Five golden rules for corporate entertainment

This week Microsoft issued an apology after it hired scantily clad dancers for a staff Xbox party. C&IT has canvassed the industy and lays out five golden rules for booking corporate entertainment.

Five golden rules for corporate entertainment
Five golden rules for corporate entertainment

Assess the audience

"When booking corporate entertainment, it's key to ensure alignment with the client's brand, culture and values, as well as the attending audience, their demographics and the event objectives," said Luke Flett, head of global marketing at Ashfield Meetings & Events and SPARK THINKING.

Dale Parmenter, CEO of drp, agreed. "I’ve learnt from experience that the biggest factor in choosing corporate entertainment is understanding your audience – you need as much information about them as possible. Then you can start asking yourself questions about the type of entertainment you can go for. Do we need to be very safe? Or can we be a bit more daring?"

Be appropriate

According to Parmenter, once you’ve assessed the audience, you need to make sure the entertainment is appropriate. "For example, I once did an event for a health-and-safety company. I don’t think circus type events with trapeze acts would have gone down very well, as they were very focussed on safety as an organisation."

Don’t overdo the entertainment

"For us it’s not always about delivering the 'wow' factor, as a number of our clients have perception and appropriateness as a major consideration," said Flett. "In these circumstances 'understated' can often be as effective as elaborate."

Parmenter pointed out that at many corporate events, delegates would rather spend time networking than watching a show: "Lots of planners are obsessed with entertainment, but sometimes you need to tone down the client’s expectations in favour of allowing delegates to spend time together."  

Check out the acts

It’s not essential for every act, but for certain types of entertainment the 'try before you buy' motto is crucial. "I wouldn’t book a comedian, for example, without seeing them first," explains Parmenter. "While one comedian could be great with one audience, they could bomb with another. It's important to choose carefully. You can ask for recommendations from similar clients or even your competition."

Book supporting A/V

Whatever type of entertainment planners book for an event, it’s vital to make sure the venue’s A/V system can accommodate it. "You could book spectacular entertainment, but if the A/V can’t support it, the sound quality will be terrible," explains Parmenter. "People won’t enjoy the entertainment if you can’t hear it properly." 

More:

Be mindful of diversity, say corporate planners 

L'Oreal's top five pitching pitfalls 

5 tips for reinventing your corporate conference

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