Award Ceremonies|Blog

Top tips for organising an awards ceremony

Top tips for organising an award ceremony

As we go into awards season we’ve put together our top tips on organising award ceremonies with impact. 

Of course, an awards ceremony isn’t only about speeches and prizes. It needs to be entertaining and meaningful; a chance for celebration and reflection.  A successful award show is a hard thing to create and there’s a lot to think about so we hope our experience and insight will be helpful in giving a bit of structure to your planning.

It all starts with a good brief

It’s essential that time is invested at the beginning of the planning process to think about what you want to achieve so that the solution fits your brand, the company culture, the event objectives and the target audience.  Our Events Prescription is the basis of to producing a written brief that everyone can agree to, so we can ensure everything is thought of. Ideally we like to have face-to-face meetings too.

Oh and an agreed budget is pretty useful! Deciding and allocating your budget early on makes it easier to determine the  venue,, set building & styling, caterer & menu, the number of guests, entertainment and all the other details that involve spending money.

Key Criteria

We’ve all attended award shows in our time where the audience isn’t engaged and the event seems to drag on forever.  Remember the key criteria: exciting, relevant and memorable.  Styling and entertainment needs to be linked to key messages to be meaningful.

Awards ceremonies recognise excellence in an industry, promote the work of an association and facilitate networking among members. They can also be a vital source of revenue for an organisation so it is crucial to get them right.

How are you going to measure success?  Inviting the press to present an award is often a good way to ensure coverage of the event.  Involving a charitable cause and fundraising on the night can widen the ‘feel good’ factor and extend the appeal of the night.

Sweat the small stuff

Whilst focusing on the bigger picture (targets, budgets, number of guests) it’s important to think about the little things too.  Producing contingency plans help, but it’s our experience that thinking through the small details upfront helps eliminate any nasty surprises and reduces the need to respond to last minute changes.  Having said that you will always need to ensure that you’re working with a team that can think on its feet.  An award show is a live event and things can change!

We make sure that you will be aware of possible problems should an event need to be downscaled and it’s important to have a plan in place in case additional space is required.

Searching for a venue

Holding your event in the right venue is essential.  There are practical considerations (location, size, access, facilities) and also the suitability – does the venue match your brand and the type of event you want to hold.  With thousands of venues to choose from in London alone this can be a minefield.  It’s the role of a good event organiser to guide you through this.  At Evolve we have years of experience and relationships with the best venues and offer a venue finding service.

When looking for a venue remember that certain days of the week and months of the year are more popular than others, and organisers who want to cut costs are advised to be aware of this when negotiating with venues. It’s important to plan ahead but also consider a range of venues. We’ve produced many successful awards shows in the most unlikely venues – including an underground car park – by transforming them you can create a buzz and offer something new and different.

A safe pair of hands

Appoint a project manager to oversee the event and ensure that there are clear lines of responsibility and approvals.

There’s nothing like the feeling of creating a successful awards ceremony; great speakers who engage the audience, an upbeat ceremony and those receiving the award feeling really recognised. But for everything to run smoothly you need to put effort into planning the ceremony. There are many details, and they are all important. Depending on the size and what kind of event you have in mind, you might want to delegate tasks to a committee – this is often popular in with non-profit companies. Taking on the responsibility all yourself can become overwhelming.

Check, check and check again

At Evolve we provide a critical path document to work to in order to help manage the budget, timeline so you can work alongside us to provide the meticulous planning required to bring off an event of this type successfully.

As the event gets nearer we can make sure you’re on top of all that detail and provide a run through to iron out any glitches. The devil is in the detail so consider everything – it’s getting the small things right that matter such as considering the table plans so that rival companies are not seated next to each other.

Make friends with creativity and logistics and ask them to play together nicely

You want an event that creates impact and you’ve chosen a theme with a real wow factor.  It’s now time to consider all the practical requirements on delivering this – right equipment and stage setting; appropriate entertainment and music; good speaker; presentation backdrops, video streaming, filming; award prizes; catering.  Getting the balance right is key.

Organising an association’s awards ceremony requires creativity but you also need to remain on budget. Working within a budget is always a challenge, and providing quality without cutting corners requires inventiveness and experience so use a tried and trusted events agency and ask to see examples of other award shows they’ve produced.

Make some noise

It’s never too early to start building some excitement about the event.  Part of the excitement about a big awards night should be the anticipation. Think about tying in the invitations to the theme and sending a series of teasers.  Everyone wants to feel special and a bit like a V.I.P about to attend an amazing night, whether they’re nominated for an award or not. Social media has a key role to play here; set up your own hash-tag for the night and make sure guests know about it.

Keeping sponsors happy

Award shows are an important celebration but are often a source of revenue too. Keeping sponsors happy is vital, and checking logos are correct is a job that shouldn’t be left to the last minute – it’s amazing how many times we’ve had requests to change these just before the show is about to start.  Clean, simple sponsorship packages with early-bird discounts on offer are always popular.

Dedicated time

Building an award show is a time consuming business.  The earlier you start to prepare the better as you’ll have more time for planning, research and reviews.  At times it will feel like it’s taking over your life but a great night and lots of positive feedback will make it all feel worth it.

Being rewarded for doing well is one of the biggest incentives anyone can receive. You might not be on stage yourself receiving an award for excellence but the satisfaction from positive feedback and a great atmosphere at a successful awards show is incredibly rewarding and makes it worth all the hard work.

For more ideas, or for information about organising memorable award ceremonies don’t hesitate to contact the Evolve Events team. Having produced award shows in London, USA, China and Europe we possess the experience and local knowledge to assist you with venue finding, activities and logistics to create unforgettable experiences.

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