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A futuristic corporate event connecting teams and celebrating success

We were delighted to be asked by a new client to deliver a key event for their business. This leading technology company has experienced exponential growth recently, with approximately 40% of employees joining in the last 12 months, and our client wanted an event that would bring greater cohesion across the business, celebrate achievements and look forward to the future. With the focus on connecting colleagues and giving the event a futuristic feel, we recognised the need to deliver a truly inspiring experience. And to reflect the company’s ambition, this event needed to be anything but a typical conference – it’s the kind of brief we relish!

We pride ourselves on working proactively to help clients achieve their strategic aims in the most engaging and effective way possible. And for this particular event, we worked closely with the client to understand their company culture, set clear objectives, agree the key messages to be conveyed and devise inspiring ways to communicate them. This knowledge informed all of our decision-making and enabled us to create a relevant and rewarding experience – a process that began with the choice of venue.

The Solution

Our search for a venue that could accommodate over 200 people centred on Manchester, which was within easy reach of our client’s head office in Warrington. Freight Island offered everything we needed – previously a freight depot, exclusive use of this cavernous venue provided a flexible range of spaces, great facilities, a whole host of resident street food vendors and a great vibe.

The event theme was ‘connection’, in line with the desire to integrate new joiners, and we gave the event branding a futuristic feel to reflect the key objective of driving the business forward. Having full use of the venue, we created lots of bespoke branded signage to help delegates navigate their way around throughout the event. We provided full content support and all visual elements, including animations, graphics, welcome stings and presentation slides, were designed to fit seamlessly with the event branding. We also created a three-minute show opener VT to get everyone excited about what was to come and an awards sting that looped during the awards ceremony.

The venue’s main space included a stage, which made it ideal for the plenary sessions. Our stage set included lighting rigged either side of the stage, titan tubes, profile lights and spotlights to create visual impact. A full PA system for excellent sound quality, relay screens and comfort monitors for presenters helped to ensure presentations would run smoothly. To add another dimension to the presentations, we installed a stage extension that allowed presenters to walk out into the crowd – a simple but very effective way of physically conveying the theme of connection. To dress the venue and make the environment specific to our client, we used lots of silver drapes, with smaller sections of purple, to echo our client’s brand colours. The company logo was projected onto one wall so that it was the first thing delegates saw as they entered the space.

Running for the entire day and into the evening, the event started with breakfast. Upon arrival, attendees collected their branded name badges, the reverse of which included key information about where they were sitting for the morning session, what group they were in for the teambuilding activity and where they needed to go during the afternoon. As delegates gathered and chatted, they could enjoy a variety of pastries, fruit and granola yoghurt pots, warm cookies and flapjacks, along with warmed apple juice and hot chocolate.

The agenda for the day was business-led, but with a difference. Instead of a traditional host to ensure the event ran on time and attendees were fully informed of what was happening, we had a house band. Not only did it make a refreshing change to what anyone would have expected, the band’s interaction with attendees added real energy throughout the entire event. There was also plenty of fun to be had – the band even created a company anthem that was performed at the end of the event.

Far from being a passive event, simply ‘attended’ by delegates, one of our key priorities was for colleagues to mix and interact with each other and to find fun ways of making new starters feel part of a cohesive team. As well as presentations to share business updates and plans for future development, which included interactive polls and word clouds so that delegates could share their views and opinions, we also ran several very active sessions designed to keep everyone engaged, inspired and enthusiastic.

Speed Dating saw delegates dividing into pre-determined groups of 25 that then worked their way around ten hosted stations. At each station they were given short and snappy five-minute presentations about a particular area of the business, after which everyone would have a holistic view of what the company does. To kick off this activity we had prepared a video about the company. We had sent a film crew to head office to interview a number of employees about their roles within the business and how they are all integral to the services the business provides to its customers, which helped to set the scene.

Time to break for lunch and Freight Island’s catering services provided a selection of street food from Greek and Pan-Asian to a smokehouse serving slow-cooked beef poutine. Every vendor perfectly adapted their offerings to cater for all dietary requirements.

In the afternoon, a teambuilding activity that simulated a trading floor environment gave further opportunity for delegates to mix. Highly competitive, frantic and compulsive, it was a high-energy and fun way to work together as teams attempted to amass fortunes and avoid crashing the market. This was followed by an awards ceremony, during which delegates had popcorn nibbles, where employees were recognised and rewarded for their hard work and contribution to the business. This celebration provided a natural high on which to end the business part of the event. Delegates went back to their accommodation to get ready for the evening, which allowed us enough time to make a few changes in the venue.

A quick transformation of the main space – which included moving the silver draping to the back wall, tweaking the lighting and introducing branded silver orb balloons – created a different look and feel. Guests returned ready to party and were welcomed with Christmas cocktails.

Plenty of entertainment was laid on. Continuing the futuristic theme, guests were completely wowed by iGlobot. The high-tech LED robot was armed with all kinds of special effects and roamed amongst guests before giving a spectacular performance on stage. Guests could also explore another dimension using VR headsets and our edible bubble volcano and edible mist orbs provided plenty of fun. And a team of talented face painters were on hand to create some amazing art on guests’ faces. Our fantastic house band continued to entertain, performing two sets and a bandeoke session, where guests were invited to perform with the band – anything from singing to playing guitar – was a great success.

A full bar service was available throughout the evening and the street food vendors were back with a plethora of delicious and international options including burgers from social media sensations Burgerism, Indian and Pan-Asian street food. Cheesecake on a stick added a sense of fun during the dessert course and fresh fruit kebabs provided a healthy alternative. Later in the evening we also served huge 22” pizzas.

As well as managing everything on the day, we took care of essential logistics. Ahead of the event, we organised pre-event registration via a bespoke website, along with taking care of pre-event comms across multiple touchpoints, which kept attendees well informed and was effective in building interest and anticipation. We also organised overnight accommodation so that no one had to leave early to catch trains home.