Simply Better Events
What town/city are you based in?
Keighley, West Yorkshire
Number of generations
Number of employees
Tell us about your family business (What you do, how you started, who’s involved etc)
Simply Better Events is a family business that create and deliver corporate events for some of the UK’s most recognised brands, helping them to create remarkable experiences to engage their staff, customers and stakeholders.
We’re a forward thinking, personable and customer focused business. Everyone who works here believes in the same vision: “To inspire people to think, feel and do things differently”. We’re consistently focused on being the customer’s first and best choice for the products and services we provide and to be renowned in the North of England as the ’go-to’ event specialists. We’re in the North of England, as are most of our clients, we like it this way so we can see them in person as often as they’d like, keeping them up to date with developments and innovations in the industry and maintaining a high level of service. Our events are national. Our clients include ghd, JML, L’Oreal, Maplin, Marshalls, Provident Financial, RFL, Skipton Building Society, Virgin Trains East Coast and Yorkshire Building Society. We have a unique approach to creating, producing and delivering insight-led events to build memorable experiences, not just for delegates but for our clients too and we know this because they tell us every day.
Our business began 16 years ago in Chairman, Chris’ garage-turned-office. Chris, an IT industry professional, had seen how technology was changing the way that people held meetings and conferences and saw huge potential in data projectors.
He recalls: “I used to meet businesses to talk about their IT but all they were interested in were the projectors. I thought to myself ‘hang on, there’s a business here’.” He invested in a van and launched Project It, selling and leasing audio-visual (AV) equipment to venues and event organisers. It wasn’t long before he needed another pair of hands so daughter Jenny joined the business, soon to be followed by husband, Rob.
Within three years, we’d expanded into stage backdrops and our clients included major, blue-chip organisations. With Chris’ garage unable to cope with the demands of a fast-growing business, we moved to an enterprise park, providing much-needed space for equipment and a professional location for clients to visit.
As our customers’ events increased in size and scope, they trusted us with bigger briefs and extra responsibilities. We recruited more specialists and advised on venue selection, design, speaker coaching, video and photography. We listened to their strategic objectives and worked with them to create themes and ideas that communicated their messages in a unique and memorable way.
In recognition of this evolution, we re-branded to Simply Better Events to reflect our approach to creating, producing and delivering live events that stand out from the crowd.
Our work with electronics retailer Maplin demonstrates our evolution:
In 2012, Maplin asked us to provide AV services for its annual conference at the Holiday Inn, Stratford-upon-Avon. The event went well, but we knew it could have been better. The following year we encouraged Maplin to follow our unique ‘EASE’ model, designed for successful event delivery: Engage, Advise, Solve, Evaluate. Working closely with John Cleland, then CEO, we completely transformed the way Maplin runs its events. Three years later we took control of the entire conference and awards dinner, including design, delegate registration and management and event production.
John said of us: “They get inside your business, understand what makes you different, the story and the challenges. They understand what you are trying to achieve. They are flexible with budget and use real innovation to ensure maximum impact with minimal cost.”
We’re delighted to say that we’re working with Maplin for the sixth consecutive year in 2017.
We understand that businesses face challenges in articulating and communicating their mission, vision and values to large numbers of colleagues, often with diverse roles and working at different locations. We find that people share similar challenges, our experience means we understand these challenges and we’re ready to suggest fresh ideas and ways of working, saving clients time and money. We also produce equally engaging customer facing and investor events. We have cultivated our expertise in a variety of sectors, with happy clients across the board.
Much has changed since the business was founded, but we’ve stayed true to the values that we set out with on day one. We’re a family-run business and family values remain close to our heart. Our competitive edge is the service delivered by our outstanding team and the relationships we build. Everyone here has a positive attitude and passion for excellence. We know it’s important to do the right thing in the right way because honesty, integrity and simplicity run through everything we do and everything we are.
We may provide the latest events technology but we never forget the importance of a personal touch. We’re growing but we don’t want to rule the world, we want to continue to cultivate long-term, trusted relationships, staying a family business providing a gold standard service to clients we know very well.
What’s your proudest moment/biggest achievement as a family business?
We’ve achieved such a lot it’s hard to pick one definitive achievement or moment. The team continue to create and deliver some remarkable bespoke events, that meet our clients’ communication objectives head-on, with glowing feedback every time.
Every person here has made a difference to the business and to our clients and the delegates at their events. Each new client win has been incredible but customer retention is equally, if not more, important to us, therefore something that we’d mark as one of our greatest achievements in the last year followed a change of decision makers at one of our long-standing financial services clients. This led to us being asked to pitch against much larger events agencies for an event that we’ve managed for the last five years. Ultimately we came out on top and secured the work. In addition, we’ve been re-contracted by them for the next two years. This demonstrates how much we’ve grown as a business in our ability to compete with such big companies, yet we’ve also stayed true to our family values, and the unique way we work, which has a great appeal to people.
Our clients are increasingly being asked to provide measurable outcomes from their events in terms of ROI and the way that we approach events using our ‘EASE’ model enables them to achieve this.
This pitch win and our recent industry awards prove that despite us still being a relatively small team and independently owned, our capabilities are as good as, if not better than other agencies.
Celebrating a successful 15th year in business made us very proud too. The anniversary road trip was amazing, both clients and staff thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Also, to thank the team in our birthday year, we took everyone on an overnight trip to Dusseldorf for a few drinks in the Christmas markets. To quote one of our Project Managers: “It really was a ‘Simply Better’ Christmas do!”
What do you love about being a family business?
It’s great to work with people you trust and care about. We have shared values and vision, working towards a common goal and are all committed to making the business succeed. We can also be sure of maintaining high quality and exceptional customer service. This helps our working relationships with clients and the rest of the team.
We love having flexibility around hours, home and family commitments, and the ability to bounce ideas between us, as and when they come up. Also, if we’ve been busy in the day we’ll have a meeting on an evening, so decisions are made quickly, which helps things advance faster