Pre-event planning: Worldwide office supplies company Lyreco had held a two-day sales conference at the ACC Liverpool for the past two years. For 2011, it wanted to alter the format to run a smaller leadership conference on the first day, before inviting 800 delegates for an exhibition and sales conference on the second. The relationship with the venue dated back to a 'green business' fair in 2007 - prior to the ACC's opening - when they became aware of shared environmental credentials.
Objectives: As well as seeing the event - themed 'hard to beat' - as a platform for communicating its brand strategy, Lyreco also used it to strengthen the relationships between its key employees. The company itself is based in Telford, but the 800 sales staff arriving for the second day of the event were travelling from other parts of England as well as Wales, Scotland and Ireland, making Liverpool's central location an asset.
Challenges: "Herding 800 people around is no easy feat," says Helen Moran, marketing communications manager at Lyreco. "The fact that we'd used the ACC for the previous two years meant there were very few obstacles to overcome this year, but it was still a major undertaking. We were using one venue to host our leadership meeting, a supplier exhibition, the sales conference itself and two dinners. We made sure that all delegates were staying within walking distance of the centre."
Solution: Due to the change in format from the previous year's event, the client was operating on a revised budget, something the venue took into account. "We looked at how we could reduce their costs," says Nicola White, event manager at the ACC. "If there were ways we could save them a day's hire on the build, for example, we were making sure we did." For the event, the build began two days before Thursday's leadership conference, which ran until the early afternoon before time was given over to technology-based team-building activities. The client had hired its own AV company - Glasgows - which worked together with the venue's in-house team. The following morning the bulk of the delegates arived for a supplier exhibition and the plenary session of the main conference. An awards event was held to recognise Lyreco's top performers, with an evening drinks reception and gala dinner - all at the ACC.
Client verdict: "It was definitely a success," says Lyreco's Moran. "It's fair to say that the staff at the venue are very thorough and very flexible, so yes, the event attracted a lot of praise from sales people."
Post-event analysis: Following the event, a survey was sent out to all delegates, containing a series of open and closed questions. "It's too early to say exactly what the impact has been on sales but the feedback was very positive," says Moran, "The conference was a strong motivator - the key thing now is ensuring the messages stay alive for the rest of the year."
Company: Lyreco Group
Event: Leadership conference/sales conference
Group size: 150 on day one, 800 on day two
Date: 6-7 January 2011
Venue: ACC Liverpool
February/March 2010: Decision made on venue
September/October 2010: Invitations sent out to delegates
4 January 2011: Event build began
Late January: Feedback collated