Your event in good hands
TEXT: FRANK VAN LIESHOUT | PHOTOS © D’M&S
As Belgium’s leading independent event organisers, D’M&S will ensure your conference, seminar, incentive or trade show delivers on substance, creativity and production values.
“For any event you plan, you need to ask yourself; ‘what is the message we need to get across and how can we turn this into a memorable and positive experience for the visitor?’,” says D’M&S events unit manager Pieter Derudder. Founded in the 1980s as a sole-trading business by the present CEO Arne Dacquin, D’M&S has grown into Belgium’s leading independent cross-media communications agency, with 70 staff working across online, offline and events marketing. The company started off as a traditional advertising agency, adding online services in the 1990s and events from 2000 onwards.
A little over 15 years later, they are now working with a broad roster of middle-market and large corporations across all business sectors, ranging from breweries to hospitals and publishers, and from pharma to foods, tech and construction. “We work for some of Belgium’s biggest brands, businesses and organisations,” Pieter smiles. “They include large, international Belgian corporations such as Haacht, KBC and Besix, as well as multinationals from around the world, including Ferrari, Atos, AEG, Agfa and Plastics Europe, to name but a few. But also branch organisations such as the Belgian employers’ federation VOKA, charities such as the Belgian Cancer Fund, and hospitals and universities call on our expertise to help them organise their events.”
“These clients expect us to come up with a solid, creative and practical plan for an event that will inspire their guests, add value to their brand and help them in their efforts to realise their mission. At the same time, they also expect us to ensure everything runs smoothly, not just during the event itself, but also before, during the run-up, and in communications with visitors and participants after the event. After all, organising an event is an investment, so when you take the credits, you must also make sure you reap the rewards.”
D’M&S Events offer their clients a full end-to-end service, from hiring a suitable venue to effective promotion of the event and from organising top-notch catering to shooting high-end video projections. As part of the D’M&S Group, the events organisers have the full creative support from their in-house copywriters, art-directors and video producers to ensure complete control over the event’s production and communication. “It means that our creatives can help our clients turn their message or theme into a strong concept and an imaginative, appealing and effective campaign, using all the tools, media and channels that you need to get the publicity you want in the run-up to the event,” Pieter points out. “And during the event, we can shoot a video registration, interviews on camera or a mood video to send out after the event to participants and thank them for their contribution.”
Pieter can think of a thousand and one ways to host a conference, so it is his team’s job to help the client to make the right choices. “This is why we take time to discuss the values they want to promote and the image they want to project, as well as what they want to offer their visitors in terms of plenary presentations, breakout sessions and their level of participation. On top of this, we will also look to add a surprise element or an extra dimension. In the end, the trick is to grab the visitors’ interest, surprise them, inspire them, or even turn them into ambassadors for the client’s event and brand.”
If the client asks them to, D’M&S also get involved in the content of the conferences or seminars they help organise. “This could be support in putting together the programme, or booking a keynote speaker to create more buzz and give the event that extra bit of punch.”
While dealing with all these creative activities, Pieter’s team closely monitor the production process, making sure everything is running to schedule and leaving as little as possible to chance. “This is why we meticulously plan every detail, why we create a focus and a content calendar, arrange site visits, drawing sessions and above all, keep in constant contact with the client, either face to face or in conference calls. From the moment clients give us the green light to organise their event, they will have direct access to the events project manager as well as the communications account manager, to make sure they are in the loop at all times and know that they are in good hands.”