Forum Group Makes a Big Impact Taking Home Two MEA Awards

Forum Group Events & Marketing has taken out top honours at the prestigious Meetings and Events Australia’s (MEA) national awards with the agency winning two accolades including ‘Corporate Event of the Year’ and ‘Event Manager of the Year – Agency’.

Forum Group, an Australian integrated events and marketing agency, has delivered engaging events and business results for their clients for over 20 years. Their team and network create end-to-end marketing experiences for a diverse client base including South African Tourism’s 5-city roadshow which was selected by an independent panel of judges as the MEA Corporate Event of the Year. The award was accepted by Director, Lauren Hayward at the awards gala held on 2nd April at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Stephanie Vercoe, one of Forum Group’s most experienced event professionals was announced as MEA’s Event Manager of the Year – Agency. Stephanie is renowned for her dedication and creativity when delivering integrated event campaigns such as the Department of Industry’s NSW Training Awards, Citrix 8-City Roadshow and Dell EMC Tech Summit.

Lauren Hayward, Director, said, ‘To win two national awards is a wonderful recognition of our team’s efforts and the immense passion and energy that they have poured into showcasing our client’s brands via their chosen event platforms.  The last 12 months have seen the Forum Group team extend ourselves professionally as we maximised local and global partnerships further refining our ‘hub of connection’ approach to delivering events. Our clients benefit from our hub which includes exceptional partners, suppliers, our processes, technological resources as well as our experienced in-house team of event professionals.”

Forum Group was presented with the top awards in addition to being selected as a national finalist for ‘Government Event of the Year’ for the Department of Industry’s NSW Training Awards. The awards come off the back of a year of innovative, stand-out event work for clients as well as new business wins, including securing Infomedia Tech Day, RegTech Conference and In the Black Gala Ball.

 

     

 

 

 

Forum Group Recognised as a Finalist in Two Categories in Australian Event Awards

Forum Group has been recognised for their outstanding contribution to events as a State Finalist in the category of Best Small Event and National Finalist for Clare Dawson’s entry as Event Producer of the Year in the awards program for Australia’s events industry.

Forum Group’s delivery of Buzzfeed’s customer appreciation event has been confirmed as amongst the Best Small Events in NSW. The Buzzfeed Prom was the ‘must attend’ event for their customers and partners. Forum Group was tasked with developing the concept and creatively producing the elements all within a strict budget.  Entries for Best Small Event are judged on all aspects of event management including best practice, innovation, marketing, stakeholder engagement and management, sustainability and event legacy.

Clare Dawson is one of Forum Group’s most experienced event professionals who brings professionalism to every end-to-end integrated event campaign she manages. Taking an agile approach to managing events, she tackles projects holistically from the initial concept to completion. Clare is an integral member of our Forum Group team and highly sought after by their clients. Entries into individual achievement categories are judged on all aspects of personal contribution including innovation, best practice and role in the growth of the industry as well as the difficulties encountered along the way.

Forum Group’s Director Lauren Hayward said, ‘This announcement is welcome acknowledgement of the hard work, creativity and professionalism of the Forum Group team. We’re thrilled that our delivery of Buzzfeed’s end of year customer appreciation prom has been selected by industry experts as a finalist. To also have one of our key team members, Clare Dawson, selected as a national finalist is a wonderful testament of her dedication and flair for delivering events.”

Co-chair of the Event Awards Judging Panel Sandy Hollway AO said:

“The diversity of Australia’s events industry continues to amaze me, as does the ability of the Awards to put a spotlight on not just the incredible events and achievements which take place each year, but to draw out the challenges event organisers manage to overcome through determination, innovation, collaboration and resourcefulness.”

Winners will be announced at the lavish Australian Event Awards Ceremony on 21 November at Novotel Twin Waters on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Forum Group’s Star Leadership Duo Announce Joint-Ownership

Image_Forum Group Events and Marketing_Leanne Constantino and Lauren Hayward March 2018Lauren Hayward has officially come on board as joint owner and Director of Forum Group Events & Marketing. She joins Leanne Constantino current owner and Director in driving the award winning integrated events and marketing agency forward.

