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When in Rome

April 2017

April found the KDM Events team packing our bags as we were invited to organise a team event at the newly opened Hotel Eden in Rome.

We were asked by our clients to organise a two day team event that provided activities dealing with team work and transformation, whilst also being fun and innovative. The team event was being held at the newly restored Hotel Eden located in the city of Rome as part of their ‘People Forum’. The forum was organised for the client’s internal team of Heads of Department.

Pleased to be invited to organise this team event, we packed everything we needed for the two day event into large suitcases and flew to Rome to deliver an animation team building activity and a beatbox energiser.

So what did the two day event consist of?

Across the two day team event the KDM team delivered our Animation Innovation team build activity and our Beat Box workshop to 40 members of the client’s team.

The Animation Innovation activity is designed to encourage team building through creativity. Through an introduction to Stop Motion Animation techniques, the team members were given the opportunity to use new ways of communication to show their ideas as they created, produced and edited their own animation.

Alongside the animation activity, we also provided a beatboxing workshop. The clients team were introduced to the techniques and skills needed to beatbox. Beat Box is a great energiser as it allows all members of the team to be involved as they work together to see what can be achieved together using only mouth, voice and lips. With their newly learnt skills and having been allocated different percussion sections, teams successfully worked together to create a musical memory.

And the feedback?

Our client delighted us with a very short email ending with this sign off “All was amazing!”


The UK’s Best Event Provider!

April 2017

We did it!

The first time we’ve even considered taking time out of the day job to enter ourselves into the industry’s most prestigious M&IT Industry Awards – and we bagged ourselves a GOLD!

(more…)


Fighting For Inequality?

March 2017

Our Commercial Director is all too familiar with the battle women face in the workplace to gain the same status, pay and respect as their male counterparts, but sees the current issues highlighted as wholly missing the point!

Nicky Whyman, Commercial Director writes:

“I recently read an article about the appalling representation of women speaking at the Northern Powerhouse Conference, and as somebody who books speakers for conferences on a daily basis I can tell you that never, do I begin the search by deciding on which gender best fits my criteria. In fact, there’s not a point during the selection, proposal or booking process, where I wonder to myself should I be booking a male or a female for this?! My proposal and recommendations will always be based on an individual’s suitability for the occasion, based on what the client is hoping to get out of it.

Event Industry views - fighting for inequality

“The events industry is actually dominated, in terms of sheer numbers, by women, though according to eventsuncovered.tv, the majority of leaders in the industry are men. This is clearly an issue to be addressed but the way to fix this is just not as simple as handing out leadership roles to women instead of men to even out the playing field – that is flawed on far too many levels to even begin typing!

“This is no different. The article I read featured descriptions of the ‘embarrassing’ 13% of speakers at the event, which celebrates the best business leaders in the North of England, quoting industry experts calling it ‘disappointing’ and an MP whose message was ‘women must be involved at every level’.

“My main problem with this rhetoric is that if we keep shouting about the special treatment we need to be heard and to succeed, if we continue to ‘slam’ somebody for choosing the male alternative, we’re actually presenting ourselves to the world as the weaker half of the population, who need a little extra opportunity to succeed and a bigger stage to be heard – how can we expect to be considered equal?

“The way I overcame the challenges facing me in the workplace was by emphasising my own ability, rather than try to isolate myself as entitled to different treatment. There are many ways to ensure you’re moving forward in your career and reach your goals – here are some tips based on my personal experience:

  1. Seek out a mentor who is a respected specialist in their area. Don’t underestimate the power of approaching someone and asking for their help!
  2. Don’t let your current position limit you – join and attend networking groups with job roles/membership that you aspire to.
  3. Increase your skill and knowledge levels with specialised training – ask those in the positions you aspire to what they recommend.
  4. If you are specifically being harassed or discriminated against then consider taking the appropriate steps. Don’t expect it to automatically blow over and don’t be tempted to just leave– take professional advice from a trusted 3rd party source before taking action.

“I’ll end on this final thought, the organiser confirmed that while they agreed that women are underrepresented, they’d actually approached companies who had decided upon a representative for themselves… Maybe the senior female leaders were too busy to RSVP?!”


