The average corporate event uses florals differently than weddings and social events do. Generally, florals are used as design aspects that complement the venue but are not the primary or even secondary category on the budget. With keynote speaker fees and catering for hundreds of guests, floral design usually takes the backseat with many organizations.
Yet, flowers still lead the design direction of a space, so it's essential to get a feel for what a corporate client is looking for. You won't see over-the-top features such as floral walls or arches, but the final design will greatly depend on the type of company and industry you are working within. Many of your decisions will depend on the company's logo and brand colors, but there are still ways to get creative with your given parameters.
Before diving into the design aspect, it is important to understand how corporate event design works internally. While engaged couples and families are typically the sole decision-makers, companies usually have a committee for planning events. Thus, it would be best if you appeal to everybody on the panel before moving forward with ideas.
Event committees are always looking for the newest trend and idea that elevates their company and its brand, as well as helping to achieve the goal for the actual event--be it a fundraiser or an awards gala. When it comes to colors and trends, we typically present at least three design ideas to the committee and let them pick the one that resonates with their company most.
Here are some floral trends that we are seeing in the corporate side of the industry:
1. Think about branded blooms.
We see our corporate clients pushing the design of their events, but it all boils down into a physical representation of their brand. They might want something fresh and innovative, but it cannot be so far from their brand that their guests do not identify with it. Thus, we see the company colors and logo playing a significant role in corporate events as businesses want the whole space to be cohesive and easily recognizable as their event.
It is not just colored arrangements, though; it is about the energy and personality behind the company itself. For example, we find that our corporate clients in the oil business or the technology industry tend to prefer clean lines and modern design. On the other hand, we work with large farms in the area that want a more organic design to embrace their values.
2. Arrange for take-home arrangements.
When doing corporate events, we see that centerpieces are typically given away to attendees at the end of the event. It is a great way to extend the life of arrangements while also acting as favors for guests. With this in mind, we typically cut costs on the containers for centerpieces. We do not want to use too much of the client budget on pieces that will end up going home with guests.
Fortunately, clients would prefer their budget to be allocated to more flowers and design as opposed to tall centerpieces, so it all works out well.
If we do need to add some height to centerpiece arrangements, we will likely limit this to only a few arrangements. Even then, we will create these tall arrangements in containers that are removable from the stands--rather than having an employee try to walk out of the event with a 4-foot centerpiece that will not fit in the attendee’s car.
3. Consider sustainability.
Our corporate clients are committed to leaving less of a footprint in the world, and that goes with their event design plans. Small and large businesses are recognizing their global responsibility to reduce their environmental impact, and the effects of that shift are showing in their events.
As a result, companies are requesting more recyclable and reusable items than a typical wedding or social event, as sustainability aligns with many organizations' corporate values. Corporate clients want their events to be as “green” as possible, so they want us to consider eco-friendly options and reduce waste as much as possible.
To do this, we utilize a lot of preserved items that can be repurposed, like preserved pampas grasses and palm leaves. As opposed to fresh blooms, these pieces have a long lifespan and can be reused in arrangements for future events.
4. Remember: It’s a trend.
At the end of the day, trends are just that--trends. They come and go with the times, and it is up to you to determine which current trends align with your client's vision. Corporate clients are particular about design choices because an event speaks to more than just a single day or celebration. Instead, corporate events are a way to project an organization's brand, values, and plans for the future, so it is understandably vital to adhere to their wants and needs.
Oleta Collins is the owner of Flourishing Art Design Studio, a florist and design studio in Bakersfield, Calif., that specializes in luxury weddings and events. She is also a Certified Floral Designer and an accredited member of the American Institute of Floral Designers.