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Things Aren’t Always What They Seem

July 2015

At Office 2015 we’ll be running an unusual training session on ‘How to Prove the Success of your Business Events’.  At first glance this could seem a bit unnecessary and already quite obvious.  Surely anyone can tell if their conference, client event or product launch went well?   In fact you might be surprised at how we (and Office) arrived at the conclusion that such a session will be of great value to event organisers.

We recently conducted some research into event evaluation and began by posing the simple question:

What does event success look like to you?

Most of us are likely to say “It was a great conference – lovely venue, great food; the speakers all turned up on time and there was lots of applause throughout the day.”  Another successful event, then.  Or was it?  We discovered that the 88% of us who do conduct post-event surveys, only skim the surface in trying to establish whether our events actually achieved their original purpose.

And the reason for this is that in many cases we have only a general idea of why the event was conceived in the first place.  Or – during the busy planning process we lose sight of that original intention because, for all the right reasons, the up-front imperative of getting the practical arrangements in place commandeers all of our attention.

Our research revealed that  ‘everyone enjoying themselves’ was quoted most often as a business event success  indicator, while getting the logistics, budget and scheduling right scored heavily as well.  These are all very valid and necessary components. But they don’t feed back to the original purpose of the event.

It was impressive that 71% of our research respondents said success meant having their event objectives met against targets.  But when we delved a little deeper to look at what those targets actually were, the answers were often rather vague.  ‘Raise staff morale’ appeared quite frequently, as did ‘Communicating business strategies’ and of course ‘Education’ (training or raising staff knowledge) was high up on the list.

But we discovered that in most instances there were no measures in place to determine just how successfully those objectives had been met.  Very few figures had been gathered to actually quantify the degree to which staff morale had been raised, or the level of understanding that had been reached after the new business strategy had been communicated. So it boiled down to a general consensus that the audience had probably understood most of what they’d been told. Not the most scientific of outcomes – and hardly likely to impress the Finance Director or the CEO!

In fact, setting goals that could be measured and monitored for business performance improvement came way down the pecking order. Only a fifth of our respondents cited the improvement of staff retention or the collection of new business initiatives, and a quarter mentioned helping to achieve sales targets.  And while goals like these could have had numerical targets set against to enable post-event analysis, they usually weren’t.

All of which led us to the conclusion that to make a business event truly successful there’s a need to retain some strategic thinking right the way through the planning and delivery process. To get some form of measurement in place that would help event planners prove the success of their event with hard numbers.

So intrigued were we by this whole issue that KDM approached the Office Show and suggested running a seminar to show event planners just how they can introduce measurement into their events.  Because to be able to demonstrate to the CEO or the Board that the event provided a real return on its objectives, will link the event organiser directly to the overall performance improvement of the business, earning considerable kudos in the process!

We’re delighted to say that the Office Show organisers jumped at our suggestion, and our seminar ‘How to Prove the Success of your Business Events’ takes place at 9.30 on Tuesday 13 October in Office Theatre 2.  We hope you’ll come along and join the discussion about measurement and evaluation, while discovering how you can add some smart thinking into the planning of your next business event.

And don’t forget that this seminar will be CPD-accredited, so you can get a CPD Certificate of Attendance if you come along.  Not only that – we’ll be on stand 9020 throughout the show and will be delighted to meet you in person. So please, save the day and we look forward to seeing you at Office 2015.

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Register to the Show FREE: www.officeshow.co.uk
Look at the seminar timetable: www.officeshow.co.uk/timetable


Brighton Festival Anyone?

November 2014

The chance to work on a truly bespoke event is always an exciting prospect, and a recent event delivered for a leading Housing Association & Developer was certainly no exception!

The brief from the client was very simple – they wanted to create an indoor festival atmosphere for their annual staff away-day for 250 guests, to be held in a unique & quirky venue.

