It’s never to early to think about the office Christmas party.

Christmas is a truly special time of year, we love it here in the office, and we’re not ashamed to admit that the playlist often starts earlier than it should.

There’s something special about the festive season, people are genuinely happier, and reflective about the past year. So, perhaps it’s the best time for you to consider celebrating this year’s business success, by holding a festive party for your employees.

Your staff have worked hard, they’ve smashed targets and you want to celebrate that success. A Christmas party could be the best way to engage your staff after a year of hard work, and spread a little festive magic.

It’s important to recognise when your staff have performed well. By celebrating their achievement in style with a festive party you can go all out — and what better excuse is there other than Christmas?

You could also use the occasion to hold a recognition event to highlight any outstanding achievements you may have had in the past year. After all, a well-rewarded and engaged workforce is a more motivated workforce.

It’s never too early to start thinking about your staff Christmas party, bear in mind that a lot of venues book out quickly, sometimes as early as January, so it’s never too early to start planning.

Christmas too busy for your business, but you still want tocelebrate the season? Why not try a Nightmare before Christmas party, a bit earlier? That’s certainly something we’d love to help you with.

What Makes A Meme So Addictive That You Never Want To Miss One?

We love YouTube here in the office, it’s a great tool for learning new skills, keeping up with trends and learning more about the world around us.

One billion hours of YouTube is watched worldwide every day, and some of the content created on YouTube has gone on to influence traditional media.

How does YouTube infiltrate the everyday world, well its often via a Meme (pronounced Meem, with a long E sound)? I’m sure you have seen videos of the Mannequin challenge, either via Facebook, or a TV show has done their own? Well, that’s how something becomes a meme.

We’ve always had Meme’s, I’m sure you know the famous Keep Calm and Carry on trend, well that’s very much a meme these days and one that designers often use with clever and dramatic effect.

YouTube is especially important in propagating meme’s, YouTube celebrities are even called influencers because they have the power to influence culture and people’s habits.

And this is what they take over, people want to be in with the cool kids, remember when Ellen took a Selfie at the Oscars? Well when you watch awards show these days, or go to a concert, it’s almost standard for the person on the main stage to take a selfie now. Ellen made it cool! And everyone wants in.

Using a meme can be a great tool for conveying messaging during your event, they are often fun, and a great rallying point for delegates. However, they can also be used to share and create a story. Perhaps think about asking your delegates to join in on the current meme or viral sensation when they are attending your event.

A well-executed meme will resonate with people, both attending and not attending, however one thing to keep in mind is the timing, your Meme has to be relevant. A lot of these memes can come and go in the space of a few weeks and overstay their welcome (we’re looking at you Harlem Shake).

Last week VidCon took place in America, a three-day celebration of all things YouTube, and for us, one particular highlight came from BuzzFeeds Try Guys, who made a pretty spectacular tribute to all things Meme and Viral, and we thought we’d share it with you. See if you can recognise some of the meme’s and characters.

Inspiration Tuesday: Perfume – Everyday

As an event design and production company we try to keep ourselves inspired all the time. One of the larger sources of inspiration often comes from the music industry. Music videos can often set trends for the music at our events, the visuals can inspire set design, lighting and staging, even the event literature design.

One of my personal favourite inspirations is a Japanese pop group called Perfume. They often merge digital design and live performance to create visual masterpieces. Their work in video mapping, use of drones as part of their music performance, augmented realtiy as part of a live and broadcast performance, the list really does go on.

This is their latest song, a commercial tie in for Panasonic's new Awa (Bubble) washing machines (don't ask, just accept that in Japan commercials are done very differently). The song is the perfect summer song, giving visions of being on holiday near a beach enjoying the Sun, sea and cocktails.

However the big stand out for me during this commercial is the brilliant use of lighting and stage design. The flouting clouds overhead synched in time with the music, the fun and fluffy clouds surrounding the stage with internal lighting pulsing with the dance performance all come together to create a simple and fun performance that really stands out.

I can see this type of staging also working if applied to a corporate event, such as an awards ceremony or inspiring and themed conference.

Its important to be open to inspiration when designing events, the smallest thing can spark a vision for the whole event.

While my love of Perfume is very niche, their creative designs and production can often times inspire the creative process and help move and event idea forward.

If your planning and event and need some help with the creative elements, please do get in touch, we'd love to chat with you and see if we can inspire your events.

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Every Role a Starring Role – The Showcaller

This is the start of a series we’re running called Every Role a Starring Role. There’s often a little misunderstanding in what goes into event planning. So, we thought we would shed some light on a few of the people behind the roles that help make your events shine.

The first role we’d like to take a look at is the Showcaller. This is the person who’ll run your ship on the day. The Showcaller holds the show together. They often sit with the technical staff during the conference or award ceremony and ensure that the musical and lighting cues are fired at the right time. They also make sure that the video before the cue is on time and at the right place in the script. Is the right microphone on for the MC to introduce the video? That’s the kind of question the Showcaller will answer.

Good events happen though strong communication, and the Showcaller is the person who communicates to the whole technical team, front of house staff, catering and the entertainment — ensuring they all know what’s required and when.

