Free Idea Fridays!

Fireworks Friday- Looking Back at Celebrating Canada's 150th Anniversary
With clients and attendees coming from near and far we always strive to add a Canadian touch to our events. But last year had to be bigger and better than any others, because we celebrated Canada’s 150th Birthday!

For 2018 we thought we would look back at some of our favourite moments celebrating the place we call home.

Firstly, Toronto hosted the 10th Annual SEUS-CP Conference and showcased a youth group from the Native Canadian Centre for a traditional dance performance.



IIROC hosted a camp themed Reception sponsored by BMO where Canada’s favourite drink was featured.  Attendees were able to add their favorite fix-ins to this Canadian staple. I’ll take mine extra spicy with a celery stick, please!

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IBAO chose the perfect spot for Canada’s 150th Anniversary, overlooking the capital’s parliament buildings. All bases were covered from location, convention logo, staff uniforms and James Cunningham's Mountie costume during MC duties.

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The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP) celebrated Canada throughout the conference. Attendees came from all around the world, so it was quite special to display our Canadian spirit throughout the Conference. As this conference took place around Remembrance Day, CCPPP made a donation to the Royal Canadian Legion so we could supply attendees with poppies. Other details at the CCPPP Conference included: a reception with “streets of Toronto” food stations and a memory mile to incorporate important moment’s in Canada’s and CCPPP’s history.

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Lastly, when in doubt… invite the Prime Minister and sneak a photo.

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There were so many amazing moments to look back on, but these were a few of my favourite! Hope everyone had an amazing Canada Day Celebration this year!

Guest Blogger: Jessica Goncalves
at 02:34PM
Event’s Unplugged: Experiencing Yondr
I recently attended a concert, but I don’t have any proof of it. That is because I attended a Jack White concert and if you haven’t heard yet, he has “banned” cellphones. For the Boarding House Reach tour (Check out one of my favourite songs off the album here) Jack White has paired up with a company named “Yondr”. they provide pouches for attendees that make cellphones inaccessible once in the venue. I imagine most attendees became anxious when they discovered they would not have access to their phones for what could be hours, but I was excited for an unplugged experience!

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Jack White has gained an “old fashioned” reputation and I imagine the use of Yondr reinforced that reputation for many. When talking about his decisions in music he is open to say what works for him is not what everyone needs to be doing. However, when it came to people connecting through their screens or connecting authentically he put his foot down. These same pouches have been used by comedians to help prevent leaking of their new material online, but I think any advocate will agree that a major benefit is the real human connection and awareness that comes along with leaving your phone out of the mix.

A look at the logistics: The pouches themselves are made of a durable fabric with a locking mechanism at the top that works like a security tag that a retailer would use. As you enter the venue you are given the pouch and are asked to turn your phone to silent. For those that have a mobile ticket staff will print out a hard copy for you! Once you insert your phone the pouch is then locked for you and you keep your phone secured in this pouch with you. One of the important things to note is there are designated areas where you can unlock your phone for emergencies (or withdrawal). Upon exiting the concert grounds an associate will unlock and collect the pouch, which I will describe in more detail later on.

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 “I want people to live in the moment, and it’s funny that the easiest way to rebel is to tell people to turn off their phone.” says White about banning cellphones at his Boarding House Reach tour during an interview with the Toronto Star. The idea behind the decision is simple: Get people to engage in the real world without distraction. My experience was enhanced by having the freedom to just enjoy every moment of the concert. From a business stand point this could provide a professional photographer or a reporter/journalist with a much more important topic to share as they have been the only people granted permission to capture the event. What is normally special, and energizing took on a whole new level of uniqueness when you realize that moment was only being lived by us there.

Live concert photos are posted on the Jack White Live Instagram page. 