Hence the 1st task was to source a suitable location & venue for the event, step forward Brighton Dome which is a renowned multi-arts venue located in the heart of Brighton – its origins date back over 200 years, and the character & enormity of the Corn Exchange room provided just the right environment to allow for lots of varied entertainment, food and drink to keep the group engaged over the 4 hour event.

Of course food is supremely important and as the venue is ‘dry-hire’  we worked with independent caterers to find the best solution to keep within the catering budget. Fish & Chips was the perfect menu for the day to deliver the fun informal festival theme and tie in with the venue being by the seaside!

A mix of music, live comedy, games, green screen photo studio and simulators gave the vibrant festival feel the client was looking for and we chose to book Dan Mitchell to act as both compere & comedian. Dan is a veteran of the comedy circuit appearing on a number of TV shows & didn’t disappoint on the day!

Following the serving of lunch & Dan’s stand-up set, the DJ kicked-in for the remainder of the event whilst guests enjoyed a variety of games & activities ranging from Crazy Golf & Test Your Strength, to a Rodeo Bull & Surf Simulator amongst many others. Our green screen photo studio was popular with guests enjoying posing on the Brighton Pier…whilst remaining warm and dry inside!

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On the day itself our team of 7 Event Managers were on-site from 7.30am to transform the room, set up the various games & activities along with managing the delivery of tables, caterers, comedians and DJs. As a lasting memento for the client, our staff were also able to film the event to produce a 3 minute video recap of the day – ensuring that the event will live on in the client’s memory!

Most importantly the client’s feedback was that “The event & venue were fantastic – we have had very good feedback from everyone, who all seemed to thoroughly enjoy the event”.

Now enough words! See the video of the day here


KDM Super Heroes Conference Management

March 2014

One of the world’s largest chocolate snacks companies again asked us to organise and event manage their Field Sales Super Heroes themed Conference for 2014…but with a few new twists and challenges!

1)      Their budget was reduced by 40%!
Of course the client still needed to re-create a similar atmosphere to the same high standard following the great feedback from our 2013 event. We quickly got creative with the AV, theming and entertainment for the 2 day conference to meet the client’s new budget with the elements below:

  • We calculated the amount of KDM pre-event assistance needed for PowerPoint presentation re-formatting and on-site management the day before the event. With our assistance, the client was then able to allocate to their internal resources responsibility for handling these areas.
  • The AV specification was re-worked dramatically to give a completely different feel, allowing for a more intimate setting by reducing the amount of equipment and technicians.
  • By using a multi skilled team of event staff we were able to provide the additional games for the evening entertainment at a very small nominal fee.
  • And branded personalisation of two digital Photo Studio backgrounds was completed by our KDM graphics team at no extra charge.

2)      The venue space was much smaller

But the number of guests and itinerary were still the same! We arranged a bespoke AV set to suit the room layout; including a main stage simply with the printed company logo as the backdrop and two 50” plasmas either side. Two large projector screens were also placed on either side to ensure good visibility for all delegates which overcame the room being long, thin and a tight squeeze for the numbers.

3)      The itinerary timings were a challenge, with no breathing room for enthusiastic speakers running over…However, the first presenter over ran by one hour! So with some quick amendments to breaks and other presenters’ times we managed to get the times back to the original itinerary by lunch time.  KDM Events managed the full conference providing on-site support throughout registration, syndicate rotations & main room presentations.

By preparing all the centre pieces beforehand, we managed to transform the room into a Super Hero themed dinner space in only 90 minutes. We incorporated the corporate colours of red & purple along with a bespoke ‘exploding’ centre piece featuring a comic strip themed graphic in a tall lily vase. Back by popular demand we also provided our Photo Studio with themed company backgrounds including T-Rex, Space Invasions and an Action Movie Explosion partnered by giant games including Test your Strength to complement the theme.

Day Two was full of presentations, rotations and a filming activity – leaving no time for editing or handovers. KDM provided a Camera Technician and cameras for each group during their 45 minute Hollywood taster. We then premiered the top 5 films after lunch through the AV set and PA system before handing all the videos to the client on the day.