We love working with great Showcallers at Kierex Event Production as they really are essential to ensuring that everyone knows where they should be, and what they should be doing during the show. They really help ensure that our clients’ events run perfectly.

Heres a video from Grease Live thats should help show you what a Showcaller does. Here the Associate Director is calling cameras for the live broadcast, she has to count down in time to the music to ensure the correct camera is selected at the right time.

In addition to this there would also be a stage manager calling the same cues, but for on stage action, they would make sure the dancers, props and lighting cues are in sync with the camera action, but we hope this gives you a better understanding of what a Showcaller does when they are on site for your events.  

Recognition events: Are you recognising the success in your business?

It’s important for any HR Manager to find a way to promote continuous improvement within their organisation. However, it’s often hard to acknowledge this and generate enough interest with your staff.

The best way we have seen to achieve this is by holding an awards night — celebrating the achievements of your workforce by holding a ceremony dedicated to their hard work.

Your workforce is sure to be motivated if they know they can look forward to a Gala party thrown for them. Also from an employee engagement, what better way to showcase your amazing talent in house than giving them the spotlight for the day.

We have also worked with clients who have leveraged the cost of having a venue and production for the day to hold two events. One during the day for internal staff, to recognise their achievements. Then one in the evening to host a gala dinner for a targeted list of clients and business partners. It’s a great way to help promote the business, and impress your clients.

This way it’s possible to share the cost against the marketing and HR budget, and to only take senior members out of the business for one day, rather than two, or more.

Why you should be thinking of pop-up events as part of your marketing plan.

In this day and age, consumers don’t have the time to research their next big purchase, they won’t go looking for it — they want it to find them.

If you’re struggling to gain traction with your brand and want to stand out in the right way, have you thought about creating a pop-up event?

The high street isn’t just for selling, it’s for experiencing. Shoppers are always willing to try new things whilst shopping. After all, that’s the main reason they are out and about — to look at, and purchase new things. So why not place your brand, or latest campaign, in front of them at a time they are most willing to engage.

It can be surprisingly cost-effective to take over a retail unit for a day, or even a week, and gain high-street appeal for your business.

One thing to bear in mind is that you don’t necessarily need to sell at a pop-up event. Instead, try to think of new ways you can engage with your potential customers. Think of it as more building brand loyalty, than generating hard sales during the pop-up.

PlayStation recently utilised this marketing method to promote the PlayStation VR with a pop-up event before its launch. It took over retail spaces across the UK for a week, allowing potential customers to pop in and try the new PlayStation VR Hardware.

PlayStation leveraged its social media platforms to generate hype beforehand and kept that dialogue open whilst the events were running, but also benefited from general public footfall. They didn’t sell anything at the event, just allowed people to see the technology in action and created a slick branded space.

This method also works well for those of you in the service industry. Think about creating a chilled-out space where weary shoppers can recuperate and rest while passively experiencing your brand. Not having a hard sales approach will often cause shoppers to let their guard down. They’ll open up more during a conversation over a free coffee, than when they’re being bombarded with a sales pitch.

If you’re responsible for the marketing spend for your brand, then it’s seriously worth considering a pop-up event. They can be a great way to engage with your customers and gain a presence.

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss whether pop-up events could work for you, please feel free to drop us a line, we’d love to chat though your ideas and see if there is a way to bring your brand to life on a high street near you, or around the country.

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How a love of Disney inspired me to start working in events

Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that it doesn’t take me too long to bring up my love for all things Disney. I’m never happier then when I’m planning my next holiday to a Disney Park somewhere in the world. So far, I’ve been to parks in Florida, California and Paris (and spent my honeymoon aboard the Disney Fantasy in the Caribbean). I still have yet to visit the parks in Asia, so currently planning a visit to Japan, Hong Kong and China to complete the set.

While I love nothing more than relaxing my way down Main Street USA, it’s had a profound effect on my professional life. You see, my first ever trip to Walt Disney World was the inspiration behind why I wanted to work in the events industry. 

It was 2002, during “100 Years of Magic” — a celebration of Walt Disney’s 100th birthday. The resort was celebrating the legacy of Walt Disney and his films, and his vision for the parks. I was inspired from the get go by the sheer scale and size of the resort, but also the attention to detail, every facet is planned out and executed to such a high level. I was hooked and wanted to know more about how and why he was so driven to create “The Happiest Place on Earth”.

I spent many hours researching behind the scenes of the resorts, the creative process of the people who bring the attractions, parade and shows to life. I read books about “The Disney Difference” — the way Disney pioneered its world-renowned customer service.

I could go on and on. Nobody does it like Disney, and this inspired me. I wanted to bring the “magic” to life anyway that I could, so found myself gravitating towards the live event industry.

I love nothing more than watching people’s expressions as they experience an event in person; the way people’s eyes light up when they first walk into a room and see the set, stage and lighting. I love the way music can bring back memories and emotions for people, or when guests watch the opening video (or in Disney Speak the Pre-Show) and get inspired for the day ahead.

These are all skills and things that the Disney Parks do on a daily basis, and the inspiration I use to help ensure that all the events I work on are as impactful as possible, for my clients, and for the guests of the event.