Pre-event planning: Northern Ireland-based engineering firm Kelvatek supplies a range of technology solutions to the power industry. It wanted to raise its profile by building relationships with key partners and creating a debate that would help decide the future strategy of the industry. Aurora Events & Marketing was chosen to create an invitation-only event for a select group of peers, alongside a programme committee of industry experts.
Challenges: Getting senior figures in the room for two days was essential to have discussions at the highest level, deliver commitments to sponsors and meet marketing objectives for the client. Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness was scheduled to open the event, but had to pull out at the last minute. Close liaison with the programme committee chair ensured an appropriate alternative was secured.
Solution: Aurora created an identity for the event to link it clearly but subtly with the Kelvatek brand. To attract the right delegates, the programme was tightened from three to two days, and included world-class industry speakers plus a gala dinner attended by senior government officials.
The five-star Merchant Hotel was selected for its intimate atmosphere and high-quality reputation and service, while a strict invitation protocol and careful RSVP management ensured invitations were not passed to the wrong people.
The absence of Martin McGuinness was turned to an advantage because more time could be allocated to the chair and keynote speaker. Six sessions ran across the two days, led by speakers from across the UK electricity industry.
On the Wednesday evening, there was a drinks reception and dinner at Hillsborough Castle, introduced by minister of enterprise, trade and investment Arlene Foster. Colonel Tim Collins made the after-dinner speech.
Post-event analysis: A survey revealed 90 per cent of participants rated both speakers and organisation as good, very good or excellent. Comments showed that delegates valued the sessions and networking opportunities. Kelvatek managing director Peter Cunningham says: "The event was such a success it's been the talk of the industry for months. For a high-quality, highly targeted event, the Merchant is great, and we are planning to go back in 2014."FACTFILE
Event: Acumen 2012
Group size: 75
Agency: Aurora Events & Marketing
Date: 28 February-1 March 2012
Venue: Merchant Hotel, Belfast