Whoops! You’ve just pulled your favorite top out of the delicate cycle and it’s inside out – fresh and loveable, but not quite ready to turn heads. With one quick adjustment you’re all set.
We've discovered companies that develop and reinforce a collaborative, fit culture from within are better positioned to pay it forward. Their approach internally allows them to turn what they do inside out, too, to reach customers—engaging them more memorably—because it is rather effortless to do so.
Aligning events with your values and the type of culture you have (or would like to have) means employees leave proud of what they do, who they do it with, and what they do it for. Values become more than a quip on a mug. Culture becomes real, such that employees often will share their company experience with others – hint: your (potential) customers.
Internal events then are also external, whether intrinsically or more deliberately (in terms of your guest list).
Let’s take a growing tech company in Boston for example.
Despite finding an exciting new space to relocate their operations, the custom buildout was faced with myriad challenges. What was set to be a late spring move-in became an autumnal hope. The leadership team tasked their support staff with reimagining their holiday party. Rather than taking things off-site to a well-vetted (aka trusted, surprise-free) venue, they embraced their core values of innovation and experimentation:
1. The event would be hosted in-house, no matter how finished, in the new space.
2. Rather than keeping their invite list internal, the company leveraged the event as an Open House celebration that included customers, prospects and partners as well as employees.
3. They embraced the (on-going) element of surprise, making that core to the event. Invited to help, we proposed curating a truly unique, experimentation-rich wine tasting experience that not only underscored their event goals, but showcased their culture in a hands-on, unforgettable way. [Ask us how.]
How can you dial things so that your event can’t help but WOW?
Just like an architect builds from the ground up, so should your event. If your employees are sharing their day-to-day worklife experience, make your event a reflection of that experience, too.
Events that maximize the opportunity to pay themselves forward, are authentic – culture-infused and value-based, but not overworked. Don’t be creative for creativity’s sake. Find natural ways to reinforce your culture through your event. In our experience, less is often more.
Creating an experience that can be personalized is a technique we use to help folks engage on a meaningful level. An attendee's event experience should be organic and seamless, or about them. Customers or prospects included in your events shouldn’t feel like they are being sold – whether a specific product, or your brand as a whole. And if it’s an employee event innately (not necessarily directly) celebrate your team first, their work and their accomplishments. This is not a time to promote the company.
All those who participate are simply along for the ride, and it should feel that way. Later, folks (continue to) invest in you/your brand because it feels natural; employees offer their best because they want to.
In other words, shared experiences are a wonderful way to dial things in personally, and leave a winning impression.
Certainly events are a wonderful way to celebrate, boost company culture, and reinforce camaraderie – and there is value in this alone. But why have the value end there or the impact expire with the evening? Let what you stand for become your muse, your WOW factor. Then invite folks in to experience organically why your company is unique.
Remember, attendees should leave the event feeling connected to the experience – and your team and your brand – in their own way. By setting the tone with subtle reflections of your culture, you can then create organic opportunities for people to connect. In so doing, your event will go from a single time, day and place on your guests’ calendar, to a memorable experience that leaves them wanting to participate and engage again and again.