Party Politics

Party Preparation

In many cases, a party's ability to generate talk depends on the marketing prowess of the people hosting it. Sherri Foxman, a Cleveland corporate events coordinator who has attended several West Coast dotcom bashes, says branding skills appear to be sorely lacking in many of the events. She notes that one recent launch party she attended didn't even have the company's name on a welcome sign.

"It was basically a lot of food and a lot of alcohol, like those electric lemonades and things like that, but there was absolutely nothing there that said 'This is who we are; this is what we're all about,' " Foxman recalls. "I was shocked. I could have just as easily been at a Friday night bar."

Foxman, who provides a profusion of party ideas and products on her site, Party411.com, can easily rattle off a number of ways to help guests remember what your party is about. These can range from organizing games around the theme of your Web site to handing out keychains embossed with the company logo. "Then, the next day, guests won't be saying 'Oh there was so much food and liquor at that party.' Instead, they'll say, 'Did you know that company does this and this?' " she says.

Evite focused heavily on themes and entertainment-oriented activities, such as a golf cage and a casino. They also hired a zany, 1970s-style hair band called the Cheeseballs. "All this fit our image perfectly," says Bracken. "We're about bringing people together and having fun; we help people organize all kinds of social events. The party was a way of communicating to our customers what Evite is all about."

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This article was originally published in the August 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Party Politics.

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