A sense of purpose

A sense of purpose

Crown MD Nicky Havelaar reflects on the Olympic legacy as this year's Games kicks off in Rio.

Life, and business, can be approached in two ways.

They can be made as complex as possible and treated as multi-faceted puzzles. Or they can be simplified.

Most organisations love to complicate things. Paradoxically, most people like clarity.

So when it comes to motivating people, one thing matters more than any other. Having a sense of purpose.

Nothing illustrates this better than the Olympic and Paralympic Games. At London 2012, 70,000 people gave up their time and devoted their energy and enthusiasm, for no reward other than being part of something they saw as worthwhile.

When people talk about the legacy of the Games, this wonderful example of unity and positivism should never be forgotten. 

Everyone involved was bound together by a clear mission. They knew why they were involved – and that they were valued.

This sense of unity was shared by the entire 750,000- strong workforce involved in putting on the Games. Everyone knew what they were there for. More importantly, they knew why. They were there to turn something good into something great. They weren’t just doing their jobs – they were part of the Games. That made all the difference.

As we watch Brazil host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the world is united in wishing for a spectacular success.

Yet early signs are discouraging in terms of the volunteer programme, with a 500-strong UK contingent still unsure whether they are wanted or not. Where the UK saw five applicants for every volunteering role, Brazil has been unable to harness such local support.

Whether their story has a happy ending or not, two things will determine the outcome: Was there enough up-front investment and consistent communication?

Investment is the key to embedding a mission, or sense of purpose. It doesn’t happen by accident. It needs to be shaped, shared and constantly reinforced.
And that’s where communication comes in. The simple act of being spoken to is like water on a plant, with positive messages adding the nutrients needed to grow enthusiasm and buy-in. Just ask the volunteers who built up their hopes for Rio how their initial enthusiasm wilted over time, as silence replaced engagement.

So whatever business you operate in, motivating your people is actually governed by a very simple formula.

Create a simple sense of purpose, invest in it - and communicate it constantly.

Filming the Chief Executive

Filming the Chief Executive

Bruce Todd, Crown’s senior video producer, outlines his secrets for success in tackling this important but often tricky assignment.

Chief Executives should be effective communicators. By definition, they are responsible for executing the organisation’s strategy, and that involves communicating what that strategy is, how it’s to be achieved, and inspiring the people who will actually carry it out.

But there’s often a big gap between the ideal and reality.

So how can everyone involved get the most out of the on-screen appearances of the Chief Executive?

The comms team

Choose your project carefully – make sure your message really is an important one, likely to seize the Chief Executive’s time and attention.

Plan well ahead if you can. Prepare the ground with the Chief Exec’s office – get their buy-in and involve them in your plan for pitching to the Chief Exec.

Get a date, and an alternative, in the diary. And allow plenty of time for the recording. It can’t be rushed.

And involve your chosen production agency. Give them sight of the messaging and script as early as possible. Get, and assess, their creative input.

Ensure the agency knows precisely how and when you need the project to be delivered. And establish clear review and sign-off procedures.

And, ideally, arrange for the Producer to meet the Chief Exec. If you’ve chosen the right agency, they’ll be skilled in discreetly building the right chemistry. You won’t be losing control.

The agency

A commission to work with the Chief Exec of a large organisation is a great opportunity for an agency to demonstrate their expertise on a high-end project, and to enhance the client relationship.

It can also be an opportunity to get things very wrong.

Choose your team carefully. Match the team, and the technology, to the client. And make sure everyone is fully briefed on thje project’s objectives and context.

Understand exactly when and how the project is to be delivered.

Take every opportunity to build and enhance your relationship with each key person on the client’s team.

Expect the unexpected. And don’t miss your deadlines!

And … The Chief Executive

Trust your people. But also trust your own judgment.

Evaluate your comms team’s pitch and plans carefully. Understand what they’re asking you to do and why.

If you give the go-ahead, own the messaging. Have sight of the script, give feedback and give yourself time to familiarise yourself with the final version.

Ask to see how you’ll look on screen. You need to look comfortable, natural as well as authoritative.

And view and approve the final version. Everyone involved (including you) will feel the hard work has been worth it if you approve of the end product.

Finally …

Everyone involved should take time to evaluate the project. Track the impact and effectiveness of the messaging across the audiences, and also how the production processes went.

Qualitative and quantitative data on the project will provide great input for next time.

All being well, there will be a next time.


Bruce Todd has filmed with Chief Executives in the private and public sectors for over 30 years. He’s filmed the famous, the notorious, the exuberant and the reticent. He was a producer at the BBC on Newsnight and The Money Programme, and then joined Crown in its early years. He is the agency’s Senior Video Producer.   

This article was originally published in AV Magazine.

