Strata appoints Caroline Lumgair Wiseman as Group Head of Strategic Meeting Solutions, a new position created to develop Strata’s Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) offering.

Lumgair Wiseman has specifically been tasked with helping Strata to build a stronger meetings management proposition to directly meet client demand. In her new role, she will draw upon her extensive experience in global venue sourcing, event management, and high-end experience design, advising clients on all aspects of event strategy and working within the wider group, devising future growth plans.

Simon Hambley, CEO of Strata, said of Lumgair Wiseman’s appointment: “Caroline is a well-known and respected figure to many in the industry and I’m delighted she’s chosen to join Strata. She has considerable experience in the world of events, which I have no doubt she will bring to Strata at such an important time for the business.”

Hambley continued: “Strata has long held the ambition to be in the Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) space, supporting clients such as Allergan and Dentons with their global programmes helping them to make the most effective use of their spend and resources on their meetings and events programming. Caroline’s global experience, industry connections and entrepreneurial mindset enable us to put all the right elements in place to operate in this space, on a global scale.”

On her appointment, Lumgair Wiseman said: “I have a huge amount of respect for Simon and all that he and his team have achieved at Strata. Ambitious plans are in place for future growth and I’m honoured to be included in the team and excited to get to work to help deliver on those goals. I’m looking forward to collaborating and contributing to the ongoing success and evolution of Strata, as the company continues to excel in this innovative industry.”

We have announced several high-profile senior appointments this year, including Kevin Robinson as group head of strategic accounts and Phil Staines as chief of staff.

  • Strata launches bespoke platform
  • Major new proprietary technology product developed in-house by Strata
  • Sherbet set to disrupt traditional rewards and recognition market
  • Strata continues growth through innovation and product development

Strata, the award-winning brand experience agency, has designed and developed a bespoke rewards and recognition platform. Called Sherbet, the proprietary technology product has been developed by Strata’s in-house team of experts who have a deep understanding of product innovation and the agency and incentive markets.

Sherbet will strengthen Strata’s portfolio of reward, recognition and retention programmes, expanding the agency’s ability to deliver clients more value-added benefits.

The platform is the culmination of almost two years of work led by Mike Parrott, a veteran of incentive and rewards programmes and Head of Performance Improvement & Incentives at Strata.

He said: “What’s different about Sherbet is that it has been built from scratch, starting with a clean sheet of paper. We were able to rethink what a rewards and recognition platform should be and that has resulted in some unbelievably exciting results. The technology combines a perfect blend of calculation algorithms and AI to truly influence the behaviours for success at a uniquely individual user level. It’s perfectly structured to enable businesses to self-service their campaigns with speed and ease, ensuring cost of delivery can be at its lowest, whilst impact on company performance is at its highest. The potential of our platform is incredible and will disrupt the traditional rewards and recognition market.”

Strata has invested considerable time and resources into Sherbet, therefore, a dedicated team will harness the platform’s capabilities and operate as a separate division within the growing Strata Group.

Sherbet will strengthen Strata’s position within the market as a single touchpoint agency that can deliver a full-service offering to clients.

Simon Hambley, CEO of Strata, said: “Developing and launching a whole new service offering and division isn’t easy but it’s hugely exciting for the business.

“Sherbet’s development is perfectly timed and sits within our ambitious plans and company vision. We want to continue striving for our clients, developing ideas and products that help them achieve their goals. We want our clients to see us as the leader in our field, driving maximum value and ROI from their budgets.”

Hambley continued: “In today’s competitive marketplace, recognition and retention is harder than ever but that’s where Sherbet can help and why it’s been developed.

“We saw a need for a full end-to-end performance improvement product that was both user- friendly and affordable, so we took the opportunity to talk with clients and build a solution that meets the needs of our customers.

“Furthermore, Strata continues to grow through innovation as well as acquisition and that puts us in an advantageous position.

“Innovation is vital if we are to continue to keep our place at the top table and meet the opportunity of growth in live events that is forecast over the next five years,” Hambley continued.

Thanks to micebook, Event Industry News, and StandOut Magazine for their press coverage on this. To view the coverage, follow the links below.

