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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.

Corporate Team Building Event: The Crystal Mazed Mobile Experience

September 2016

We’ve all been there! It’s your annual Conference and Company Party, you’ve spent the day discussing how brilliantly you all performed last year (which is why you’re here getting treated like royalty in this fabulous location) and finding out about the great new ideas the Company is going to be moving forward with.

Cue, team building activity to cement the great working relationships you’ve built and generate new levels of company values and trust. The day’s enjoyable and team spirit is at an all-time high, and you know what to expect from the team building event ahead… or do you?

This team were very pleasantly surprised to learn upon arrival at the outdoor activity field, that this year, their team building event was to be quite the new experience!

Following the high-profile launch of Central London’s The Crystal Maze Experience, the Event Organisers had sourced KDM’s The Crystal Mazed Mobile Experience to come to them, all of the problem solving, time pressure and cash grabbing frenzy of the classic TV show was right here at their annual conference to set the fun, competitive tone of the day and re-energise the team ready for an evening of corporate entertainment.

The success of The Crystal Mazed comes down to the way it was designed & developed, to be completely mobile. Very few delegates expect to leave their conference room and find the Aztec, Medieval & Industrial / Futuristic Zones set up on it’s doorstep with a custom built Cash Grabber providing the finale to outdo all finales!

Following on from their day navigating the maze to arrive in the Cash Grabber catching as many golden tickets as possible in 60 seconds, the excited team had some lovely feedback about the event to share:

“Last week went great – everyone loved it so thank you so much for it all . . .”

“Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the events last Thursday. They LOVED Crystal Mazed, they really liked that it was a mix of physical & mental activities & they loved the cash grabber finale (apart from Ann, she got disqualified!) ”

It’s not surprising The Crystal Mazed has become so popular, it’s been all over the UK in recent weeks including appearances at Cranage Hall in Cheshire, Burnham Beeches Hotel in Buckinghamshire, Cambridge, Birmingham even down to Surrey.

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting mobile team building event like the Crystal Mazed, get in touch with us for more information.

The Crystal Mazed Mobile Experience Team Building Activity Load the cannon!

The Crystal Mazed Mobile Team Building Activity Experience for Corporate Team Building Events

Enter the Futuristic Zone

The Crystal Mazed Mobile Experience Team Building Activity

Cash grabber finale!

The Kings Guard

The Kings Guard

Event Management Made Easy With Nothing Left To Chance

August 2016

For most event organisers, when the day or evening arrives, the result of months of hard work, meticulous planning and endless calls to various companies confirming space requirements and timings, the last thing on their mind is sitting back and enjoying the fruits of their labour because they still have hours of coordinating, question answering and service nudging to get through before the event is over and they can finally relax.

It doesn’t have to be that way – as was discovered by one of our most recent Event Management clients – how? Let us explain:

Johnson Tiles are a manufacturer & supplier of ceramic and porcelain tiles to architects and designers all over the world. Sharon at Johnson Tiles organises their events carefully year on year, choosing a suitable venue, sourcing great suppliers and being there on the night to make sure it all runs nicely, to schedule and without issue.

End to End Event Management for Corporate Events, Conferences andCompany Away Days

This year, Sharon got in touch with KDM and asked us to help out by providing evening entertainment in the form of casino tables. While we were discussing the requirements we let slip that, as with many of the venues across the UK, we have first-hand knowledge of and strong working relationship with her chosen venue; the Best Western Stoke-On-Trent Moat House. This led to KDM taking on a much broader role in the planning, production & management of the event.

We provided planning assistance, a complete AV set with double screens, technicians and music, pre-dinner entertainment; magicians and caricaturists, Roulette, Black Jack & Stud Poker Tables with giant props to add to the mood set by our favourite DJ and we managed the whole event from start to finish to ensure it ran beautifully, to schedule, without a hitch.

Sharon didn’t need to worry about a thing!

We plan over 500 events every year at conference venues, hotels and specialist team building activity venues across the country, so we get to know these venues and their respective spaces, accesses and conference staff pretty well.

And that’s our entire secret, that’s how we manage events so well and put our clients at ease, we’ve amassed a huge amount of knowledge and with that we can happily provide every assurance that your event will run exactly to plan.

Sharon was delighted with the success of her event, and here’s what she had to say afterwards:

“Absolutely awesome – not one single hitch, everything ran seamlessly – a great bunch of guys.  My thanks to them and you, Jane.”

So, to avoid the worry of no-shows, late suppliers and equipment not fitting through the door, give us a call and let us handle the details while you prepare to enjoy the event.

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Getting The 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 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

Meetpie Cover Our Latest Product Releases

June 2016

Meetpie_Logo

We are helping delegates tap into their inner celebrity in team bonding – launching two new products that sees participants star in their own on-screen productions. Read Meetpie’s coverage here: http://www.meetpie.com/Modules/NewsModule/newsdetails.aspx?t=KDM-Events-unveils-on-screen-team-bonding&newsid=23020

 

 

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.

Launch of Brand New Team Build Options – KDM in the News

May 2016

C&it

 

2 fantastic brand new outdoor team event options were released this month. The Hungry Games, puts teams in the world of arena survival, while Crystal Mazed transports participants to Aztec, medieval, and futuristic zones to complete themed challenges.  Read C&IT’s coverage here http://www.citmagazine.com/article/1393635/kdm-events-launches-hunger-games-themed-teambuilding-activity?platform=hootsuite

 

Adding Values through Focussed Team Building

May 2016

Team building activities are a great way of helping embed new values as part of an organisational rebrand. But don’t just take our word for it…

About our client
A new client for KDM, this financial services organisation was looking to create an extra level of communication for its annual Company Away Day. The organisation was rebranding and launching new values that needed to be understood and embraced by, its staff.

The brief
Our mission was to devise a suite of team building activities for the 200-strong workforce, directly linked to the organisation’s three new values: Collaborative, Challenging and Accountable.  These would form the core content of the Away Day – taking place at 155 Bishopsgate, one of London’s state-of-the-art conference and event venues.

To boost interaction and engagement, a competitive element to the team activities would provide the content for an awards presentation to round-off the day.

KDM’s Response
We split participants into three groups that would in-turn experience three distinct team building activities, each tailored to bring out the organisation’s new values.  These were ‘Harmonize’ – a session where the teams were trained by vocal coaches to become a choir, providing the ultimate Collaborative experience.  To Challenge them, the second session gave the groups a series of creative tasks incorporating business outcomes and calling for planning capability and logic.  Reflecting the third value, Accountable, teams competed against a ticking clock, having chosen their own challenges from a menu of 50 options carrying varying degrees of complexity and weighted score values.

The grand finale saw the three groups come together to sing ‘Dancing in the Street’ with perfect harmony achieved – in all senses of the word. Ending the day on a high, the awards presentation provided a joyous celebration of the groups’ successes.

Creative team building challenge participantsCorporate Event ParticipantsInnovative Team Building Activity - Harmonize, focusing on the results of collaborationEmployees participating in team building challenges, focussing on accountability

Outcome

The participants experienced their organisation’s new values in an atmosphere of fun and positivity while completing team building activities.

Our client’s early apprehension at working with KDM for the first time was allayed by the careful attention given at the event planning stage by our event manager, enabling him to fully understand and interpret the brief.  In describing our team as “motivated and professional”, the client said they “created real excitement to each activity” on the day.

If you need help with team building focussing on a specific outcome, feel free to contact us.

PS: With a scant 20-minute window to unload equipment into the event venue, KDM’s event delivery team successfully beat its own logistics challenge!


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