Bright Ideas added another BC Event Award to the trophy shelf in early November, winning the award for Best Corporate Team Building Event at the 2011 CSEME West trade show in Vancouver. Our winning entry was the Simulcast of Synergy staff awards evening, produced for a B.C. credit union with 16 branches spread across Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and the Interior. The client wanted to enhance the team-building elements of the annual staff appreciation night with a simulcast awards ceremony held in two separate locations. They chose Bright Ideas Event Coordinators to produce the event. It was a solid investment. We coordinated celebrations in two different cities, simulcasting the ceremonies at each venue, and creating a surprise team-building event with a Vegas twist that had every guest feeling like a high-roller!
The evening began with a cocktail reception, giving employees a chance to network and meet co-workers from other departments and branches. When the doors to the ballrooms opened, guests were greeted by a sumptuous buffet, beautiful floral arrangements and decor, and a small mystery. Closely guarded by Bright Ideas event staff, no one was getting a preview of a surprise hidden behind the curtains of a draped-off section of the room.
When dinner was over and desserts served, it was time for the staff awards. MCs from management hosted the ceremonies, alternating award presentations between cities. To enhance the feeling of a shared experience, the simulcast alternated between venues, with the location that was ‘on-air’ showing crowd reaction at the other venue, rather than just a big screen version of the action in front of them. This feature of the event proved to be a key to its success, building a feeling of unity and connection between the employees at both venues.
With the awards presented, it was finally time for the big surprise. The evening’s invitation had mentioned entertainment would follow the ceremonies… but nothing specific. And there was clearly something going on behind the closely-guarded black drapes. It was time for the big reveal.
Everyone was going to Vegas! At least for the next couple of hours. When the curtains parted, an illuminated ‘Casino’ sign marked the entrance, while inside large signs featured the iconic logos of famous Vegas landmarks, giant dice and playing cards enhanced the casino feel, feather bouquets gave a touch of showgirl glamour, and the blackjack dealers beckoned.
But it wasn’t every gambler for his or her self. Teamwork had some very real benefits at this event. When teams or individuals cashed in their chips they were given entry forms for the casino prizes. This was a crucial part of the team building exercise. The better a team did collectively, the more chances each individual had to win a prize. Because Bright Ideas designed this event to team up employees that didn’t work together on a day-to-day basis, it created the ideal environment to build connections between various departments and branches of the credit union. The team-building twist not only let each member of the team showcase their strengths, it built fellowship between employees who may not have ever met before the event.
The client was delighted by the success of this event. They honoured their outstanding employees, gave everyone in the organization a chance to build connections and share in company pride, and of course, they had a great time doing it! When this client chose Bright Ideas, team building success and a memorable event turned out to be a winning combination! If you’d like similar results at your next event, please give us a call or visit us online for a free, no obligation price quote.
Hillary Harris Wows With Hollywood Hot List
One of best attended presentations at the CSEME trade show was presented by Hillary Harris, the Executive Director of Special Events at the Warner Bros. Studios. Putting on large scale events that can dazzle an insider A-List requires a trend-spotter extraordinaire and Harris showed why she’s at the cutting edge of the event craft, with some expert advice for those of us lucky enough to hear her dynamic, inspiring presentation.
On the food front Harris said trends are coming and going ever faster. Meatballs and cupcakes are already out. Little pies and gelato floats are the latest food favorite. She also highlighted another recent innovation – booking top name celebrity chefs as part of the event entertainment. Harris said it’s a big hit with guests and a great way to harness star power at a surprisingly low cost.
Another trend she noted was the number of events adopting the latest fashion in restaurant dining; seating guests at long tables and creating a highly social communal dining experience.
Harris’ position with a major entertainment company means she has to stay abreast of popular culture, but she thinks it’s important for any event planner. She laughingly referred to her DVR (Digital Video Recorder) as an indispensable part of her approach. The reason? What’s hot on TV also makes for great events. The familiarity immediately creates an ideal framework to communicate the client’s message. Harris suggests looking to reality shows, modern TV musicals such as Glee, and even Youtube for inspiration.
Her final piece of advice was to see education as the new entertainment. Events featuring experts such as sommeliers, chocolate and cheese experts, and participatory experiences such as wine ‘flights’ (a tasting of a variety of wines) are a hit with guests, giving new life and variety to modern events.
