Month: September 2016

The Importance of Deep Roots

kauffman eve 3013

 

As a Kansas City company for over 20 years, we’re proud to be rooted in a strong community of arts, technology, and entrepreneurship. Looking back over the years, it is amazing to see the changes in our company and the changes in our city. Investments in the arts, entertainment, public transportation, and smart technology have made Kansas City a destination and not a stop. Our growth has paralleled this – and perhaps not coincidentally. As we have grown, we’ve invested more in technology, creativity, and logistics, transforming us in to a brand partner, not a vendor. One of our most important clients, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, has experienced the Kansas City boom right along with us, and we’re so proud to have been their partner for the last 6 years and today.

6 years ago: 1 Year 2 Go Countdown Celebration

kauffman 1 year 2 go

6 years ago, Kansas City didn’t have a dedicated arts center – the ballet, the symphony, and other performing artists were dispersed throughout the city, muting their national acclaim and talent. But the countdown was on for the opening what would become a beloved addition to the Kansas City skyline. With one year to go until the grand opening, we transformed Kansas City’s Power and Light district into a celebration of the arts and an embodiment of the excitement to come in a year’s time.

5 years ago: Kauffman Center Grand Opening

Kauffman grand opening

As part of a diverse team of event production companies from across the country, we put our heads together to create an event that would show Kansas City that the Kauffman Center had arrived. 55,000 people later, we were confident the message was received. In a two-night extravaganza highlighting both the Muriel Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall, donors from all levels as well as the general public enjoyed performances, dancing, and food and drink.

3 years ago: Eve2013

kauffman eve 3013

When you hear “performing arts center,” you don’t automatically think “New Year’s Eve bash.” But the Kauffman Center wanted to showcase its diverse capabilities – and so did we. Capitalizing on the Kauffman Center’s different performance and lobby spaces, we created an event to cater to all levels of Kansas City society – from 20-somethings looking for good drinks and great entertainment to wealthy benefactors wanting a gourmet meal and classic performances. Along with acts and bands on three different stages at once, we also partnered with Kansas City performance art collective Quixotic to wow attendees with expertly-produced dance performance, lighting, and video on a stage in the main lobby. Combined with delicious food from Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions, décor from Studio Dan Meiners, and special appearances from Kansas City royalty like Mayor Sly James, it was an event we won’t ever forget.

Today: BravoKC – Kauffman Center Turns 5, Live

kauffman bravo

Five years later, it seems as though the Kauffman Center has always been part of Kansas City – and the attendance numbers at BravoKC agreed. With more than 10,000 locals and visitors coming by throughout the night, it was both an homage to the grand opening and a look into the future of the arts in Kansas City. We strived to make the party casual, fun, and interactive. The evening featured a cake contest with local bakeries, performances from the UMKC Conservatory of the Music, lawn games, live music, and a diverse array of food from local restaurants. While the feel of the grand opening capitalized on the sheer newness and grandeur of the Kauffman Center, BravoKC felt more like a backyard barbecue. As guests talked, ate, drank, and enjoyed music and performances, it became clear that the Kauffman Center was truly part of the community.

Like the Kauffman Center, we’re honored to have grown with this city through investing in technology and creativity. For both entities, having a home in a city that has come to value risk-taking and originality is a key part in our success. It’s the focus on the future – while paying homage to the past – that has fostered such a great relationship between Wellington and the Kauffman Center, and we’re proud to have played a role in bringing these pivotal events to life.

Keeping it Local

local whiskey

The temptation when planning incentive gifts is often to immediately reach for the hottest trends or the most high-tech gadget to wow your attendees. After all, you want your trip to be unique, memorable, and high-end. But rather than going for something you could get in any store, why not look for something tied intimately to the experience – gifts with a decidedly local flair.

For a recent incentive, we were excited to take our attendees to the unique destination of the island of Fiji. The goal of the trip was to create completely unforgettable moments, right down to the gifts and gift experiences. Rather than focus on gifts anyone could get in the United States, we paid homage to the culture of Fiji through the entertainment choices and integrated gifts creating an experience as unique and memorable as the island itself. The trip was all about making sure the guests felt like they were having a truly Fijian experience. To help achieve this we set up a local artisan gift “market” on the property and arranged for guests to create their own Fijian pearl jewelry. We also wanted to include a trip to a local village where they could be presented with a traditional gift and enjoy a meal with the village chief. Attendees also took part in the Fijian tradition of giving, and presented gifts to the village children. After the trip, attendees raved that it was the most memorable they had ever had, and many still answer their phone with “Bula!,” a traditional Fijian greeting.

Gifts with local flair certainly aren’t limited to trips to tropical islands. In a recent incentive, attendees didn’t have to travel far to a unique resort in Georgia filled with southern charm and Georgian refinement. To elevate the experience of a normal beach trip, guests received high-end twists on classic southern gifts. To give attendees a long-lasting leave behind, we found a vendor that created gold-plated versions of Georgia’s state shell. In honor of the long-standing southern tradition of good spirits and sweet tea, attendees had their choice of local single barrel bourbon whiskey or high-end sweet tea concentrate, Finally, attendees received marble coasters with a map of the location they stayed at. As a reminder of the impact of their brand, endangered sea turtle nests were also adopted in each attendee’s name. These local gifts were interspersed with more traditional gifts that reflected the location and activities they chose such as Tory Burch sandals, a Nambe platter, and athletic gear for golfing, fishing, and horseback riding. Each gift was planned so that it would remind attendees of their trip and leave a positive brand impression. At the end of the incentive, guests felt they had lived a truly Georgian experience rather than simply visiting a luxury resort.

Whether your next incentive is on an exotic island or somewhere closer to home, incorporating local gifts is a sure way to win with your attendees. They get unique memories of their trip, while you can remain within your budget by keeping things local.