From Conferences to Charity Galas: 23 Creative Corporate Event Experiences
Discover 23 corporate event inspirations that redefine professionalism by incorporating creativity at every turn.
A company sponsors a corporate event when focusing on a specific outcome for either its employees or clients. Companies don’t just want employees to work, they want them to upskill and enjoy on the side too! The same goes for clients—these occasions can be a way of celebrating & cementing longstanding relationships.
Some objectives for such an event can be:
Educating staff/the public about a concept promoted by an organization
Motivating employees through recognition
Celebrating company milestones with clients or employees
It’s safe to state that well-planned corporate events are integral to the success of diverse businesses, with varying cultures, values, & styles.
Looking for help to plan your own celebratory types of events? This guide comes complete with sample menus & party entertainment!
What is a Corporate Event?
Company gatherings that allow different business teams to come together in more relaxed settings can be invaluable for many reasons. Your attendees can have fun, network, collaborate, & take a break from the usual in-office surroundings.
Don’t know which type of corporate event your business will benefit from the most? Here are the main ones you can start with:
Type #1- Cultivating Professional Development
These are events to upskill and develop employees. From in-depth training, such as on-the-job skills to ensuring your team stays current, these sessions are ultimately good for both the business and the people involved with it.
Two examples of such a corporate event:
1. Industry Expert Seminars
Invite renowned speakers for insightful talks and discussions.
Or you can hold an event and invite people from around the world to learn from your expertise. For example, the ConFig 2023 is a fount of knowledge for companies using Figma—and other design & prototyping tools, such as:
Web design agencies
Product design studios
In-house design teams at large enterprises
And while your company’s version of a similar event will have its specific objectives, most ConFig-like events can be a great way for it to:
Discuss the latest trends & tech in design & development
Show a sneak peek at what you’re working on next
Network with other professionals
2. Leadership Workshops
Enhance leadership skills through hands-on training and interactive sessions. For instance, Unspam hosts an unusual and exceptionally fun marketing conference.
Attending a SaaStock-like event will benefit SaaS companies that are trying to:
Learn about the latest marketing & sales trends/tools to acquire new customers
Network with other SaaS professionals
Raise capital by finding potential investors
Learn how to scale their operations
Enter new markets or meet potential partners
2. Speed Networking Sessions
Allow professionals to exchange ideas in quick, structured rounds—whether virtually or in-person where you invite industry experts, depending on your budget. Company events like Mystery Dinners can also double as speed networking sessions.
Such an occasion would be helpful for corporations that:
Look for ways to help employees connect with each other and with other professionals
Are undergoing transformation & want to open their employees to different perspectives to ease them through the change
Want to develop an innovative and engaged workplace, with employees sharing ideas about new products and services
Type #3- Recognition and Rewards
Recognition will always be among the most significant factors influencing job satisfaction levels for employees. Therefore, hosting a corporate event dedicated to this purpose, i.e., celebrating your employees & their accomplishments is crucial for continued engagement & retention.
You can conduct hour-long sessions each month or organize a full-fledged annual event with multiple activities, speeches, dinner, and more — hold an awards ceremony, have a company picnic, or plan a team appreciation day.
Most companies host such formal dinners to achieve one of these objectives:
Get to know other executives & a relatively informal setting is perfect for that. It helps to learn about opportunities, potential partners, or the latest changes in your industry.
Find out about new-to-you markets, products, services, and ways of growing customer base.
Get insights & hear about others’ experiences from within your industry, who are facing similar challenges.
Following are two examples of these types of business events:
1. Executive Banquets
Host upscale dinners for executives to foster strategic conversations.
2. Client Appreciation Soiree
Strengthen client relationships in an elegant dinner setting geared towards appreciating their continued patronage towards you, your products or services, or your cause.
You can also host a client appreciation soiree to generate goodwill among your clients. By encouraging them to talk to their friends about what they most like about you, you can boost brand awareness & create more business.
Tips on how to host a killer formal dinner:
Choose a prestigious venue. The venue can set the tone for the evening and can make a big impression on your guests.
Invite a select group of guests. It's important to invite a group of executives who are relevant to your business and who you would like to build relationships with.
Create a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. The goal is to create an environment where executives can feel comfortable networking and having conversations.
Serve delicious food and drinks. Upscale dinners are a great opportunity to showcase your company's culture and to provide your guests with a memorable experience.
