Successful business events have always depended on careful planning and attention to customer needs.
But ask a corporate event planner like Kennedy Turner, and it’s clear that another attribute has recently become equally important in planning an event’s success.
“‘Flexibility’ has been the word for the past two years for event planners,” said Turner, founder of Blueprint Events, a Fitchburg-based company specializing in commercial and corporate event planning in Dane County. and the Midwest.
In an interview with the Star, Turner described 2021 for Blueprint Events as “constantly evolving.”
“We had a few events that we had been planning for months to be in person that went virtual in no time,” said Turner, whose company is among the newest members of the Fitchburg Chamber Visitor and Business Bureau.
“We started planning in person and went virtual,” due to the customer health and safety protocols in place amid the pandemic, Turner said. “We had to adjust and go with the flow with whatever they wanted. We’re a little used to that now.
Turner has been planning corporate events since 2010 and founded Blueprint Events, LLC in 2015. She is a Madison native with a business degree from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls who now resides in Fitchburg with her husband and two children. .
As the business has grown, late last year Erin Stiteley joined Blueprint Events as a business partner after previously working as a contractor, Turner said.
Stiteley, an event planner since 2013, is a Madison resident originally from the Monroe area who brings a background in finance to the business, having graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Both are in their thirties and are passionate about organizing events. They met through their previous work at the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce – Turner in events and Stiteley as an ambassador for the chamber.
Together, Turner said the duo are experienced in planning and managing everything from conferences and association meetings to corporate retreats, golf outings and retirement parties; and from inaugurations and ribbon cuttings to virtual kitchen events used as fundraisers.
Additionally, Turner said Blueprint Events has a niche in partnering with government agencies to host economic development events. There, she works with city leaders to analyze a community’s business health, including through “business walks,” and then delivers a report with recommendations.
Turner said event services range from full-service packages covering concept through execution, consulting and planning where companies organize the event themselves.
Or an event may simply require “extra hands” to be available the same day for setup and staff, she added.
Depending on the scope of an event, Blueprint Events may contract assistance from a list of people Turner has worked with for many years. Its list includes recommended vendors with a variety of technical and soft skills to help meet a client’s unique needs, she said.
The planning time depends on the type and scope of the event, ranging up to a year for a three-day conference, to maybe a month or so for smaller events, she said.
Fees vary by event type, scale, and services needed and can be charged at a flat rate or hourly rate. A discounted rate for nonprofit organizations is available, she added.
For business walks, Turner said she trained a group of 100 interviewers to be able to visit up to 400 businesses in total per day, either in person or virtually.
“To sum it up,” Turner said, “it’s an economic development event that allows business and civic leaders to go into a community, take the pulse of how a community is doing about three hours and then collecting that feedback for the community.”
Turner aggregates and then reports the information with proactive insights.
For example, a business owner may tell an interviewer that he is planning to move. But root-cause analysis could suggest simple remedies, Turner said, such as better signage, improved marketing, more police presence at certain times, or help from a local water or energy utility. .
Without this proactive input, it might be “too late for anyone to do anything,” Turner said.
“So the communities that hire us kind of get a snapshot and can hopefully prevent this stuff from happening,” she said.
Overall, Turner said it’s been rewarding to help businesses run successful events and local businesses to thrive. She said she enjoys working with the variety of different personalities among Blueprint Events’ many clients and vendors.
“We really love our customers,” Turner said. “We have expanded our customer base…we have chosen many great organizations to work with. And we love our suppliers.
To date, Blueprint Events has worked with a handful of businesses and vendors in Fitchburg.
“We hope that by joining the Fitchburg Chamber this year, we can work with even more,” added Turner.
As 2022 begins, Turner offered this advice to companies considering events this year:
“Successful events can provide a significant return on investment for your business,” she said. “And that’s why it’s important to hire an expert.
“It’s an exciting time to attend events and we can help you navigate a safe in-person event or your next virtual event,” Turner said.