Leaders emerge in every facet of life, but few amongst them form a bond with their teams and colleagues to come up with ideas so strong that they leave the others behind by a mile. The audience comprised the leading dealers of Ultratech Cement in India, and much like the brand itself, these leaders metaphorically cement relationships for life to deliver numbers. So when it came to honoring them at this corporate incentive program, no stone was left unturned. It didn’t matter that we had just 15 days of lead time to organize the conference in a country where the language was a huge barrier because of which Google Translators came into action. Every communication that was made was being translated using the translator. As their event partners, we made over 45 events happen across 15 days. But that was not all, to ensure there was a massive spread of food from home (not the usual couple of chefs and 3-course meals), we shipped 10 tons of food trucks with over 65 chefs, to whip up 30 dishes a day. Did we mention, all this was put together in 15 days?
Relationships and bonds form the core of UltraTech Cement, much like the products they offer. Thus, the main objective here was a simple one; to ensure the leading dealers were rewarded with a genuine personal touch. Top dealers, along with their spouses and kids, were invited to celebrate the Champion of Champions in Russia. They were to be rewarded and felicitated for their immense contribution to the brand, and since they had already steered the brand to no. 1 position, the objective was to show them what’s next with the brand; purpose, after all, is everything. We were tasked with elevating the relationship and encouraging them to perform even better while engaging them in a whole bevy of exciting activities. The lead time to plan this event was just 15 days, and the main challenge was that it had to be organized in Russia, the language and culture of which was relatively unknown. Arranging the best cuisine, sourcing the most engaging artists, organizing business conferences, and more, along with creating a buzz for the whole activity, it was an exciting task which had to be pulled off in an unimaginably short time period. But, as Barney Stinson would have said it, “Challenge accepted!”
UltraTech Cement is the largest cement manufacturer in India and one of the topmost brands in the world. Their vision is to be the leader in the space of building solutions. To lead is their ultimate goal in business, and their core value exudes strong relationships. The master theme of Champion of Champions was a constant, to which we suggested an appendage of ‘Lead by a Mile’. How do you give purpose to people accustomed to being on the top spot? We decided to demonstrate how different it was to lead vs. leading by a mile! The suggestion of this theme for the year meant that we had to walk the talk as far as event planning and execution was concerned. We had to lead by a mile too, in delivering the experience. We set out to strengthen their relationships with their leading dealers with this fun fortnight-long trip to St Petersburg and Moscow in Russia, with a multitude of events and activities during the period. The concept was to create an event which was not just a plain offsite, but an interactive affair that encouraged the ones involved to think even more creatively as they relaxed in the casual vibe of another nation, feeling like ‘Champions of the Champion’.
Perks and compensations work as rewards, but what an organization does beyond the numbers defines its character as an employer/client. This 15-day event in Russia was organized with the aim of doing precisely that and demonstrated what it meant to ‘Lead by a Mile’.
- We had just 15 days to plan it all, but we created extensive pre-event hype, both physical and digital.
- In Russia, branded pouches were given to dealers and their families, containing mini indoor games like Ludo, Uno, and more. We ensured that our planning demonstrated that we thought out every moment of the experience.
- Russian elements were incorporated from the start, be it the Russian bread and salt welcome, or keeping personalized honey cakes and miniature vodka bottles as a room drop. Not only this, there were key jackets, doorknobs, and daily room drops.
- The event was truly international, with a huge stage, 30+ artistes from not just India and Russia, but Europe as well. Additionally, portable signages used at Neva Bridge and the team building created at Chernogolovka forest were significant firsts.
- Simple selfies are no way to lead by a mile, so we had a whole 360-degree photo booth fabricated in Russia, capturing favorite moments of dealers and their families in a unique 360-degree format, instantly.
- For the ladies, including the spouses, special kitties were organized among other things. We ensured that families felt this was designed keeping them in mind, rather than having them tag along with their spouses.
- The night of the final awards was one of the most significant corporate events to be held in Russia, a scale that would be a challenge to pull off even on home turf.
- There were 65+ chefs, 10 tons of food trucks, 5-course meals adding up to 30+ dishes a day.
- Events included a talent show, 30+ engagement activities across Russia (even in buses and trains).
- Communication was a hurdle as language was a barrier, making conversing with vendors, locals, etc. an issue. However, despite that, the event was managed and hiccups overcome.
- The organizing was not sans hurdles. While communication was the major one, other small issues too threatened to mar an otherwise beautiful trip and event set in the heart of Russia. The names of the award presenters and winners were known only an hour before the event. Even the visual content got approved only a few hours before the gala was to begin. But everything fell in line eventually.
Fifteen days; and that was all the lead time provided for managing an event of this scale, that too in a foreign country with a culture that’s strange and language that’s incomprehensible. Nevertheless, the feat was pulled off and signed off with one of the biggest grand finales ever seen by corporate events, with smiles splashed across the faces of those in whose honor it was done; the leading UltraTech dealers.
- There were record 800 attendees of the event; each delivered personalized experiences at an unprecedented scale.
- 45+ events were spread across a span of 15 days and executed perfectly despite the hurdles that came in the way.
- The outdoor activity which was held in the small town Chernogolovka.
- Amidst a bevy of activities which kept them engaged, there was one that was organized at Chernogolovka’s Military Technical Museum, where teams competed against each other, a la Russian Military style. This activity, and by extension this trip aimed to be not just an incentive to them, but also an intensive yet enjoyable team-building exercise, giving dealers a chance to hone their strengths further.
- This turned out to be one of the largest corporate events that were held and executed in Russia.
- More than 30 artistes from India and Europe performed across events, and about 50 more from Russia at the Gala.
- Immense appreciation was received for the smooth execution of the whole event.
UltraTech sealed off the smiles of these leaders and their families, with an event which turned out to be much more than just an incentive. It was a trip to honor the efforts of those who are the pillars of the company and demonstrated what it meant to lead by a mile.