Crown Appoints Senior Project Director and  Business Development Manager

Crown Appoints Senior Project Director and Business Development Manager

Jasper Pearson and Paul Banham

Jasper Pearson and Paul Banham

In line with the agency’s growth plans, Crown has hired Jasper Pearson as senior project director to lead Crown’s expansion into the pharmaceutical sector. He brings over 10 years event management experience working across a wide-range of industries including financial, automotive, entertainment and pharmaceutical. Jasper has held previous roles at TFI Group; Booke & Yas Management; Live Nation; TOPTOUR and the Tokyu Agency.

Crown’s move into the pharmaceutical sector comes as the agency strengthens its team to compete in sectors where their proven capabilities in employee engagement, experiential, stakeholder and leadership communications supports a gap in that market.

In addition, Paul Banham, who was a former head of business development is re-joining to lead the business development function at the agency. Paul has a wealth of experience across many sectors and has worked with leading agencies including Grass Roots. More recently he has expanded his experience into new areas including the application of event technologies in solving client challenges. This is an area that he will continue to focus on and help to develop a strategic offer in this area. 

Simon Hambley, Director of Live at Crown says: “We’re pleased to welcome Jasper on board. His knowledge and expertise will complement a new offering within the pharmaceutical market, especially as our portfolio of clients continues to grow. Strengthening our team with exceptional talent is key to our growth. I’m also delighted that Paul is re-joining us. Paul has an in-depth knowledge of the sector and a mature approach to winning new clients. It is a competitive environment and we are working hard with lots of new developments on the horizon. We aim to offer a high quality of client service and class-leading expertise. These two roles are part of our aim to remain at the top of the pile in terms of the end result we deliver to our clients.”



Crown MD Nicky Havelaar blogs about atomised events, starting with your employees.

‘Atomisation’. It’s a cumbersome word, but I rather like it. It’s what a US agency - Code and Theory - have been talking about (though they spell it wrong, of course, with a Z).

Like all marketing concepts, they make it a little more complex than it need be. And I think they (and we) may be missing a trick. Here’s why ...

Broadly, atomisation describes the massively fragmented world we inhabit. Instead of everyone sharing the same experience, developments like on-demand, multiple platforms, digital catch up and other time-shifting phenomena mean none of us see the same thing at the same time in the same way as anyone else.

That creates a head-scratching dilemma for marketing people, but folk like Code and Theory (crazy name, crazy guys?) offer to guide their clients through this atomised world. They explain how to use social media and a range of funky new approaches to reach customers.

But here’s the missing bit.

Like almost every thought leader, guru and innovator, the agency focuses on how digital is changing how we reach the customer. That’s of great importance, of course. But who’s the conduit to a customer? The face of the brand? And arguably, therefore, the primary audience when it comes to your marketing, communication and technological innovation?

Your employees. They’re people, targets and customers too.

So when Code & Theory talk about ‘form-fitting’ all content to different audiences, I wonder if they are thinking about employees. When they talk – intelligently - about constantly adapting and updating different platforms (“audience journeys are looping, rather than linear”), I see opportunities for staff engagement. And when they evangelise about Atomization (sorry, Atomisation) being driven by social media, I get excited by the opportunity to drive face-to-face events through social media, rather than pay it lip service as so often happens at live events.

So yes, I like this idea of an atomised, fragmented world, where we can adapt messages to platforms, media and audiences, but let’s start with employees. Let’s stream content to them from management events. Let’s replace the cascade with real-time social media updates building trust. Let’s take localised content and distribute it to a much wider atomised workforce.

I believe that the employees attending a staff, management or leadership event should be set an objective to fully subscribe and embrace the atomisation of the key message so carefully crafted for the occasion.

If you don't know how to do it ask your colleagues or staff!

Set up Snapchat so people back at the ranch request what to raise whilst they are listening to an audio cast of the keynote speaker and/or panel session. Or instantly share images from meetings with their colleagues (“Check out this ad”; “Look how they do things in Poland”). Contribute to the Facebook page specific to the event; take part in live interviews or post your own video on the dedicated YouTube channel; Skype your colleagues; let them listen in on a workshop or listen to a famous guest speaker etc. 

Of course a prerequisite is that both the experience and content are relevant and interesting. Empower your audience to take ownership of the cascade of stories and messages. Don't make your colleagues wait to receive a sanitised PPT afterwards.

After all, a huge amount of work and money goes into a gathering: why not distribute it as widely as possible, so that all employees are on board, ready to act as brand ambassadors?

Wouldn’t that be truly Atomic?

References: Atomization (2016) Code and Theory http://www.codeandtheory.com/things-we-make/atomized-branding

This was originally published on LinkedIn.

Crown win Peugeot brand event

Crown win Peugeot brand event

Agency appointed following a competitive pitch to deliver a Peugeot brand event for dealer principals, sales managers and sales executives.

