Event planners and conference organizers have their work cut out for them. In today’s world, the bar is constantly being raised in terms of the overall live event experience. This is not just a result of technology and innovation but also the fact that creative boundaries are being pushed farther than ever.

Everyday consumers are getting daily visibility into these amazing visual & sensor stimulating experiences and these are the same people that are attending corporate events. They are watching the Opening Olympic Ceremonies, attending concert spectacles at stadiums and getting quite used to seeing high levels of production in virtually anything they purchase a ticket for. By having exposure into these experiential events outside of the corporate world, our audiences are expecting these immersive experiences to translate into their day jobs.

So how can a corporate meeting planner keep up with the expectations of your everyday consumer, while meeting the educational goals and budget guidelines of a traditional meeting or seminar?

This is where your audiovisual and production partner can help. Show organizers can often feel deflated after experiencing another great event outside of their own. Perhaps they attended a Taylor Swift concert during her recent tour or were able to visit SXSW in Austin – they are inspired and in awe of those events but often feel they cannot translate any concepts to their own organization because they do not have a comparable budget.

News flash! While they may not have a comparable budget, there are certainly concepts they can take from these wow experiences and translate to their own event strategy. The key is to start thinking differently, pushing our own creative boundaries and strategizing production in a scalable way. Your production partner should be your consultant and teammate in this process and it starts by aligning your overall event theme with some tangible solutions that can accomplish your vision.

Here are a few basic suggestions that might help in designing an immersive and aesthetically pleasing event without breaking the bank:

Go big or go home doesn’t always make sense for video screens. Large wide screens can offer a tremendous visual experience, but also affect the cost of other production items (video switchers, content creation, projector counts, etc.). If you don’t have the content or budget that warrants this setup, try changing your traditional two or three screen setup by flipping the outboard screens to a vertical format which will give the room dimension and depth. This is best for IMAG (image magnification purposes) and branded content display.

Truss is something that is readily available and does not cost an arm and a leg. It can be used in a creative way to offer room dimension as well as present an industrial or raw space look. This may be an alternative to expensive screen surrounds or backstage sets that may give your event the pop it needs.

Battery powered LED uplights do not require electrical power and can be set up virtually anywhere with a flip of a switch. They are inexpensive and a great way to spruce up the meeting space without breaking the bank.

Think outside of the box with lighting and don’t limit yourself to just thinking about stage washes and LED uplights. Imagine the use of industrial lighting you see in art galleries or restaurants, or even household lighting such as lamps. You can create an intimate feel for certain sessions without a huge investment by having your AV partner rent or purchase these items.

Evaluate if your audio system can be just as effective ground supported rather than the expense of flying (rigging) the system. You would be surprised at how much of a punch ground supported systems can pack.

Think about using grey or white drape versus black. The difference in cost, if any, would be nominal. Depending on your show branding colors, LED uplights would splash well onto these lighter colors offering an enhanced look to the space.

An easy way to elevate your look and come across more polished will be to add rental stage furniture versus using the in-house furniture. Modern white chairs add a professional look to your panel and pop on screen. Also, investigate branded (or sponsored) lectern wraps to cover up the in-house podiums or go with an in-expensive acrylic option.

Work with your AV company on a stage set/backdrop that can be setup and broken down easily from show to show and can offer interchangeable branding options. Avoid re-investing in a new stage set every time and look into having this sponsored to cover the cost.

There are countless other ways to trim production costs or reinvest those savings in other areas to enhance the look & feel and overall attendee experience. Leverage your AV & production partner to help guide you in those efforts and re-design your meeting.

And I challenge you to push your creative boundaries by thinking of new ways to offer experience driven solutions that are both memorable and impactful to your organization and its attendees. After all, “Design is thinking made visual”– Saul Bass

About the author:  Adam Butman is the Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at Meeting Tomorrow. He enjoys traveling with his wife Aleks, running with his dog Gunner, and being close to water.

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