In April 2017, a major automaker held its annual dealer conference for 3,500 attendees in Las Vegas, Nevada. The brand was in crisis – the company had recently made headlines for a series of fines and litigations that had tarnished its otherwise extremely positive image. Social media enflamed the tension, ensuring the kind of word-of-mouth, nationwide coverage that would reach the company's top dealers that were attending from across the United States. That's where we come in.
The Welcome Reception was an opportunity to reconnect dealers with the brand again by celebrating both its rich history and the future success of the company. From The Heritage Lounge that honored the company's legacy to The Innovation Bar that showcased future offerings, our client's brand was the star of the experience. As guests journeyed through four uniquely designed spaces they revisited the past, connected with the present, and celebrated the future of innovation.
THE HERITAGE LOUNGE
Guests began their journey in The Heritage Lounge, a space where attention to detail and feeding into guests' subconscious would make all the difference. Working closely with the client, we procured archival, never-before-seen, black and white and sepia images to display while legacy marketing slogans were projected on the walls to provide an authentic guest experience. Aside from the imagery, we created comfortable lounge spaces that had a vintage look and feel combined with subtle branding for a cohesive look. Overall, The Heritage Lounge created a living museum that highlighted the steadfast nature of the brand along with its commitment to excellence. This great spot allowed dealers to relax and network while basking in the history that they each shared. This commonality sparked engaging conversation and an opportunity to appreciate the company in a completely immersive environment.
Yet the Welcome Reception was not only about where the company had been, it was also about where they were going. Connecting The Heritage Lounge and the futuristic Innovation Bar was a central hallway named The Passageway, which acted as a time warp to transport guests from the past to the future. This narrow hallway could have easily been overlooked as a pass-through space. However, using our creativity and ingenuity, we draped it with LED black drapery that immediately transformed the area with an "outer space" look and feel. Textured linens were added to clear chairs to speak to the timeless and weightless qualities of space. The Passageway created a transitional path that alluded to the change of time between the two ballrooms and allowed the group to pause and reflect on the brand's history before heading into the future.
THE INNOVATION BAR
After exiting The Passageway, guests moved into The Innovation Bar. This space showcased a sleek, modern design that embodied the company's commitment to the future and being on the cutting edge. In stark contrast to The Heritage Lounge, The Innovation Bar took on a lighter color palette of white with accents of blue and silver, providing a lightness and freshness to the space that complemented the overall open layout of the ballroom. Gobos were artfully placed for an updated style of brand messaging, such as "Stay Calm and Drive On," which fit with the sentiment of the event perfectly. Transforming the ballroom into The Innovation Bar provided a fresh haven and enthralled guests with a sense of enlightenment.
With just one week left until the production of their event, the client became concerned that their mostly male attendees would skip the welcome reception in favor of watching the last March Madness basketball game. Rather than try to compete with one of the most well-known tournaments in sports, we were asked to develop a creative solution and design a fourth space as a company-themed sports bar. The room was a success and wound up being standing room only due to the popularity of the March Madness game. Our team was able to take what could have been a severe threat to the event's attendance and make sure our client's extremely important message was heard.
We were also asked to accommodate a 75% seating requirement with just two ballrooms, which meant our teams had to get creative in how we balanced the client's wishes with event flow and décor concepts. Our creation of detailed floorplans and renderings not only helped our teams with planning, but also helped us demonstrate to the client how we were meeting their request. The last-minute addition of The Sports Bar became a blessing in disguise, as it allowed us to exceed our client's request for 75% seating.
As the program came to an end, we were overwhelmed with the amount of gratitude from our client and the hotel – it was beyond what we could have imagined. Our ability to produce an artistically inclined event was demonstrated clearly by how each space transformed and took on a personality of its own, while still keeping the same story in mind. Attendees gave rave reviews, saying that they had been inspired and energized with a memorable experience.
We intercepted the company at a crucial time in their history. Capturing the essence of their brand, with its rich history and influence on culture, carried a heavy responsibility of being inspiring, innovative, and all-encompassing. Setting the tone for the evening and creating nuances that engaged the guests made for a transformational evening that elevated the client's expectations with great value.
Brand crisis with your top dealers? Not anymore. Destination, Managed.