Highlights and Developments: This Year’s Achievements and Next Year’s Goals

November 2016

2016 has been a fantastic year for KDM Events, we’ve been recruiting, renovating, innovating and expanding far beyond our 2015 goals. And that’s all been in addition to the hundreds of team building activities we’ve provided, conferences we’ve managed, venues we’ve sourced and entertainment we’ve supplied.

It’s sure been a busy one, but we’re not about to slow down, we’re on a roll! We’re committed to continuous development, being in the business of innovative event management, we place a great deal of importance on the unique quality and ideas our team produces, our in-house technical experts keep us ahead of the event technology game and our experienced event management team ensure the smooth running of our clients’ events through their vast combined knowledge of event venues, industry advances and team building trends.

So Far This Year

Our Workshop Manager; Pete, retired following over 20 years at KDM building unique activity equipment, themed props and even staging, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as we said goodbye to Pete! Luckily, Pete spent 2016 working with Chris, a lifelong Joiner and Carpenter, who was ready to save the day and take the place of Event Creator Extraordinaire, and though he’s jumped into a great big pair of creative boots, he’s doing a fabulous job!

Watch this space for brand new themes in 2017 along with digital strategy games and brand new icebreakers from our event development team.

You’ll soon be treated to a glimpse of our beautifully renovated office, to keep our growing workforce happy at work we’ve slowly and carefully taken a sledge hammer to our old office layout and style, we’ve made it warmer, cosier, popped in a couple more offices for convenience, installed a brand new kitchen, a bright diner style lunch space and a great big wall mural! It’s been an ongoing team building experience for us all, helping each other out through the noise and dirt, communicating without words during the pneumatic drill period and pulling together to make sure our clients’ events wouldn’t be effected when we lost a little office time on the day that will forever be known as Tarmac-Tuesday; the day a small unplanned asphalt issue resulted in hot tarmac being spread while we held on outside waiting for the go ahead to re-enter the building. (It was every bit as dramatic as you’re imagining!)

The investment in our environment has been met with huge gratitude by our workforce, watch out for pictures of their smiling faces in our fancy new home in 2017!

And can you believe it’s only November?!

What to expect in 2017

As well as our anticipated plans for brand new digital strategy games, beat box ice breakers and all manner of new themed party props, we’ve already begun planning for a revamp of our website.

While we continue to grow, so must your online portal to us, so our in-house graphic designer is busy working away on some striking new imagery to help tell the story of our events through our website and using your feedback we’re developing a client login area in order to ensure your online experience with us is as personal as you need it to be while looking and acting just a little slicker.

We’ll be sharing updates with our social media community as and when we have them: linkedingrey untitled-3 greyfacebook


The Show Must Go On!

October 2016

Nobody likes to hear “No!”, “It’s impossible!”, “It simply cannot be done!”, well, nobody at KDM does! So when we hear it, from a conference venue, an event transport provider or even a pre-dinner drinks entertainer, we get our thinking caps on and figure out how we’re going to work around their “No” to reach the ultimate “Yes” we need to get the job done.

We’re not spoiled! We just like our clients to get what they want, and if they want to arrive to readily prepared AV and staging set at 8am, then AV and staging they shall arrive to!

Only, on this occasion, when we spoke to the venue that had been chosen by the client, we were told that unfortunately, access to the room was restricted due to a function not ending until the early hours of that morning. This is not the point at which we give up, no Sir! Following some lengthy negotiations with suppliers, the event management & delivery teams along with the conference venue, we found ourselves a solution, we turned that no onto it’s head by altering the question. So there we were, bright eyed and bushy tailed at 3am on day 1 setting up an AV rig.

8am arrival went smashingly, rehearsals took place and the show opened at 10:30am.

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Invitations to the gameshow themed event were extended to 300 delegates across the UK through online delegate registration and the conference, establishing the client’s newly launched vision and values, was supported by stage props and furniture, team building activities, a motivational speaker, evening entertainment and delegate gifts.

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Benjamin Mee, motivational speaker known for ‘We Bought a Zoo’ spoke to delegates about teamwork and bravery and 30 teams were tasked with the production of company adverts aimed at the client’s 2 market sectors, built on the foundation of their vision and values. Pulling together the multiple moving parts of this operation, the KDM team put on a show as precise as it was fluid, dropping in a little improv as and when it was required to keep the 300 strong cast shining brightly through their variety of starring roles in gameshows, TV adverts and their glitzy awards ceremony finale.