Brand experience agency Strata has launched a specialist automotive division, dedicated to meeting the growing needs of its extensive automotive client portfolio, which includes brands such as Lotus, Renault, Alfa Romeo, Citroën, Fiat, Jeep, Peugeot and Vauxhall.

Paul Banham has been appointed group head of automotive and will head up the new division, reporting to Cole Mulkerrins, Strata’s director of client services.

Strata said the division has been launched in direct response to increasing client demand for instant and consistent support and specialist services, strengthening its reputation as agency of choice in the automotive sector.

“We have a long history of working within the automotive sector, with a highly experienced team delivering automotive events and brand experience campaigns,” Banham explained.

“We are bringing this experience into one group to create a division solely focused on the automotive industry that provides our clients with focused experience and expertise, offering deep knowledge and understanding of their sector.

The creation of the automotive division enables the team to immerse itself deeper into the industry, providing clients with a deeper sense of value-add.”

Mulkerrins added: “We have had automotive experts entrenched within our organisation for years, but the creation of this dedicated automotive division cements our intentions as an agency. It gives our clients assurances that their accounts are being managed by the brightest minds, who understand the world of automotive and are devoted to delivering moments that matter for the client.

“The creation of the new division also bolsters our position in the marketplace as an agency that is on an upward trajectory. I’m really looking forward to growing the division, working with Paul and the wider team to develop our offering and to increase our visibility within the automotive sector.”

Thanks to micebook, Event Industry News, Prestige Events Magazine and StandOut Magazine for their press coverage on this. To view the coverage, follow the links below.

In an age where technology often takes centre stage, it’s easy to overlook the essence of human connection. But in the realm of events, the tide is turning. We’re thrilled to announce the release of our much-anticipated 2024 Trends Report, ‘Back to Human’, which delves deep into the evolving landscape of event experiences. 

Over the last year, we’ve engaged and collaborated with countless event and marketing professionals through our Making Moments Matter insights series, sparking conversation and debate around key topics in the world of audience engagement and event marketing. 

The findings we’ve uncovered may surprise you. In a world inundated with technology-led experiences, our research reveals a resounding call to re-prioritise ‘human-first’ strategies. It’s not about the latest gadgets or flashy gimmicks; it’s about meaningful connections and personalised journeys. 

2024 is poised to be the year where authenticity reigns supreme. It’s a time to rediscover the power of face-to-face interactions, and the magic of shared experiences. But how do we navigate this shift back to a human-first approach? 

Our Trends Report offers invaluable insights and actionable strategies to help you craft experiences that resonate on a more personal level making every moment matter, and how technology can help leverage that. We highlight the importance of making your live events more about personalised experiences, facilitating many meaningful connections between people, and creating more human-driven moments. 

So, are you ready to embrace the human side of events? Download your copy of the 2024 Trends Report, ‘Back to Human’, and prepare to redefine the future of events. Together, let’s make Every Moment Matter. 

Strata has appointed Phil Staines as Chief of Staff, a newly created role that will see Staines assist the agency with strategy development, organisational structure and process, and continued expansion plans.

Staines, who has vast live events and agency experience, will assist the agency’s board, helping it to shape, prioritise and execute strategic business initiatives, including acquisitions and proposition development.

The former Chief of Staff at brand experience agency FIRST, Staines joins Strata following roles at BCD Meetings and Events and Grass Roots also.

He will report directly to Simon Hambley, CEO of Strata, who explained that Staines’ understanding of the sector is a huge win for the agency.

Hambley said: “Phil joins Strata at an incredibly exciting time. He will be working on a variety of tasks, helping us to achieve our ambitious business goals and ensuring slick communication and collaboration across the Strata portfolio and all departments.

“Phil is no stranger to the live events industry so I am certain that his knowledge and comprehension of our exciting sector means he can hit the ground running and help us to achieve amazing things.”

Hambley continued: “Phil’s skill set complements the wider Strata team. I am looking forward to seeing how he can work with the board and push us on our journey, ensuring optimal performance at all times by supporting colleagues, applying critical thinking and inspiring effective decision-making.”

Staines said of his appointment: “I am thrilled to be joining Strata at this exciting juncture, in what promises to be a real time of change and innovation for the Events industry. 

