The most common types of corporate events

Companies leverage corporate events to engage with their key stakeholders: employees, partners, customers, potential customers and more. In fact, events are a key component of every company’s growth strategy.

Corporate events are a unique opportunity to bring people together, develop relationships, learn new skills and/or promote certain aspects of the company.

In this article, we’ve listed the most common types of corporate events and their unique objectives.

Education, Training & Learning Events

Learning is an essential part of any job or hobby. Consequentially, events based around learning new skills and acquiring new information can be found in every industry. Even the most remote ones.

1. Conferences

Conferences tend to be large events, spanning multiple days, that target a specific business topic. Conferences have one, or more, formal speakers, formal programmes and formal sub-topics.

They usually start with a single large session before breaking out into smaller sessions and end with another large formal presentation. Conferences often include a trade show and workshops.

The objective of a conference is for the attendees to gain information on a topic. The knowledge that is passed on can be practical or theoretical in nature, but it’s designed to help companies make progress with a specific pain point.

Example: Dublin Tech Summit

2. Conventions

Conventions tend to be large events, often lasting multiple days, centred on a particular topic. They are generally less formal & more light-hearted than conferences.

The topic of the convention can be anything; broad or narrow in nature and does not need to be business-related. In fact, most conventions are built around hobbies.

The objective of a convention is for individuals to discuss and engage around a single topic. For the attendees, it’s an opportunity gain information on the topic and/or to be entertained.

Example: Comic-Con

3. Seminars

Seminars are academic events, held to inform the attendees on a specific subject. Being academic, they are most often held in universities or academic institutions.

Most often, seminars have a smaller and more intimate audience than conferences and conventions. The duration of a seminar will vary but rarely lasts more than a few hours. 

The information being taught during a seminar does not need to be practical. In fact, compared to a conference, the topic is often narrower in nature.

In North America, seminars also refer to university courses. Those seminars are recurring events that focus each time on a subject related to the student’s field of study.

The objective of a seminar is for the attendees to gain new information on a topic.

Examples: Academic research presentations

4. Workshops

Workshops focus on teaching a key topic to a small number of attendees. Most workshops are practical in nature and require participants to get hands-on. They usually only last a day, but they can be longer.

Contrarily to other events, the information, knowledge and skills learned during a workshop is practical in nature. The attendee should be able to reapply the skills after leaving the workshop.

The objective is for the attendees to acquire new skills or new knowledge on a subject.  

Example: Social Media Workshops

Commercial Events

All events are commercial in nature. By hosting an event or having employees attend an event, companies hope to impact the bottom line of their business. However, some events have a much more commercial focus than others.

5. Trade Shows

A Trade show is an exhibition at which businesses can promote their products and services. These are formal events and the bigger ones often last multiple days and attract thousands of people.

Most Trade Shows have a specific theme and target a specific audience.  Companies who want to reach promote to this audience can apply for a stall.

To rent a stall, companies pay a fee for the opportunity to promote their product or service at a trade show. The fee is usually proportional to the size of the event and the number of expected guests.

The objective of a trade show is for attendees to discover new products and services that might solve one of their needs. The objective for the companies is to raise awareness, generate leads and establish potential partnerships.

Example: Wedding Fairs

6. Partner Marketing Events

Partner events refer to events hosted by two (or more) partners.

Hosting an event requires a lot of resources and brand awareness; resources smaller companies might not have.

Collaborating and co-hosting an event allows companies to overcome this hurdle. Uphill they can share knowledge and resources. Downhill they can share results (income, leads, …).

Event partners differ from event sponsors as they play an active role in planning and hosting the event. However, one is mutually exclusive from the other.

The objective will depend on the actual event. The goal of each partner can be different.   For example, the goal could be to strengthen the relationship a company has with its key suppliers.

Appreciation Events & Incentive trips

Showing appreciation is key for businesses who want to build strong relationships. This is often accomplished through appreciation & incentive events.

7. Customer Appreciation Events

Acquiring a new customer is almost always more expensive than retaining an existing one. In fact, cherishing customers is crucial for companies.

By showing appreciation and rewarding loyal customers, companies keep their key customers happy and establish a long-term relationship with them.

Customer appreciation events, as the name implies, are events designed to show appreciation to the companies’ key customers. These events are more common in the B2B (business-to-business) space.

These events are generally social in nature. However, the company can also use the opportunity to educate their customers about key service offerings or potential changes.

The objective of these events is to thank loyal customers, retain business and potentially impress new clients.

8. Partner Appreciation Events

These are events designed to show appreciation to the companies’ key partner and stakeholders. Similar to customers, it’s in the company’s interest to retain partners and to build long term relationships with them.

In this case, partners are invited as guests to the event. These events are generally social and formal in nature.

The objective of these events is to thank loyal partners and potentially acquire new ones.

9. Employee Appreciation Events

Appreciation events are designed to reward high performing team members. The reward can be given at the team level or at the employee level. In general, these events don’t include the entire company.