Leanne is delighted to provide an opportunity to formalise Lauren’s significant contribution to the business.  Lauren Hayward (formerly General Manager) has been instrumental to the success of the company over the past 10 years and the step up is a natural progression in her career. Lauren was recognised early for her passion and leadership having been named the recipient of the Australian Event Awards Young Achiever of the Year (2013), NSW YMEA Future Leader Award (2012) and MEA’s Event Manager of the Year (2013).  Under the new structure, Lauren will focus on the operational delivery of the company’s event campaigns.

With over 20 years’ experience in the events industry, Leanne Constantino is widely recognised as an industry leader.  Over the years Leanne has built a sound reputation for providing strategic event management, production and integrated marketing communications. Under her direction, Forum Group Events & Marketing has experienced strong results and developed an impressive portfolio of events for a range of clients.   As joint Director, Leanne will focus on sales and client relations.

Hayward says of this time of company development, “These are very exciting times at Forum Group. I am proud to confirm an expansion of the company’s ownership. As well as continuing to deliver outstanding event and marketing campaigns for our clients, I am now in a position to formally partner with Leanne on the future strategic plans for our business. We have a creative, professional and positive team at Forum Group Events & Marketing who will continue to work passionately with Leanne and I to drive our company forward in this remarkable industry.”

 

Forum Group Events & Marketing
Trusted by global Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years, Forum Group Events & Marketing is a multi award-winning integrated events marketing and management organisation.

Forum Group has a national network alliance of innovative professionals that strive to deliver world-class events. We create end-to-end marketing experiences that connect, educate and inspire whilst driving business results for a diverse range of clients.

Our integrated campaign approach offers a complete solution to meet event and marketing objectives. The Forum Group team excels at event strategy, event management, event promotion, audience acquisition and extending the life of an event whilst always maximising ROI.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Lauren Hayward
Director
Forum Group Events & Marketing
T: 02 8302 5523
E: [email protected]

8 WAYS TO BLOW A BUDGET – COMMON PITFALLS TO AVOID!

Planning is the key to avoiding mistakes that can blow your budget. But if you avoid these common errors, you will be able to produce an event you will love at a price you and your clients can afford.

Anyone who has ever managed an event where the financial objective is to break even at a minimum, understands that there are hundreds of critical decisions that are made along the way that will determine the financial outcomes and the potential ROI for those hosting the event.

Budget Blower
Event managers working with corporate, government or association clients have common issues that can push budgets into the red and many of these issues come down to a culmination of decisions that add to their bottom-line price.

To prevent those in our industry from getting caught out along the event management process, we have enlisted the help of our award-winning team of event management experts to advise on the pitfalls to avoid. Together, we have collated the following list of eight budget blowers. Avoiding these challenges during the lifespan of the event will save you and your clientele money.

BUDGET BLOWERS

1. Not allowing for contingency funds.

Realistic budget planning is critical. Not factoring in a contingency amount into the event budget can drain funds if unexpected issues come up, which seasoned event planners will say – they commonly do! Typically an event budget may include: venue booking fees, payments to speakers, entertainment and other 3rd parties, printing costs for marketing collateral, running orders and other paper elements, additional equipment such as AV, projectors and staging sets, decorative and theming elements for example, table decorations, promotional and marketing costs, catering, event insurance and event technology.

Experienced event managers will determine the size and scale of the event and allow a contingency expense line item in the budget usually between 10-15% of the total event budget. Any number of things can go wrong such as medical bills, broken equipment, speaker cancellations and more, so a contingency is essential in covering any costs that may arise without warning.


2. Overzealous outsourcing.

Outsourcing too many elements of the event management process that could be completed in-house e.g. special events, satchel packing, design, registration, speaker management and other elements of the overall production adds cost and minimises your event profit margin. When your event is under development and the scope begins to shift and grow, there is the temptation to outsource key planning elements to a third party. Unless this is completely necessary due to time restraints, it may be necessary for the core team to coordinate these offsite or additional elements to maximise profit.


