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Award Event Planning 101

Posted by Sarah Threlfall

Award event planning circa 2024 is no small feat. Meticulous planning is the lynchpin of success, for associations honouring leading industry lights, or corporate companies celebrating high achievers.

While event trends come and go, award events remain a permanent fixture for celebration and acknowledgement. It’s unsurprising, bearing in mind how award events can support broader business objectives.

In essence, these events are purpose-designed to recognise excellence. But additionally, they’re also powerful networking platforms for nurturing connections and building partnerships.

So, what does it take to create impactful awards events that tick the boxes of multiple different stakeholders with varying criteria? In this article, the Brightspace Events team identify some of the key factors to consider when award event planning is on your agenda.

8 Important Steps to Award Event Planning.

  1. Define your objectives: This is the fundamental starting point for any event and awards events are no different. What business objectives will this event support? Who are you going to recognise? What behaviours / results / values do you want to reward? How will you measure the success of the event?
  2. Event Format: Unfortunately, Awards Events are historically famously dull even the Oscars employ people just to fill empty seats to cover the fact that their audience cant sit through the whole night. A super slick, carefully considered event format and military precision stage management will keep the energy high and everyone engaged. Dont fall into the trap of repeating what youve always done exploring different award event formats will pay dividends.
  3. Venue Finding: Your venue sets the stage for your award event. So, it’s vital to select a venue that aligns with your brand and your event goals, while resonating with your target audience. Today’s choices can be overwhelming, from industrial urban spaces to old-school red-carpet glamour. But the first step to successful award event planning is finding the perfect backdrop.
  4. Sustainability, Carbon Impact and Waste Management: Sustainability has become a priority for many event planners. This means assessing the carbon impact of your award event, from venue choices to transportation to suppliers. For these purposes, you need to think carefully about things like decorations, marketing materials, and catering. And don’t forget about efficient disposal methods once the last guests have left and the lights go out. All these initiatives contribute to an event that aligns with your company’s commitment to a greener future, plus the ESG strategies of your multiple stakeholders.
  5. Catering: Food takes centre stage for award event planning, just like it does for any type of event. And there’s plenty to think about. Does your event have a theme to tie your menu in with? Will you be working with an in-house team at your venue? Or do you need to appoint an external catering company at a non-traditional location? Are you ready to cater for diverse dietary needs? In some industries, your award event will be jostling for attention in a very crowded market; food gives you a really exciting opportunity to make yours really stand out and get people talking. Never underestimate food. It’s a cornerstone that elevates your award event from better to best
  6. Audio Visual and Event Tech: State-of-the-art event tech is crucial for polished award event planning. In fact, you can get the party started long before the doors open, with an event app for pre-event networking and gamification. Then there’s the lighting, sound and other audiovisual elements. A grand entrance won’t be so grand, and the acceptance speeches won’t be so gracious, if every moment isn’t seamlessly illuminated and amplified. Plus of course the ability to use the tech to help push your hashtags and brand all over the socials if thats part of your key metrics.
  7. Branding and Sponsorship: From digital marketing to printed materials, signage, giveaways and award categories, award events are a compelling way to engage key clients, collaborators and suppliers. SquareMeal’s Ellie O’Donnell explained how award events, can also be a fantastic platform to boost the profile of your company, whether that’s to sponsors, press or future applicants. They also provide lots of branding opportunities and are a great way to promote the company to people in attendance.”
  8. Project timeline: Celebrations and awards ceremonies need even tighter schedules than normal; that are clearly agreed from the first project meeting. Work backwards from the event date to ensure that enough time is allocated for every step of the awards process. From defining categories, creating and promoting nomination processes, voting / judging panels and creating videos / trophies and other assets once the winners or nominees are known. Its a well known principle of time management in events that everything takes at least twice as long as you think so dont risk running out of time!

Ultimately, it’s the taking part that matters for your team members or entrants. But in terms of award event planning, there’s only one option, and that’s winning!

At Brightspace Events, our commitment to excellence and attention to detail ensures award events that exceed expectations. Get in touch when you’re ready to start your next award event planning. We can help you with full event management services or just the services you specifically need, such as free venue finding, entertainment sourcing or sustainability measurement to name just a few.