Month: April 2016

Color Us Impressed

Color Us Impressed

Every year, Pantone’s announcement of the color of year grabs our attention – because we’re obsessed with every aspect of events and design, right down to the specific shade of a color for inspiration.

Pantone’s color of the year is, in a way, less about the color itself and more about our commitment to staying on top of the latest trends in events and continuing to put care and attention into the little things.

This year, Pantone made a statement by choosing not one but two colors of the year: Rose Quartz and Serenity, two light shades of pink and blue. From Pantone’s official page: “Joined together, Rose Quartz and Serenity demonstrate an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace.” These colors are a stark contrast from the previous year’s Marsala, which was a rich, warm, heavy red with shades of brown.

We know firsthand that choosing a color to represent a larger idea can be difficult and time-consuming. This is something that we work with many clients on for their important events and corporate gifts but it became even more personal when we went through a re-brand. As we do with our clients one of the elements we spent significant time on was color. What would our color be? What would it say about us to clients? Potential clients? And would it reflect who we are? Though on the surface it may seem trivial, color is something that elicits an instant visceral reaction in almost everyone. Light blue makes us calm, yellows and oranges exude brightness, green evokes growth. Brands have known this for years and often design their logos and brand schemes around the emotion they hope you will have about their product. Consider the trusted blue logo of Ford, or the bright, happy red of Coca-Cola. Every detail of these, especially the colors use, matter.

In a similar way, it’s important that you use color effectively when designing events or a branded gift. What do you want your attendees to feel? Happy? Energized? Calm? Consider perusing this guide to color from Creative Bloq to get you started. Event planners have an added hurdle though – you may need to stick to specific brand colors for certain elements of the event. If this is the case, be sure to ask the brand group for the latest guide, which will include exact shades and all of the options that can be used in different situations. It’s a small step, but one that can make a big difference by adding clarity, focusing choices and avoiding any brand issues later in the game.

Par for the Course

Par for the Course

When it comes to meetings and events, trends can change at the drop of a hat. The destinations and venues that may have been popular with clients a year ago are now passé, the activities are tired and there are all new must-have gifts. But one event that never seems to go out of style is the golf incentive.

In our 20+ years of working with automotive clients, this incentive remains one of the most popular for several enduring reasons. A golf trip is an instant classic that encourages community and collaboration. The destinations are often incredibly beautiful, and the setting can be either casual or competitive. We’ve learned a lot from each golf trip we’ve done, but three pieces of advice stand out the most.

1: Location, location, location.
For a nominal fee, anyone can play a round of golf at their local club on a weekend. That’s why choosing a destination and a course that are unique is paramount to the success of the event. For many invitational golf incentives, the attendees are excellent golfers who have played on a number of top courses. Wow them by sending them to locations that have been used by the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, or U.S. Open. Your attendees will feel like tour pros and will appreciate the focus on choosing the best courses.

2: Get the right gear.
Golf, more than any other sport, has an implicit focus on the gear and not just the clubs. Most major golf courses in the United States impose an enforced dress code, and besides looking sharp is an important part of the experience. This makes a golf trip a great opportunity for gifts, branding, and gifting experiences. The options are numerous and you can be as traditional or creative as you wish. If you’re unsure of where to start, golf balls branded with your client’s logo are a classic staple. Many attendees also enjoy high-tech sport polos emblazoned with the brand or the trip logo and top of the line golf accessories like sensor-equipped golf gloves. If you’re looking to create a really memorable incentive, a full gift experience such as a club fitting or a personal lesson from a pro is a great way to make a statement.

3: Trust the experts.
No one is expecting you to have an encyclopedic knowledge of golf – but they do expect you to know where to look. When you decide on a golf course, develop a good working relationship with the professional(s) at the pro shop. If you’ve selected a really high-caliber course, the professionals working there are more likely than not seasoned experts who have spent time playing in tournaments professionally. If you’re feeling like you don’t know how to make this the best experience for your attendees, don’t be afraid to ask your contact what he or she recommends for a top-notch game of golf. Their knowledge of the course and the game combined with your planning skills will create a perfectly executed golf incentive trip.