3. Not implementing a procurement policy when sourcing products and services for the first time.

Having preferred suppliers relationships in place that reward loyalty is important as the financial benefits that come from bringing your repeat custom are clear, but what if you are appointing a supplier for the first time? How will your tender process uncover the best supplier that will be able to deliver on your event objectives? Do they have sufficient experience to avoid costly errors that may be incurred if problems arise? An inexperienced supplier may offer a cheaper quote upfront but cause delays and issues down that track that cause budgetary blow outs.

A key strategy to avoid this is by undertaking due diligence on your client’s behalf and by setting up a procurement process that will help you determine the top 3 providers of event equipment or services and then narrowing the list down through face to face interviewing, reference checking and reviewing designs in response to your brief upfront. Remember decisions such as these should not always be made on price.


4. Failing to successfully secure the host organisation’s seed funding or some sponsorship money to fund the event prior to planning commencement.

In this chicken-egg scenario much of the planning cannot occur without sufficient funding which may arrive in various forms but usually via seed funding from the host organisation or sponsorship dollars secured prior to the event management planning stage. How do you know what elements of the event you can begin to plan? Even the basic event requirements such as the venue that can be booked and so on, without at least some seed funding to kick start the project will prove difficult.

Don’t risk too much of your cash flow carrying a fledgling event – at the very least get an indication of the event’s track record from previous years to help you determine the best course of action. Some funding to begin marketing the event to visitors, sponsors, exhibitors, strategic partners and the like will go a long way to potentially securing further funding that will float the event until the full impact of registrations is known.


5. Over catering

In the science and art form of event planning, there is an understanding from the statistics there will always be some margin of non-attendance. In fact some research has shown that planners can under order by up to 10% to accurately cater for events. No-shows and people who are simply not hungry are always a factor to consider here.


6. Beginning any of the design process before finalising your marketing objectives.

Consider your marketing objectives before your leap into the design process.
Tips to avoid wasting time and money on re-designing event materials may include:
– Providing incomplete, rough input to a design team usually results in multiple queries, delays and redesigns. Event planners need to understand that they can still edit along the way, but the fewer changes you have, the more money you can spend on other elements of the event rather than on the design costs.
– Another tip is before meeting with the designers, ensure you have given your internal stakeholders the opportunity to have their say. This will help you develop a clear and detailed brief that is less likely to change over the design process.
– Finally, continue your internal discussions until everyone signs off on the same brief and in turn the final design.


7. Forgetting to take out an event insurance policy can be costly.

Event insurance is a must for any professional event manager. There are simply too many things out of our control that could go wrong regardless of the best risk assessment conducted. Some insurers such as Aon, specifically offer event insurance so it is best to do your research and factor the cost of the policy into your event budget.


8. Not keeping track of the finances.

Even though you may be on the go, it’s important to estimate realistic average costs plus keep good records of your actual event finances and these days mobile apps can make this process easier. Here is one that you may like to consider and we recommend testing it out before you start:
– Account Tracker: This app has received 5 star reviews from a significant amount of customers in the Apple iTunes store to warrant your attention. The app features expense management, account tracking, multi-currency support, bill reminders plus your can export reports and budgets to CSV and PDF files.

DOUBLE MEA NATIONAL WIN FOR FORUM GROUP EVENTS

Forum Group Events (FGE) has been awarded twice over by Meetings and Events Australia (MEA) at last night’s gala function in Melbourne. The events marketing and management organisation overcame strong competition to take home the national accolades for ‘Meetings & Events Management Organisation (less than 8 employees)’ and ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’.

 

MEA NATIONAN WIN

 

2016 marks Forum Group Events’ 20th anniversary of delivering business events. To add to an eventful year in which the team has already delivered almost 200 events over the past 12 months, Lauren Hayward, General Manager, FGE, was thrilled to accept the MEA accolades recognising the company’s outstanding provision of services to the Australian conference, meetings and events industry.
Leanne Constantino, Managing Director, Forum Group Events, said the announcements were welcome recognition of the dedication of Forum Group Event’s team based in Sydney and Melbourne.