One of the things I admired most about Strata is the exceptional reputation it has, which is driven by a truly passionate team. You don’t often get a chance to work with great people, who want to do some great things, so I am excited to get going.

Strata is well placed to help its clients navigate this changing landscape, and I am looking forward to helping the Strata board bring to life some of the ideas and propositions we have in the pipeline!”

• Multi-channel activity “enriching” lives of target market
• UGC and Instagram at the heart of the strategy
• Peugeot enlists brand experience agency Strata to deliver B2C experience

Peugeot’s latest brand activation has adopted a “more modern” approach to marketing that is more customer-centric and less metric-driven.

Kris Cholmondeley, Marketing Director at Peugeot, said that the “time-limited nature of physical-only events” led the car marque to purposefully expand its most recent multi-channel brand campaign into the digital space, extending the live element of the activation’s value and broadening its reach.

Peugeot enlisted the expertise of brand experience agency Strata to design and deliver its Inception at Outernet experience at London’s latest immersive entertainment district Outernet, as part of an ongoing two-year experiential campaign running in the UK.

“Only 40% of people in the UK are car enthusiasts and only 6% of the population is in the market for a car at any one time,” explained Cholmondeley. “We wanted to find a hook that appealed to 80-90% of that market.”

He continued: “We all get bombarded by too much intrusive marketing, so it was important that we devised an activation that enriched the lives of our audience and did not intrude.”

Cholmondeley added: “From our research, we found that the average person in the UK takes 2,000 photos on their phone every year, but few know how to do this well. Taking photographs of things we see is such an intrinsic part of our life. We identified a clear opportunity to create a campaign that spoke to our audience through photography and by delivering free photography masterclasses. It was the perfect medium to highlight Peugeot’s stunning design and the quality of our products, and it allowed our audience to discover the brand in a more organic, and less intrusive, way.”

Peugeot’s knowledge of the marketplace informed its communication strategy. It knew that photography was key to the campaign’s success and that consistent communication was vital if it wished to create an authentic and relevant brand-first, product-second activation.

Strata’s experienced team – headed up by Giles Cattle, Director of Creative and Strategy at Strata Creative Communications – developed, designed, and delivered the creative concept, content, and activation.

Cattle said: “The Peugeot experience featured multiple touchpoints that worked for multiple audiences, maximised ROI and generated valuable user-generated content (UGC). Consumers, press and content creators all had enriching and engaging moments through a packed week-long activation at Outernet.”

Visitors were able to explore a dynamic and interactive environment that housed Peugeot’s Inception concept vehicle. They could also step inside The Cube, an immersive environment comprised of innovative LED and state-of-the-art mirror technology. Inside the Cube, users could take part in a phone photography masterclass delivered by a Peugeot photography content creators, learn new skills, and share their photography across social channels using the #PeugeotPresents hashtag. The Cube is currently touring various urban event and festival locations and in 2024, will continue to visit aligned lifestyle events too.

Cholmondeley continued: “Photography lives across everything we do so we used it as a hook for increased engagement. This dynamic approach to UGC is completely different to our historical approach to events, which has been somewhat traditional.”

According to Cholmondeley, there is “too much beige in the world”, which is why Peugeot wanted the content-rich campaign to be bold and more innovative, creating desire and intrigue.

“We originally thought of using Outernet as an OOH campaign but then we quickly realised there was more scope,” he added. “We had a great, dynamic event agency in Strata that grew our brief, met our objectives, repeatedly communicated our four pillars – Stunning Design, High-End Quality, an Exciting Drive and Electric Leadership – and integrated the important photography aspect to the campaign.”

The Inception at Outernet experience attracted more than 76,000 visitors and the campaign had an online reach of more than 126 million. Furthermore, Inception at Outernet reached more than 11.4 million social users. That figure continues to grow as more UGC is released.

“We created an environment that would drive phone usage and extend the reach of the brand, beyond the physical event, and beyond what we could measure,” said Cholmondeley.

He continued: “When you look at event KPIs, people always look at how many leads you have and the data you’ve got but sometimes this information is looked at too early in the process. Plus, it’s data that is designed to please an internal metric. It’s not customer-centric. One of our big KPIs is Instagram followers – we find it’s a much softer, natural way to pique people’s interest in the brand. We look to see how many new Instagram followers we have. It’s not just about the car, it’s about photography and lifestyle, and so we must speak to our customers in a language that they want to be spoken to in.”