The one logistical error: leaving the concert. I was dreading the lineup for the exit but was hopeful the Yondr team had it down smooth, unfortunately the execution was as I expected. Having to unlock each attendees phone at the same time was a long and disorderly wait. People became understandably impatient and frustrated waiting to have their phones unlocked. Others who could not survive the concert without their phone ripped open their pouches and littered them throughout the venue. It is sad that such a unique experience could be tainted so abruptly by impatience. Perhaps Yondr can offer more unlocking stations and associates to man them to help deter the only negative part of my experience.

Though I wish I had photos to spread throughout this post, I am happy to say my full attention was given to someone who very much deserved it. We are always connected but there are times when we can all benefit from being unplugged. Networking and sharing special moments is a beautiful part of any event but we need balance: when a speaker is talking, a demo is being given or an entertainer is working to connect with an audience maybe it’s best to not to allow people the option to turn their attention away.

Guest Blogger: Taylor St. Amour

at 12:57PM
Look Who's Talking
Think you’ve seen and heard it all?  Well here is a new one for you.
 
Throughout my 25+ year career, I have had the privilege of greeting many prominent keynote speakers including US retired four-star general Colin Powell, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, actor Alan Alda, music legend Randy Bachman, football great Joe Theismann and news anchor and author Amanda Lang… to name just a few.
 
But this past week Discovery 18 provided me with one of the most unique experiences to date!
 
Sophia the Robot, a social humanoid powered by artificial intelligence (AI), gave the opening keynote address along with creator Dr. David Hanson who joined via hologram.
 
Sophia is the latest "genius machine" from Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, a company that produces robots designed to mimic human behaviour. Created using artificial intelligence technologies and breakthrough robotics developed by Dr. Hanson and his team, Sophia has garnered worldwide media attention and is the first robot to be granted citizenship.
 
This was her first ever appearance in Canada!
 
Take a look at the highlight video here.


Sophia meeting with her fans

Hope my “Free Idea” makes your Friday!

at 10:14AM
Axe'llent Team Building
As a post conference thank you one of our clients treated us to an evening at Stryke Toronto. There we became expert archers, axe throwers, and knife throwers. There are many reasons why it is very important to like who you work with, and the occasional team-building activity is a great way to build-up inter-office friendships. 

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In this office, competition is always welcome and everyone had a great time improving and then showing off their skills next to their coworkers. We competed in a “Tour de Stryke” where we faced off, one-on-one in an archery lane. Having someone next to you and knowing that an attendant from Stryke was keeping score got the competitive juices flowing inside of everyone. Competing as an individual is fun, but the next two events were where teamwork became crucial.

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Axe throwing and knife throwing are not as easy as they look. Simply throwing them as hard as you can will not get them to stick into the wall, as your distance from the wall and angle of the throw are much more vital. After practicing, we were split into two teams, going one-by-one, attempting to accomplish different objectives before the other team. Giving your teammates advice when they were on a cold streak, getting out of the lane as quickly as possible to set up your next teammate, and the thrill of winning brought each team closer together.

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The activity that the group participates in is not the most important aspect in a team-building event. The key was placing us in a new surrounding and having us work together, teach each other and take a breather together to celebrate our success of the fall season. In my opinion, having a group outing at least bi-annually is necessary to keep comradery among colleagues high, and stress levels low. Whether the team-building activities are done by a whole company or simply a division of a larger one, it’s importance cannot be understated. Lucky for us we share office lunches, go on walks for ice-cream, and keep each other’s morale up in the office on a daily basis, but this outing was “spot on” and we were thankful to our client for the treat!

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Guest Blogger: Matthew Genova
at 12:10PM
2018 Canadian Event Industry Awards Gala- We Won!
DISCOVERY a big winner at  21st Annual Canadian Event Industry Awards this past Wednesday, March 21st!


 
Check out OCE's Facebook post here
 
Mortgage Professionals Canada took home the prize for BEST CONFERENCE
 

 
Check out all the brilliant Canadian talent nominated at the awards here.  
 
Work with people who love what they do!

