Award ceremonies are unique forms of celebration of talents, success and achievements. They are becoming increasingly popular across all industries as it is a great way to acknowledge the people that matter as well as inspire humanity and deliver an unforgettable experience for attendees. They are employed by all sorts of sectors as a way to celebrate the success of an individual, a team, or an entire firm or company.
When planning this kind of event, it is important that it is upbeat, exciting and well attended. We have pulled together some of the things you need to consider when organizing an awards ceremony.
Write a brief
Once you have identified your key goals this will aid you in planning the event specifics, such as the number and nature of guests, and the event date and location, as well as the content and tone.
Set the Budget
It is important to think about the budget at the outset, too. Obviously, there’s no point planning champagne and oysters if your budget will only stretch to cava and crisps! The amount you have to spend will depend on the model you choose for your event. Will it be profit making with tickets being sold? Will the awards be sponsored to help cover costs or will everything come out of internal budget?
Picking a theme for your award ceremony helps make it memorable and will assist with the planning. You will need to interpret your client’s brief creatively without ever losing sight of the overall objectives.
It’s important to build a relationship with your client so that you can effectively communicate their messaging during the event. The theme has to work with the brand and any sponsors to protect their reputations. A mismatch between your client’s values and the awards ceremony could be fatal.
The production of the event is where you earn the engagement. If you can create a sense of theatre then you can make the award ceremony feel special for those involved. This doesn’t mean that you have to have a big budget but it does mean you have to be creative. Your plans for the production should cover all aspects including set design, lighting and entertainment.
It is important to know how you want the stage to look as this will be the primary focus for much of your event. This can be everything from the position of the lectern to what visuals to have on the screen, from which props to use to where to position brand and sponsor messaging.
Music and lighting when combined are often the best way of creating your desired atmosphere. Think very carefully about your choice of music and then get the technicians to work their magic.
Award ceremonies do not have to be based around lavish sit-down banquets. Having said that, grumbling stomachs are not conducive to having a relaxed and fun evening so be sure to provide some form of nourishment. You may want to consider a buffet with networking desserts as an alternative to a full meal.
It may fall within your remit to source keynote speakers for the awards ceremony – this can be anything from an MC to the presenter of a specific award. This is an important role and one that you should consider carefully.
Host / Speakers
It is important to use a host or MC for the award ceremonies that can carry the event. They will need to be comfortable speaking to large crowds whilst having the charisma and ability to connect on an individual basis. It usually works well if they are from within the organization or a respected industry figure.
As part of the awards presentation, they will need to present a clear and engaging narrative as to why the recipient has won the award. A few things to be aware of is the importance of pronouncing the award recipient’s names correctly and holding and presenting the award with body language that imparts the award-giving with the gravity it deserves.
Your client may wish to have the individual award categories judged by relevant adjudicators. It can work well for these judges to introduce the key considerations before making the presentation of the award.
Your client is likely to have an initial list of people they want to attend the awards event. There may be scope for you to get involved in expanding the invite list. If this is the case you should consider inviting industry heads and influencers, people from trade press or perhaps, for an internal business awards, members of family.
Scheduling & Timing
The scheduling and timing of an awards programme is crucial to its overall success and should be planned meticulously. Here are some common issues to consider:
You want the speeches to impart the significance of proceedings whilst remaining brief and to the point – there is nothing worse than someone rambling on when time is of a premium and the audiences’ attention even more so. The balance between brevity and gravity is one you may wish to advise on. The ceremony should have both a rhythm and momentum – keeping things upbeat and moving forward. No one likes the experience of clapping until their hands feel sore so try and work on effective transitions between awards.
The Walk On
The time it takes someone to leave their seat and make their way to the stage can result in awkward lulls and sore hands. Plan around this by getting the speaker to make the announcement and then deliver the reasons why they have won the award as they make their way to the stage. This also avoids any awkward moments for the recipient, standing there as praise is heaped upon them. Suitable music and visuals will also help avoid any awkward gaps in proceedings.
Ensure that the location of your awards ceremony makes sense and is easily accessible for the majority of guests. Once you have an area in mind and know your budget, you can start to shortlist venues to visit and then present to your clients.
Is it the right size? Does it have all the facilities you require? Does the venue work with your client’s brand and event theme? Match the awards ceremony venue to both the personality of the event and the organization hosting it, this kind of symbiosis goes some way to ensuring the success of your event.
Your client is likely to have sponsorship requirements to fulfil. Ensure you know exactly what is required so you can plan this into your awards event as soon as possible.
Documenting your Award Ceremony
Given that an awards ceremony is a celebratory event, it makes sense to capture those special moments on film. If you have budget, hire someone to film people receiving their awards as well as crowd shots to capture the atmosphere. They can then edit a highlights package that can be shared with sponsors, on social media and kept for posterity by award winners.
“Roaming cameras” can capture great footage throughout the event, including any interviews with sponsors/guests/winners, and create a fabulous post event highlights video for you to share on your website, or use as promotional tools to secure important sponsors for future years.
It is important to note that everyone likes to receive recognition for his or her hard work, especially when it pays off. An award ceremony is a win-win event where hard work is recognized, whether this is within an organization or an industry, and people are inspired to achieve themselves.