Event Planners Guide to Running a Live Awards Show

Having been in the event planning business for a long time, we’ve seen our fair share of mishaps. Deliveries not arriving when they’re planned for, bars running out of wine early in the evening, unfortunate print errors… There’s a lot can go wrong when you’re managing hundreds of moving cogs! Surviving an event disaster takes composure – and a great contingency plan for every eventuality.

When your audience isn’t just in the room but is made up of millions of people all over the world the pressure is all the greater: every mistake is scrutinized and amplified. Here’s our advice on planning to plan to fail – and never assuming it will be alright on the night!

 

Choose your presenters wisely

People are, at best, unpredictable. Give someone a soapbox and put a camera on them and there’s no telling what can happen, so do your due diligence when hiring a speaker.

 

 

  • Run a full rehearsal (or two)

Iron out all the kinks before you go live – and maybe give phonetic queues.

 

Click here to watch.

 

  • Work with a production team with a sterling reputation

If you don’t have a team in-house, hire someone you know and trust – there will always be hiccups so make sure you have someone who can take control in an emergency.

 

 

  • Have security on hand to deal with gatecrashers.

If you’re hosting a private event for VIP clients you don’t want outside influencers ruining their night – get ahead of this by hiring a security team that will deal swiftly with problems that arise.

 

But our best piece of advice? Hand Warren Beatty the right envelope when he walks on stage.

 

At Cogs & Marvel, we believe that every time you get a group of people together, whether they be staff, customers, partners or consumers, you have an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with you. You have an opportunity to turn passive admirers into an army of advocates for your corporate brand. Cogs & Marvel is an event agency that creates brand experiences to delight in the moment and inspire lasting change.

Want to inspire change in your audience? Get in touch with the Cogs & Marvel team.

Irish Examiner Interview with CEO Dave Smyth

In this week’s column, Kehlan Kirwan talks with Dave Smyth from Cogs & Marvel, an Irish events company. Formerly Green Light Events, the business has re-branded and opened up a new office in San Francisco

 

What do you do at Cogs & Marvel?

We used to be called Green Light and just last week we re-branded to Cogs & Marvel. The company was set up about 10 years ago by Jane Gallagher and Roisin Callahan. Essentially in its early days, it was an events company, very corporate stuff like conferences and on a very large scale as well. Our first big job was for Google around 2006/07 when we ran their European Sales Conference in Seville. I think that gave Jane and Roisin the confidence to grow the business and hire more people. In the last 10 years the company has essentially grown up alongside the technology industry in Ireland. We now work with most of the global technology companies that call Ireland home. We went from purely conferences and events to much more creative brand experiences for staff, for customers, and for consumers.

Why San Fransisco, when it could have been easier to open in London or Berlin?

Well, we have ambitious growth plans and I suppose the first step was probably the easiest one to make. We work a lot with American technology companies who have global headquarters in Silicon Valley. We work with Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and we’ve done some work with Uber as well. A lot of those companies are based in California and Google had said to us that we were doing some amazing things and if only we had an office in California, they’d work with us over there. Roisin, one of our founders, is an American passport holder. So she relocated there and the whole move began to come together. We have real opportunities in coming years. Ireland is going to be the only English-speaking country within the EU and for the American market, the language barrier is a big one so we’re hoping to capitalise on that as well.

San Fransisco is a big financial investment, how did you prepare for it?

I think you have to create a very robust business plan, looking at all the costs. San Francisco is not a cheap place to set up shop. Office properties are expensive and wages are ridiculous. We’ve had to really adjust our parameters for salaries with recruitment over there. We’ve had two people from the office in Dublin who relocated over there and three people that we hired over there as well. So it is expensive, but you have to put yourself through a robust process in terms of checking the viability of it and analysing projections. We were lucky in that we had an intention from Google before we had the office set up, so that was important for us. We didn’t feel like we were starting from ground zero, that we could pay our bills quite early on. Equally, we reached out very early in the process to the IDA and Enterprise Ireland who have offices in San Francisco too. They were a great support when it came to making introductions and getting us into that network early. We’ve already met other Irish success stories — like Voxpro — out there. There is a really strong network and a great culture of helping each other out. So it looks promising for us.

Was it a culture shock?

When setting up an office in another country you are always going to come up against little idiosyncrasies and cultural differences. What we’re learning is the way they do business over there is very detailed and very specific. You always get exactly what you asked for, but you have to know what to ask for. Doing business on this side of the Atlantic seems to be a little different in that, and maybe this is the nature of the Irish, people will remind you that you need to do x,y, and z. Whereas in the States they expect you to know what you’re doing, they expect you to know what to ask for. If you ask for it, you get it quick sharp.

