linen napkins with either branded napkin holders or holders with dominant company colour eg blue
  • Chair covers and band or sash with at least one company colour used
  • Linen tablecloth (preferably floor length) and table runner (branded with logo or suitable company colour)
  • Printed menu/ beverage list inside company menu shell
  • Suitable caterer from preferred supplier list who would deliver a quality catering experience to the appropriate budget

All of the above (excluding the catering costs) would cost as little as $10-15 per head (this is based on existing investment in the pull up banners and menu shells.) - compare this to what your company will be paying for the required food and beverage, so convince yourself that a little planning and thinking along the above lines will not assist your organisation’s profile and professional reputation…and likely success!

Hospitality Solutions can assist your organisation in compiling a simple, yet effective template which will ensure that your organisation is always suitably but not extravagantly presented whenever it hosts clients and guests

This article was written by
Ian Fraser of Hospitality Solutions Ltd

Ian Fraser has worked in corporate hospitality and
event management for over sixteen years. In this
time, he has organised over 800 functions and
events and project directed some very large
hospitality projects/ events.
In recent years, he has also been approached by
organisations to assist them in a consultancy role.

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