An IABC award-winning event for 1,000 employees







The challenge: give employees a much-needed ‘sugar hit’ after a year of change

REA Group is an international media company that operates property portals. In 2016, they approached Water Cooler to help them create their second Global Kick Off, a large-scale annual event for employees.

The event brings together 1,000 employees from Australia, Europe and Asia. The idea is to celebrate the successes of the previous year and get people fired up for the year ahead.

REA’s CEO calls it ‘the sugar hit’ – a feel-good moment that reminds everyone why they come to work each day.

The inaugural event the previous year had been a success. But since then, REA had gone through a big change program.

This was an opportunity to re-energise employees – and build trust in both REA’s leadership and the organisation’s future.

The solution: a high-energy event with an emotionally resonant theme

Water Cooler had been heavily involved in REA’s change program during the preceding months, so we had a clear idea of the company’s strategic objectives.

On top of that, we gathered input and ideas for the event from the leadership team and REA’s employees, some of whom we knew to be a cynical bunch. This approach gave everyone a sense of ownership over the event.

We also developed a theme for the event: ‘Welcome Home’. This theme reflected REA’s new strategy of expanding its reach into all things property related, while also welcoming new businesses that had recently joined the REA fold.

The event’s visuals – including the stage layouts – created this sense of home: they were personal, honest, welcoming and had a family feel.

The content was as varied as it was fast-paced. Employees gave product demos and Ted Talk style presentations. REA’s own band performed live. A video featured the exec team’s children talking about their parents. And the CEO’s keynote speech had people welling up.

The outcome: pumped for the year, with renewed pride in the organisation

The event had four main objectives: to create a greater sense of team, to communicate the previous year’s achievements, to provide clarity on REA’s priorities, and to motivate and inspire everyone there.

We asked attendees to rate the event against these objectives. The metrics showed across-the-board rises on all four, with scores ranging from 89% to 97%.

As a result, the project won one of IABC’s coveted Gold Quill Awards.

But the event’s success is, perhaps, best summed up in the words of one of REA’s employees: “Amazing job and incredibly well put together. I have never felt prouder to be part of an organisation. It was unbelievable”.

Case Studies