10 Event Production Ideas to Make a Big Impact on a Tight Budget
PRODUCING A FIRST CLASS EVENT ON A LIMITED BUDGET CAN BE QUITE CHALLENGING. BUT OVER THE YEARS, WE'VE LEARNED MANY CREATIVE WAYS TO ACHIEVE AN IMPRESSIVE EVENT AND DELIVER BIG "WOW FACTOR" FOR OUR CLIENTS, EVEN WHEN BUDGETS ARE TIGHT.
10 ways to get big impact on a tight budget:
1. USE TENSION FABRICS & LIGHTING CYCS (lights that throw a panel or sheet of light) TO CREATE VISUAL IMPACT.
It’s always amazing to enter an event space and see dramatic, creative decor and staging—and it turns out, you don’t have to break the bank to create that kind of grandeur. There are hundreds of ways to create visual impact with lighting tricks, fabrics, paper, projections and other special methods.
Here the illusion of large sculptural pieces was created with projection images on simple hanging panels of fabric. Contrasting columns of light give a dramatic illusion of architecture and structure without expensive installations.
2. FAKE A VIDEO BLEND WITH MULTIPLE SMALLER SCREENS INSTEAD OF ONE LARGE SCREEN.
What is more dynamic than video? Alas, what is more expensive than a gigantic Jumbo-tron sized screen added to your budget?
If you have compelling video content to share with your audience, you don’t have to fork over your entire budget to achieve the desired effect. Instead, you can utilize several smaller screens that allow the audience to see the stage action from several viewpoints.
Several screens could play the same video (creating a large single image) or several smaller and distinct images for variation and to maximize the impact of your video content.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EXISTING ROOM AESTHETICS (like columns, interesting flooring, murals, (or even dinosaur bones!)
You want to “wow” your guests with maximum creativity, interest and the unique character of your event and that can be expensive. See if you can find a place that gives you more bang for your buck. Finding a venue that contains inspiring elements already can save a great deal of money, even if the venue rental itself might be slightly more expensive.
Creative lighting or creative use of existing architectural, artistic, or other on-site elements can create more drama and interest than you might expect.
4. OPT FOR ONE COOL PROP (i.e. a man-size version of your company logo) FOR THE ON-STAGE FOCAL POINT.
A big screen is a huge expense and isn’t always necessary to create the big "wow." Sometimes, 3-D elements are more interesting, creative (and affordable).
In the photo above, simple lettering conveys the theme and tagline of the event and creates a compelling visual component to this stage. It also makes the purpose of the event clearly and immediately apparent. Large scale installations of any kind make strong statements.
5. RENT FLATS (aka pre-made blank canvases stretched over canvas) AND USE PAINT, LIGHTING OR CUSTOM GEL PROJECTIONS (GOBOS) ON ANY AVAILABLE FLAT SURFACE.
Flats are a wonderful, creative (and affordable) option for creating visual interest and drama. With a bit of creative lighting, paint or custom gels (gobos), we can simulate the look and feel of a high-end installation and achieve a big "wow" without breaking the bank.
6. DELIVER AN AMAZING REGISTRATION EXPERIENCE THAT WOWS YOUR ATTENDEES FROM THE MOMENT THEY ARRIVE.
The first thing event attendees do when they arrive at your venue is check-in/register. Why not use this critical touch point to make a stellar first impression? Staffing the registration area with friendly, helpful people, creating a pleasant ambience with lighting and music, offering inexpensive conveniences like comfortable spots to sit down, bottles of water and good signage can go a long way in creating a big "wow" at minimal expense.
7. TAKE THE TIME TO TRAIN (and dress) YOUR EVENT STAFF SO THAT EVERY INTERACTION IMPRESSES ATTENDEES.
Here's a fabulous opportunity to create a big "wow" at a minimal cost: train and dress your staff to be friendly brand ambassadors that help your guests/attendees have the best possible experience.
Simple things like smiling, offering to help, escorting guests to their seats/desired destination, or even high-fiving folks as they enter the room can go a long way to creating a favorable impression—and the only "cost" is the time it takes to train your staff.
Branded t-shirts, vests, hats, and ties are simple, relatively inexpensive ways to identify on-site staff and enhance the overall visual effect at your event.
8. FIND LOCAL ENTERTAINERS TO PERFORM AND/OR HOST COCKTAIL PARTIES.
Who doesn't love a little live entertainment to break up the more "formal" aspects of an event?
Consider tapping into the local entertainment "scene" by inviting emerging artists and performers to provide music, laughter or other forms of entertainment at a fraction of the normal cost. Some performers may be willing to "host" a cocktail party or informal gathering in exchange for the promotional consideration. And your attendees—no doubt they'll appreciate the fun!
9. PARTNER WITH A FEW PRESTIGIOUS BRAND NAME SPONSORS.
Top-notch brand sponsors lend an air of credibility and class to an event. As an added bonus, many prestigious brands can help offset the costs of services/conveniences that add to the "wow" factor your attendees can experience—for example, providing wifi, food and beverage, entertainment, technology, etc.
Be thoughtful and strategic about selecting (and perhaps hand-picking) the best, most strategic brand sponsors to help up the "wow" and minimize the spend.
10. OFFER WHITE GLOVE SERVICE TO A SELECT GROUP OF VIP GUESTS.
You always want to give everyone the most amazing experience at your events. On a limited budget, this isn't always possible. Take extra special care of your premium ticket holders by providing unique amenities to this select few. Knock their socks off with a relaxing VIP lounge complete with special drinks and food, exceptional personal concierge service, or a VIP-only experience like a yacht trip, special tour or sophisticated party. Exclusive treatment results in unforgettable moments, certain to make your brand and your event as memorable as possible.