Heaps + Stacks case study: moving to virtual events

 

How Heaps + Stacks has successfully embraced virtual events.  

 

 

Heaps + Stacks is an event design company. It started out in 2016 with the goal to become the go-to agency for workshops and interactive moments.

Today, the business is still run by its founder and director, Keziah Wildsmith. And with a diverse client list ranging from Google to Soho House and Nike, Heaps + Stacks is well on the way to its dream of ‘world domination’. 

A lot of its work is live events and interactive workshops. So when the lockdown came in, Keziah and the team at Heaps + Stacks knew they had to quickly think of a different approach. 

“Live events are our bread and butter. So as soon as everyone started to worry about groups of people gathering together, we had to work with our clients to understand what could be done safely – and digitally.” 

Moving from physical to digital   

Physical events were no longer an option for Heaps + Stacks, yet events were already lined up, with venues booked and guests invited. So the agency decided to take them online.  

“One example of this was for a fashion brand client,” says Keziah. ”We had a 3D camera scan the event space, then tagged the products with interactive buttons. Guests at home could ‘walk’ around the venue virtually, and click to find out more information about each product.”

Heaps + Stacks had never done anything like this before. But the agency was really impressed with what could be achieved with technology. And how it helped the team to diversify business so quickly.   

Embracing new technologies

Creating virtual events was just the start for Heaps + Stacks. Keziah and the team understood the value in using other digital technologies, channels they’d never used before, to expand their offering. This not only helped their business – their clients could continue reaching their customers too.   

“We’ve been doing Instagram ‘takeovers’ for various London members clubs,” says Keziah. “We temporarily take over their account and share content with their audience.”

She adds: “We’ve had to learn how to cross-promote these sessions to garner a good attendance, subsequently growing our online presence, and making us think harder about our social media strategy.”

Heaps + Stacks has also been using technology to develop existing client relationships. Running events usually involves close personal interaction with clients, but that’s all had to move online. It now relies on good quality video conferencing to make a strong first impression on new clients.

“We’ve been pitching to brands through video calls and have found the screen-sharing tool really useful, as we can run through our presentations digitally,” says Keziah. “We’re beginning to learn how to form relationships with new clients solely online, which is a tricky skill to master.”

Expanding the business

Heaps + Stacks didn’t stop there. It continued using digital technology to diversify business and introduce new income streams. This time, by adding a shop to the company website.

The online store sells craft packs, so people can now make handmade cards at home, replacing the workshops Heaps + Stacks used to run. With high street card shops closed, there’s more of a need. Plus it’s a great way of spreading a little joy to those in need of a boost at the moment. 

“Our journey into e-commerce has served as an extra revenue driver,” says Keziah. “We’ve been getting our heads around Shopify, privacy policies, and returns policies, as well as shooting our own content. We’re marketing it on our social channels, and it’s proving quite a hit!”

Keziah and the team have also upped the frequency of their newsletter, from monthly to weekly. And instead of talking about events that they’ve done, they’re creating a stream of helpful content for subscribers, such as alternative programming ideas on video conferencing platforms.

Keziah concludes: “Obviously it’s not what any of us expected, but it is happening. So we – like many businesses – are having to think about what we can do now, and work on developing our digital skills to help make that happen.” 

Learning new digital skills

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