The offending “No” was only the beginning of the challenges set by this conference but we like a challenge, so this has been a fantastic event to be involved with and the organiser’s gratitude and praise along with the smile on the face of each attending delegate gave us a warm feeling that only a successful KDM event can. Get in touch if you’d like to transfer the burden of the management of your next company event to us – we’ll be as pleased to do it as you are not to!

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Gamification: Trending or Distracting?

October 2016

Here at KDM, we invest a great deal of time into our future by way of research and development, we’re often looking for ways to ensure we’re ahead of trends in the industry, setting trends through innovation and keeping a close eye on any relevant developments in UK business as a whole to ensure we have the best possible understanding of our clients’ needs and even restrictions.

Trends are important to every business, understanding them is key to ensuring that you keep pace with your industry and events are no exception. We’ve been delivering successful events for 25 years and over that period we’ve seen many trends come and go, surrounded in buzzwords and TLAs, some have developed and become standard practice in event management but some, it would seem, are little more than one salesman’s quick response to a difficult question that escalated rather quickly taking on a life of its own.

gamificationThe one we’ve been watching particularly in 2016 is ‘Gamification’: the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.

Gamification is not new, it is part of that we’ve been doing for years and this year it seems to be becoming a gimmick serving only to help brush over the important aspects of event management and delivery that event organisers are actually looking for an open dialogue on. The elements of game playing which are part of our team building activities and corporate entertainment events are important, but nowhere near as important as the objectives for the event and measuring an events performance against them.

Engaging delegates at an event is imperative to the overall success, but if only the method is engaging and not the content or the result, reporting back to the Head of Finance and/or HR on the tangible benefits that investment has produced, could be a difficult task.

Our mission is to discover the objectives set by every event organiser who comes to us and with that information provide an event which will help to achieve the goals that led to the decision to hold the event in the first place, and we do that by getting to know our clients and their business, providing free measurement tools with every team building activity we deliver and following up with intelligent analysis on how well the event performed.

If you’re looking to organise an event with the aim of increasing sales, establishing a new set of company values, improving team communication in order to speed up day to day processes or educating staff in preparation for the launch of a new product, get in touch with us – you can be confident that the relevant methods and technology will be a part of your experience while a professional focus is maintained on the objectives you need to meet in order to ensure you’re achieving the best possible results.


GettingThe Most From Corporate Event Spend – Even If You Just Want To Have Fun!

August 2016

The first question we ask every potential client is: what do you want to achieve from your event? This isn’t because we’re questioning your reasons for holding a corporate event, it’s because we want to make sure that what we produce for you;

– is the best possible value
– is designed to meet your goals
– achieves the best possible results

Our internal goals for every event include punctuality, consistency, meeting budget & overall success and we assume you expect those things from us. So when we ask the question, we’re really asking, before you chose to invest in a corporate event, be it staff entertainment, team building, a company party, client entertaining or a 3 day conference, what business goal led you to that decision?

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We can often translate a knee jerk response into a SMART objective, and we’re more than happy to sit and have that chat to make sure we’re providing the most relevant products & services to help our clients meet those objectives.

For instance, a nationwide firm of solicitors holding a Christmas Party for the entire company will tell us that their sole objective is fun! And while fun is not something we’re in short supply of, it is something that’s difficult to accurately measure in terms of an outcome. Fun is usually the response from a company company that wants to achieve one of the following:

– increase in or maintenance of productivity and/or sales
– decrease in or maintenance of staff turnover
– decrease in or maintenance of sickness absence

If the fun goal is stemming from an intention to thank an amazing workforce, maintenance is or a slight increase/decrease is a likely goal, if it’s an attempt to increase staff morale, perhaps an increase in sales or decrease in turnover is the end objective.

Once we’ve established an objective we can make it Strategic Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-bound – SMART, and then we can really get stuck in to working towards achieving it, bringing together all of the tools at our disposal specifically designed to produce a variety of outcomes, from educating a sales force on the technical specifications of a new product to establishing team camaraderie in a brand new team or providing an open forum for feedback on company policies and processes.

It does take a little time to establish SMART event objectives in line with company goals but the resulting impact on how well your event is planned and executed is well worth the thought and effort and we’re more than happy to help guide our clients through that tat process.