These events are generally social in nature and, depending on the company, they range from simple events to an extravagant one.

The objective is to retain high performing individuals and to motivate employees to perform well.

Example: Night out to reward a high performing team

10. Incentive trips

Incentive programmes (or incentive trips) are mini holidays designed to reward high performance. As with appreciation events, incentive trips usually only include a selection of employees.

The events themselves are most often a combination of formal and social activities.

The objective of these events is to provide motivation to help employees or partners be more successful, increase certain activity, reach a specific goal and/or retain key employees.

Examples: Paid holiday for the leading sales team

Social Events & Celebrations

Corporate social events are is an opportunity for everyone to relax and enjoy a good time while building relationships among colleagues.

11. Christmas parties

Christmas parties are annual celebrations organised by companies for their employees. They are extremely popular in certain countries like Ireland.

Most often, companies will rent out a venue for the occasion. All the employees are invited to join; On occasion, partners are also invited to attend.

Food & drinks are usually provided. Throughout the evening, different activities and/or entertainers are planned to entertainer the employees.

The objective of these parties is to entertain the employees after wrapping up their year. It’s a great time for employees to relax and build a rapport with other employees.

12. Family Events

These are events planned by a company for the employees’ entire family to enjoy.

The format of these events can vary wildly. They can be hosted on a day off or on a normal working day with activities on-off throughout the day. They are generally social in nature and not related to work.

The objective is the show support for the employee

Example: Office Halloween party

13. Social Events

Social events, or after-works, are events planned (or not) by the company for employees to enjoy themselves and to socialise. These are most often semi-formal events that are done towards the end of the week. They can be planned or simply be spontaneous.

If they are planned, the organisers will often include an activity for everyone to do. In addition, they also sponsor part of the food & drinks of the event and the employees pay for the rest.

The objective is for employees to build relationships and to enjoy themselves.

14. Club Events

Large companies often have clubs for their employees to join. For example sports teams, wellness committee, eco-groups and more. These are optional but are designed to help employees build stronger bonds.

Throughout the year, clubs might organise events, centred around the topic of their club, for their members or for the other employees to enjoy.

Example: A company hiking event with the sports club.

15. Team building

Team building events come in all shape and sizes. These events can have formal learning competent to them or be purely social in nature.

The objective of these events is to build a good report between team members.

Examples:

  • Team zip lining
  • Team hike
  • Team Escape room

Company Celebrations

These events are similar to social events as they are an opportunity to celebrate and relax. However, celebrations also an opportunity for companies to generate PR.

In fact, celebrating success can help companies attract new investors, employees, partners and/or customers.

16. Company Millstones

When celebrating a major milestone, companies often put on an event for their employees and/or their partners.

Objective: It an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishment as well as generate good PR for the company.

Examples:

  • Opening a new office location
  • Reaching a huge sales or revenue target
  • Reaching an employee count

17. Product Launch

Although product launches are company celebrations, because they have become so common, they tend to be boxed on their own.

In this case, in addition to celebrating the hard work which has been done, it’s an opportunity to broadcast to the world that the new product is available.

Example: Annual Apple Keynote

18. Fundraising Events

Companies can host fundraising events to raise money and awareness on a specific cause. These events can be done company wide or at team levels. These events tend to be social in nature; it’s an opportunity for employees to enjoy themselves.

The donations for the fundraiser come on behalf of the employees. However, companies often choose to match the donations or to make a donation of their own.

The format of these events varies widely. However, fundraising is usually accompanied by an activity or game that encourages people to donate. As an incentive to play, the winner of the game usually takes home a prize.

The objective is to raise money and awareness for a specific charity.

Examples: Company Bingo Night

Strategic & Planning Events

Strategic planning is mostly done at meetings which we won’t get into in this article. However, events can also be used for planning.

These events allow executives, managers and/or employees to free their timetable and to focus solely on planning. These events break people away from their everyday routine and help spark creative thinking.

19. Executive retreats

Executive retreats are an opportunity for company managers to escape the everyday routine by going on a retreat.

The objective of this retreat is to spark creativity and ingenuity. Most often these retreats combine formal business meetings with social and more casual activities.

Examples: The executives of the company attend a conference abroad.

20. Shareholder Events

Shareholder events are often annual events that bring together all the shareholders of a company. These events often combine formal and social elements.

Objective: The purpose of an annual shareholder meeting to inform shareholders about the performance of the company, allow the shareholders to vote on company issues and establish how the company is run.

In most countries, it is a legal requirement to have a shareholder meeting at least once a year. Usually, the board of directors will be elected during that meeting.

Example: Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Closing Thoughts

Hopefully, this article has given you a broad overview of all the different forms of corporate events.

At PartyWizz, we specialise in providing corporate entertainment. If you’re based in Ireland and you’re looking for a corporate entertainer, feel free to get in touch.