Pets at Home [www.petsathome.com/] is a British pet supplies retailer. Selling pet products – food, toys, bedding, medication, accessories and pets – it is listed on the LSE and FTSE250. It has over 8,000 employees, and operates 453 stores and 316 grooming salons in the UK.
With the pandemic’s lockdowns threatening to shut stores, Pets at Home wanted to ensure it continued to engage with its employees during a difficult and uncertain time. Historically, the company would hold physical events across the year – from store manager conferences and support colleague gatherings, to Groom Room seminars which trained employees in the concept of the brand’s onsite pet grooming service.
The first lockdown in March 2020 encouraged the in-house events team to rethink the way the company engaged with its employees whilst the pandemic was ongoing.
The team knew it wanted continuation in the way in which it communicated with its colleagues. As such, it was agreed that it would launch a series of online events within a format that was visually stimulating and engaging.
The aim for all events was to leave every single attendee feeling closer to their teammates, and excited and proud to be working alongside each other and for the company.
With a year’s worth of in-person events to reconfigure, Pets at Home approached us to develop a new format for their various events across the coming year.
The main event in the portfolio was the annual Store Managers conference. With over 500 attendees, the event aimed to bring all store managers from across the UK together to learn from one another, engage with the brand on a different level away from their day to day, and to celebrate success together.
In response to the challenge, we proposed a magazine style TV show format – an event which had not been undertaken before for our clients. Hosted in a custom-built studio run by a small production team, and along with a host – Clare Balding – and a handful of interviewees from Pets at Home’s senior management team (all working within socially distanced guidelines) and delivered to an online audience, the event would be a complex production that would pull on all the technologies and expertise that 7 Stream Media had to provide.
It was agreed that the event would feature live in-studio interviews, with remote presenters and guests dialed in, prerecorded VTs, and live streaming to an online audience of 500 store managers.
To add intrigue and excitement to the event, 7 Stream Media proposed a solution for their annual awards ceremony where award nominees and winners would be announced in the studio, and winners would be dialed in to receive their award.
Furthermore, to add further buzz and excitement to the proceedings and increase audience focus and engagement, 7 Stream Media suggested using technological visual effects – pyrotechnics in the studio, digital confetti, and music from a live house band, introduced for the second virtual Store Managers conference following feedback from the first, which played in the studio and streamed online. Finally, a live chat function allowed two-way communication between the audience and the studio.
Prior to the delivery of the event, 7 Stream Media offered training to all senior management taking a presenting role. This provided them with training in how to present a live broadcast show and maintain an informal and engaging presenting style. Training included understanding the technicalities of different types of presenting and interviewing, and tuition in delivering speeches on-camera in various settings.
Furthermore, with much of the event scripted, training was provided in reading a teleprompter and using cue screens and a comfort monitor. Everyone’s presenting style is different, so 7 Stream Media worked closely with each presenter to find a style that suited them, and provided the right advice, underpinned by the right technology, to allow them to present in their chosen style.
Services we offered
7 Stream Media provided the Pets at Home events team with a complete set of services, from set design, storyboarding and presentation training, to filming and editing VTs, building and running a live multi-camera studio, live streaming, building and managing the broadcast platform and even live music and digital visual effects. The high-quality broadcast-ready production saw a wide combination of complementary skills to deliver a TV show format for the Pets at Home brand. The event was devised, planned and executed in three months.
The Store Managers Conference was just one of many events that 7 Stream Media supported during the first year of lockdown. Others included the Groom Room Conference and Suppliers Conference – and all were delivered with the same high level of creativity, technology and training to ensure that the newly formatted online events would stand out and all employees would feel excited and proud to work for the brand.
What Our Client Said:
One of the many great things about working with 7 Stream is the confidence they provide me and the Pets at Home family. I know that, whatever the project we are working on together, we are in safe hands as I have full trust in their expertise, ability and creativity.
The first virtual Store Manager conference that 7 Stream helped us deliver was a huge success. Having not provided an event to colleagues in this way before, we were uncertain of the outcome or how this would land, but 7 Stream beat all expectations and then some! The feedback from our colleagues was phenomenal and I, for one, felt so proud and grateful to the 7 Stream team for bringing the event to life in such an extraordinary way.
Lizzie Thompson, Group Events Lead, Pets at Home.
What We Thought:
In March 2020, the pandemic provided us with one of our greatest challenges, and one which we relished solving for Pets At Home. We pulled on our deepest expertise in event management, production and AV technology to deliver a series of unique events that pushed boundaries, all during a time when we were working within extreme restrictions. It has set a blueprint for the standards we will continue to deliver events by and we are excited to use the platforms developed and the further experience and knowledge gained to continue to deliver the most unique event solutions for our clients.
Tom Ensom, Creative and Technical Director, 7 Stream Media.
Pets at Home
What we did