Event Design and Execution Case Study
Strategic Event Design and Execution for the C-Suite and Investors:
Founding a Forum to Facilitate Foreign Direct Investment
When a large, asset-based financial institution requested we create a forum for a foreign state cabinet member to discuss opportunities for foreign direct investment (FDI)in their country, and gave us two months to do it, we knew the stakes were high. Our client was in the process of closing a partnership with the country, and the two most prestigious regional organizations had already secured the cabinet member’s commitment to speak on the topic. Frankly, we wondered how we could plan and execute something in such a scant time frame that would be of real incremental value to the state visitor and impress our client.
We designed a small, extremely exclusive CEO-only luncheon with attendance targeted around the country’s investment areas of interest. It was critical to execute the perfect event, given the cabinet member's prominence, exposure and expectations, so we worked directly with his staff to understand what those investment areas were and ascertain an attendee "dream team."
We contacted the CEO's offices to assess their needs and prepared content for them highlighting the opportunity and the potential shared benefits for all parties involved. Concurrently, we met with city officials to ensure they understood the value of these relationships and garner their support for our approach. To insure turnout, we quickly worked the phones--and our relationships--to secure CEO attendance at the event.
When attendance was established, we arranged pre- and post-lunch one-on-one meetings with the dignitary for the most important CEOs and press from major outlets. Then, we prepared a detailed briefing packet for all members of the cabinet member’s delegation, which included pictures, bios, itineraries, salient information about the one-on-one meetings and media interviews and even seating charts with pictures. It was critical that every member of his staff be well-briefed, have the opportunity to give input and make changes and feel totally comfortable with the program.
We then turned our attention to the event plan, which required exacting and sensitive ceremony and diplomatic protocol. All cultural differences such as food, snacks, dress and even seating were taken into consideration. The ceremonial speeches, gift exchange and dual flag representation were all given their just due and prominence in the executional plan. The luncheon itself was executed with "White House-level" elegance in a modern vein that was respectful of their home country. And all content was carefully staged to communicate everyone’s purpose and judiciously open the dialogue on a closed door conversation about foreign direct investment.
As follow-up, we arranged meaningful post-meetings for interested parties, and accompanied the dignitary to all other events. This accomplished four things:
- Our client established that they clearly understood the needs of the country and that they valued the cabinet member's time;
- Our exclusive lunch was recognized as the "real" forum to conduct business with CEOs opting to attend this luncheon instead of the other events in town;
- Presented the country's interests and created a private, confidential forum for the frank and honest exchange of views; and
- Provided immediate access to elite, often elusive and impossible-to-coordinate decision-makers.
The cabinet member's staff said our luncheon was the "only" event they needed to attend during their USA visit, calling it "filled with decision makers" and deeming it "flawlessly executed." Our client finalized their partnership that day, and secured additional meetings with the country's head of state to directly discuss foreign direct investment.
The event was highly successful on multiple levels, and created a firm and continued bond between the parties involved that went well beyond that day. It positioned the client as a true global player, and created a long-lasting dialogue and a firm friendship that has fostered partnerships and multiplied into additional introductions.