February 9, 2015

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Forty under 40

Each year, Utah Business magazine honors 40 of the state’s most tale...Read More

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A Mountain to Climb



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Kathy Philpot: 30 Years of Leadership

Terrel Bird: Technology Pioneer and Business Innovator

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Around Utah
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Special Section
Corporate Meetings

Reader's Choice
RubySnap: Cookies with a “Wow” Factor

Editor's Note
Let’s Put Our Money Where Our Mouths Are


Corporate Meetings

February 9, 2015

Liven it Up: Add a Dash of Spice to your Event with Premier Entertainment

By Rachel Madison

Corporate events are notoriously stuffy affairs with never-ending meetings, lifeless speakers and stale pastries. But corporate events and retreats don’t have to be boring. With the right entertainment or speaker, these events can become memorable learning experiences for everyone involved.

Be Memorable
One of the best ways to enhance attendee engagement is to leave a big impression, says Brett Barlow, CMO at educational training company Pluralsight. That’s why when the company opened its new building in Farmington in the summer of 2014, it made a splash by bringing in Nitro Circus—an action sports entertainment company that showcases daredevil stunts such as base jumping and dirt biking—as the entertainment.

            “We had two objectives: We wanted to get noticed and we wanted it to be remembered,” Barlow says. “We started thinking about what would bring the ‘wow’ factor. Something like Nitro Circus hasn’t ever happened [in Northern Utah] before, and we wanted to create an emotional connection to our company. We had 6,000 people show up.”

            Barlow says they got the general public involved with fun social media campaigns, such as hiding motorcycles around Farmington’s Station Park and telling people to send a tweet if they found one of the bikes. Two mini dirt bikes were given out as prizes. “That created lots of buzz building up to the event,”
he says.

            Janice Boes, CEO of Pierpont Place and Premier Event Services, says corporate retreats can incorporate everything from a dynamic speaker to a karaoke party, as long as it’s something that’s both interactive and fun. “A lot of people want to mix it up and do something different,” she says.

            That’s just one reason Adobe’s annual summit for its digital marketing customers continues to be such a success. Adobe brings in a popular band to its annual week-long summit to provide entertainment and a chance for attendees to network, says Mike Stiles, senior corporate events manager at Adobe. More than 5,000 Adobe customers attend the summit each year, and have heard music from bands such as The Black Keys, Maroon 5 and The Killers.

Plan for Success
Boes says it’s important to ask yourself early on in the planning process, “What are my goals and what am I trying to accomplish?” If there’s a specific point or lesson you’re trying to teach attendees during the event, make sure your entertainment aligns with that goal.

            Barlow agrees. “You have to know from the get-go what you’re trying to get out [the event],” he says. “Do it right or don’t do it at all. If you do it halfway or cut corners, it ends up reflecting negatively on you. People appreciate it when you put forth an effort and invest time and money. That’s how you get people talking about you.”           

            Typically, entertainment is one of the most expensive components of a corporate event, but it’s also the No. 1 takeaway for attendees. “It can get very expensive if you’re looking to talent and speakers from out of state,” Boes says. “But we have a wonderful pool of talent here in Utah.”

            Stiles says Adobe has also learned that lesser-known bands that put on a great show can be more affordable and provide excellent entertainment. “You don’t always have to go big,” he says. “A lesser-known band that puts on a phenomenal show doesn’t have to be expensive and you can get some really good bands if you look a little deeper. Don’t worry too much about getting the biggest band if budget is an issue. A good live performance is key.”

Eat Smart, Meet Smart: Clean Up Your Next Work Meeting with Healthy Food Options
By Adva Biton

Everyone knows the old adage: You are what you eat. As more and more people embrace wellness initiatives to better their health, it’s become clear that businesses should be doing the same. A good place to start? Examining the food served at corporate functions, meetings and events. 

            Dr. Thunder Jalili, associate professor at the University of Utah’s College of Health, Division of Nutrition, says there can be major disadvantages, both short and long term, for businesses that serve unhealthy fare at events. Offering carbohydrate and sugar-loaded foods can add up.

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