The conclusion? The feedback received was great, with the organiser commenting that it was seamless once again, especially taking into account the entire budget, time and space challenges. Both our client and KDM were Super Heroes on this event!

Get in touch with us if you’d more information on how we can help you with your next event.

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A Star is Born!

August 2013

We recently had the privilege of having a charming work experience high school student with us for a week this summer.

When 15-year-old Hope phoned in and asked to speak with Kevin our MD, he was so impressed that she had called in person to inquire about a placement that he agreed immediately!   So, we organised a week full of event, website and marketing administration for Hope, then asked her to write a short blog about it:

“My experience at KDM was amazing! I’ve always wanted to be an event manager so this just made me even surer that is what I want to do.

When KDM agreed to let me do a week of work experience with them I was overjoyed. On my first day everyone introduced themselves and made me feel like I was an actual part of the work team. They gave me my own desk and made sure I felt comfortable to ask them if I needed help with anything.

One of the best parts of the week was when I got asked to order some fancy dress products which meant that I got to browse the web to choose the products as well as ringing up the supplier to see if the products were available.

There was never a dull day, all week I was occupied with something to do from looking at venues to taking photos of some of the table theming props”

If she is anything to go by, it’s very encouraging to know that there are young people as motivated, capable and personable as Hope that will be entering the workplace in the near future.

In fact, she was so great that we asked her to come in to help us finish a stock control catalogue project for a second week. We hope (!) to see more of Hope if she decides to pursue a career in events as she was a delight to work with.


Big Dreams!

August 2013

2013 is the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s inspirational ‘I have a dream’ speech that changed the world as we know it. Whilst most of us won’t need to have such an incredible vision for our corporate events, we do all have goals and objectives that we aspire to achieve. So here are our top 3 tips for helping turn your event visions into reality.   

1)      Set measurable event objectives. So often we can plough straight ahead into the logistics and detail of an event without stopping to clearly identify what makes the event a necessary business activity and what success will look like. Defining exactly why you want to hold the event and what has to happen as a direct result helps to avoid burning budget and time. Once the objectives have been defined, setting related targets and ways to measure them should be straightforward – the less complicated the better! Very often, an entire brief can change as a result of pausing to consider the desired outcomes of an event. For example, we recently spoke with a client who wanted to run their annual conference at a business style venue with a full day of presentations, sit down 3-course dinner and a comedian. When they stopped to consider that they had 20% less budget than last year and the event needed to be an opportunity for the guests to network, share best practise ideas and take latest business developments back to their departments they realised they needed to redesign their format.  The final event was a relaxed country house affair, exclusive meeting spaces, shorter presentations and lots of networking opportunities during drinks and a BBQ dinner on the terrace. Their event results? Total costs came in £1000 under budget and they achieved scores of 90% (against targets of 85%) rating the event content, format and application back in the workplace.

2)      Think like your audience. We can all fall into the trap of organising the style of event that we would like, the food we like, the entertainment we like, the venues we like…you get the picture! Finding out what the audience appreciates makes all the difference to the success of an event. For example, considering the age range of your attendees is an obvious start. People are retiring much later in life, the demographics of the workplace is changing and so the entertainment you offer may need to reflect a more travelled, experienced delegate. Understanding your guests will go a long way in delivering the professional, memorable event you need. You could also avoid making mistakes such as the occasion our client booked dancing ‘Santa’s Elves’ for their Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, the elves were very scantily clad girls and the audience was employees and their partners!

