A Corporate Event and Video Production Case Study
Formerly known as Rockwell Collins, Collins Aerospace, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, IA, is a leader in technologically advanced solutions that help redefine the aerospace and defense industry. They create solutions for commercial and business aviation, military and defense, helicopters, space, airports, and other industries like network communications, security, and monitoring systems.
Collins Aerospace includes six strategic business units formed to meet their various customers’ needs. These divisions serve customers across the commercial, regional and business aviation, defense and space sectors.
Collins Aerospace recently hired Wired Production Group (WPG) to assist with the planning and execution of their annual Fellows Program event. This approximately 300-person event fosters partnerships within the Collins technical community. It also recognizes high-performing employees who will be newly inducted into the Fellows program.
This was one of the first live, in-person events since the “end” of the pandemic for Collins Aerospace, so pressure was on to make the event memorable for all involved.
Planning an event that is not near your physical location can be challenging, but Collins Aerospace and WPG have been working together on video and event projects since 1991. There is a long history of trust between the two companies. However, this event did pose some unique challenges.
First, the 2022 Fellows Conference event was held at a new location. To give the attendees and their guests a bit of a relaxing and fun atmosphere, the event was held at an oceanfront resort, the Wild Dunes in Isle of Palms, South Carolina. This location was not the typical “tradeshow” or “conference” style hotel – it’s a resort.
Most hotels with built-in convention centers are used to handling the logistics of events like a tradeshow floor with booths, conference rooms that need seating for large groups of people with A/V equipment, and the need for large semi trucks with trailers to pull up to the doors to unload. The Wild Dunes Resort is different as it is designed around vacation rentals, condos, and cottages moreso than large corporate events and conventions.
Like many smaller hotels that host these types of corporate events, the resort didn’t have a loading dock that was needed to unload trucks or a signifcant amount of parking for the Wired Production Group semi when it arrived.
Second, Collins Aerospace and Wired Production Group understand the power of video. There were seven breakout sessions planned. Collins Aerospace wanted each breakout session to have a unique video that launched ahead of the event so the attendees could understand what each of the sessions were going to be about. This is quite a different approach than watching a video during a session or at the actual event.
Additionally, Collins Aerospace had a large amount of event collateral that they needed to get to the resort. As anyone in the event planning industry knows, managing the logistics and shipping to a hotel before an event can be dicey – especially when the items are needed for the event to be a success.
Some of these items needed for the conference included:
- Gifts for the speakers
- Corporate branded apparel
- “Swag” items
- Misc. office supplies
Since this resort wasn’t used to having larger corporate events, the shipping – and the timing of the shipping – of these items was in question.
We are not just an AV company — we are an event solutions company. Get us involved early with your event so we can support your vision. There are a lot of things we can assist you with. I like to say that event production is like building a house: you want the builder to be involved in the blueprint. We want to collaborate with you from the very beginning, so we can share ideas openly and help you with your event from the ground up. Having early discussions with us is important to create and execute a successful event of any size.
New Venue. New Solutions.
Since this was a new venue, Ron Rausch from Wired Production Group made an on-site visit to the hotel ahead of time to see what type of venue they would be working with. (The sooner you can bring in the production and event company into the planning, the better.) Ron identified some of the challenges that they would face. For instance, at a resort like Wild Dunes, all the buildings are spread out and aren’t connected. Ron had to account for those types of logistical issues in the planning of the event.
During the pre-site visit, he was able to identify the space for the general sessions, evening events, cocktail reception, breakout sessions and the support that was going to be needed. For the event, they set up twelve rooms in total as well as assisted with the setup of the trade show floor.
Additionally, there were no docks for loading. The WPG staff had to park on the street and push items down boardwalks by the water for the nighttime events. With the seven Wired Production Group employees and four local stagehands to help, the load-in and load-out for the event went just fine!
One of Collins Aerospace’s top priorities at the event was the tradeshow event that exhibited Collins Aerospace technologies for the Fellows in attendance. Ron took time to determine where extra items were needed – like power supplies, monitors, cables, etc. These items were all provided by WPG to the booth organizers at the event.
Wired Production Group also designed the booth and power layout — which included 28 TV screens — and they supported the organizers as the booths were being set up.
Videos Bring It All To Life
To complete the seven breakout session videos, the Wired Production Group team worked with the Collins Aerospace team weeks before the videos launched.
WPG was tasked with creating a video for each of seven breakout sessions that would introduce attendees to Collins’ seven Strategic Initiatives and make the concepts easily digestible and succinct. The goal was for each video to be less than five minutes long. Every video needed to be interesting, engaging — making people want to learn more.
The videos involved personal interviews. Where the interviewees were local to Cedar Rapids or were visiting, they were brought into the Wired Production Group studio. Some interviews were done virtually using a tool called Riverside that provides exceptionally high-quality video and audio.
Collins Aerospace reviewed all videos and felt the videos were successful in getting the right messages across. A week or two before the event, the videos were sent out to the attendees so that everyone would know what to expect at each session at the actual event in South Carolina.
WPG Becomes A Logistics Manager and Shipping Carrier
Collins Aerospace decided to take advantage of WPGs willingness to bring new solutions to their customers.
Materials were needed for the event from various vendors. Items like shirts, easels, awards, programs, branded apparel, etc. were ordered by Collins Aerospace. WPG offered to be the “gathering place” for all the support materials for the event where Wired Production Group did the logistics management.
All the vendors shipped directly to Wired Production Group where they managed and inventoried all the items to make sure everything came in and was correctly printed. They did the quantity counts, quality checks, took photos of the items and sent the photos to Collins Aerospace for final approval.
That also meant that instead of Collins Aerospace shipping the event collateral to the hotel as is typically done for events, WPG palletized and hauled these items on the semi to South Carolina.
There were four pallets of collateral in total. Each pallet would have cost hundreds of dollars to ship one-way through a traditional carrier like UPS or FedEx.
Wired Production Group also brought home all the posters that were presented at the event by each of the Fellows as well as other collateral that needed to be returned to Collins Aerospace after the event.
By having Wired Production Group bring these items back and forth to the event versus shipping the items through a traditional carrier, Collins Aerospace saved thousands of dollars in shipping costs. They also saved the hassle of contacting the resort and coordinating the shipments’ arrivals and trying to locate all the shipments at the resort when Collins Aerospace employees arrived on site.
Not only was this a money and timesaver, but it was also a stress reliever on the Collins Aerospace event planning team.
Wired Production Group was the architect that helped Collins Aerospace design the event.
Videos produced by Wired Production Group were successful in getting the right message across and getting the right information that needed to be distributed.
Collins Aerospace saved thousands of dollars in shipping costs by having Wired Production Group haul the event collateral vs. shipping to the hotel via a traditional carrier.
If you’d like to see the same success at your next event, contact one of our event professionals today to discuss your event plans and needs.