10. July 2018

Successful events, events for success

How important are events in the digital age?

Sensory Park. Credit: FREYLER Industriebau GmbH
Freyler’s network event “Sensory Park” © FREYLER Industriebau GmbH, Berlin

Considering digital transformation and the long reach of social media, are events still necessary? We asked Adlershof-based companies why they indeed still are.

During Phoenix Contact Day, there is much going on at the headquarters of the eponymous company in Blomberg in Westphalia, which has a branch in Adlershof. Phoenix Contact Day is a party hosted by the electrical engineering company for its employees and their families. The event takes place every five years and attracts 25,000 visitors.

This year’s highlights included the annual kick-off meeting that took place at the Hangar in Adlershof. Two-hundred managers from Phoenix Contact’s branches in 50 countries met up to look back on previous year and to mark out the goals for the next. “Networking at such events is incredibly important because informal networking quickly falls by the wayside in the day-to-day routine,” says Marcel Kleine, director of event and exhibition management at Phoenix Contact. “Personal communication is key, particularly in a multinational company with a decentralised structure.” Klein is convinced that such events benefit from venues with a unique atmosphere, like the Hangar: “Real-world experiences are more long-lasting than things we merely hear or read.”

That is why the company runs its own event department, who are responsible for planning trade fairs and other events. The 18-strong team organises between 300 and 500 annual events all over the world, ranging from small trade-fairs at hotels to creating opulent booths at Hannover-Messe. “We focus on customer communication because many of our products require extensive consultation services,” says Kleine, “but also to stand out from the competition.” There is a high supply of electronic engineering products and it is essential to provide benefits and generate trust through customer communication.

This view is shared by Annette Bartholomé, who works for Freyler Industriebau GmbH: “Events are invaluable to us because they make Freyler more widely known on a regional level. This is a benefit that is certainly worth its weight in gold.” The networking event “Sensory Park – Success through Enjoyment and Passion” certainly contributed to this: “The goal was to bring together clients, builders and new partners and provide them with a unique sensory experience,” says Bartholomé.

The idea behind the event was to invite builders and innovative mid-sized companies to share with others how they got their business idea. Nasyr Birkholz, for example, a construction engineer and logistics entrepreneur, let visitors in on what motivated him to create his own fragrances. “In this age of digitalism and this fast-moving world, it is important to bring people together. To create places of togetherness that people enjoy visiting after a stressful day at work,” says Bartholomé. Her recipe for a successful event is: an intriguing topic, inspiring conversations and good food. Freyler recently hosted its annual subcontractor meet-up. The last edition of this evening event was hosted on a boat in Köpenick. “It was our way of saying ‘thank you’ to all our partners,” says Bartholomé.  Cultivating a network in this day is very important: “It is very hard to find reliable skilled workers nowadays.”

PicoQuant, a world leader in the field of time-resolved optical measurement technology, also has an event management department that cultivates contacts with researchers and customers by hosting a range of conferences, workshops and symposia. Particularly the Single Molecule Workshop series enjoys a high reputation among scientists and researchers – even two Nobel Prize winners have been among the 200 visitors that come to Adlershof every year. “The conference is an enormous success and it will turn 25 soon,” says Uwe Ortmann, head of sales and marketing at PicoQuant. “Our events help us to keep up with what’s happening in science and help our customers to find out what can be done with our technology.” The latter is achieved by hosting professional courses that attract students as well as representatives of large companies like Olympus. Uwe Ortmann thinks very highly of the Adlershof campus because it has everything a great venue needs, including ample space, hotels and restaurants.

Ortmann views training courses and workshops as an increasingly useful tool for improving customer relations: “This can be observed in various sectors.” Marcel Kleine from Phoenix Contact is also sure: “We will continue to use the tools we have for direct communication in the future – despite the increasing digitisation, there is a noticeable increase in trade fairs and events!”

By Chris Löwer for Adlershof Journal