Ensuring the Success of an Inaugural Event: UCSF Digital Health Awards

This fall, Anna Marie Events was delighted to be asked to help design, plan and manage the execution of the first-ever UCSF Digital Health Awards. This event, hosted in UCSF’s Byers Hall Auditorium, honored pioneers in the digital health space and included an invitation-only roster of over 300 healthcare entrepreneurs and investors.

Inaugural events can be particularly challenging from a number of perspectives. With no track record, it can be challenging to gain traction in terms of attendance and sponsorship. Depending on the client, they may be more (or less) organized and skilled in event hosting. Costs may be a big issue, particularly if the client is unfamiliar with estimating and budgeting event costs .

So how do you ensure that your company’s inaugural event is the best it can possibly be?

Be Creative: Making a Statement Matters When You are Launching Something New

Our first step was to break the mold in terms of our event concept. We didn’t want to take the well-trodden rode of the typical awards dinner. We also wanted to create a branded look that would be “evergreen” over time as the event continued year-after-year. We wanted to use color to highlight specific messages important to the team and use common background graphics to connect these messages across areas of the event.

We also created moveable block pedestals for the photo backdrop at the event so that attendees could find fun ways to style their shoots.

Be Flexible to Budget Changes

Depending on your client’s depth of expertise, correctly budgeting all of the costs associated with designing and producing a first-time conference, your initial budget may be up to 20-50% lower than actual expenses. In addition, with a first-time event, sponsors may not step up to the plate as quickly and to the extent a company may have planned for. This does not necessarily mean the show is over. With some serious flexibility and ingenuity, our team is able to identify cost savings and shift spending to key priority areas and still stay within our client’s budget.

“All the World’s A Stage” – Make Yours a Showcase

One of the elements we wanted to ensure stood out at the UCSF Digital Health Awards event was the stage design. We wanted to make a backdrop to the screen that would evoke creativity, the future and healthcare while “wrapping” the screen with a “border” effect using this design. The stage design needed to “speak” to the content on the slides and be effective in a very small space.  The final design allowed what was on the screen to “shine” while creating a colorful background consistent with the other graphics used throughout the event:

If you have a first-time company event in your future, we’d be happy to help you strategize about ways to ensure its success, this year and in the future.