How was your pandemic? Ours was pretty traumatic. Beyond the incredible human toll, Covid-19 dealt a deadly blow to many businesses. As an event agency, travel bans, quarantines and social distancing threatened to undermine our entire value proposition until, that is, we realised that our value is not in ‘venues and menus’ but creating shared experiences and connections.
What is the purpose of an event, really?
When hosting luxury ‘wine and dine’ events for our client base, consisting mainly of multinational financial institutions, we obsessed over the food, the wine and the pairing. We never went anywhere without a tape measure to check the exact distance between the stage and the first VIP tables. We hand-selected everything from the flowers to the chefs and were relentless in our quest for perfection. Much as our clients appreciated it; perfection was not actually the end goal of their events. Perfection was a given, it was connections that really mattered.
In our obsessing over the details of every event, we had almost lost sight of the big picture, which was to create shared experiences that would bond our clients with their own customers, partners and staff. This is the true value of what we, at MPC Events, do and we realised there is no reason why we cannot do that online.
How does one create a truly engaging online experience?
Details still matter; online experiences have to be every bit as seamless and exacting as real life events, perhaps more so to retain attention. They should also not be restricted purely to the screen, which is why we marshalled our global network of F&B and lifestyle partners to innovate multi-sensory experiences that go beyond the bezel whilst deepening the impact of our clients’ messages. Allow me to give an example...
One of our longstanding clients wanted to host an event around family legacy planning but didn’t want it to be just another webinar. We racked our brains and came up with the concept of a wine-tasting featuring fine wines from the world’s most prestigious and storied, family-owned vineyards, each representing the legacy of a family going back centuries.
On another occasion one of our clients was forced to cancel an incentive trip to Scotland for their top performers. They came to us for a solution and we delivered a Scottish experience in a box that included a flight of premium Scotch whiskies wrapped in a tartan scarf and accompanied by traditional fudge and other gourmet treats from a Scottish, Michelin-starred chef. The gifts were delivered synchronously by our service-trained drivers in Singapore and enjoyed together, online, on a hosted call.
Who are online experiences for?
One of the surprising positives of our digital transformation is that it has brought us a whole new breed of clients beyond finance and luxury brands. The best example of this is Kerry Taste & Nutrition, a leader in taste and nutrition solutions, whom we help with new product launches, sales enablement and staff engagement activities worldwide by combining highly produced online events with synchronous delivery of their tasting kits featuring new flavours for their clients to try.
“We used to travel to our key customers and walk them through our new product tastings. Today, the pandemic has created for us a fresh, exciting platform for customer engagement . Working with MPC Events, we package and send our tasting kits around the world. Via our webinar platform that MPC Events manages, we then bring the tastings to life by introducing new beverages through live demonstrations online. As a business, we are seeing solid impact as the responses have been overwhelmingly positive,” says Simon Hague, Tea, Coffee & Cocoa EUM Lead for Kerry APMEA.
MPC Events has also developed a smaller scale, some might say more exclusive, service that can be offered to individuals as a reward or incentive. Our specially curated dining and tasting experiences allows clients to issue vouchers for private online or face-to-face tastings with award-winning chefs, sommeliers, baristas and tea masters. Voucher recipients can choose from any of these experiences and schedule it at their convenience. We even developed a custom gifting site for one client whose salesforce can select from a pre-approved, curated set of experiences to treat their own clients during CNY, moon-cake festival, Christmas or simply as a token of appreciation any time.
Don’t get us wrong, we still miss walking the venue floors with our tape measures and will gladly incorporate real life events back into our portfolio when safe to do so. For now, though, we invite you to experience something new and to offer your clients, staff and partners the same. We have transformed our events business, we can transform your events too, simply contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mpcevents.co for more.