But if you haven’t asked for it, you won’t get it. So that’s certainly been a learning curve for us.

I think, generally, California — and more specifically in Silicon Valley — there is this history of being the birthplace of start-ups and there seems to be a lot more understanding of companies coming over to set up roots there. Some of them are going for IPOs while others go by the wayside. So, they don’t really bat an eyelid when another company comes in to set up there.

Why the brand change from Green Light Events to Cogs & Marvel?

As I mentioned earlier we had grown up alongside the technology industry. The nature of what we were doing had changed dramatically. We felt we were changing the face of the events industry in terms of being able to bring a logistical excellence and this creative flare together. At Cogs and Marvel, we call that the how and the wow. That really is where the name came from, cogs being the logistical side and marvel being the wow. We started a re-brand process last summer.

When we started it we didn’t think we would end up with a new name, but we worked with a great brand identity company based in Limerick with an office in Dublin called The Pudding. They were exceptionally strong strategically and really got where we were in our business evolution.

The team really challenged and forced us to think about the crossroads that we were at. They challenged us to think about our old name and whether or not Green Lights was going to get us to our destination slower or quicker. Ultimately, we felt that we had to grow up a little bit and that a change of name would capture that, so that was the reason for the re-brand.

What are your future plans?

Well in 2016 we turned over approximately €18m and our ambition will be to double that over the coming years. This year is all about San Francisco and consolidating and growing the Dublin business. We can’t see why it can’t be equally as big as the Dublin office. Depending on how quickly or slowly that happens, we would also be interested in opening offices in other parts of the world.

We work with a lot of multinationals that operate on a regional basis, so we may look at Asia/Pacific or something like that or even a European-based office over the coming years.

Kehlan Kirwan, Q&A: Dave Smyth from Cogs & Marvel

Irish Examiner

20th February 2017

 

At Cogs & Marvel, we believe that every time you get a group of people together, whether they be staff, customers, partners or consumers, you have an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with you. You have an opportunity to turn passive admirers into an army of advocates for your corporate brand. Cogs & Marvel is an event agency that creates brand experiences to delight in the moment and inspire lasting change.

Want to inspire change in your audience? Get in touch with the Cogs & Marvel team.

Case Study: Zendesk

Zendesk is an international customer service company, building software that improves customer relationships. Since the opening of their offices in Dublin in 2014 they have grown to a staff count of 200.

 

The Brief

  • Create a themed Christmas event for their Dublin office
  • Find a fun, creative city centre venue
  • The space needed to fit 150 pax standing
  • Provide an exciting line up to entice staff to attend, to include musical entertainment and a dance floor
  • Source a catering company to provide excellent food and service

It was important that the company’s brand attributes – “charming, humble, airy and uncomplicated” – were part of the overall event design. Beauty and simplicity needed to be at the core of the venue and event theme so we focused on finding large, open spaces with structures that exposed either natural brick or wood. We knew that the venue needed to be an exceptional space; one that was a blank canvas or one that had a strong natural design that we could enhance.

 

The HOW

After researching spaces Zendesk had used for previous events and Dublin spaces that fitted the brief, we narrowed it down to two venues offering different themes and locations. Around option one we created the theme of “Neon Arcade”, proposing a warehouse and multi-media space housed in an old wooden mill in the heart of Dublin City. For the second we proposed a “Great Gatsby” themed party in Teelings Distillery. Opened in June 2015, the distillery is located in an ancient market square, with exposed natural materials throughout the building.

Both spaces were perfect, fitting all requirements of the brief. The client choose the Great Gatsby themed party in Teeling’s Distillery as they felt that the staff would be most excited by this theme and venue.

 

The WOW

It was important that the theme was present right from the beginning; for this we created a spin on the Zendesk logo, giving it a glamorous 1920s twist, and dispersed it throughout the event space.

We inserted Gatsby-esque and seasonal props throughout the event space (ranging from life size stars, pocket watches, vintage telephones, silver and gold bulbs, etc.) which added a seasonal and a celebratory theme to the event. To bring an interactive and modern photo opportunity, we had a photo mirror wall with themed props and a life size magazine photo booth, branded with the company logo and values. To add to the 20s ambience, we had a 4 piece jazz band who played for the opening reception and a saxophonist and DJ duo who played into the night. We lit the space with roaming lights and uplighters which highlighted the natural stone throughout the event space.

The Green Light event team where on site from early morning prepping the space and setting up the catering area, welcome reception and main event space. When guests arrived, they were greeted with a winter themed cocktail and some whiskey popcorn. After the welcome reception, they were brought on a tour throughout the distillery, ending in the reception area for a whiskey tasting, canapés, and welcome drinks.

