Corporate Events: Definition and 11 Types To Consider

Updated July 31, 2023

Image description

A man and woman with laptops celebrate with a high five. There is also a list with the title "Types of Corporate Events" with the following types listed:
- Celebrating achievements
- Launching new products
- Employee recognition
- Team building
- Education

Corporate events are an effective way for companies to engage with employees or customers. They can have various purposes, from announcing important changes to creating networking opportunities. If you have a role within an organization's management, marketing or human resources departments, learning about corporate events can help your career.

In this article, we discuss corporate events, list 11 of the most common types of corporate events and provide tips for planning your own.

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What are corporate events?

A corporate event is an event sponsored by a company and focuses on either its employees or clients. There are many reasons for organizing a corporate event, including:

  • To educate staff or members of the public regarding various concepts promoted by the organization

  • To motivate employees by rewarding them for their work

  • To celebrate company milestones along with clients, employees or both

  • To mark a significant organizational change within the company

  • To encourage collaboration and networking among different entities

Related: How To Become a Corporate Event Planner

11 types of corporate events

These are 11 popular types of corporate events:

1. Conferences

The primary purpose of a conference is to connect with target audiences and give them relevant information, usually to educate or motivate them. They're also useful occasions for promoting networking and collaboration between attendees. Conferences typically last at least a full day, occur at conference centers or hotels and feature a keynote speaker, as well as many other speaking sessions on different topics.

Related: 25 Types of Jobs in Events

2. Product launches

As their name suggests, launches are corporate events to announce a company's new product or service. Their role is usually to inform potential clients and the media regarding the new product or service. However, companies also aim to expand the level of awareness beyond the people attending the launch.

Related: 10 Types of Networking Events

3. Trade shows

The main purpose of a trade show is usually to connect companies with potential customers. Some companies may also choose to host or attend a trade show to solidify their image of a leading name within a particular industry. They're usually held in large indoor or outdoor spaces and various companies pay for space, advertising and potential speaking opportunities.

Related: Pursuing Event Management as a Career

4. Appreciation ceremonies

This kind of event has the purpose of showing appreciation for either the company's employees or its clients. They're usually informal with a wide range of potential activities. Some of the most popular venues are restaurants, theaters, sporting arenas, musical venues, popular events and holiday spots.

Related: How To Cancel an Event using Google Calendar (With Tips)

5. Team-building activities

Companies organize team-building activities to improve employee morale and collaboration. They allow employees to spend time in an informal environment and get to know the nonprofessional aspects of their personalities. Most team-building activities occur outdoors, usually in natural surroundings and organized by specialized companies.

Related: 60 Themes for Corporate Events To Support Your Teams

6. Board meetings

Board meetings are opportunities for members of an organization's board of directors to get together and review the company's activity and performance. Board members often use the conclusions drawn after board meetings to draw conclusions regarding the company's future strategies. They're typically held at specific time intervals, and their venue depends on the organization's size.

Related: Corporate Communications: What It Is, Why It Matters and 5 Main Functions

7. Shareholder meetings

Shareholder meetings are a way for a company to showcase its operational performance, strategies and future goals to its shareholders. Depending on the type of organization and number of shareholders, these events vary from small meetings to large-scale events. The main purpose is to maintain shareholders' faith in the company's future.

Related: Your Guide to Networking at Events

8. Company milestones

Some companies choose to host celebratory events for various milestones or anniversaries. Their size and scope vary depending on the company's nature, but they tend to be similar in structure to appreciation events. They range from small internal celebrations to large events that include customers, vendors and local community members.

Related: 16 Tips for Planning Successful Events

9. Congresses

Congresses are similar to conferences in structure but tend to focus on one specific topic. They're usually an occasion for specialists in a particular field to get together and discuss various relevant topics. Given the opportunity to learn new concepts and practices within a certain niche, companies often send their employees to congresses as a way of expanding their skills.

Related: 150 Helpful Conversation Starters for Networking Professionals

10. Award ceremonies

These events are either hosted by a particular company to reward its employees, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders or by an entire industry to celebrate its best performers within a specific period. Internal award ceremonies improve morale and generally make relationships with the company more enjoyable. Industry-wide award ceremonies, however, allow companies to promote their business and establish themselves as industry leaders.

Related: Event Coordinator Skills: Definition and Examples

11. Company or industry sports tournaments

Companies host various sports tournaments among their employees or across departments to get employees and their families to interact with one another. In corporate sports events, more companies within the same industry send some of their employees to represent them in a friendly competition. Depending on the exact sport, corporate sports tournaments can take place in public parks or specialized venues.

Related: 40 Questions To Ask at Networking Events

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Tips for hosting a corporate event

Consider following these steps when planning a corporate event:

  • Make sure it has a clear purpose. Before planning various aspects of the event, you need to know what goals it needs to achieve. Once they're clearly determined, you can begin to think of ways in which to host an event that would resonate with its target audience.

  • Calculate a realistic budget. You need to know exactly how much money you have at your disposal before determining the kind of event you're about to plan and its scope. When deciding how much money you need, it's usually a good idea to add 10% to your estimation for emergency expenses.

  • Set deadlines for project preparations. Planning an event implies various tasks that often need to be performed in a specific sequence, meaning that one delay can automatically cause others. Once you have your budget, list all necessary tasks and set clear deadlines.

  • Choose your audience. The right audience for your event depends on its focus and goals. Regardless of the occasion and the type of audience you expect to attend, it's important that you identify it before planning the actual event.

  • Determine the event's overall theme. Once you know your goals, the budget, and who the event needs to appeal to, you can start working on an overall theme and a format that would be attractive to guests. The exact details greatly depend on the other factors, but as a general guideline, interactive events tend to be more popular and engaging than static ones.

  • Select a location. The event's location may depend on your goals, budget and audience. For this reason, you should only select a venue once you know as many details as possible, improving your odds of choosing an appropriate one.

  • Plan the event's schedule. After selecting the venue, you should start planning how the event might unfold. Make sure to book all required professionals, including photographers, decorators and caterers, and give them detailed instructions on their roles during the event.

  • Advertise your event. Regardless of the event's size, you should ensure the people you want to attend are aware of it. There are plenty of ways to do this online, like emails, networking websites, forums and industry-specific directories.

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