JOY Through Doughnuts: Krispy Kreme’s Virtual Leadership Conference
In this case-study-style podcast episode, Bishop-McCann’s strategic account manager Megan Roberts and executive producer Melissa Patruno review Krispy Kreme’s virtual US & Canada Operations Leadership Conference. The pair discuss what went into planning the doughnut giant’s virtual event and how they overcame challenges along the way to create a spectacular conference for the attendees viewing at home. Topics include:
- Theme selection and integration
- Challenges faced and overcome
- Most memorable aspects of the event
- How our agency was able to execute successfully
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Hi, and welcome to The Events Experience, where we take a deep dive into everything event planning. I work for Bishop-McCann, an agency devoted to creating JOY through meetings, incentives, and events for big name brands. On this podcast, myself and our company’s experts will discuss all things events, so keep listening to hear all about the latest tips and trends for virtual, live, and hybrid events.
Hi, everybody! Today we will be talking about a recent virtual event that our company planned for Krispy Kreme, the sweet treat company who has created joy through doughnuts since 1937. Here to talk about the event is Megan Roberts, the strategic account manager, and Melissa Patruno, the executive producer. Thank you both for joining me today to talk about this amazing event that you created. I’m so excited to hear more about it!
Megan: Thanks for having us!
Melissa: Yeah, thank you!
Megan, I know this was our first time as an agency working with Krispy Kreme for an event. So what was this event for and what were the client’s main objectives for the event?
Megan: So this event was called the U.S. and Canada Operations Leadership Conference, and it was targeted at their general managers in those two markets, the U.S. and Canada. And really, the team just wanted to get in front of the GMs because they haven’t met as a group in person since 2018. So they really wanted to thank them and provide motivation for them. Just thank them and their teams for everything they did over the last year, which was really difficult, but also great. They also used their presentations to share tools needed for Krispy Kreme to become the world’s most loved sweet treat brand, which is their goal, and they continually highlighted their overall purpose, which is to touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme.
Right, and I also know that this was a virtual event. I know, Melissa, that you’ve really driven our virtual event strategy. So what event technology or platforms did we utilize to bring this event to life?
Melissa: Yeah. Well, I mean, you just touched on it. So we have a digital strategy here at Bishop-McCann, and that did require us to vet lots, I mean, dozens of platforms. So I’m really familiar with what is out there in the space. I mean, they’re all continuing to just innovate nonstop. It’s just amazing to see how far these platforms have come, especially in the last 18 months or so. But one of our top picks—and the one that we used for Krispy Kreme’s show—is Cvent Attendee Hub. We felt that this was the best choice for this program (and of course, the attendees) for a few different reasons. One is, you know, there’s a family of products with Cvent, and one of them is Flex Registration. That is such a robust, powerful tool. So the fact that it just integrates seamlessly with their Attendee Hub, it’s kind of like a no-brainer, especially when you have multiple tracks and you’re segmenting audiences. So that was a really big one. That’s one of the main reasons.
Additionally, Krispy Kremers, especially these GMs attending, they’re not always sitting in front of their computer. They work in the shops. So we needed to make sure that this was one hundred percent mobile-accessible and friendly, and that was another box that was checked off with the Attendee Hub. And then another one I would say is, of course, we all talk about engagement, and the Attendee Hub provides a lot of different ways. The ones that we used on this show were their chat and Q&A features. Just using these features, we know it helps attendees stay engaged with the content being delivered rather than just that “talking head.” And it was also really easy to use on the mobile browser, so that was another one.
Right. So now that we know what virtual platform kind of set the stage for this conference, what was the theme for this particular event? Was there a theme?
Megan: Yeah, there was a theme, and it was “Getting to Bright Together.” This actually drew upon a theme that Krispy Kreme had for just overall 2021 and their business objectives, which was “Getting to Bright.” They added on the together piece to really create a conference theme that built on their overall messaging and tied in their famous Hot Light. So “Getting to Bright” is getting to that brightness of the Hot Light!
Megan: So that’s what we stuck to for this event.
And with that theme of “Getting to Bright Together,” how did we integrate that throughout the event?
Megan: Sure. So we created what’s called a story arc, which really outlined all the presentations and how they were going to weave the theme throughout their content for mostly the main stage presentations. Then we amplified it with supporting visuals created by our awesome graphics and design team. Because, I mean, the Krispy Kreme team has really amazing visuals as it is. So our graphics team was excited to be able to use them and give a look and feel to this event that was just so compelling over the virtual space.
Right, and that really let you guys incorporate the theme throughout the entire thing just to give it that cohesive feel.
Megan: Yeah, exactly.
So as event planners, we know that it’s impossible to get through an event without facing some sort of obstacle that we have to overcome. So what was the main challenge our team faced when working on this event, and how did you all work to overcome it?
Megan: Yeah, I mean, I think that there’s always challenges that you have to overcome in planning, like you said. I think this time working with a client for the very first time always presents a unique opportunity and challenge. You figure out how each team works best together.
Megan: What works best? Is it deadlines? Is it email, phone calls, Zoom calls? So figuring that out was definitely a challenge at the beginning. Then additionally, just the timeline of the overall event from when we really first started working together to when this was executed. The dates were really determined from the outset that this needed to be in the end of July, so we had to hit that goal. So in order to do that, we just came up with some creative solutions, one of which was holding a daily check in with the planning team at Krispy Kreme. We just chatted for about 30 minutes every day—talked about upcoming deadlines and had open communication to make sure that everything was hitting the mark, and the ball wasn’t getting dropped anywhere right.
