Having a #CigarHerf can be a great team-building experience for any Cigar Clubs that will be visiting a Cigar-Friendly corporation.
I’ve been asked by corporations for suggestions on planning a Cigar Herf for customers to make the best use of Social Media opportunities.
Here’s some guidelines for hosting a corporate event catering to a cigar club.
4 weeks before the event:
1) Secure the email addresses of all attendees. Build a database for now & the future.
2) Once email addresses are secured:
- a) Create a unique event hashtag for the ‘herf. Communicate it to the email addresses asap, asking all participants to start using the hashtag on their Social Media Accounts.
As the #CigarHerf organizer, I’d also start searching for that hashtag daily, so I can comment/retweet/repost.
- b) Email all the attendees photos of the host’s logo & images of products which they can use to attach to their social media posts. I’d even go so far as to give them “prepared” Tweets, measured into 140 characters. That way the attendees could just copy and paste.
3) Set the Budget for the culinary aspect, as well as all other incidental costs.
4) Secure a caterer or create the menu for food & refreshments.
Remember to ask the cigar club contact person if any people in their group have dietary restrictions – dairy, gluten, etc. in order to provide culinary options for all attendees.
Ensure plates, knives, forks, spoons, napkins are factored into the budget and purchased in advance of the event.
Are alcohol beverages being considered? It’s always fun to try a combination of beverages as part of the “tasting & pairing” experience with Canadian Whisky, Scotch, Bourbon, Rum or cocktails.
However, keep in mind, the group must have alternate transportation to ensure there’s no drinking & driving. Rules are getting tighter and it’s very risky for a company to host an event where alcohol is served. Providing a safe ride home must be a consideration.
5) Company Banner booked & confirmed for the meeting room.
** Note: I’d have a photo of every participant in front the the logo’d banner. Ensure the attendees feel like a star when their photo & name appears on the host company’s Twitter / Facebook / Website.
2 Weeks before the event:
1) Do a press release, announcing *Name of Company* is opening their doors to the ‘herf community for a #CigarHerf.
Make it “news” so the cigar bloggers & the Cigar radio shows can add it to their line-up of cigar news & events.
2) Accessory Inventory:
Determine how many people will be in attendance.
Make sure there is one deep Cigar Ashtray for every 2-4 people.
Ensure you have enough: Lighters. Matches. Cedar Spills. Cutters: Guillotine / V-Cut.
Research Social Media sites for corporate ID’s ie: Boveda. Xikar. Colibri. Canada Humidor … tag them in all your Social Media posts.
Are the participants bringing their own cigars for the event?
Be prepared to have cutters available for every ring gauge, even those big cigars.
3) Buy the Water Bottles in advance.
Now it’s time to: Set the scene / storyboard the end-game.
In what type of room is the herf being held?
Is it classroom style?
Will each participant be sitting with a table in front of them?
If so, create an 8.5 x 11 placemat they can use as a backdrop for photos and to take notes of the cigars they’re smoking & the beverages they’re enjoying.
The placemat would have the Company Logo & images of the products I’d want to be retained in their memories.
Ask the organizer if the visiting group has a logo or a specific identification artwork – add it to the placement / tasting mat as well.
Is the setting Lounge Style?
Then I’d be prepared for a very relaxed setting where there’s the chance the host will lose the concentration of the participants very quickly. Keep them interested with enough background information to keep them engaged.
If there’s a guest speaker, have them move through the room to touch-base with every participant.
Day of the Event:
Start with a Tour of the Venue if it’s being held at a corporate location.
1) Participants sign-in sheet at entrance:
Name / email address / Twitter Handle / FB ID / Instagram ID & including a waiver, approving release of any photos that contain their image.
2) 10 minute ( or less ) talk about the company. 10 minutes for Q&A.
3) Cigar Pairing exercise with water / coffee / tea. Ask the attendees “How does each change the impression of the cigar aromas & tastes?”
4) Goody Bag upon exit – preferably with images/logos of the host company.
5) Individual Photos in front of host company Logo’d banner
6) Group photo. Company Logo’d banner / signage visible.
Remember to say Thank You to everyone involved in the success of the event.
Keep notes to ensure “best practices” are retained for future events.
On a final note, always be thinking about the kind of photos the attendees will be taking during the ‘herf. Many of the attendees will be taking photos for their own Social Media accounts. Try to keep natural and indoor lighting considerations in mind so photos don’t have flash reflections off glass windows, etc.