60 seconds with... Virgin Media's Luke Southern

C&IT caught up with Luke Southern, Virgin Media programme director for Glasgow 2014, at C&IT's Agency Forum 2014, which is taking place at Wembley Stadium today (7 August).

Virgin Media's Luke Southern
Virgin Media's Luke Southern

What B2B activity did you do for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow? 

We hosted 250 corporate partners a day at our hospitality space at Hampden Park. We created a relaxed and informal networking space, rather than having people seated around tables for a three-course dinner. We wanted it to be quirky and fun like the Virgin brand. We had messages on the mirrors in the toilets, gave guests the opportunity to take a selfie in the stadium and, of course, provided super fast wi-fi. 

How did you incorporate your B2C messages into the B2B hospitality area?

What you do in a consumer-facing perspective, should influence what you do on the B2B side. We took the idea of supercharging the games experience from our B2C activities and brought it to the hospitality space. It depends on your brand, but the only difference for us is the level of experience we provide. For a B2B audience we need to elevate the experience ever so slightly. 

If you look at the whole experience, end to end it joined up from the guest arriving at the airport, seeing our billboards, racing Usain Bolt through to their hospitality moment at Hampden Park - it was a great journey for them.

What are your tips for creating effective brand experiences at events?

Be clear on your brand's role and goals when you approach an event. Create something relevant and be responsive - planned spontaneity is key. In brand activations, avoid replication. If you copy another idea, make sure it has your own twist on it.

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