This year’s Poundland conference presented a new challenge, one that they are familiar with as a business, the challenge of scale. Having successfully produced conferences for their store staff over 2 days in recent years, Poundland asked M&P to design and create a single live event day for representatives from across the business. The theme of the event was Poundland’s aims and goals on the journey towards the year 2020 – “2020Vision”so representation from the whole company was key. With almost 1200 delegates comprising Store Managers, Key Players and Head Office staff this was to be their biggest conference to date. Due to the large numbers involved there are a limited number of venues nationwide capable of hosting an event this size but we were delighted when the client chose our local ACC in Liverpool – we love to bring events to our home city!
The Event Story
In order to accommodate the numbers, and provide areas for breakout spaces, we took over the Main Hall 1 of the ACC with its huge auditorium space, full theatrical stage and additional “Drum” spaces which would revolve to become individual breakouts. Additionally, we used two of the Halls within the Exhibition Centre and created an open, relaxed catering space and a Trading Hall. Within the Catering Hall there was also an area for suppliers and a stage to present the business’s chosen charities for the year and to do some interviews with Store Managers and key Staff throughout the breaks. The Trading Hall presented an opportunity for delegates to immerse themselves in the latest products and upcoming ranges with lots of inspiration for creating in store displays to best effect.
On arrival delegates passed through registration and made their way into the Catering Hall for a welcome drink and Danish. This was also an opportunity to introduce interactive platform, Slido, to everybody with a couple of fun polls to get the day started and all the delegates involved. Once everybody was assembled and registered the group made its way over to the main auditorium in the ACC. One of the benefits of using this space within the ACC was that we had a full stage set available with flybars and curtains to allow us to produce a dramatic opening sequence to the conference.
Delegates were seated in the dark auditorium facing a blacked-out stage with just a beautifully lit, large, floating Poundland logo centre stage. The audience really got into the spirit and excitement of the opening with lots of whooping and cheering as the music built, the logo rose and curtains were raised to reveal the stage dressing of banners and the main screen which played the conference opening VT featuring some of the key markers of progress for the business over the past 18 months.
The Directors then presented the report of the business over the last 12 months and began to introduce the theme of this year’s conference, “The 3 Year Plan – 2020 vision”. After inspiring the delegates with the opportunities both now and in the future, they were ready to join breakout sessions and hear in more about the detail of their roles within the plan. This large group was split into 6 smaller groups, half of whom would spend the morning learning about retail in the Trading Hall whilst the remaining 3 smaller groups made use of the auditorium and drum spaces to hear about other aspects of the business.
One of the particularly creative innovations used was a 360 virtual shop tour of comprised of images from some of the flagship stores, to present the perfect execution of store layout and merchandising. This formed part of a presentation and represented ‘the bible’ of how a really well run store should look and operate as delegates were ‘walked through’ it.
The day closed with a Q&A session driven by the questions left throughout the day on Slido, and ended with an opportunity for some fun! Driven by an earlier Slido poll one of the directors joined in the spirit of things by dressing up as the company mascot, the Pound Hound, and dancing with some professional dancers on stage!
Throughout the process M&P worked closely with the client to achieve a high impact, large scale event within their strict budget: making the most of every minute of event day.
Working on a highly challenging budget, the team at M&P understood our requirements and the high expectation required. The team pulled out all the stops to make the event run smoothly and in budget. Many thanks to the M&P team for all the hard work.