Follow up with your guests after the corporate party. Thank them for attending and let them know that you enjoyed meeting them.
Type #6- Team Building Retreats
Events that allow teams to bond with each other – the chemistry can translate into improved work productivity. Some examples are:
Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, organizes Zapponian events, where employees participate in team-building activities, workshops, and explore their creative side. The company encourages innovation and camaraderie among employees through these events.
Google’s annual retreat, is packed with outdoor activities for its employees to enjoy. Besides those, they also attend workshops and hear from guest speakers. Google uses a natural setting to provide a day of fun, learning, and team-building.
Airbnb also has a Hometown Hangout at a different city every year. It gathers their employees from around the world so they can experience that place’s culture, take part in team-building exercises, & enjoy various Airbnb listings.
You can achieve your objective in one of the following two ways:
Strategic Planning Retreat
Forge cohesive strategies and goals in a serene off-site location, if you’re a company:
Going through a transformation. Plan how you intend to navigate the changing landscape & achieve your goals together.
Seeking to expand into a new-to-you market or have new products/services to launch.
Looking to identify areas of lagging performance & how to change that
Team Bonding Getaway
Combine team-building activities with relaxation to boost camaraderie for this corporate event through the following activities:
Escape rooms & scavenger hunts—activities designed to help teams gel together & develop trust in each others’ abilities.
Dinners & outings to local attractions—ideas to bring employees together where they can have fun & get to know each other better.
Yoga & spa treatments—opportunities for employees to relax, de-stress, & work on their wellness as a group.
Find more interesting ideas for team bonding here.
Type #7- Innovative Showcases
Considering holding events for business that show the world what you’ve made? Bring the team behind products into the limelight to give them their due fame? Engage with your industry but on a global scale!
Do it with an innovative showcase like SpaceX does annually with its "Hyperloop Pod Competition,” where students & engineers from everywhere arrive to construct & test their high-speed transportation pods.
Introduce new products with a sophisticated and memorable launch event. You can also set up such an event when looking for new customers or partners. Finally, a product launch gala is also the perfect way to claim your throne as a leader in your industry.
Corporate events like these are usually roll out with the following activities:
Since this is when you’ll be introducing a new product or service, do it through a keynote address that highlights its best features and the pain points of your target audience it solves.
Prove your claims with a hands-on demo, but also be ready to answer guests’ questions.
Ensure your guests get more out of this event. Throw in a cocktail reception or a breakout session to ensure your attendees will get plenty of time for networking.
Address diversity and inclusion in a thoughtful, educational symposium. It’s a great idea for corporations that want to:
Educate their employees about the issue.
Provide resources for more inclusive workplaces.
Make an ongoing transformation equitable.
Usher in more inclusivity to boost employee engagement and retention.
Don’t forget the following for a successful symposium:
Topic relevancy—to your organization & employees
Goal making—align them with your organizational goals
Expertise—in-field speakers & experts
Employee participation—genuine experiences are the most important!
Post-event follow ups & feedback
Cultural Exchange Day
Celebrate differences through these cross-cultural sharing corporate events. These are especially useful for workplaces with highly diverse workforces or the need to boost in-company employee engagement.
If you’re considering hosting a Cultural Exchange Day, try including these as a part of the festivities:
Tasting food ****from different cultures—whether via catering or employee potluck contributions
Music, dance, & storytelling sessions to provide a peek into cultural heritage
Traditional art, artifacts, & clothing displays via exhibits
Trivia contests, cultural crafting sessions, & language lessons
Type #9- Formal Charity Galas
Stand up for a good cause!
Companies that desire to become a part of the local community or create one of their own benefit the most from events like these. There are other ways of achieving this objective besides fundraisers & seminars.
Holding resident events, such as wellness workshops & CPR training, can help the locals see your organization as part of the neighborhood.
