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Reasons to Decorate Your Business for the Holidays

Jewelry photographer Chicago

The holiday season is one of the busiest times for the retail industry. In fact, most businesses make 20-40% of their annual income during the holidays. People are already in shopping mode and are looking to buy gifts for their loved ones. But with the increasing popularity of online shopping, brick and mortar stores need to find creative ways to get people into their stores.

If you haven’t already put up some holiday decorations, now is the best time to do so. There are several reasons why you should decorate your business for the holidays. Here are some of them.

Make Your Business Stand Out

A lot of businesses are vying for people’s attention, especially during the holidays. Many of them offer discounts and coupons. With competition among retailers tougher than ever, it can be difficult to stand out.

Now, imagine yourself walking down a street lined with stores. In front of you are two stores that sell unique, trendy pieces. One of them plays holiday music and is adorned with garland, lights, and wreaths. The other is not decorated at all. Which store do you walk into? Probably the one with holiday decor. Take time to add some holiday-themed decor to your store front. This will help your business stand out from the competition.

Attract potential customers

Some businesses think that holiday decorations are an unnecessary expense, but they’re not. In fact, it’s actually an investment that may pay off later on. When done right, it can attract more shoppers to your store. Most people are naturally drawn to bright, cheerful holiday decor. And since most of them are looking to buy something, this would be a great opportunity for your business.

Dig out the ornaments and spruce up your storefront this holiday season. Create a warm and festive space that welcomes everyone who walks through the door.

Get your customers in the holiday shopping mood

The day after Thanksgiving marks the start of holiday shopping. Now that you have already captured the attention of your target audience, you want to make sure that they spend a little more time in your store and do some shopping. A spectacular Christmas display will help get your customers in the holiday shopping mood.

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Naughty or Nice

Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus

The oft-quoted “Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life” may seem elusive to some, but I must confess that I am one of the lucky ones to whom this rings true. I love photography, and the fact that I get to do it for a living is immensely gratifying. One of the things I love about photograph is the people, places, and events it introduces me to.

On Saturday, Dec. 9th, I had the pleasure of photographing “Naughty or Nice,” the holiday concert of the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, Illinois. G. Thomas Ward Photography has had a long standing relationship with CGMC, photographing many of their shows, along with images for posters and promotional material. While I photograph many corporate and non-profit events, I always look forward to the creativity, musicality, and flashy entertainment of CGMC. They are, after all, known as Chicago’s most colorful chorus, and for good reason!

One of the things I love about photographing CGMC is the challenge that it provides. Capturing the atmosphere, the excitement, and the playfulness of the choir is essential to bringing the concerts to life through photos. With so much movement and variable lighting, it takes a trained eye and a quick shutter finger to know when the moment is “just right” for that perfect photo. Luckily for me, CGMC is masterful at what they do, so being able to capture them in their element is a true joy for me.

Whether you’re looking for corporate headshots, event photographs, or a way to capture your next big production, make sure you find someone who can bring out the best in your team, company, or event. You’ll know if they’re the right fit for you if they’re curious, asking questions, and providing constructive guidance. Finding the right photographer is similar to finding the right employee: sometimes, you just know, and that partnership is a wonderful thing.

4 Things Millennials Expect From Conferences

Nothing compares to a great conference. Today, millions millennial workers are attending professional conferences, networking receptions, and business meetings. In fact, about 89% of adults aged 18 to 34 said that they have attended at least one event in the past year.

If you want this younger generation to interact with your brand or attend your event, you want to make sure that your conference is millennial-friendly.

Here are 4 things millennials expect from conferences.

Social Media Integration

Today, most people spend a lot of time on their smartphones. In fact, many of them check their phones right when they wake up and before they get out of bed.

Social media provides a great way to reach and interact with your audience. If you want to get the word out about your event, then you should consider incorporating social media into your marketing campaign. Also, consider creating your own unique hashtag and use it when posting content about your event. Given that millennials are the most populous part of the social media audience, you want to share as much information with your online community as you can to boost engagement.

It is also a good idea to post updates during the event itself and give offsite attendees a glimpse into what’s happening during the event. Millennials want to share their experiences with their online friends, too.

Networking opportunities

Conferences are usually where people within the same or similar industries gather to network. Most people attend conferences to meet new people.

Millennials want to expand their network and are looking for job opportunities or new connections. Many of them are expecting to meet people who can help them build their career. Event organizers should take this into account and create activities that would encourage attendees to go around and interact with each other. Plus, ice breakers provide a quick break from the monotony of the daily schedule.

Active participation

Millennials have a shorter attention span than baby boomers. For them, sitting all day, listening to lecture after lecture is less than ideal. Instead, this generation wants to take part of the conversation.

