You may have heard about the launch of our recent campaign “CompanyCam Homefield Advantage,” where we are giving away CompanyCam to every contractor in Nebraska for free for one year up to five users. We love living in Nebraska, operating our business from Nebraska, and wanted to give back to our home state.
But what’s the launch of a campaign without some kind of PARTY?!
There was really only one option on the table when we talked about how to celebrate the launch of Homefield Advantage: to do as Nebraskans do and tailgate in Lincoln on Husker gameday. I have yet to be convinced that there is any place more exciting on a Saturday in the fall than Lincoln, Nebraska when the Huskers are playing at home. I stand by that statement and I will fight you on it. (Not really, but we are SERIOUS about football in Nebraska.)
Even though a company tailgate is ultimately just fun and games, an event doesn’t magically plan itself. There’s a certain amount of preparation that needs to happen to ensure the event is a success. When I think about the most important things to consider when putting on a company tailgate, four main things come to mind: proper planning, strategic location, food and drinks, and attention to detail.
Have a Plan
“Proper planning prevents poor performance” is my event planning mantra. (Type A much?) Proper planning includes everything from the big picture purpose for having the event to the color of the tablecloths on the food serving table. Putting on an event takes time and money, so it is important to have a firm grasp on why the event is even taking place.
For example, even before putting our first tailgate on the calendar, we spent time defining what we hoped to accomplish by hosting this party. What are our goals? Who are we going to invite? Why will we invite them? How will we determine if the party is a “success”? We determined that the purpose for our tailgate was twofold: 1) awareness of our brand in Lincoln and with Nebraskans who come to town on gameday and 2) an event for our staff to bring family and friends.
Our team took shifts working during the tailgate, doing everything from serving food to taking photos to handing out flyers about our product. Asking your team for help, dividing up roles, and setting up work shifts helps to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
While you most likely won’t forget to bring the food, here are some helpful things to remember to bring to the tailgate: extra trash bags, a storage tub to pack up dirty dishes and serving utensils, plastic bags to wrap up leftover food, masking tape and sharpies to label drink coolers, and duct tape. You will always end up needing duct tape, like for when the wind blows up the tablecloth or when you need a quick way to creatively (albeit, questionably) mount the TV, see below.
Location, Location, Location
Picking a location for a tailgate may have been the most time-consuming part of the preparation process, mostly because location is so important! We did our research to make sure that our spot would 1) be easily accessed by the public, 2) be a large enough space to accommodate our expected crowd, and, maybe most importantly, 3) have close access to public restrooms.
Depending on where you are located, having a plan B for bad weather may be important. In the middle of the midwest, we knew that a tailgate in September or October would be a complete gamble as far as the weather goes. We made sure to have enough tents to cover our parking spaces in case of rain, but ended up using them for shade on what turned out to be a 90 degree afternoon. We really wanted to get the word out about our tailgate and the Homefield Advantage campaign, so our location was also determined by where we had the chance to hang our enormous billboard.
Food and Drinks
No one shows up to a public tailgate expecting to eat a five-course meal. However, having good food and enough food is a big deal. Things to consider when deciding what kind of food to serve: What time is kickoff? This will help determine whether you are serving coffee and bloody mary’s with donuts or ice tea, cold beer, and grilling hamburgers. How many people are you expecting to come? Do you have places for people to sit and eat? If not, make it easy. You may want to only serve food that is easy to eat while standing up (i.e. no need for a knife and fork). Will you have access to electricity? Enough space for a grill? The answers to those questions may determine whether or not you make the food yourself or call on a local BBQ or pizza place to take care of that for you.
While tailgate go-ers might not be expecting a huge plate of food, guaranteed they will be expecting something to drink. Don’t run out of drinks! This is also where those extra trash bags come in handy. Cans and bottles will fill up the trash cans quickly. If possible, consider designating trashcans for plastic, glass, and aluminum to recycle after the party. Sidenote: for a cheap tailgate party favor, personalized company koozies are both useful during the tailgate and something for people to take home that has your company logo on it.
All About the Details
The creative details tend to be the things that get pushed aside to save on money or time, but often times these are things that really make the tailgate party awesome. Party favors, a cool photo backdrop, the perfect playlist, TV to play the football game, decorations in the school colors, etc. are the things that make a party something guests will remember.
Consider the crowd at your event: Will there be kids? Only adults? Will the tailgate stop before kickoff or will you need to play the game from your spot? Try to have something fun for everyone. We went with cornhole, a classic tailgate game, a favorite for adults and kids, and created our very own “Best Contractor in Nebraska” game. Contractors could win CompanyCam hats and t-shirts by tossing construction items into our mascot Rick’s hands. (And by construction items, I mean stress toys shaped as bricks, hard hats, and hammers. It’s harder than it looks!)
Are you a Nebraska contractor? Don’t worry, you didn’t miss out! We would love to have you at our next tailgate. On Saturday October 14th before Nebraska plays Ohio State, we’ll be set up on the corner of 8th and N in the Historic Haymarket District of Lincoln. Free food, free drinks, and we’ll even give you free CompanyCam! For more details about CompanyCam Homefield Advantage, check out: www.nebcam.com