Speaking at a ‘huddle’ session at Event360 today, Abigail Wood, vice president, relationship & event manager at Barclays Events, told delegates that Barclays’ events team often uses brand partnerships to overcome the challenge of putting together creative corporate events on a budget.
According to Wood, there are three main challenges to being creative with corporate events: budget, the fact that many calendared events are repeated year-on-year, and the mindset of stakeholders who like a certain way of doing things and aren’t as open to changes.
Wood said that budget was a particular barrier to creativity with smaller internal events that have a strict threshold, and client events subject to compliance. She added that partnerships and using what companies already have in-house were a way to beat this.
"At Barclays we have a lot of stuff in our armoury we can use for events. For example, one session we put together was an internal event focusing on management and mentoring. Now, Barclays do a lot of work with entrepreneurs. We invited ten entrepreneurs we work with along to the event and our MDs worked with them on their ideas. This meant that they got to put into practice what they had just been learning about in the mentoring session, and the entrepreneurs got help on their projects too, it was win-win.
"Barclays also have some really strong partnership with other brands, which we utilise when planning events. One time we ran an internal session on how to foster a culture of exemplary client experience. We approached Four Seasons and ran a workshop with them that was free of charge, because we already had that relationship. We also try to use our client or customer base as speakers at our events."
Wood also recommended attending industry events and keeping up to date on the latest technologies to make sure that repeat events remained creative. When trying to convince stakeholders to try something new at events, she suggested the ‘softly, softly’ approach.
"We try to make changes one small thing at a time, so they can see it’s going well. For example, we might be doing an evening panel discussion around the economy. We don’t look to change the format, but we’ll maybe introduce a Scriberia board to scrawl ideas on, which adds another element and gives the audience something else to look at."
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