Whilst thousands of people experienced Inception at Outernet, millions more saw the photos. During the week-long event, Peugeot UK increased its Instagram following by more than 2,000. This growth emphasised the significance of Peugeot’s content and engagement strategies with its target audience and demonstrated that it successfully extended the experience “beyond the room” and into the digital space.

“This was an incredibly important aspect of the campaign,” Cholmondeley commented. “We want the Peugeot brand to be front of mind so when customers are in the market for a car, we don’t need to pester them with data and emails that they don’t want to receive.”

This “softer” and more customer-centric approach to promoting the Peugeot brand was central to the activation as was the “collaborative” and “cross-functional” nature of the campaign’s creation and delivery.

Cholmondeley explained further: “It’s been fantastic to work with Strata to design and deliver a campaign that has had an impact across everything. We collaborated throughout the project and created a cross-functional team, identifying a champion in each agency and department to share thinking and ideas. It was an efficient use of everyone’s time and Strata drove that cooperative approach, delivering against our goals, vision, and the culture we wanted to create.”

Cholmondeley concluded: “We want our marketing to enrich people’s lives, not intrude. We also want to be very single-minded and consistent in our messaging to achieve a more consistent identity and give people a clearer understanding of the Peugeot brand. Turning an experiential event into a multi-channel approach such as this was a logical and clear strategy to achieve this in addition to offering significant ROI benefits.”

Be honest. Are you guilty of signing up to “attend” a virtual event only to run it in the background and do something else? This non-committal attitude towards virtual and hybrid events is not uncommon. Giles Cattle, Director of Creative Strategy and Business Development at Strata, fears it has a lot to do with production values (lack of them), small budgets, and a misguided notion that you should make a virtual event as long as it’s live equivalent. In this opinion piece, Giles believes that a broadcast approach to live events is required and that all virtual events could learn a thing or two from TV land…

Recently, I met a mate down the pub who had just returned from Glastonbury. We had both watched Elton John perform in front of an enormous crowd on the festival’s hallowed Pyramid stage. He watched Elton in the flesh, and I savoured his set from the comfort of my sofa. Whilst both of us loved his performance, I know I’m not going to be down the pub in 20 years’ time telling my friends about Elton’s farewell gig. I wasn’t there.

However, I did have a fantastic night in front of the TV. My evening cemented a firm opinion that I have held for some time; Live events are AMAZING. But the events industry should adopt a broadcast approach to live experiences, as well as virtual and hybrid events. Think about teasing audiences with trailers, developing gripping storylines, and creating suspense. Don’t forget to deliver that moment to catch a breath before gifting audiences a plot twist. Because who doesn’t love an ending that makes people talk the next day?

Earn the attention of your audience

During the pandemic, our sector was guilty of pointing a camera at a stage and “beaming” live footage from an event. This “virtual” experience supposedly engaged a broader audience, but all it did was give people an opportunity to develop low-level expectations of what to expect from the virtual and digital space.

When you do nothing but passively watch something unfold from afar, there’s no level of participation. There’s no rich experience, or shared connection. I believe that we must earn the attention of our audiences rather than demand it. We should deliver on the metrics of engagement, not just attendance.

Do you “reward” guests for “being in the room”?

Any event and communication agency will tell you the level of attention to detail needed to treat two audiences differently. But in a way that does not give either audience a richer or poorer experience.

Premiumisation is key. But what do I mean by that? When you’re in a room with other guests, you feel more than when trying to watch something through a screen. But we also know that attending an event in real life requires more time, money, and effort.

I find that event organisers at live events feel they need to “reward” guests for “being in the room” by giving them different content and more of it. However, the pandemic has taught the world that people want to connect. Watching endless hours of content, whether in person or whilst sitting at a computer screen is not an option. The world is tired of binge-watching content on Netflix, Apple+, Amazon Prime etc (unless it’s Ted Lasso). But it does love an honest documentary or reality show that lasts about an hour (42 minutes with ad breaks). This is where I think the industry can learn and premiumise the events model (hybrid, virtual, AND live).

