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November 22, 2010
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Supermarket giant’s annual conference puts employee engagement first




Interactive spectacular uses experiential techniques to get across key messages to 4,500 delegates.

The power of live events to inform, motivate and inspire employees was confirmed recently when major UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s held its annual conference at Birmingham’s NEC.

Some 4,500 delegates from Sainsbury’s stores across the UK attended the event, enjoying presentations and inspiring video content on a huge 90-metre projection screen. Revealing the growing importance of experiential experiences within corporate events to engage delegates more effectively, the event featured an interactive Sainsbury’s Enchanted Christmas and Sainsbury’s Proud room. The former gave delegates the chance to sample products from the upcoming Sainsbury’s Christmas lines, while the latter revealed difference Sainsbury’s has made within their local communities, including environmental initiatives and Paralympic Games sponsorship. The Proud featured interact with engaging displays, digital games and even a wheelchair basketball that delegates to take part in.

Working closely with the Sainsbury’s internal communications team, events agency the drpgroup helped deliver presentation design, delegate communications, event management and video content. It also managed the delivery of all aspects of the event. Every presentation featured 3D graphics designed by drpdigitalmedia to maximise delegate engagement throughout the day.
 
The afternoon session of the conference was dominated by the culmination of the Sainsbury’s Big Cook Off competition, featuring seven finalists who had successful competed against over 600 applicants to win their place at the final. Finalists from across Sainsbury’s cooked in the live final on stage with TV personality Lorraine Kelly and celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott presenting and judging the contestants’ dishes.

The day ended in spectacular fashion with the Sainsbury’s Stars awards, a ceremony recognising and rewarding employees who had gone above and beyond the call of duty across the UK. The awards were presented by Kelly and complemented with stage pyrotechnics and moving video content, again keeping the audience engaged and ready to cascade what they had learnt back to their colleagues after the event.

“Sainsbury’s has always been committed to engaging its colleagues, and this year, with the use of some state-of-the-art technology, such as the 90-metre multi-projection screen, live interactive voting pads and high-definition video content, we have worked hand in hand with the Sainsbury’s events team to deliver a totally moving and interactive experience for delegates,” says drpgroup’s managing director Dale Parmenter.

Emphasising the importance of the event to the supermarket giant, Sainsbury’s colleague engagement director Jacki Connor explains: “This is our biggest engagement event of the year and the key for us is to engage and motivate 4,500 colleagues who come along to share the messages they’ve heard with their colleagues back in store, depot or office. That way we effectively engage 150,000 colleagues in our business and that makes a huge difference to us. This year, colleague feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”


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