 

Hope my "Free Idea" Friday makes your day!

at 03:03PM
Promo Innovation
Many of us can agree that getting free stuff can be so exciting… but so much of what we receive we already have. So how are companies refreshing the promo world? Recently I got the chance to check out the Interior Design Show in Toronto. I left with knowledge of 2018 trends, major home envy and one of the most innovative giveaways ever. Then this past week we took a work fieldtrip to the Promotional Product Show to see what’s new and exciting in the promo world and I have to say I was continually surprised. In a world where every company seems to be trying to win your attention it’s so important to think of interesting, new and maybe even subtle ways to gain it.

Free “Swag” isn’t the only thing these two very different shows had in common. The trends I saw for interior design were also present in the promo world. I couldn’t ignore the recurrence of marble: from counter tops, tiling and décor accents to water bottles, notepads and pens. It’s a beautiful, mature yet fun pattern and can be used minimally or go large! Another important trend is an effort to “go green”. Sustainability is becoming more important to people, whether it’s by shopping local, using spaces for multiple things or printing on reusable paper and having a reusable water bottle. 

As for the fun promo ideas, let me start with the obvious setting: The Promotional Product Show. Two things that jumped out to me were compressed t-shits: t-shirts made into fun shapes relating to the company/product or logo. As well Branded board games really caught my attention. Being able to fully customize a familiar game with a company’s branding seems like a great way to create a positive and effortless connection with consumers.

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What I didn’t expect from the Interior Design Show was to get my most prized freebie to date! There was a paint company at the show and not only did they have this trendy yurt-like structure complete with paint chip shingles for a roof. They were also giving away nail polish. The nail polish colour was created from their colour of the year. This item is innovative because you can still see it every day, but it doesn’t have to be in your face with their company name plastered on it.

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Giving the usual promo products a new spin is really great way of breathing freshness into something so overdone!

Guest Blogger: Taylor St. Amour
at 11:25AM
Supporting the #MeToo Movement


Guest Blogger: Olivia Moore 
Olivia is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in English at Ryerson University. She works with aNd Logistix on a part-time basis and as an in-office and on-site support member. She was thrilled to have an opportunity to be our guest blogger for the month. Enjoy!

 


Many of us have had to deal with unwelcome workplace situations at some point in our lives. There is a slew of factors that can contribute to making a work environment uncomfortable. Unfortunately, some of these factors include much more serious offences that can drive both employers and employees to severe levels of discomfort and feeling threatened while at work.


As of late, a large discussion has developed pertaining to sexual misconduct in the workplace. This led to the aNd team having an open discussion on the subject during one of our morning meetings. Although we have all seen the headlines, it was relieving to have an open discussion concerning sexual harassment so that all employees were assured that our office is a safe environment where these issues can be brought to the attention of management, and that management would protect us and not stand for it. Through discussing different company policies regarding sexual harassment and talking about a few cases that have come to light, the immediate response was the importance of understanding that everyone (staff, attendees and all other parties) have the right to be respected and feel comfortable at work (an of course, in life). There is zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour at aNd. Having this conversation reinforced the bond of our staff as we all agreed and understood why establishing a zero-tolerance policy is such an essential part of ensuring a safe office environment. Although most companies have policies condemning sexual harassment and assault, I found it beneficial to have an open discussion concerning the issue as it helps coworkers to better understand one another. It also reduces the negative stigma surrounding the conversation in addition to encouraging those who have been victims of this kind of treatment to come forward, or know that their workplace puts measures in place in hopes that this never happens on their watch.

 
Overall, everyone wants to feel safe and comfortable within their workplace. Ensuring a positive atmosphere requires issues such as sexual assault and harassment to be addressed openly so that everybody sharing the workplace knows that their voice will be heard. Sexual harassment and assault are extremely serious offences that can have devastating impacts not only on the victim’s life, but also on the integrity of the company. It is our responsibility to ensure that preventative steps are taken to condemn this behaviour and so that the workplace becomes a more enjoyable space for everyone to share.

