Pre-event planning: The Toyota Conference is a closed event with an invited audience where new cars are on show and key messages cascaded to those working in and around the brand in the UK.
Previously the car brand had only hosted a dealership conference, which has taken place at the NEC for the last three years, but in 2011 it decided to change the format slightly and get more value out of the event.
The conference was split over three days to accommodate three audiences - staff, retailer and fleet. This was done to make each element unique and relevant to attendees.
Objectives: The main objective of Toyota was to fully immerse all delegates into the future plans of the company. It also presented 11 new cars and reinforced brand messages, which was particularly important in 2011 given the re-launch of Toyota to a younger audience.
Challenges: With two months to go, Toyota decided to extend the length of the event.
The previously contracted hall at the NEC was unavailable for the extra time required. The unique nature of 2011's event, as opposed to previous conferences, also created requirements for a variety of spaces, from the large halls to small studio environments.
Solution: Moving the event to another hall at the NEC, with much higher ceilings and greater floor space, enabled the organisers to rethink the design and use of the space.
"The hall change and major redesign could have caused last-minute disruption but it turned out to be a happy turn of events for Toyota, and the result was an extraordinary industry showcase for the brand," says Kathy Male, account manager at the NEC.
Arriving in Birmingham on day one were 360 delegates, made up of permanent staff and contractors - including five coach-loads of colleagues from Toyota's headquarters in Epsom, Surrey.
The objective of the staff element was to deliver unique content to showcase the brand and motivate colleagues. This was followed after lunch with an engagement session held in the dining area.
Day two played host to the national conference for Toyota's UK retailer network and included more in-depth sessions about the new range of vehicles and future brand developments. Around 800 delegates attended this conference.
Day three was exclusively about fleet business and covered both Toyota and Toyota's luxury brand, Lexus. This conference attracted around 600 attendees.
Client verdict: "The 2011 conference was a significant challenge for all concerned with the requirement to deliver three distinctly different conferences to three diverse audiences," says Lance Bates, manager, experiential and events at Toyota GB.
"However the 'blank canvas' of the NEC allowed us, together with our production company, LGA, to deliver a solution that received hugely positive feedback from those who attended."
Post-event analysis: Overall, 72% of delegates rated the event as very good, with 98% saying the NEC was a good location for the national conference. 79% of delegates rated the content of part one of the presentation as very good and 73% rated the content of the presentation of part two as very good.
Company: Toyota GB
Event: Toyota GB Conference
Group size: 1,800
Agency: Laing Gale & Associates
Date: 30 November - 2 December 2011
Venue: NEC Birmingham