Create the hype

People want to live in the moment. Event professionals should programme moments in their event agenda enabling audiences to witness something happening right before their eyes and only programme the content that is the most valuable. Imagine yourself as a TV producer who needs to deliver a highlights package. Now is the time to “bundle up” your content and promote it like an hour-long TV programme. Create the hype, deliver the goods, and then give people a platform to interact and share their thoughts.

Your virtual audience is not in the “cheap seats”

What amazes me is that no one has a line on the budget sheet for virtual and no one considers the true amount of money that should be given over to content creation. For example, if you demand that your audience sit for an hour and a half, you need film-quality content that combines storytelling and narrative and production values that match.

When you’re at a live event, audience members have the opportunity to move between spaces and modes of information. Virtual attendees don’t have the option to do that so think of your event as destination television – like Britain’s Got Talent or Traitors. Create moments and a narrative that the live audience doesn’t see and get people talking. Think about the “golden hour” and what time your event should take place, deliver meaningful bursts of information, and channel the convenience of an “ad” break. But most importantly, remember that broadcast quality requires investment in time, tech, and pounds.

Sadly, I still see agencies putting all their clients’ money into real-life experiences but failing to engage online crowds. Brands don’t want to pay an additional 25 to 40% on top of their live event budgets to produce quality virtual events. If you are required to engage with audiences remotely, you must put some of the production value into delivering the best quality content for those remote audiences. Gone are the days of having a camera at the back of the room. It’s not the theatre. Your virtual audience is not in the “cheap seats”.

Longer equals more and more equals better?

Award ceremonies are great examples of where content is drawn out over dinner with copious drinks. Would you want to virtually “attend” an awards dinner, sit and watch people eat dinner, listen to an incredibly long “short-list”, and then find out hours later that you haven’t won? Plus, you’ve done all that at 2am because no one has thought about global reach and time differences.

One of the best virtual events I’ve ever experienced teased the audience but also told the audience what to expect. It also created stand-out moments. It was short, and it was clear that the organisers had recruited a team with TV experience. They knew that if they wanted people to stay their audience had to be entertained. It was evident that the content team had asked themselves: “Would I find this fun to watch?”. I enjoyed the entire experience, which ended on a high and with a bang. It gave ,me the same “just one more episode” feeling I get from watching Ted Lasso! I didn’t want the experience to end and that’s how every virtual event should be. This is where I think there are lessons to be learned.

The biggest challenges are persuading key leadership teams that you don’t need to “reward” guests who have travelled to your event with three hours of content that could be delivered in one-and-a-half hours. Are you guilty of overfilling your agenda because you think there’s a perception that longer equals more and more equals better?

I don’t think that this is the case and it’s a point that should be challenged. Shorter, higher-quality content gives people more time to connect, engage, and ask questions. That should be every agency’s priority. Both live and virtual audiences should come away feeling they’ve shared a moment. We can achieve that by spending less time saying better things.

Shorter event formats allow more time for connection and in today’s world, that’s paramount. But what’s interesting is that we have started to find that the satisfaction scores and engagement levels from virtual events are higher than those who attended real-life sessions.

We’re now talking to clients about creating live events with exceptional broadcast-quality virtual events. They must have the ability to send satisfaction levels through the roof. It helps that broadcast and television are in Strata’s DNA. I think that now is the time to marry all the best elements of the most amazing live event you can produce, with the gripping star appeal of an Emmy award-winning TV show.

Stay tuned!

This article first appeared in C&IT Magazine, October 2023. To read the full article, visit  C&IT.

Giles Cattle, Director of Creative Strategy and Business Development at Strata Creative Communications.

Strata, the award-winning brand experience agency, has acquired award winning On Event Production Co., a live, virtual, and hybrid event production company with offices in London and Derby.

The acquisition will strengthen Strata’s in-house AV production, fabrication, and production management capabilities, broadening its offer and increasing its team of talented event professionals, including skilled production managers, technicians, designers and fabricators. .