The two main types of charity-based corporate events are:
Host events like these to raise funds for a meaningful cause:
Silent auctions—donors bid on unique items/experiences
Raffles—donors win prizes
Gala dinners—more formal in nature
Walkathons—involve others in a healthy activity while also raising money
Car washes—fun & gets you involved in your community
Corporate Social Responsibility Summit
Discuss and strategize CSR initiatives with industry leaders. Raise the levels of involvement & engagement by following these ideas:
Focusing on team building and friendly competition
Tracking and sharing the impact of your company's efforts via actual data
Involving your consumers and clients
Picking causes relevant to your employees and customers
Committing to the cause over multiple years
Type #10- Educational Workshops
Upskill employees for their own good, like these well-known companies do:
LinkedIn’s tradition, InDay, encourages its employees to take a day off from work. Instead, they’re to spend it exploring their passions or working on personal projects. LinkedIn considers its employees enrich the workplace with their unique skills and interests.
IDEO is a design and innovation consultancy that regularly organizes Hackathons. These events consist of real-world challenges that its employees must solve in innovative ways. Through them, the company promotes both out-of-the-box thinking & brings together people from diverse backgrounds.
It may not be the Burning Man of the corporate world, but Salesforce's Dreamforce Conference is unique its own way. It merges business-focused sessions with immersive and interactive activities, such as entertainment, music, and networking.
Help showcase your employees’ artistic skills & expression in either of these two ways:
Corporate Art Exhibition
Showcase employee artwork in an elegant gallery setting. It’s usual for a corporate art exhibition program to have:
An opening reception full of introductions between guests & the artists, as well as good food & drinks.
In-depth sessions about the artists, their inspirations, & their works.
Hands-on art workshops where the guests can participate.
In-depth sessions about art & culture beyond the artists on display
Go Beyond the Physical Art
Do you know what’s the best thing about shows like the X-Factor?
They draw huge audiences because these shows have something for everybody. They boast a wide variety of contestant, including singers, conjurors, jugglers, & dancers. Those are the very lines you’ll need to think along to pull off this next event type.
Find out hidden talents in your team by hosting different competitions. You can also tie up employees into teams of two or more to encourage the team working spirit.
Regardless of which option you go with, make sure you don’t forget to do these to ensure success:
Open the exhibition to everybody, including your employees, customers, partners, and the public.
Prepare educational material about the artwork on display & the people behind it.
Make visitors feel welcome & the performers/artists feel appreciated.
Post-event follow up to determine what attendees liked, disliked, & they think requires improvement.
Type #12- Fun Team Building
From virtual karaoke to gift-wrapping relay races, there are countless ways to help you bring your existing team members closer, put together new teams, & prove to your employees they belong. You’re probably already familiar with our suggestions—go here if not!
Just look at how much fun Geoff & his team had at the Company Scavenger Hunt:
Here’s what Geoff had to say about DropEvent:
"…it is, uh, it's rock solid. It works every time. I don't have any issues, errors. It doesn't drop on me. So it's been a, it's been a great, great experience."
So, to conclude, what is corporate event? It’s an opportunity to positively impact the company and its workforce.
Whether you set one up to train your employees, bring them together, or entrench yourself in the local community, it matters to the success of your company.
That said, corporate events also provide immense opportunities to capture your company’s culture from an employees’ POV. It is why we’d recommend using a platform like DropEvent to collect group photos employees take on these occasions & sharing them! It simplifies collecting high-quality group photos and does it in a matter of minutes. You can then use those images on social media, in-office reminiscing, & much more.
Planning an upcoming corporate event? Use DropEvent to gather photos from attendees, and publish them to let the world see your event from an employees’ perspective.
1. How to plan a corporate event?
To plan a corporate event:
Define your goals
Set a budget and date
Choose a venue and develop a program
Send out invitations and begin event promotion
Follow up with attendees and sponsors post-event
2. What is a corporate event?
A corporate event is any gathering organized by a company for a specific purpose, such as a product launch, a team-building exercise, or a holiday party. They can be large or small, formal or informal & hosted by companies in all stages of growth.
3. What is a professional event?
A professional event is a gathering of people who work in the same field or industry. You can host one for networking (in-company & outside), learning (your staff or the public), or development (your staff or the organization).
4. How to get corporate sponsors for an event?
Get corporate sponsors for an event by:
Identifying potentials aligned with your event
Putting together a compelling sponsorship proposal
Emphasizing on benefits and alignment with sponsor’s marketing goals
Personalizing pitches to each
Persistent follow ups
Clear negotiation of terms & drawing up of a formal agreement
Still hunting down those photos?
DropEvent makes photo-sharing easy, even for a group of strangers. Upload, share, and show moments from your events with one link. No accounts, no apps, no limits.