Halloween is fun. I mean, who doesn’t like eating candy and dressing up, right? Last week, our team threw a huge Halloween party… in April. We called it ‘Halfway to Halloween,’ and it was a blast. We decked out the office, had a makeup crew come in to help with costumes, and even built a haunted house in our new office expansion.
Throwing a party like this resulted in questions from many people… WHY? Why throw a halloween party in April? And maybe the question behind the question—why spend all the time and money to do something like this in the first place? I mean, isn’t a giant dress-up party a massive waste of company dollars? Doesn’t it give off the impression that you just have cash to burn and like to spend time partying instead of working? Actually, an event like this has huge potential value and I think more companies should be doing fun things like this on an annual basis.
So, why did we do halfway to halloween in the first place and what gave us the idea? About a year ago, we moved into our new office space (after being a distributed company for 17 years) and we threw a big grand opening party. This party was extremely well-attended, resulted in a lot of local media attention, and was also a lot of fun. As a result of the grand opening party, we were able to make contact with a few different people who led to good-sized projects for us. This year, after purchasing a new office space (attached to our current one) and having a record year in our current space, we decided it was time to celebrate. We wanted to do something like the grand opening party, but wanted to give it a unique and creative feel. One of our team conversations led to this idea of doing a halfway to halloween party with a haunted house in the empty space next door. I set the budget and the team went to work on the planning.
There are several reasons I believe events like this add great value to an agency like ours and actually bring our clients more value as well.
- Creatives need creative outlets.
Now you may be thinking, “Don’t you guys get to do creative stuff all day every day?” Well, yes, but there’s something different when you get to create without being bound by a project scope or client feedback. Also, we work on the computer all day, so getting to create something like a haunted house or costume party gives a whole new breath of life to the creative spirit inside us.
- Events require teamwork and strengthen culture.
Our whole team worked their tails off to pull this party off. Not just in prep for costumes, the haunted house, and decorations, but trying to complete all of their regular work assignments with the build up to the event. There’s a certain unity and cultural enforcement that happens when you’re all working toward something everything is excited about. It creates a fire and a drive that might not otherwise exist. The proof? We launched four websites the same week of the party—we usually shoot for 1 per week.
- Good Marketing = Lots of Attention.
Big events give the opportunity to create a fun experience that shows off creative potential, starts conversations, and gets attention. Winning in marketing is primarily about getting attention. Granted, there can be bad attention too (that’s a whole different post), but in this case, the likes, shares, and comments about the party both on and offline create a lot of buzz. If managed properly, that buzz can strengthen current client relationships or build new relationships altogether.
If our company had taken every dollar invested in this party, divided it over the entire team, and paid it out over the course of a year, no one would have noticed. It wouldn’t have been memorable, it wouldn’t have changed anything. But the impact of the same amount of money, focused on a specific event, can be multiplied by opportunity, and if nothing else, through awesome team memories. Investing in experiences can be some of the best use of dollars, in business or in life in general.
So what’s next on the Design Extensions experience plan? #WORKCATION2017. More on that soon!
We’ll be posting a video recap and photo gallery of the party soon and will link it up here when we do.