Lounge and Listen! Finding the Right Corporate Entertainment for Your Event


While working on a client’s first showcase customer event this week, we were discussing the perfect type of headline entertainment. “This group will definitely be well-versed in entertainment so the selection needs to impress our in-the-know crowd.”

Ideas were all over the board with a long list of just about every celebrity talent currently accepting private corporate event bookings; from Alicia Keys to Pitbull, to up-and-coming Indie rock groups like Imagine Dragons and Fitz and the Tantrums. We even went down the lesser known “popular dinner shows and performance acts” route. Narrowing this list needed to happen ASAP or we’d keep spinning like a record.

As I worked closely with their planning and marketing teams, I asked them what the end goal of the evening was. Was it to impress, to educate, or to build relationships? Sometimes, no big, headline entertainment is needed, especially if your corporate event is more of a workshop or seminar; all focus is on you! For example, if you were part of the financial industry and you were holding a seminar, the majority of the event should be your presentation (if you were to have trouble stretching it out, perhaps invest in financial advisor marketing). However, with some clients, entertainment is a necessity. Knowing that the client wanted a space with a lot of comfortable seating and a “dinner show atmosphere” where the customer teams could “connect with their audience” was crucial in the event design. A headline act like Pitbull, who puts on an amazing show and does great with corporate events, but has energy where guests rush to the stage wouldn’t be appropriate for this scenario. A room full of 40 to 60-year-old men pumping their fists to “I Know You Want Me” just really didn’t seem like the right choice. Impressive, yes, but not as effective. It would be like trying to get to know someone on a first date at the movies – you are close to each other but not really communicating eye to eye. Hosting a successful corporate reception is all about striking a balance and assessing the lay of the land so as to make appropriate arrangements and plans that suit the make-up of the attendees.

We also talked about hiring a comedian from cleancomedians.com. They can bring some lighthearted entertainment and it’s not often you go to a comedy show. With a comedian, all of the employees can sit together and laugh whilst getting to know one another and create some strong bonds.

Additionally, the client was reminiscing about a great deal they got on a “Grammy Award Winner” years ago. I gently explained that deal was a once in a lifetime; all the stars had aligned for them and there just aren’t those deals falling out of the sky nowadays. We also needed to discuss a realistic budget knowing that getting a major headline act for “a song” just wasn’t on the playlist. On a side note, keep in mind the “surprise -really that much?” that can creep up on you if you are not clear on the cost of the rider and production. Back to our buddy Pitbull: “he might be a one name act but he travels with a sizable entourage and his production requirements are nothing to sneeze at.” He is definitely opposite to an act like James Taylor who can show up unplugged with just a guitar and a spotlight. Both are amazing shows – the right one for the right audience and goal is key.

After a 45-minute conversation with the key team and the CEO discussing and agreeing on the ultimate goal and budget, we had some closure on the right type of headline act required to fit the “lounge and listen” atmosphere with lots of soft seating and an opportunity to really connect with the customers and still have an impressive showcase event that will create a buzz for years to come.

If you have questions about the right type of corporate entertainment for your next event, give us a call; we’d love to help!

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