Ribbon cutting ceremonies are a grand opening tradition. They provide a way to connect with the professional community that surrounds your business in a fun, celebratory setting. We can certainly appreciate a good ribbon cutting here at RM- we organized and executed more than 50 of them in one year!

But as a tradition, ribbon cutting ceremonies are also quite predictable, and therefore not very memorable.

When you host a grand opening or business celebration, one of your key goals is to attract potential customers, share your story, and leave a lasting impression.

Here are four ways to make an impact at your next big event:

Have a Toast

Bring your guests together to raise a glass for your new business or location. Business events can become a bit stale and one of the best ways to engage your crowd is to serve them! If it’s appropriate for your brand, an open bar and food is usually a hit with attendees. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it. Even in traditional industries, this is your chance to show some personality. For clients in the Grand Rapids area, we’ve created official Beer City USA toast moments. And if you are in the food or beverage business, guests are going to expect to enjoy some sampling- don’t disappoint them!

Partner with a Local Charity or Organization

Your milestone event is also a perfect opportunity to make an impact and engage with the community. Not only will this help build or strengthen your community ties and reputation, but it will also make a positive and lasting impression.

People like to know that their support is contributing to something meaningful. This will matter not only for your customers and the organization you choose to partner with, but also for your team and leadership.

When you combine your special day with a worthy cause, people will remember it. It also helps to make your event more newsworthy to the media.

Besides, sharing your spotlight with some cute adoptable pets or energetic kids isn’t a bad way to celebrate! If you’re struggling to come up with a good organization to support, starting with the local schools, animal shelters, fire departments, or chidren’s organizations is usually a good place to start. And if you really want to celebrate a donation, we’ve never seen a group not enjoy being presented with a giant check!

Think Beyond the Ribbon

A ribbon cutting or ground breaking with shovels is a rite of passage- it’s fun to keep the tradition alive. But consider ways you can make this more exciting for guests, customers, your team, and overall, unique to your brand.

Consider the backdrop. The more “action” you can showcase, the better. It’s all about creating an environment and setting the stage. The pictures will tell a story to audiences beyond those who attended. Often the local chamber will share a picture in an email newsletter, your guests will be sharing on social media, and you’ll want to share on your website. Put some thought in how you’d like this presented.

We have also staged fun activities that happen alongside a ribbon cutting or ground opening, like a live high school band performance, traditional Dutch Klompen dancers, and even a balloon drop. A perfectly timed balloon drop or confetti explosion will surpass a ribbon cutting any day (there’s a bit more clean-up, but trust us, it’s worth it!).

If you have the budget, create some fun swag or branded decorations. It not only adds to the festivities, but it makes for share-worthy pictures for you and your guests (think: free publicity).

Make a Show of It

To kick your event up a notch, liven it up with some entertainment and activities to really draw people in. Consider live music, monitors that play a video with footage of your business, or feature pictures of your team and customers. We’ve hosted events with fun photo booths, scavengar hunts, and competitions with great prizes.

At the end of the day, a ground breaking or business event is supposed to be a celebratory milestone. Consider ways to make your big event  uniquely your own so your team, guests, and maybe even the community are left talking about it long after it ends.

If you’re planning a grand opening or business event, grab a free copy of our Ultimate Grand Opening Guide & Checklist. And happy planning!