For dessert the client did not want anything formal, rather a piece that was set in the room from the beginning. We created a branded donut and macaron wall, from which guests could help themselves.

 

The Results

Of the 150 invitees there was a 96% uptake on the event. The feedback from guests was resoundingly positive, complete with enthusiasm for the following year’s party was displayed. The event reflected the hard work put in throughout the year by the Zendesk tea, celebrating the strides they’ve made in Dublin and internationally.

 

Green Light Events were a delight to work with right from the start. They had some fantastic ideas as I wanted a Christmas Party that was original and not the usual turkey & tinsel affair. We narrowed it down to two venues which I viewed with the team and decided on A Great Gatsby Party at Teeling Distillery in Dublin. From there Green Light completely took over and made the night a complete success. The whole office had an awesome time and most people agreed it was the best party they have had in Dublin to date. I would 100% recommend their services for any event (big or small) as they are a very professional team who deliver!!

Alex Davey, Zendesk

 

  • Ali Molloy
  • Senior Project Manager

 

At Cogs & Marvel, we believe that every time you get a group of people together, whether they be staff, customers, partners or consumers, you have an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with you. You have an opportunity to turn passive admirers into an army of advocates for your corporate brand. Cogs & Marvel is an event agency that creates brand experiences to delight in the moment and inspire lasting change.

Want to inspire change in your audience? Get in touch with the Cogs & Marvel team.

Our Social Media Summit

Social Media Summit Ireland will take place on 11th – 12th April 2017 in Croke Park, Dublin. Across the two days, delegates will learn from international social media experts through seminars, workshops, and networking sessions. Whatever your background, the Social Media Summit will give you insight into easily implementable tips and tricks and emerging social trends, helping you to apply them to your business.

 

Early bird tickets are available now on the Social Media Summit website, along with information on exhibition and conference sponsorship opportunities. For more information on this contact Cogs & Marvel’s own Louise Kennedy at louise@socialmediasummit.ie.
See you there!

 

At Cogs & Marvel, we believe that every time you get a group of people together, whether they be staff, customers, partners or consumers, you have an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with you. You have an opportunity to turn passive admirers into an army of advocates for your corporate brand. Cogs & Marvel is an event agency that creates brand experiences to delight in the moment and inspire lasting change.

Want to inspire change in your audience? Get in touch with the Cogs & Marvel team.

Our Favourite…Dublin

At Cogs & Marvel, we make it our business to know Dublin and all it’s event potential. Here’s a breakdown of some of our favourite venues from across the city.

 

Pichet

Redesigned in early 2016, Pichet is the fresh-faced front of the Mercantile Group. Terming it “a modern take on the classic bistro,” Pichet has moved away from it’s starched white tablecloths and into a less formal, relaxed setting that can host up to 90 pax across its three spaces.

 

Croke Park

Be it for a concert, meeting, conference, a gala dinner, or a team building outing, Croke Park has it all. Located on the fourth level, the Hogan Suite offers floor to ceiling windows with panoramic city views, holding banquet capacity for 350 pax, conference seating for 700 pax, and reception space for 750 pax, while it’s art and foyer views reflect all the history that comes with the stadium. For a conference break or energizer like no other, try abseiling off the skyline roof of the stadium onto the pitch 150ft below. To experience Croke Park in all its glory be sure to buy tickets to Social Media Summit, April 11th and 12th!

 

Cleaver East

In the heart of Temple Bar is Oliver Dunne’s Cleaver East – a modern take on fine cuisine, the restaurant prides itself on its commitment to locally sourced ingredients. The space itself has a cool, vibrant style, making use of different levels which can be taken individually or on exclusive hire.

 

Smock Alley

An oldie but a goodie, Smock Alley reflects the best of old-world Dublin. Both the Main Space and the Boy’s School offer state of the art sound and lighting for conferencing while the Banquet Hall is filled with natural light from its large stained glass windows looking out onto the river.

 

Zozimus

One of our favourite 2016 venues is Zozimus: named from the Dublin poet, the cocktail menu takes its inspiration from the Irish literary heroes of old in an artistic, stylised setting. For private hire the space can take from 200-300pax dependant on the event style, available to take exclusively Monday-Thursday evenings.

 

At Cogs & Marvel, we believe that every time you get a group of people together, whether they be staff, customers, partners or consumers, you have an opportunity to strengthen their relationship with you. You have an opportunity to turn passive admirers into an army of advocates for your corporate brand. Cogs & Marvel is an event agency that creates brand experiences to delight in the moment and inspire lasting change.

Want to inspire change in your audience? Get in touch with the Cogs & Marvel team.