Nicole is the co-founder of Peters Design Lab, a Los Angeles-based design company that specializes in event production and marketing.
Along with her husband and their team, they’ve channeled 15+ years of experience in design and fundraising roles into a full-service design agency that is on the cutting edge of virtual event production. Their passion for nonprofit development has led them to partner with dozens of organizations such as Saving Innocence and International Justice Mission, for whom they have provided brand guidance, graphic renderings, and live production. In their spare time, Nicole and her husband can be found building concept scale models and hosting friends at their home in Los Angeles.
What do you enjoy most about your role in corporate event planning?
I love helping companies think of new creative ways to tell their story and engaging customers with their brand. I see every project as a blank canvas of possibilities. I am always asking, “what will be the wow factor?” and “how can this project be even better than the last project?” I also loving see months of planning and designing come to life in real spaces – it’s the highlight of this job.
Do you have any advice for a company having a hard time choosing a theme? Is a theme necessary?
I believe that every event and every piece of that event should contribute to a larger narrative. If it doesn’t, it’s not worth paying for. I recently had a big event where the client’s consultant was pushing to hire sky drummers. I told the CEO very clearly, this is a fun idea but it does nothing to tell the story of your company, it’s not worth the money. Every moment of the event from the invitation, to the entrance of the space, to the centerpieces on the tables should all be telling the same narrative.
What do you see as the corporate event industry’s greatest challenge, currently?
I believe COVID and the shutting down of large gatherings are going to change the way events are done permanently. Once things open back up, there will most likely still be a large audience for live streaming the event. The biggest challenge is finding ways to keep audiences connected with your company’s work, but these are also great times to be innovative. The playing field has been leveled in a lot of ways. It’s so important now for event planners to look for new ways to do things. Don’t just copy things on Pinterest, be creative.
What are some practices to follow that will help you to create the Wow factor that attendees seek with a limited budget?
There are 3 things that are important:
- Don’t skimp on lighting, even just a little bit of up-lighting goes a long way. This is the most cost-effective way to transform a space or improve the quality of your virtual event.
- Think outside the box and re-purpose inexpensive materials in a fun way that communicates your company’s story.
- Find creative ways to get your audience engaged with your material. Meaningful human connection is more important than any decoration.
How do you measure the success of an event?
It’s difficult to measure an event’s success just in immediate monetary return, although that is important. It is also important to ask:
- Did attendees leave here with a clear understanding of our company’s mission and values?
- Did attendees leave with a clear next step for further engagement?
- Would the attendees be willing to attend this event again and bring friends?
If you can confidently answer yes to all those questions and it was successful monetarily, you had a very successful event.