The British Franchise Association (bfa) annually holds a number of member events including a conference, an exhibition and separate award ceremonies for both Franchisee and Franchisor of the Year. This year, the bfa's CEO Pip Wilkins gave production company Metro Broadcast the challenge of combining both award ceremonies with the conference in order to bring both franchisee and franchisor communities together, delivering three events in one at Birmingham's International Convention Centre (ICC).
Summarising the challenge of combining three distinctive events, Metro's Terence Corness said, "We designed an environment which could be transitioned from a daytime conference to an evening award show, not just technically - we needed a comprehensive change of ambience for the event too. We achieved this by using different lighting states and designing staging which would allow us to reveal new aspects of the set later in the evening show."
For the daytime conference, Metro used contemporary, understated colours in the lighting, set and visual content for a sleek and professional feel. Emphasis was put on the massive LED presentation wall, the brightness and resolution of which made a perfect canvas for the content including footage of keynote speaker Tori James in action, the youngest British woman to climb Everest.
When conference delegates re-entered the room in the evening, it had been transformed into a glamourous gala setting. LED lighting strips edging the set, discreetly hidden during the day, came alive to add glamour to the evening stage. The rig had been equipped with moving and colour-changing lights to create drama, pace and impact during the awards. The panels at either side of the LED presentation wall were replaced with more glamourous ones. The understated colour scheme for the daytime event had been replaced by richer and more dramatic lighting effects and a dance floor had been created to finish off the night's DJ-led entertainment.
In previous years, the two awards shows had very different feels: the franchisee awards were aimed at the individual franchisees while the franchisor awards spread the focus more across the brand and the business, as well as the people involved. Merging the event for both franchisees and franchisors reflected the conference theme, The Power of Collective Ambition. Pip Wilkins said, "Metro found a way of merging both award shows while still paying tribute to both communities."
The newly-combined award show ran at 90 minutes. While Franchisor of the Year was pre-decided by a judging panel, Franchisee of the Year was decided in a more fun and interactive way; Metro compiled video testimonies for each nominee and the award was decided by audience vote. Incorporating social media and adding to the fun, a prize was also given for the best event photo uploaded to twitter, promoting the event hashtag.
Summing up, Pip Wilkins said, "Terence, Grant and the entire team at Metro Broadcast now have a comprehensive understanding of where we are as an organisation and how we need to communicate with our stakeholders through our schedule of events. As I lead the bfa into an exciting new era, it's great to know that we're working with a top technical production company. Metro acts not only as a supplier to the bfa but as a partner who consults with us on how to get the very most out of our budgets and assists us in finding creative ways to produce inspiring events that will stay in people's memories."