Like many high street retailers, Christmas comes early for wilko and preparations start in early autumn. Attracting in excess of four million customers each week across its network of 370 branches, the festive transformation in each wilko store is always a sight to behold and, with Christmas 2015 just a few short months away, the team enlisted the help of MCS to make this festive season one to remember for its shop managers.
Planning for the busiest retail period of the year starts with wilko’s 1,200-strong team of managers and assistant managers gathering to enjoy a showcase of the company’s winter festive must-haves. From stocking fillers and tableware, to seasonal home furnishings and Christmas trimmings, the conference is centred on introducing each range, engaging the team and creating excitement around what is targeted to be a profitable but enjoyable time for the business.
Building on the company’s values of ‘getting customer to dos done, ‘showing passion’ and ‘making things fun’, MCS was tasked with delivering a high energy, relaxed and informative event. The intention was to let staff take in the new festive ranges, whilst learning about the ‘behind the scenes’ journey that takes place at head office in the lead up to Christmas.
The perfect Wilko wonderland
With the educational elements of the day focussing on three key areas – HR and training, PR and marketing, and Supply Chain – and the retail giant’s own ‘mock shop’ on site, it was agreed that the company’s head office in Worksop would make for the perfect wilko wonderland.
To avoid the understandable nerves which often accompany a trip to HQ, MCS erected a [insert]ft marquee in the office car park to provide a relaxed and intimate base for the day.
Adorning the centre of the marquee, amongst the winter wonderland themed décor, was a circular ‘Top Gear-style’ galvanised stage with suspended TV screens allowing full visibility for the gathering crowd – the perfect platform for wilko’s down-to-earth and highly engaging COO to address his lively audience.
Doing what they do best, the MCS team transformed the four key areas of the building with full AV production accompanying a present filled sleigh, Christmas trees and snow covered grotto scenes. From the mock shop and the marquee, to the business areas and the warehouse, wilko’s festive ranges were showcased at their very best with the help of a professional interior designer who MCS had sourced.
A complete solution
With the design elements of the day taken care of, MCS focussed on ensuring each aspect of the day was informative, enjoyable and meticulously planned. Directing and producing two films alongside scripts and event packs for each attendee, the team was charged with managing everything but the RSVPs – from invites to farewells.
With four rooms to dress, a marquee to erect and prepare, equipment to set up and testing to be completed, the MCS team was up against the clock having just three days to prepare the site. Despite this, MCS made sure the event ran smoothly from start to finish, over the course of four days, with attendees enjoying the tangible displays, simple and fun communicative elements and the lunchtime pie and peas.
From a dedicated text line for event selfies, to bark-covered grottos with fake snow, MCS left no stone unturned in creating a truly memorable wilko Wonderland.
Clare Jones, internal communications manager for wilko, was delighted with the event. Following positive feedback from the various branch managers, she had these kind words to say:
“Our wilko Christmas Conference was a great success. MCS confidently and carefully planned the four-day event with our internal comms team from start to finish, creating and producing content, logistics and audio visual support to deliver our 'winter wonderland'. The feedback from delegates has been nothing but positive. Thank you to the entire MCS team who have become an extension of the wilko family.”