The Art of the Fresh Experience

Brian Hilberdink, president of Novo Nordisk Canada, welcomes more than 350 gala attendees
Brian Hilberdink, president of Novo Nordisk Canada, welcomes more than 350 gala attendees
Photo: Rick O'Brien

In the corporate event industry, any veteran agency worth its roster has likely "seen and done it all." This can be an advantage when working with new clients who want to leverage proven strategic solutions, but what if that client is a long-standing partner? Here is where the art of the fresh experience begins.

LOFT Communications + Events, a Toronto-based boutique agency, has had the ongoing privilege of supporting Novo Nordisk Canada (NNCI), an affiliate of the world leader in lifesaving diabetes medicines. Over the past nine years, LOFT's team has led the creative development and logistics behind NNCI's national sales meetings, all-employee meetings, award show galas, and a wide range of internal communications initiatives. For this one client alone, LOFT has leveraged the latest and greatest keynote speakers, staging concepts, performance talent, and event technologies. In 2019, however, LOFT was faced with a new yet familiar challenge: to deliver a highly unique and memorable product launch experience. The catch? It was to be the fourth product launch event in less than three years to the same sales force.

"The client literally had seen it all with us," explains Trish Renna Zado, partner at LOFT. "We knew that to keep things fresh, we'd have to completely reshape the emotional touch points of the product launch experience."

Rather than kick off the event with the proven approach of a bombastic opening experience, complete with big-budget video, live dancers, and thunder sticks, LOFT went in the opposite direction. It worked with a spoken-word artist to craft and deliver an emotional opening experience that would dig deep into the hearts and minds of the sales team. The letter X, the first letter of the product's name, became the defining element of the theme and staging. A 10-foot-tall X commanded center stage and could be lit in variety of colors during the meeting. Custom pink carpet (the product brand color) extended from the stage as the two legs of a letter X, creating unusual, diagonal aisles between the theater seating rows. This formation also helped to bring chairs closer to the stage for a greater sense of intimacy for the audience, despite the large numbers. It was an intimate experience that nonetheless delivered big impact.

The goal of delivering a fresh experience for Novo Nordisk didn't end at the sales meeting either. For an evening award gala, LOFT got rid of the traditional round banquet tables and treated attendees to an Italian-inspired family dining experience, complete with long tables, gold Chiavari chairs, luxurious table linens and decor, and the “X-cellent” hosting talents of one of Canada's top comedic personalities.

As Brian Hilberdink, president, Novo Nordisk Canada Inc., can attest, "I've had the pleasure to work with LOFT for several years and on many different events. At our most recent all-employee meeting and award banquet, they proved once again to be the ideal partner. In addition to the production being flawless, the team at LOFT was a great source of inspiration and creativity. The employees left the meeting fully motivated and engaged as all expectations were exceeded... and the bar was already quite high from the previous year's event!"        

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