In the wildly oversaturated media climate most of us live in, word of mouth referrals stand as the only true currency, because if a trusted source tells us about something we’re apt to actually check it out. When your business hosts a highly curated dinner and discussion about something relevant to the company’s mission and invites the right outside parties, it’s going to spark conversations that extend well beyond the salon itself. But to be in the know, you have to be in the room. And if you’re not sure where to begin, you can always hire The Salon Host herself, Susan, who hosts corporate salons under her POSTHOC moniker.

“Salons build community. And when you build a robust and engaging community, your customers keep coming back for more. The experience opens up an emotional connection to the business and brand. It also provides an opportunity to create a truly curated gathering for one’s influencers, media and business leaders (aka potential partners, investors etc.), and doors open for potential collaboration.”

Susan MacTavish Best, Posthoc Salons

The guest list strategy is where the key ingredient for success lies. More diverse perspectives equates to better conversation, and businesses grow where relationships grow. But in order to bring the right people together in a meaningful way and keep it relatively intimate, a salon series is the right approach. You’re building community, and that takes time and is progressive. So with that, you don’t need to invite everyone at once. Deep conversation and connection is only possible at a certain scale before your company dinner party becomes a cattle-call, so we recommend opting for a salon series as a thoughtful ongoing approach to experiential marketing and community building.

Influencers, press, clients, partners, and specific staff from biz dev or marketing teams should be considered, or any other staff who are keenly outgoing. Just like any guest list, it should be an eclectic lot of people who are invited. Does anyone want to spend an evening with a room filled with only attorneys or only doctors? Not really. Reach out to people that you’d like to know better and invite them! POSTHOC salons feel eclectic, not exclusive, because Susan makes a point of inviting people from different worlds.

And these experiences create unique content. Although the real lasting magic comes from the connections made during the salon itself, nothing is more important than looking each other in the eye, there’s a massive opportunity with the content captured at these events to showcase a company’s values and culture in a much more holistic way., Calm, Quid, UCSF, Templeton World Charity Foundation, and Financial Times have all hosted salon series with POSTHOC and accomplished exactly that. We also recommend co-hosting with a strategic partner as a way to cross-pollinate guest lists and offset costs.

Retail is another area where Susan believes there’s huge potential to bring people back into brick-and-mortar storefronts. “Whether it’s a pop up or in a permanent space, the hybrid shopping experience offers new customer acquisition, a gathering place that sometimes provides entertainment, say a salon, and a discovery hub for the brand’s offerings, plus a fulfillment center with the right space,” Susan says, “You could imagine Gucci and Florence Welch collaborating at a music salon in their Wooster Street space.”

We totally can. If your company is thinking of hosting, a few questions to ask yourselves include: what are the messages and objectives? Who will run ongoing point on salon logistics and will that person need help? Support in the form of funding and human resources are of course necessary to succeed in your salon-ing endeavors, but support when it comes to curation is the key to success, so be to collaborate with your most trusted teammates on the programming and guest list.

To learn more about curation magic, check out The Salon Host’s guide to How To Create Guest List Alchemy and How To Choose a Tantalizing Topic.