Simon Hambley, CEO of Strata, said: “We have worked alongside On Event Production Co. for several years and know the team well. When the opportunity to acquire the company came along it was an easy decision for us to make and offering us the chance to work together on a more strategic level. We know how each other thinks and works and share the same great work ethos and values. It was clear that our respective businesses aligned perfectly both culturally and professionally.”

On Event Production Co.has vast experience in corporate conferences, brand activation, and exhibition markets. All the company’s employees will continue to be employed by On with On Event Production Co.now a division of Strata Group.

Adam Dewhurst, managing director of On Event Production Co., said of the acquisition: “I have been a big fan of Strata’s work and projects for many years and have admired the work that Simon and his team have delivered for brands and clients.

“I will be working closely with Strata’s senior management team and look forward to watching On Event Production Co.grow and writing On’s next chapter with Simon.”

Strata’s acquisition of On is a continuation of its strategy to offer more of what a client needs through its one touchpoint helping clients make their budgets work harder and achieve greater return on engagement. It will increase the agency’s speed of response, capacity, and resources and accelerate the agency’s current growth trajectory, providing opportunities to expand its creative services and production facilities.

Hambley continued: “We respect approach to events and their approach to client management. On has a fantastic team that delivers solid results for amazing clients such as Toyota, Aldemore Bank & NHS England.

“This acquisition is a hugely positive step for Strata and for On, and we look forward to working with their team on an exciting journey ahead.”

In today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving marketplace, brands face the constant challenge of capturing the attention and loyalty of consumers. Traditional marketing strategies often fall short in this regard, leaving businesses searching for innovative ways to connect with their target audience. Enter the pop-up experience – a dynamic and temporary retail concept that has taken the marketing world by storm. In this blog post, we delve into the power of the pop-up, where Every Moment Matters, and discover how it can revolutionise brand experiences like never before.
Creating Immersive Experiences

The beauty of pop-up experiences lies in their ability to create immersive and memorable interactions with consumers. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, pop-ups offer an opportunity to break free from the mundane and design unique spaces that reflect the brand’s personality. From interactive installations and augmented reality experiences to sensory-driven environments, pop-ups allow brands to engage with customers on a deeper level, forging emotional connections that leave a lasting impression.

Generating Buzz and FOMO

Pop-ups have a sense of exclusivity and urgency that drives consumer curiosity and excitement. These temporary activation’s create a sense of urgency, prompting consumers to act quickly or risk missing out. By leveraging scarcity and limited-time offerings, brands can generate a buzz around their products or services, creating a Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) among their target audience. This heightened sense of urgency can lead to increased foot traffic, social media mentions, and word-of-mouth marketing.

Testing New Markets and Products

Pop-ups provide a low-risk environment for brands to test new markets or launch experimental products. By setting up a temporary physical presence, businesses can gauge consumer interest, collect feedback, and fine-tune their offerings. The real-time interactions and direct customer feedback obtained during pop-up experiences offer valuable insights that can shape future business strategies. Additionally, pop-ups can serve as a launchpad for e-commerce brands looking to establish a physical presence without the long-term commitment of a permanent store.

Building Brand Authenticity

In an era where consumers crave authenticity, pop-ups offer a platform for brands to showcase their unique values and tell compelling stories. By carefully curating the experience, brands can align their pop-up spaces with their core messaging and values, creating a genuine connection with their target audience. A well-executed pop-up can evoke emotions, spark conversations, and build trust, fostering brand loyalty among consumers who resonate with the brand’s authentic expression.

Fostering Community and Engagement

Pop-ups provide an excellent opportunity for brands to engage directly with their customers and build a sense of community. Whether through workshops, live demonstrations, or interactive experiences, pop-ups create a space for dialogue, allowing brands to connect on a personal level. By fostering these relationships, brands can gain valuable insights into their customers’ preferences and needs, creating a feedback loop that informs future product development and marketing strategies.

The power of the pop-up cannot be underestimated in today’s competitive business landscape. As a temporary and experiential marketing tool, pop-ups have the ability to captivate audiences, generate buzz, and foster authentic connections with consumers. By embracing the dynamic nature of pop-up experiences, brands can unlock new possibilities for innovation, growth, and customer engagement. So, if you’re looking to elevate your brand experience to new heights, consider harnessing the power of the pop-up.

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