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Rocking the Paradox of Event Planning


Rocking-the-Paradox-of-Event-Planning1-300x200An article on Rock Your Paradox got us thinking about the contradictions of being an event planner. Being a successful eventor means having a diary packed full of lovely events and challenges. But also with the feeling that it’s already November but instead it’s April – it’s an intense job. That said; we wouldn’t change a thing. Plus, with the help of great suppliers and amazing clients, we’ve rocked 2017 so far (if we do say so ourselves) ups and downs, blisters and all.

The three most innovative events we’ve done this year have been character-building in the sense that good event planners go all-out to problem solve, so we’re constantly  kept on our toes by jobs which include additional real-time client requests and curve balls. But theSQUAD’s philosophy is to make every event the best it can be, so here are some of the (slightly paradoxical) learnings from our recent work.

Away Event = More Preparation PLUS Great Participation
Rocking-the-Paradox-of-Event-Planning-11Prepping for an away event (and getting sign-off on the job only six days before) takes a bit of fine tuning, planning and team work. Especially when your Rio Carnival theme includes: pyrotechnics, dancers, choreographers, drummers and props.

The flip side of this is the magic created when you take people away from their known environment. It encourages them to relax and let their hair down a bit (or a lot, in some cases). Creating an event that people love and making it truly memorable makes up for the extra work involved in eventing away from home.

Smaller Budget = Deep Creative PLUS Effective Engagement


Designing events on a smaller budget don’t have to be less effective. We proved this recently with one of our most innovative clients, YUM! They’re marketing maestros who’ve challenged us on big jobs, but we recently produced something smaller for them.  The internal launch of the Creation Burger for KFC.

With a relatively small budget, combined with an awesome client who trusts us, we created a memorable artisanal experience. Launching to their internal team, using their own office space and the element of surprise when 40 waiters paraded out to the staff to reveal the new creations. How does make-your-own eating experience of avocado, BBQ , smoked hickory, crouton and spicy jalapeno sound? With the freshest, most delicious ingredients all delivered under elegant silver cloches (hard to find in Johannesburg, by the way.) Simple, tasty and effective. Very YUM!

Seven Different Event Spaces = Skilful Timing PLUS an Impactful Journey


The brief for Nedbank’s Leadership Accelerator event was to open people’s minds, motivate them and give them a taste of what the future holds.  Conceptually, this worked by having seven different event spaces with four themes at The Forum Campus, taking the 500 delegates through a carefully planned experience in each room.  From getting to know the huge floor plan intimately, to the technical capabilities of each area, to room-specific decor, to the running order and complicated catering – this was a tricky one!

The result of all the careful prep was we were able to take people on a mind-opening journey that included seeing money differently, sharing a new CI, growing new ideas and exploring the future of finance. The cherry on top was a compliment from the client saying: “Watching all the effort, coordination and teamwork involved in putting the event together was a privilege."

Kelly McGillivray, Squad Leader

Editorial Note:

About: theSQUAD Creative Events

Incredible challenges are what take us to the moon and back. theSQUAD work to outdo themselves with bigger, more authentic, lump-in-your-throat, goose-bump-inducing, pulse-raising, smile-widening, can't-believe-that-just-happened experiences. We look forward to you joining us for the ride.

Contact: Kelly McGillivray


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