3)      Dream big and then scale down. I’m not suggesting you go crazy imagining you can achieve a Blenheim Palace backdrop, Take That as your after-dinner band and Cartier gift bags for a budget of £100 per person! But thinking of the very best style, atmosphere and feel for your audience (an unrestricted budget wish list if you like) helps to take the barriers off thinking to explore unlimited possibilities. That way, you can imagine an effect that you’d like to have on your audience … then discover the best way to achieve it with the available budget. Remember, your guests won’t know that you imagined flying them on a private jet to Barbados to enjoy the amazing Crop Festival … but they will appreciate the VIP Concorde Flight invitations, airport styled check in at pre-dinner drinks,  Coral Reef themed bar with rum cocktails, ‘beach’ dressed dining areas, seafood BBQ and Rio style costume parade. (Before you think I’m hopelessly out of date, Barbados’ airport is home to Alpha Echo, one of BA’s old Concorde aircraft, and it’s been turned into an all-singing, all-dancing visitor attraction!)

Hopefully, these pointers will help you achieve all your goals when you’re planning your next event. But, if you’d also like a little more specific assistance then we’d love to hear from you!

Author: Nicky Wrighte, Commercial Director at KDM Events


Bribery Act – Not Again Please!!

July 2012

The Bribery Act came into force in 2011 and all the event industry talking heads promptly went into overdrive rambling on and on bemoaning the imminent end of the corporate hospitality industry.

Obviously we all know that the purpose of the act was twofold, namely:

1. Discourage dodgy builders from slipping brown envelopes into the sweaty hand of a grasping local authority luminary.

2. Prevent the British Arms Industry from being able to compete with their American and French competitors in generating overseas orders and consequently add to the decline of British manufacturing jobs.

Despite our lords and masters in Whitehall making this blindingly obvious the lawyers saw the £££ signs, the pen-pushers took the opportunity to find another way to hinder their sales force from selling widgets, and the self-proclaimed ‘voices of the events industry’ saw another opportunity to bore the pants off us all by talking complete twaddle.

Surely it’s obvious to anybody with enough nous to be able to work out which end of a toothbrush you clean your teeth with exactly what is and what is not a bribe?

Which brings me to the point. I know they’ve got to write about something but why oh why is the front cover of this month’s Meetings and Incentive Travel magazine trumpeting yet another article on the subject? Don’t ask me what it said as I don’t know. All I do know is that the red mist descended and I threw that highly respected publication at the paper basket. And missed.

Kevin


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

December 2011

This will be last blog for 2011. The next time I write it will be 2012!

There are only 5 working hours left and then the KDM office will close for the Christmas and New Year break – although Kevin is likely to pop in to the office as he’s a bit of a workaholic!!

Here at KDM we’ve had a great year – we’ve worked with some great clients (both old and new), had some weird and wonderful enquiries and created some excellent events (even if we say so ourselves).

Here are our highlights of 2011:

1. New Recruits – 2011 saw four new recruits as Claire, Katie, Jo and Vivian all joined the company. All recruits have settled in very nicely and now very much part of the KDM team.

2. BIG Product Launch – Between 26th May and 21st July 2011 KDM managed the UK wide product launch for a leading boiler manufacturer, with 24 events at different locations in 8 weeks. Regarded as a great success across the company and within the industry, the client has proposed to realign their marketing budget away from exhibitions to live events as a more successful means of communication with installers in line with feedback from the event.

3. Emerald Partner Status with Donna Louise Trust – KDM have donated over £10,000 to the charity, which provides a range of specialist care and support for children with a shortened life expectancy and their families, over the last two years including supporting them with their annual summer ball.

4. New Website – OK so it hasn’t been launched to the general public yet but work on the brand new KDM website started in earnest at the end of June and will be launched (fingers crossed) in early 2012.

5. Charity Support – KDM have been proud to support a number of charities with their fundraising efforts including the British Heart Foundation, the Donna Louise Trust, Breast Cancer Awareness, Children in Need, Comic Relief, the Poppy Appeal and Douglas Macmillan.

6. New Events – Weird and wonderful enquiries meant KDM developed the following new team building events, corporate entertainment and themed events and parties: Olympian Challenge, Rollercoaster (hour long icebreaker), Fairyball Themed Evening, Cirque du Soleil Theme Evening (including Rope Performer and Accordion Player), Jazzmatazz Charity Summer Ball, Dry Stone Walling (client’s fixed a wall on the Chatsworth Estate), Artistic Challenge (teams recreate works of art such as Birth of Venus by Botticelli and yes guests do take their kit off!).