And because you were able to overcome those obstacles you just talked about, you were able to create this incredible event that had some really awesome moments. But what were the most memorable aspects of this event? What were the standout moments that were your favorites?
Melissa: I’ll take that one. So Megan just mentioned their really great branding. You know, it’s fun and it’s playful. So it was easy for us to make this virtual event come to life graphically. And she already said it; it really made this event standout because they already have awesome, awesome creative assets. So from there, we were able to create some awesome and amazing animations that were featured throughout the broadcast, and we sprinkled all of their branding throughout the programming. And yes, that pun is intended! We actually renamed their bumpers to sprinkles. You know, it’s just really fun when you can use those different creative assets in that way. I will also say my favorite part, and Megan, I think you might agree: the doughnuts! Let’s be real.
Megan: So good!
Melissa: So good! Ok, Megan, what was your favorite?
Megan: My favorite probably was the Raspberry Filled. I think I had more than I should say how many I had.
Melissa: I know, being at HQ, we had just like every doughnut, and some I was like, “I didn’t even know these flavors existed!” But I have to say, I’m going to take it back, I am all about the OG. And when it’s fresh and hot off that line, I mean, is there anything better?
No, there’s not!
Megan: No, there’s not. It’s amazing!
Melissa: It literally melts in your mouth.
Yeah, I think I have to agree with you, Melissa. I think that Original Glazed, it’s hard to beat. That’s just the best thing ever!
Melissa: I know. Well, actually, when I knew that I was going to produce this show, I was like, “Well, I need to go and do some field research.”
Melissa: And immediately went to my local Krispy Kreme. I think I ate like, I don’t even want to say how many fresh off the line OGs. I was like, “This is so good!”
Megan: Pretty sure you bought a dozen for yourself!
Melissa: All right, all right!
You were just doing research. It had to happen!
Melissa: That was it, yeah.
So obviously there were some pretty amazing elements to this event. What enabled us as an agency to execute this event so successfully?
Melissa: Yeah, I’ll take that one, too. So we were able to partner with Krispy Kreme, both from a production standpoint and also as two companies with some shared values. And I believe that both of those were like this really amazing recipe that attributed to the success of this event. So from that production standpoint, I want to talk about the space because that was actually a really big thing that attributed to just an awesome, awesome event. We were able to capture their pre-records and then also use space for their live show days. So Krispy Kreme has this beautiful, brand new headquarter space in Charlotte, and then they also have this other great space in Winston Salem. The Charlotte space is this old, industrial warehouse, and they’ve converted it into Krispy Kreme’s headquarters. So all that fun branding that we’ve been talking about, it’s all throughout the building. It’s got just this fun and playful vibe. They have mini golf set up in the middle, and instead of golf balls, they’re like mini doughnuts—it’s so cute! And we talked about those doughnuts. Everybody loves them! So they have a really nice display in their lobby. Even though it’s connected to the shop, they bring in doughnuts into the lobby for anybody who’s a visitor or delivery folks. And I just think that really embodies one of their ethos, which is love your community.
So they’ve got this great space, right? So they asked us to utilize this space for their pre-records and then use their Winston Salem space for the live show days. We just loved this because instead of just doing those remote records of the presenters, which could be from anywhere basically (and that can be like a little flat and boring).
Melissa: Instead, we were able to highlight their space and give a glimpse into this new headquarters, which many of their GMs wouldn’t have seen since they’re located all over North America. So that was really nice for the pre-records. Then for these live show days for the breakouts and the live Q&A, we were all together at their Winston Salem headquarter space, and this gave us more control on the production quality. We were able to have techs on site and make sure all of their equipment was enabled properly for optimal audio and video. That just ups your production value on a show. So I think that really helped us execute the event successfully. And then I mentioned earlier, we have this shared value. So here at Bishop-McCann, one of our primary tenets is to create JOY for our clients, and at Krispy Kreme, they say theirs is to touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme. I just love how we’re so aligned with Krispy Kreme, you know, on this primary goal to spread joy. And I think we can all agree, we can always use more joy in our lives.
Right. I love the fact that we match up in that way and that those values are so similar.
Melissa: Yeah, me too.
So after the event, what was some of the feedback you received from either attendees or the client?
Megan: I can take this one. You know, the client initially shared with us that they were really happy with how it went. They were running out after the event to be on location at a lot of new shop openings, so it was definitely a whirlwind. But they were super happy. They had never 1) worked with us, but 2) done a virtual conference, so they really didn’t know what to expect.
Megan: And I think they were really excited to just see their GMs excited from some of the interaction on the different chat and Q&A features. So yeah, overall, they were pleased and thought it went really well. As far as the attendees, I think they were happy as well. We’re still collating all their feedback, but we definitely had, like I said, great engagement and just great attendee numbers. We had a lot of GMs all watching from shops together and kind of getting together, watching it. So that was really nice to hear.
Well, it’s definitely clear that this virtual conference was a memorable one, for sure! Thank you both so much for talking with me today and congratulations on such a successful event. I feel like we all need to celebrate with some Krispy Kreme doughnuts now!
Megan: Oh, for sure! Definitely.
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of The Events Experience. Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast, and create JOY wherever you go!