When it comes to entertainment ideas for corporate events, things have pretty much been done a billion times over. There’s the photo booth, cooking classes, live bands--not to mention “the escape room.”
Aimed at creating bonding opportunities for employees, sharing company-culture initiatives, and sparking collaborations, corporate events usually have strong mandates in mind, yet one of the biggest challenges is that people are pretty much dragged into going there, and end up either leaving early, leaving drunk, or missing the point entirely.
From conferences, gala dinners and road shows to incentive trips, corporate events are essential to a company’s success. In fact, according to the 2019 Event Marketing Report, 84 percent of leadership believe that corporate events are critical for their company.
So how to create a powerful and memorable event for your employees?
Think about each event, no matter what it is, as an experience--a live journey for each attendee. All entertainment ideas should flow into the event and have three simple attributes: They should be sensory, memorable, and participatory.
Following our golden rule above, here are our top 15 entertainment ideas for corporate events:
- Set up immersive food and cocktail stations: Try a DIY Gin and Tonic Bar, or a Build Your Own Poke Bowl station. These collaborative activities spark the senses, create memories and are highly participatory.
- Add in augmented reality: Setting up an AR booth to create a scavenger hunt or training simulation not only stimulates participation but is also sensory and educational.
- Instigate a jam session: Live entertainment has always been a key element of corporate events. Why not make it participatory? Book musicians to start a jam session, inviting attendees to pick up instruments and join in.
- Create a carefully designed escape room: An escape room with a clear objective and simple instructions can create powerful bonding experiences, inspire imaginative scenarios, and build memories.
- Set up a 3-D photo booth: The photo booth might be a thing of the past, but what about a 3-D printer to go with it? Taking home a 3-D object of oneself certainly tops it as a powerful memory.
- Use a competition app: Starting a playful competition online between attendees can inspire engagement at the event. Using tools such as Sli.do or Glisser are great for crowdsourcing questions, and then inviting attendees to respond.
- Try a little karaoke: Karaoke might seem like a risky activity, but all it takes are a few hidden talents from the room who can start a symphony of fun within the group.
- Book Stomp: Introduce an opening act—such as Stomp--that inspires balance, teamwork, and coordination, as well as jump-starts the event with a surge of energy.
- Create an alluring invitation: Make attendees part of the event content by creating an engaging invitation process with a question that entices each of them to participate.
- Design a collective masterpiece: Invite guests to snap a photo on their phone or device during the event and post the photos either on Twitter or Instagram using the event’s unique hashtag. These photos then became part of a live and evolving digital collage.
- Give a story for a story: Create an opportunity for personal yet anonymous sharing by building a story corner, where attendees can write a short story about one of their colleagues, and pick up another at the same time.
- Stage a hologram: Create a striking memory by having a famous character surprise the audience and pop up on center stage.
- Try projection-mapping: Set up a screen for a projection-mapping sequence tailored to each speaker, keeping guests engaged with constantly evolving visual content.
- Stage food performances: Educate and engage attendees with interactive food stalls, introducing science-based food concepts orchestrated by a laboratory of chefs concocting recipes like tomato water bubbles.
- Let the employees design the event: If you are truly looking to win over your audience, why not have the employees themselves create the entertainment, with their favourite speakers, chefs, and dream activities?
As long as your entertainment idea follows our golden rule and is sensory, memorable and participatory, your corporate event will be a winner.
Mauri Gomez is a founding member of Eventos Barcelona, producing events and shows both nationally and internationally. From his base in Spain, he organizes large-scale events with prestigious companies such as National Geographic, Amazon, Huawei, Yahoo, Airbus and Swarovski. Eventos Barcelona oversees both creative and technical production for corporate and private events.