Instead of focusing on lectures and presentation, encourage your speaker to leave enough room for Q&A session or a panel discussion with audience questions.

Distinct Experience

Millennials are hungry to gain knowledge and learn from industry leaders. But that isn’t the only reason why they attend conferences. Many of them crave genuine, unique experiences.

Millennials value experiences over material things. Try to integrate tech trends and new innovations into your event. Offer new and exciting opportunities to attendees that other conferences don’t offer.

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Mistakes to Avoid When Planning a Corporate Event

Dedon Event Chicago 2017

Planning a corporate event is definitely not easy. There are a lot of things to do and a lot of people to talk to. And then there is the all-important budget.

If this is your first time organizing an event, chances are you may make a mistake or two along the way. These mistakes, no matter how small, may end up costing you a lot of money. This isn’t good considering how expensive it is to plan an event. To prevent this from happening, we have put together a list of the most common mistakes event managers commit while organizing a corporate event. Keep these things in mind to ensure that your event will be a success.

Here are 4 critical mistakes to avoid when planning a corporate event in Chicago.

Waiting Until the last minute

Planning a corporate event takes time. So make sure that you start working as soon as you know the date of the event.

Start by looking for venues. Hotels and other venues get booked fast, so it is important to start looking as early as possible. Failing to start the event process early will limit your venue choices and may even cause a host of other problems down the line.

Not finalizing the number of attendees

Before booking a venue, you need to have a good idea how many attendees you are expecting for the event. A small function room will be too cramped for 200 guests. A larger venue may look too big and empty if you only have 100 attendees.

Before committing to a venue, ask the advice of the staff to find out the capacity of the venue. Also, find a happy medium between the numbers you expect. A bigger space is a lot better than a small space, just don’t go overboard.

Doing everything on your own

Planning a corporate event can be exhausting and stress-inducing. It requires months of planning. The sooner you realize that you can’t do everything on your own, the better off both you and your event will be.

Seek help from your colleagues and try to delegate some tasks. This way, you can do things more efficiently and in a timely manner. Having enough staff on hand at the event itself is also of great importance. There should be enough staff to accommodate all the attendees and ensure that the registration process goes on smoothly.

Lack of Plan B

No matter how well organized or planned an event is, things can go awry on the Big Day. As such, it is important to have a Plan B in place just in case things go haywire.

We cannot predict the future, but it is a good idea to plan for the worst. Before the event, try to determine which areas where your event’s success could be jeopardized and have a contingency plan in place.

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How to Host a Successful Corporate Event on a Budget

Host a Corporate Event in Chicago

Corporate events provide several benefits to your organization. Hosting symposiums, conferences, business meetings or company dinners reinforces your image as an industry leader and creates networking opportunities. It helps foster and strengthen relationships with customers, clients, and employees. It also builds loyalty and can help you close sales.

Corporate events can be stressful and time consuming. They require careful planning and budgeting. The planning process becomes even more challenging when you’re working on a limited budget. Your brainstorming ideas can be put on hold once you realize that you may not have enough money for your next event.

Here are some great tips for corporate event planners who are looking to use their budget wisely.

Search for guest speakers early

Advance planning is beneficial to land the best speaker for your event. The earlier you contact the person, the better. Other speakers bump up their rates as their calendar fills up. To avoid this, we suggest that you contact a professional speaker at least 6 months prior to the event.

It is also a good idea to book a speaker who already has an appearance booked in your area. This secrect can help reduce your expenses since you will no longer need to spring for transportation and lodging.

Think through food arrangements

Food and snacks is one area where you can really make the most of your budget. Instead of a sit down meal, consider offering buffet. Buffets eliminate the need for a large wait staff, and they take up less time in the schedule, too.

Another added bonus is that buffets provide attendees an opportunity to interact with one another in a more comfortable mealtime environment.

Find the right venue

Finding a venue is one of the most challenging parts of planning an event. There are a lot of things to consider when looking for one. Of course, you need to consider your budget, the attendees, and the accessibility of the venue.

You want to make sure that the venue fits your budget. Also, find one that will be able to accommodate all the attendees. There is no point in booking a big venue if you are only catering to a small group.

Use sponsors

Some of the savvier companies have gotten really creative when they’re putting on events. One way to make the most out of your budget is to seek sponsorships for your event.

Find a budding company that is looking to get their name out in the public. Often, they don’t charge much for their services. Others would even offer their services for free. Take advantage of that.

About

My years of experience include shooting for a wide variety of clients both corporate and personal, including Cartier, WTTW, The Chicago Reader, Northwestern University, Hartmarx, Music of the Baroque, Red Moon Theater, Theo Ubique, Third Coast Marketing and many, many more.

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