 

Below are links that help define sexual assault and harassment, and provide options towards the steps that can be taken to prevent this issue, in addition to providing information on how to handle the situation if this does occur.

 

Ontario Human Rights Commission: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-preventing-sexual-and-gender-based-harassment/8-preventing-and-responding-sexual-harassment-0
 

Ontario Human Rights Commission: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/sexual-harassment-employment-fact-sheet
at 11:19AM
End of Year Brain Dump
Check out recently used fun décor, activities and tradeshow stunts.
 
Purple is the new colour for cool furniture – we designed this one for WIMI – Women in Mortgage Industry. This fun set came from Divine Furniture.

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Ice Cream we all scream for ice cream!
We brought in an air stream trailer that does ice cream for a fun, park-like setting – fun area and great treat that kept people happy.

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Margarita lounge is always a huge hit especially if you add some massage chairs and umbrellas for a tropical feel.These fun and fresh hues are from Divine Furniture.
 
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Dress your own Caesar!  Need I say more?

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Memory mile for anniversary or retrospective displays
This is a great idea for an association or corporation celebrating anniversaries. This particular one was tied into Canada’s 150 celebration, and paralleled Canadian milestones with the achievements of the organization and the sponsor (the monitor ran a video introduction from the sponsor).
 
The entrance for the display was impactful and interesting our delegates.

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Hope my “Free Idea” makes your Friday!
 
at 04:24PM
A Scam never looked so Brite
We hear too often about online scams, hotel poachers, email phishing and poor customer service.  I want to relay to you a recent incident.  I won’t give comment or express outrage.  However, I think it is important to share this, especially to encourage you to BEWARE. 
 
This is a true story and the order of events:
 
First thing the morning of November 3, 2017, we received a call from a delegate attending an up-coming conference.  Nothing too unusual, mainly asking some questions about their registration and wanting to switch a few things around.  After a series of questions, we realized there was no record of this delegate in our registration system and wanted to better understand what had happened.  We learned they had registered via Eventbrite and not our conference website.
 
We never list our registration on Eventbrite?? – something was wrong
 
On November 3, 11:55 AM., the delegate emailed us all the information they had received from Eventbrite:
  • A confirmation email including order details
  • Eventbrite’s logo
  • The name of the conference (minus any logos, artwork, details)
  • A PDF of a ticket complete with a barcode and a QR code
  • Terms and privacy links 
  • There was no website listed, but the conference’s twitter feed was linked
  • The registration fee was similar but not quite right, and showed no tax collection
  • It almost looked real - but it wasn’t
 
We called the delegate back to inform them that they had been a victim of fraud and that we would try to recover their $1,800 payment they had made on the bogus Eventbrite webpage. We immediately went into action, hoping no one else had been scammed and to get this fake registration site shut down.
  1. We contacted Eventbrite to have the event page shut down.  We were told they couldn’t do that and we had to deal with the event owner as identified on the event page.  Even though we provided proof we were in fact the actual event manager, we learned anyone can set up an event page without providing information to identify who they are, their involvement in the event nor any contact details.  No where on the event page is there any contact information only a link to contact the event owner. We took the following steps to ensure this:
  2. We notified our client and confirmed that no one internally had set up a mirror site – they confirmed it was unauthorized.
  3. We searched everywhere on the Eventbrite web page for customer service numbers or email to report the matter.
  • one number was out of service
  • all other numbers had automated systems and we left messages on all of them.
  • after nearly an hour of trying different numbers, and extensions I was finally able to talk live but only to someone in the Business Development department.
 