Taking place across four days in June, dealer principals, key managers and executives from the entire UK dealer network will experience an immersive brand event that will showcase a range of exciting new models whilst embedding product knowledge and unveiling future strategies for the organisation. It will also be the first dealer-wide event hosted by David Peel, the new MD at Peugeot UK.

Simon Hambley, Director of Live at Crown says “We are delighted to have been appointed to work with Peugeot on this event at an important point in their journey. Our creative team challenged the brief and presented a multifaceted journey using a number of product and strategy experiences to deliver the key messages. The event will include a range of presentation techniques including a virtual reality product experience that not only delivers information in an innovative way but has further use beyond the event itself. The objective is to deliver a truly immersive brand experience that stands out against the traditional conference or training event.”

Crown will be providing an end-to-end service for the event. The team will be working closely with the Peugeot management team to develop content, alongside delegate management, travel and logistics; event production and technical delivery.

Steven Fahey, Manager of Events at Peugeot says “The [pitch] standards were high and Crown stood out for their inspired approach to re-energising our dealers with the new product range and knowledge-sharing. We’re looking forward to welcoming the network to our new MD’s inaugural event and working with the Crown team to see the event unfold.”

This press release has been featured in C&IT Magazine, Event Magazine, Standout Magazine, Conference News and M&IT Magazine.

Crown welcomes new project manager

Crown welcomes new project manager

Following a busy first quarter and in response to a growing demand in the automotive sector, Crown welcomes the newest member to its team, Laura Davies who joins from AddingValue.

Laura takes up the position of project manager, working on a range of clients and projects to deliver outstanding service across different industries. Laura has extensive experience with B2B and B2C events, marketing, press relations and incentives. Her previous roles include UKFE, Shop Direct Group and Platinum Events.

“It’s a real privilege to join an industry leading company like Crown. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and learning from such an experienced team” says Laura.

Simon Hambley, Director of Live at Crown comments “Following a very busy new year, we have some exciting opportunities in the pipeline that will add to Crown’s portfolio in respective strength areas. We’re pleased to have Laura join us, her experience will no doubt add to the high level of service we deliver to clients and complement our offering as we continue to grow our presence in all aspects of the brand experience.” 

Crown win ExCeL London's Great Agency Bake Off 2016

Crown win ExCeL London's Great Agency Bake Off 2016

After a competitive two rounds of intense baking, our marketing manager Cecilia and live events intern Beth are crowned the winners at the second ExCeL London Great Agency Bake Off 2016.

Competing against agencies including drp, George P Johnson, Concerto and Zibrant, the event saw teams battle it out in two rounds for the #GABO16 trophy.

The 'signature bake' challenge was to create a Creme Egg swiss roll within 1 hour. The second 'technical challenge' saw teams race against time to create six savoury tarts from scratch. ExCeL's head chef Jonathan Belford and D&D London's Julie Bayou were the day's judges. Scoring 33 out of a possible 40, Crown were named the winners, scoring first place in both challenges. Well done, team!

IWD2016: Laura Mills


IWD2016: Laura Mills

We wrap up our fortnight of International Women's Day celebrations with the final interview featuring the other half of our fabulous interns, Laura Mills.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women's Day for me is an opportunity for us to celebrate how far women have come, but also to remember how far we still have to go to achieve parity, across the world. I think it is also a chance for us to take a step back and appreciate those women around us and those who have helped us to become the women that we are today.


As a woman in Events what are your thoughts on it as an industry for women?
I believe that the events industry is a great industry for women to work in. There are so many successful women in the events industry, in very senior roles as well. You only have to look around our office to see the female talent that this industry has to offer. 


What are the best bits relating to your role and career to date?
This without a doubt has to be the people I have had the opportunity to work with. Even though my career in the industry has only just started, I couldn't ask for a better place to start off. I'm surrounded by such knowledgeable and experienced people every day and they also have the best stories from their time in the industry! 

Second to this, I love how I never know what each day is going to hold when I make my way to work - it's a constant challenge but that's what helps us grow.


And have you ever experienced any negative gender related issues in our industry?
To date I can't say I have, but that's not to say they don't exist.


What advice would you give your younger self as you started to navigate your career?
Believe in yourself. Work hard. Always stay true to yourself and don't believe in the word "No"!


What would your hopes be for Women and specifically around the theme of Parity in the future?
I hope that one day we can achieve Parity in all senses, but especially in the working world. I believe women should be recognised and rewarded for their skills, talents and hard work, otherwise it's discouraging for younger generations and women everywhere. I also hope that we can achieve more in parts of the world where women still don't have a voice, or rights. We should aim to create a world where the women of future generations can grow up with a voice, with ambition, and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. 


Which women past or present, known or unknown, industry related or wider do you most admire?
My mum. Emma Watson. Angelina Jolie. Queen Bey.