7. Over 500 Events – KDM prepared, planned, organised, managed and ran over 500 events in 2011 – we’re hoping for even more in 2012

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year on behalf of everyone at KDM Events!


Fat Friday Gets A Pink Make Over In Aid Of Breast Cancer Research

October 2011

All Fridays are ‘Fat Fridays’ in the KDM Office but Friday 28th October had a pink make over in aid of breast cancer research, raising £100 for the charity in the process.

Cakes and cookies outnumbered people for a time, admittedly not for long, as the goodies were scoffed pretty quickly! In the great KDM bake off there was stiff competition from Katie’s fairy cakes, Caroline’s cup cakes and a Blog Writer’s chocolate and cherry cookies but the KDM winner’s medal must go to Claire for her excellent pink monsters!

Jo created a fabulous pink pig and everyone took part in a game of ‘pin the tail on the pig’ in a twist on more traditional ‘pin the tail on the donkey.’ The prize for which was a bottle of rosé (pink for those less well educated) wine. Though his tail was placed closer to the pig’s snout, Kevin definitely looked the best in the flowery pink scarf that was used as the blindfold!
Having accepted the challenge of filling a jar with pink sweets to play ‘guess how many pink sweets in the jar’ game Katie actually delegated the task to her younger sister so she could have the chance of winning the jar of pink sweets! Her plot succeeded as she guessed 124 sweets which came closest to the 133 contained within the jar. Katie made a ‘Brownie promise’ that she didn’t cheat her way to victory. I’ll leave it to you to decide. Luck was clearly with Katie on Friday as she was also victorious in the ‘what’s next on the washing line’ game with her guess of a tutu!

In the midst of all the pink, cake, monsters and pigs let’s not forget what we did all the fundraising for. The Wear it Pink breast cancer campaign and the funds raised supports pioneering breast cancer research with the greatest potential to save and improve lives and, ultimately, find a cure for breast cancer. One in three people are affected by cancer at some point in their lives so we can be sure that cancer isn’t just something that happens to other people. Having been affected myself by cancer, a close family member was diagnosed last year; I’ll give any support I can to research which may, one day, develop a cure for cancer.


What is Colin without the ‘L’?

October 2011

How many other jobs will have you standing in Manchester dressed as a pound coin?

On 12 dates between 12th September and 14th October KDM provided PR staff to celebrate the introduction of current account servicing for Co-operative account holders that can now use Britannia branches for their everyday banking.

As part of a nationwide launch KDM provided two staff members – one of whom was a chaperone for the other member of staff who was dressed in a pound costume!

The staff travelled to Britannia branches around the country, concluding with Wolstanton on the 14th October, to hand out logoed chocolate coins outside the branch, entertain the children and encourage customers into the bank.

As you can imagine, all event staff fought for the role of Pound Coin but it was Colin who secured the coveted position for the most dates!

So whatever you’re organising whether it be a corporate event, product launch or conference we’ll be able to help and we’ll do it with a smile on our face – regardless of the costume you want us to wear!

PLEASE NOTE KDM do not own this costume – it was custom made by the client. We simply supply the promotional staff to wear the outfits.


Corporate Event Thank-you!

October 2010

Feedback from our clients is always very welcome but I was really pleased when Sarah Fitz received this email from our client – the Personal Assistant to the Finance Director of one of the UK’s major food wholesalers following our organising of their corporate event. Why was I so pleased? – because it compliments us succinctly about the area we care about most passionately – our people and the quality of good, personal service they give to all of our clients.

Well done guys.

“Sarah,

Thanks again for all the work that you did for us on the run up to the booking.
Also a big thanks on behalf of all the team – the night was a great success!

Darren organised the evening brilliantly and was a great asset to your business.
Please send him our thanks as well.

I look forward to speaking to you next summer!

All the best,

Rachel”



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