On-Site Printing Solutions

On-Site Printing Solutions

In business, every detail matters. Things that might seem small, like an attendee’s name badge and registration process, can make or break their experience at an event.

At the very beginning of many events lies a common industry problem – how do we get attendees registered and checked-in as fast as possible? As the size of the event grows, so does the challenge. Sorting through hundreds or even thousands of name badges may no longer be an option for attendees who are in a rush and pressed for time to get to their meeting. Our extensive experience in large-scale meetings and events informed our solution to this problem through carefully utilizing technology and on-site, on-demand name badge printing. This enabled us to beat the lines and register attendees wherever they were – and have their badge ready in under 30 seconds – all from a tablet. Since then, we’ve been perfecting that process at many of our large-scale events, and we’ve learned three important things.

1: Choose and design your name badge wisely

Part of what makes our process work quickly is that we’ve blended the old and new processes to make a seamless attendee experience. Attendee badges are specifically designed in-house to be printed on-site. Our designers carefully lay out and test the badge with our printers to ensure the look and fit are exactly correct. Spending extra time up front pays off in the on-site execution.

2: Utilize technology carefully

Technology is one of the keys to any on-site printing process – but it’s important to select everything for a reason, and not just because it’s the latest tech. After ordering and extensively testing a number of badge printers in our home office for one large meeting, we made a selection that worked well with the additional technology we put in place for the registration process. Having just the right printers connected wirelessly to our tablets empowered our team to bust lines and come up to attendees wherever they were in the lobby and check-in area to provide them with a quick and painless registration process.

3: Train your staff, and don’t forget that personal touch

Despite the quick registration and abundant technology, we know from experience that a personal touch from a real person goes a long way. Providing extensive training and training resources for registration staff to make sure they were confident with the technology and the process is the base of a fast on-site execution. It might sound obvious, but never assuming knowledge and comfort with technology can be the difference between a seamless experience and on-site scrambling. The time to get comfortable with the tech is before you leave the office if possible not just before they see their first attendee walking towards them. Empower your staff to be experts so they can focus on the attendee.

Take Us Out to the Ball Game!

Take Us Out to the Ball Game!

Out of the many things we’re passionate about, two really stand out. The first would be (obviously) events, both large and small. The second is Kansas City, the place we’re proud to call our hometown.

These two passions come together for one of our favorite days of the year – the Royals opening day, this Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. This event occurs every year,  but this one is different. This year, Kansas City will be hosting opening day on a national stage as the current world champions of baseball.

Although little could top the thrill of a world series win, the efforts to keep that momentum going into opening day have been innovative and unique. As an event planning firm, we can appreciate the work that it takes to create experiences that are truly original and inspired. For some opening-day fun, the Royals tapped Kansas City-based creative agency VML to keep the ball moving (pun intended).

Kansas City is a big city with a small town feel, and VML tapped into that collaborative energy with their Relay the Way baseball toss. Over the course of just a few days, 2,500 people signed up to throw a baseball all the way from Union Station to Kauffman Stadium. This ball will then be used to throw the first pitch of the season. Keeping in line with Kansas City’s focus on tech and innovation (read: Google Fiber, Sprint’s Accelerator, the Smart City initiative), the baseball won’t just be any old ball. VML’s resident mad scientist and creative team implanted a small computer within the ball. This computer is Wi-Fi enabled, and can receive tweets and messages from fans all around the world. A donation of $1 at RelayTheWay.com to the Urban Youth Academy allows anyone to send a message for the baseball to store. After the festivities, it will be put on display at the Royals Hall of Fame.

The combination of hometown pride, technological innovation, and outside-the-box thinking are the embodiment of our city and are important characteristics for any large event. On Sunday, like the rest of Kansas City and baseball fans nation-wide, our eyes will be on opening day at The K to be a part of such a unique experience.