We asked a lot of questions to get answers for our client on how this could happen:
  • Why can’t we know who the owner is?  (To be able to prosecute)
  • What sort of venting does Eventbrite do? – do you ask for papers of incorporation, signing authority from a governing body? 
  • Are Eventbrite sites properly screened or is fraud easily achievable?
  • What does Eventbrite do to ensure the sites they are housing are not scamming others out of $1,800 a pop?
  • How do I get this site taken down so others are not defrauded?
  • I was told to refer to the Policy link (its several pages long) on their website and that the matter would need to be brought to the attention of the Trust and Safety department
 
In the early afternoon of November 3, we received an email from the individual in Business Development who we were able to connect with, informing us the matter had been escalated to Eventbrite’s Trust and Safety department. Shortly after receiving the email, we tried to go back to the fake Eventbrite site and discovered the look of the site and its contents had changed; everything was now in German.

A half hour later we emailed the delegate affected to explain what we had learned so far and we were continuing to pursue the matter with every intention to get their payment refunded by Eventbrite.  She had used Eventbrite for smaller events and thought it was safe.

Finally, November 3, 1:49 PM we received an email from Eventbrite informing us the site had been suspended.

The following Monday November 6, 5:15 PM, we received an email from trust@eventbrite.com confirming a refund had been initiated and the event page had been suspended.  It further explained any of the additional information we had requested in our initial conversations on November 3rd would not be provided if to protect the privacy rights of the owner and that such information would only be provided by way of a police/court originated subpoena.  The owner who had set up a fake site was entitled to more rights and protection than the person who was defrauded out of $1800 by a bogus event page on their website.

We immediately reported the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre run by the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police)

What do you think?  You decide.

Have you or your organization been a victim of fraud – report it (no matter how small as it could lead to shutting down more and more criminals)

http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/rep-sig-eng.htm
 
Hope my “Free Idea” makes your Friday!
at 12:55PM
When did THIRD-PARTY PLANNER become a dirty word?
Recently while managing a program in Kelowna BC, I was made to feel like the “ugly second cousin” at the party, unworthy of my presence and blatantly ridiculed for being a “third party planner”.  Basically, I was seen and treated like some bit player.

Yes - I know it sounds like a page out of a Jane Austin novel but it got me thinking… When did THIRD PARTY PLANNER become a whispered dirty word?

Without naming names (let’s just say this venue’s mission is wine) my experience was BAD.  If I had the opportunity to rate it, I would have given it a half star.
 
I brought the business to this venue; there were so many I could have otherwise selected.  I signed the contract. I paid the bill. I had the authority to pick all the details for my client of 17 years. Yet I was neither the client nor the planner – I was simply the THIRD-PARTY PLANNER in the eyes of the arrogant and condescending in-house staff.

With over 25 years of experience in the business, I’d like to think I have a pretty good idea of how things work.  Over this time, I have established strong and long-term working relationships throughout the industry….and yes, a few detractors when it was necessary to stand up for my clients.  I get that.  But this situation was not based on anything other than the fact that I was merely a third-party planner and in the eyes of a misguided holy grail on the hill of wineries – not worthy of respect or even acknowledgement.
 
Hoteliers and now, more increasingly, event and meeting venues sometimes consider working with a third-party planner as a necessary evil, almost like having to swim with sharks. We are generally considered tough negotiators protecting our clients from negotiating the contracts, to execution to final billing.  What they fail to realize is that our job, and our reputation, is to deliver results to our client, the very people we have been mandated by to work with hotels and event/meeting venues because they don’t want the hassle; they want to be entirely focused on the content of a meeting, the people attending and the impact the event/meeting has on their corporate reputation.  Who better than the third-party event planner knows what the client wants, and how a particular event venue ties in with the rest of that client’s program. 
 
Tough negotiators – YES!              Bit players – NO!
 
When a hotel or venue takes the time to work with a third-party planner and establishes a strong working relationship with them, that planner can be an extension of your salesforce, and over time, become a partner, a loyal supporter and even a client delivering more groups and events to your venue.

On the flip side, if you upset a third-party planner, it’s unlikely they will bring business your way again.  EVER.  That would be a Mission impossible.
 
 
Hope my “Free Idea” makes your Friday!
at 02:34PM
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