Corporate events run the gamut from simple marketing webinars to sponsored conferences and road shows to huge, complex annual events like sales kickoff meetings and global customer conferences.
But regardless of each event's size, frequency, or venue, all corporate events share four common requirements:
- A web-based registration form;
- A check-in process, whether online or on site;
- A credential of some type, which enables the attendee to enter and participate in the event; and
- Technology to manage all of these components.
An event credential may be as simple as a numeric code or email link to join a webinar. For in-person events, the most common credential types are badges and wristbands.
Badge or Wristband?
The first consideration when selecting a credential type is form factor: wristband or badge? Badges are more "business-like" and are commonly used for indoor events like road shows. Wristbands are more informal, and more typically used at consumer events and venues where attendees will be active.
Badges vary in size and may be paper or plastic. You can have a paper badge in any size, emblazoned simply with the attendee's name or name and QR code. You can print them yourself, on any weight of paper stock. But with a paper badge you'll also need a plastic holder, attached to a lanyard or backing pin.
Plastic badges provide a more professional look and feel, but size alternatives are limited. These can be made with or without RFID chips, QR codes, and a photo of the attendee. The most common size options for plastic badges are:
- CR80 (credit card) size: 86 mm x 54 mm (3.375” X 2.125”)
- XL Size: 124mm x 88mm (4.88” x 3.46”).
- XXL Size: 140mm x 88mm (5.51” x 3.46”).
In addition to their more deluxe look and feel, plastic badges are more durable than paper. They're waterproof. They don't require any sort of plastic case or holder. People are more likely to keep them, which can increase your brand impressions.
With a larger badge size, you can print larger text making the attendee's name easier to read. If you're printing a photo of the attendee on the badge, it's easier to recognize at larger size, which enhances security. A larger badge provides more real estate to communicate more information, like printing a schedule or a venue map on the back of the badge. It means more space for sponsorships or marketing collateral. Larger badges are less likely to be lost by event guests.
With wristbands, there are basic paper (Tyvek®) wristbands or more elegant cloth wristbands. The best practice for daytime automotive ride & drives or simple sponsorship events, purchase durable, glossy paper wristbands printed with QR codes and your branding. A glossy finish looks more upscale than cheaper water park or go-kart track wristbands, and makes your logo pop.
For more complex events lasting several hours or even several days, a cloth wristband with an embedded RFID chip may be a better choice. Similar to theme park wristbands, these are longer lasting than paper, provide a more exclusive image with more room for branding, and are faster and easier to read. The most common design is a cloth wristband with a small, credit-card thickness plastic insert in it, the same width as the cloth band, which provides the look and feel of a slim, sleek wristwatch.
When using either paper or cloth wristbands, the objective is to make it difficult for an attendee to remove it and transfer it to another individual—particularly if there's a security component involved. A wristband is the most secure way to administer a ride & drive because it's challenging to transfer without causing visible damage.
So if, for example, an attendee had consumed alcohol or hadn't signed a waiver, and therefore was ineligible to participate in the ride & drive, it would be tough to circumvent that using someone else's wristband, particularly with a high-quality paper or cloth wristband secured using one-way plastic sliders.
The choice of form factor for the credential also reflects brand image. Paper badges, with or without QR codes, are the most basic option. A plastic badge with a QR code is one step up, and a plastic badge with an embedded RFID chip presents the most prestigious image. With wristbands, a durable, high-gloss, Tyvek-type material with a QR code generally works well for daytime ride & drive or sponsorship events. A cloth wristband presents a more exclusive brand image, and is better suited for longer, more complex events.
In conjunction with choosing the ideal credential format for you event, you'll also need to select the best technology platform. Your event management software tool will be used to design or integrate the online registration form as well as to assign and track use of the credential.
For the simplest events, webcasting software like WebEx, GoToWebinar, or Join.me can provide the necessary functionality for webinars. For in-person events, consider a basic ticketing system like Eventbrite or Eventzilla.
Large companies managing either complex annual events or a rapid cadence of smaller regional gathering (such as sponsorship or experiential events) will generally rely on enterprise-level event management platforms like Cvent (recently merged with Lanyon) or us here at G2Planet.
The Final Decision
Several considerations will factor into your final selection of both the credential type and the supporting technology. In addition to the obvious elements like event type and size, you'll need to ask questions like: what brand image do we want to project? What do we want the attendee experience to be? How complex are our data collection needs?
By incorporating these answers into your decision process as well as considering both the costs and benefits of each option, you'll end up choosing the right alternative to create a memorable experience for your guests while maximizing the value to your company.
If you'd like to know more about how to find technologies that exist with your current marketing stack, download our free, in-depth whitepaper by clicking below: