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Canadian Western Bank National Leadership Conference

The mission, should we choose to accept it (which we did of course), was to guide a highly functioning but busy team to launch day for their national leadership conference. The dates were set, the theme chosen and some of the session topics approved. The ED team was tasked with managing the project timeline, the committee and developing engaging, creative digital content as well as custom packages to be delivered across the country. Oh, and the launch date (aka conference start) was only 4 weeks away.

The conference name was Fueling the Future and with the graphic design focused on space, rocket ships and astronauts our team put on our flight suits and worked long days in mission control. There is so much we could tell you about this event, and are happy to chat more sometime, but for today we’ll keep it to 3 things.

  1. Conference Packages
You’ve got to have some sustenance! And who doesn’t love cookies?!?

Creating a personal, interactive and engaging experience was key for CWB. The social aspect of this conference in past years when it was allowed in person was the highlight for many as they would only see colleagues from across the country at this one time.

When considering what to send attendees, we knew they would be expecting the traditional printed conference program, maybe a branded water bottle and a hotel branded pen and we definitely were NOT going to be doing that! Come on, who really wants another branded pen…

Some light hearted fun included in the package!

In keeping with the space theme, we created 3 separate packages for attendees to open at specific times which were written onto the package labels. When guests opened their package, they first saw a welcome to crew members message from Chris Fowler, CWB President & CEO and Mission Control (aka Tech Support) contact information.

Package 1: Pre-Flight Check

Package 2: Day 1- Ignite: We have Lift Off

Package 3: Day 2- Accelerate: Reaching Light Speed

2. Digital Assets & Production

Some of the digital assets created, in partnership with the talented crew at invert720 Productions, were a countdown video to start each conference day and a blast-off video to start sessions. Attendees were surprised from the moment the program started and knew this wasn’t just going to be another ‘Teams meeting’.

Still from the countdown video

We used invert720’s studio space where the designed LED wall matched the other design aspects of the digital event and the printed packages people received to bring a cohesive experience to guests.

Sr. AVP Kate Lister in front of the branded LED wall

Another impactful piece developed was a video compilation of CWB staff answering the same few questions. These questions related to the session topics and were used as intros to the sessions. The response from staff was great and we had many submitted videos for every question.

3. Guest Communications

We helped integrate the theme in written communications to guests leading up to the event. The attendees enjoyed the unique mission control messages they were receiving and it created anticipation and curiosity. Here are a couple examples:

  • Every successful astronaut needs to prepare for their mission. Usually this involves years of physical, mental and emotional training to be in the best-pre-flight shape for the stress of space travel. We’re not asking you to do this much pre-launch work; however; you will be receiving a few crucial items that contribute to the success of each astronaut. Click this link and provide your current, accurate, complete SHIPPING address to receive your pre-launch package in time.
  • Before each flight, many astronauts pre-record messages or write notes to friends and family to read while they are in space. We would like you to do the same! As part of your mental training for your upcoming mission aboard the CWB Rocketship, Mission Control would like you to choose 3 questions from the following list and record your answers on your smart phone. Then submit your recordings to Mission Control to create a special video.
  • This is your final system check before blast off. The deadline to register for the Fueling the Future Leadership Conference (mission!) is imminent. The ship’s systems have been double and triple checked; the fuel cells engaged and the team is moving towards the launch pad….will you be among them? If you haven’t registered, now is your last chance to complete the pre-flight information to receive crucial mission sensitive information. IF YOU DO NOT register before the deadline #TeamTeal will launch without you. You will be left, helmet in hand, staring wistfully into the stars imagining the fun your fellow astronauts will have had WITHOUT YOU!

Things we learnt that you might want to consider in planning your next event:

  1. Sending creative themed packages is great but keep in mind that you might not have all of your employee’s home addresses. Or if you do, it might be from 10+ years ago when they started with you and you will want to confirm shipping addresses as part of the registration process. This can take extra time but is worth it up front to ensure accuracy in your shipping.
  2. As with an in-person event, the guest experience starts BEFORE the event starts and it’s a great way to build anticipation and help tie your theme together from beginning to end
  3. Packaging 350 boxes, each with 3 different packages inside of them takes a lot of time and man power!
  4. Virtual events provide different opportunities for people to attend. Maybe in the past, your in-person event was only for a certain level (ex: Senior Leadership & Executive) and that was partially due to budget in flying people to one location. Now, you can consider having Managers and up and coming leaders join in virtually. This is great, but does add to the complexity of getting your invite list ready and approved.
  5. A space themed event is OUT OF THIS WORLD!