 

“The Forum Group Events team is extremely delighted to receive these MEA awards at national level. Our team takes pride in providing our loyal clients memorable events that connect, educate and inspire their delegations. Our focus remains on delivering innovative events marketing and execution solutions whilst providing outstanding customer service. We could not have achieved these accolades without the dedication from our entire team.” said Constantino.

 

The Meetings & Events Management Organisation (less than 8 employees) category reviewed the impact and efficacy of smaller event management companies over the previous year.  The category was judged on a number of criteria, including business planning and management, marketing strategy, resource management, financial performance, contribution to the industry as well as the overall uniqueness of the company.
Forum Group Events was awarded the Corporate Social Responsibility award in recognition of the company’s policies and practices that actively consider the interests of society by taking responsibility for the impact of their activities on customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, communities, stakeholders and the environment.

 

ABOUT FORUM GROUP EVENTS

Trusted by global Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years, Forum Group Events is a multi award-winning integrated events marketing and management organisation.

Forum Group Events has a national network alliance of innovative professionals that strive to deliver world-class events. We create end-to-end marketing experiences that connect, educate and inspire whilst driving business results for a diverse range of clients.

Our integrated campaign approach offers a complete solution to meet event and marketing objectives. The FGE team excels at event strategy, event management, event promotion, audience acquisition and extending the life of an event whilst always maximizing ROI.
For further information visit www.forumgroupevents.com.au

For enquiries:
Lauren Hayward
General Manager
Forum Group Events
Tel:  02 9212 6125

Event Technology Trends

Technology is advancing at a rapid speed…The question for event planners / event management companies, is how can we incorporate this new technology into our events to remain at the forefront of innovation and create the ultimate delegate experience?

 

Forum Group Events attended the Event Show hosted by Meetings and Events Australia last week to find the answer to this question from three industry experts. Led by Toby Travanner, we heard insights from Evan Daley from Two BullsManjula Dissanayake from Emojot and Stefan Perner from Virtual Reality Ventures on the following event technologies: 

 

 EmojotPhoto credit: emojot.com 

Real time emotive feedback – Introducing EmSense  a neuroscience company with headsets that can actually read individual’s emotional responses by measuring brainwave cognition on a moment by moment basis. As an event planner, the idea of knowing exactly how your audience is feeling is of course appealing, however the idea of having everyone in the audience donning these devices seems a little farfetched (at least for now anyways). The substitute? Emojot  A software sensor that tracks real time delegate feedback. Rather than waiting for delegate feedback after a session, the emojot digital platform allows delegates to tap on their screen what emotion they are feeling throughout a presentation. This enables the presenters and planners to see what content is resonating with their audience in real time.

 

 

 Virtual-Reality-Glasses

Virtual reality – Imagine being able to transport your delegates to an entirely different world? Virtual Reality Ventures are doing just that by enabling delegates to interact with computer-generated simulations of 3D environments. (For more info on how virtual reality works check out this video). By incorporating this into events, you can create a memorable experience for attendees whilst also allowing them to experience a product, service or destination. Instead of talking to delegates about your new store they can actually be transported there! You may have also heard some buzz around Oculus Rift (which Facebook purchased for a modest $2 billion) or another substitute? Google cardboard. 

 

 

 

 augmented-realityPhoto credit: twobulls.com

Augmented reality – Combining virtual reality with the physical world…this can really take attendee engagement to a new level. Real-world event environments can be augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video or graphics. Some examples of how Two Bulls are incorporating this into events? Dynamic lighting and presentations controlled by hand gestures alone, gamification (where holding up physical devices generates computer images and interaction) and virtual collateral (scan the code with your phone and witness a computer generated image appear before your eyes)Check out this augmented reality demo.

 

Interested in hearing more about how you can incorporate these new technologies into your next event? Contact Forum Group Events on +612 9212 6125 or email [email protected].