What type of entertainment you use for your corporate event can mean the difference between a ho-hum event and something spectacular that dazzles everyone and even attracts the media. How to select the appropriate entertainment requires a few simple steps.
1. Know your audience. The entertainment can be great, but if the audience doesn't connect with it, you've just wasted your money.
I recently worked with a group that wanted to target grandparent and wanted to bring in an internationally known big band orchestra. Big problem! Big bands are the music of great grandparents. Most of today's grandparents grew up in the 60s, so if you're looking for music to attract them, try British Invasion, Woodstock or California Surf concerts.
2. Do You Need a Major Celebrity? Bringing in the "hot" star of the day is a double-edged sword. The crowd really wants to see them, but they are extremely expensive and very demanding.
While acts like Sir Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and Elton John easily earn into seven figures for corporate performances, less prominent stars can charge well over $100,000. Then on top of that, are fees attached to their rider, which is a list of performance and backstage demands. They range from the type of stage, sound and lights for the shows to what needs to be in the dressing rooms. One of the more famous rider demands came from a rock band that wanted M&Ms, with the brown M&Ms removed.
So before bringing in a major celebrity consider if you have the experience and time to deal with them.
3. Oldies, but Goodies. Re-kindling memories can be the strongest means of connecting with your audience, which guarantees a successful event. They play songs people remember and tell stories about the music the audience almost always finds fascinating. I've worked a number of times with Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famer Terry Sylvester of the Hollies. In addition to playing all their hit songs, he talks about the music scene in the 60s. He has the audience in the palm of his hand when he talks about growing up in Liverpool, England with the other four Liverpudlians in the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, John, Paul, George & Ringo. After his show he's always got a loooong line of people wanting to meet and take pictures with him.
Maybe the most successful connection happened to an associate of mine, who oversaw a meeting of corporate CEOs. As part of the entertainment he arranged a meet-and-greet with three cast members of the old Gilligan's Island TV show. He had these multi-millionaire CEOs standing in long lines just to have their photo taken with Gilligan, The Professor and Mary Ann.
So whenever you're trying to decide on the appropriate entertainment for your event remember one thing ... it's all about creating memories.