For a number of common objectives we provide free evaluation tools for live measurement on the day & post event analysis and for more complex objectives we can work with you to create a method of monitoring, measuring and analysing performance against objectives during and after your event.

Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you construct and manage SMART objectives for your next corporate event.


Our friends in the North

July 2016

Is it just KDM’s experience – or are Northern venues suddenly standing out as exciting and innovative challengers to their Southern counterparts?

With bases in Staffordshire and West London we routinely deliver corporate events all over the UK, and are used to a heavy London bias in venue-selection because we, and our clients, felt that the Capital set the pace in terms of variety and wow factor.

But over the last year or so we’ve seen a shift.  Many more event planners are keen to explore locations north of Watford (in fact, north of Nottingham!) and we’ve been delighted to recommend a range of destinations in the top half of the map – not just for their stunning venues, but for the surrounding infrastructure in regenerated spaces.

Take Liverpool, for example. Enjoying the legacy of its 2008 European Capital of Culture status, the city has continued to receive development funding, sparking interest from corporate groups. This may be for companies based around the UK attracted by the better value of northern locations, or for Manchester-based clients keen to find a new, fresh destination within easy reach.

630x397.fitandcropAngel-of-the-North

With all the investment in regeneration around the Albert Docks, the museums and the new hotel builds, organisers are spoilt for choice in Liverpool.  The Titanic hotel is fabulous, especially its highly versatile Rum Warehouse – a great atmospheric space for meetings and dinners. The newly-built Jury’s Inn also provides excellent meeting space and proximity to the Echo Arena.  And the waterfront location of the award-winning ACC is a huge draw.

We’ve had great success with Black Cab GPS themed treasure hunts around Liverpool, taking teams to the Docks to explore the Maritime Museum or The Beatles Story; also to Knowsley Safari Park.  And with free entry, the World Museum provides further scope for team events.  And of course the Docks offer a prime opportunity for Dragon Boat racing.

Further afield, another of our current favourites is the Toffee Factory in the heart of the Ouseburn area of Newcastle – itself a fascinating area of interest.  Featuring design classics and locally produced furniture, the Toffee Factory hires out an event space for up to 70 people.

In recent months we’ve run a series of amazing events at other Northern venues – including a daytime team event at Thorpe Park Hotel in Leeds, another team event at the Westerwood Hotel in Glasgow.  Also an evening’s beer tasting and giant games at the Railway Museum in York, and a Yorkshire Fete themed event at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate.

So watch this space for further Northern gems. We’re confident that when it comes to venue selection, the North is the new Black, and we look forward to welcoming increasing numbers of  corporate guests from around the UK to experience its rich industrial heritage and dazzling natural landscapes.  Oh – and Northern hospitality takes some beating as well …


Conference News June 2016 – What the agents say

June 2016

conference-newsCheck out page 30 of June’s Conference News for some of our interesting insights into Liverpool as an events destination:
https://www.joomag.com/magazine/conference-news-june-2016/0698883001464772077?short


KDM takes Brighton Pier to university campus

June 2016

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When the University of Sussex hosted 220 higher education managers at a special Summer Festival on 15 June, KDM was asked to organise an evening of fun with a distinctive seaside flavour.

The guests were all participants in the annual CUBO (College and University Business Officers) Awards, and were treated to a pre-Awards celebration – not on the beach, but at the University’s Falmer campus.

The high-profile CUBO Awards draw entrants from around the country and have previously been held in major cities such as Liverpool, London and Edinburgh.

Sussex University’s Conference Services Manager Wayne Spicer said: “For the first evening of this two-day event we wanted to showcase Brighton’s unique appeal without our guests having to leave the campus, so we decided to bring the flavour of Brighton to them.”

KDM’s event team set-up a seaside-themed photo studio, festival props and lighting, as well as a carousel, dodgems and traditional games.

After a welcome reception at the University’s ACCA Centre, guests enjoyed a cabaret performance by mind reader Alex Crow. Moving outside, they sampled a taste of the Pier with popcorn and candy floss while trying their skills on the coconut shy, crazy golf and a cork gun shooting range.  Giant flags, a stilt walker and juggler added to the carnival atmosphere.

Street Food, provided by Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services, included pulled beef baps, vegetarian baps, chorizo sausages, roasted Mediterranean vegetables, harissa tomato sauce and toasted pitta bread, Prawn Jambalaya, sweet potato and red chilli.



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