That’s just a sampling of the wisdom and inspiration Hillary had to share. We’ll have a full-length interview with Hollywood’s most successful event organizer in a future edition of our newsletter.
Would You Like A Glass of Cake?
Hollywood event planner Hillary Harris raved about a delicious new flavored vodka from Pinnacle, with the unusual name of ‘Cake’. It’s a central ingredient in some very fashionable cocktails at the moment, including this sweet treat that recreates the delicious ice cream and popsicle taste of a Creamsicle®.
1 oz. Pinnacle Cake
1 oz. Pinnacle Whipped
2 oz. lemon-lime soda
2 oz. orange juice
Mix in a glass filled with ice and garnish with a cherry.
Staff Event Pick of the Month
“My favorite Bright Ideas event so far has been the Rock N Roll BBQ on the Beach. Guests loved the blast from the past 1950’s style! Classic cars, cat eye glasses, chiffon scarf decorating, even a visit from Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley! The Old Fashioned Sundae bar was also a hit – everyone was on Cloud 9! I really enjoyed the costume contest for best dressed female and male and seeing the winners awarded nostalgic 1950’s candy. Everyone had fun with the live band and got their Bop on! Oh and you can’t forget about the hula hoops – they were a blast!”
Ask An Event Planner
How do you prepare a winning contest entry?
It may seem self-evident, but the absolute first priority when entering an awards competition, is to ensure you meet every rule and criteria for your entry submission. This year’s CSEME awards saw a number of great events get disqualified because their entries didn’t include all the necessary elements. It’s big waste of your time and money to put together a proposal that can’t win because it lacks crucial information. Once you’ve completed the first draft of your entry, reread the contest rules. Can you point to a specific sentences or sections in your materials that address each judging criteria? If not, it’s time for revisions.
Why do you enter these contests?
At Bright Ideas Event Coordinators we see a real value in entering awards competitions. We feel the return on investment goes beyond just getting a trophy. When we win, being able to point to the award is an obvious addition to our marketing and promotional resources. But it helps us in other ways. We also use the materials we generate for contest entries as the basis for content to update our web presence and social media channels. With updated content one of the important ways Google measures page rankings, having content that can be cross-purposed from contest entry to marketing vehicle is a cost-effective way to assist in search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. We’re not the only people that think the effort is worthwhile, as this article from Small Business BC demonstrates.
What’s your winning formula?
We use our own version of a PPP project – Planning, Preparation, Professionals. Throughout the year we’re short listing our events and choosing which ones will be entered into competition. Next, because we know which projects we’ll be showcasing, we can start early. These projects always take a little longer than might be expected. We ensure we have some built-in wiggle room as we prepare our entry package, so there’s plenty of time to revise and improve the entry, rather than sending out hastily prepared documents as the deadline looms. Finally, we hire the expertise we need. Rather than devote staff time, a professional copywriter writes the event descriptions, summaries, and other materials judges will use to make their decision. Not only can a professional writer ‘set the scene’ with evocative prose that gives the reader a great feel for the event, they can add the persuasive elements that build a strong argument in favour of your entry.
Top Three Event Trends at CSEME (Nov 2-3, 2011)
1) Environment – Going green is now mainstream. That means companies aren’t willing to throw away their environmental and social responsibility principles just because it’s challenging to host an environmentally-responsible event. This trend was seen throughout the spectrum industry suppliers, from décor companies offering live plants and greenery in place of cut foliage, to event registration suppliers touting the use of paperless online registration solutions.
2) Education – As Hilary Harris noted, learning experiences as part of an evening’s entertainment are getting a very positive reception. While there remains a place for musicians and main stage performances at big events, increasingly these elements are being supplemented by opportunities to learn and be entertained at the same time. Know your guests’ interests. Find an entertaining expert to expand their knowledge. It’s proving a winning formula for memorable events.
3) Social Media – Online event registration company Eventbrite highlighted the big influence Facebook is having on event registrations. In fact, it’s estimated that one Facebook user’s status update or post can reach as many as 17,000 other people through friends and followers. One theory why Facebook is having such a sizable impact? Sixty percent of social media mentions come from people who have already registered, creating a built-in endorsement of the event from a trusted source.
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