The day after Thanksgiving I received an email from a prospective client saying, “We’re having our first sales kickoff. It’s the first week of the new year, and we’ve already booked everyone’s tickets and confirmed hotels. Everything else is yet to be done, including sourcing the venue. The event is basically a month out. Can you help?”
“Of course we can help,” I replied.
At WHISK, we receive a surprisingly large number of short-timeline requests, often for high-stake events. Even so, we believe that approaching event design and production through strategy and experience design yields a better event, and a larger return on investment (ROI) for our clients.
We recommend starting with strategy — and asking the following important questions — as a framework for designing your next milestone event:
1. What are your walk-away goals for attendees at this event?
2. Can you define your core values, your brand, and concretely describe your company culture? Great, do so.
3. What metrics are you using to measure success?
4. In the past how have you ensured that your goals pre-event are aligning with the impact you have, and what your guests are feeling, thinking, or saying when they leave the event? If you haven’t considered this before, let’s get to work.
We believe that strong events begin with a solid plan of action and foundation for the building blocks of the event. We also stand behind the power of design with creating lasting — and meaningful impact. We want our clients’ guests — be they the internal team, investors, prospective customers, or influencers — to walk away as brand evangelists. They loved your event, believe in your mission, and can’t wait to tell their friends about you.
For the sales kickoff, we started by asking the questions above, plus conducting a brand audit, and worked backwards with our client to line up the big pieces, like securing a venue, food & beverage service, audio visuals, custom-fab furniture builds, and rentals. In tandem, we concepted the guest flow pre-arrival, arrival, welcome reception, day-of, evening entertainment, and walk-away experience, focusing on designing for the micro-interactions that happen between guests.
For us, the magic lies in being able to design for the impact you want to have.
Once the structural pieces are in place, we work with clients to fine-tune the details, course correct if needed, and ensure all is aligned with brand and budget.
As a full-service creative agency, we understand the pain points of our clients. From assistance with generating brand evangelism, to attracting top talent, retention, and maintaining coherency across geography and tenure, we get it, and we know exactly how to help. We started as a company culture consultancy, and we know the power of events when they’re executed well. Together, this knowledge is value and has the power to transform brands, and their bottom line.
We work with companies who don’t have an in-house events manager andthose who do. For those who have someone in-house already, sometimes this role gets overladen with responsibilities and tasks. That was the case of the sales kickoff, as well as it being a larger event than our contact had ever been asked to produce solo.
In addition to stretching bandwidth, clients look to us because of the rich relationships (sometimes exclusive) we have with vendors in the cities in which we work. With seasoned knowledge, insights on how to stretch budgets, a fresh third-party perspective on creative ideas and ways to improve upon past events that can help shape and inform future events, and bandwidth to focus 100% on the success of your event, we provide value that impacts in ways that is unique to being brought in from outside.
At the conclusion of the sales kickoff, attendees approached us and said, “THANK you. I’m a seasoned sales manager who’s worked for some of the top sales platforms out there, and this is the best kickoff I’ve ever attended.”