C&J Clark (Clarks shoe company) were looking for a quintessentially British venue where they could hold branding workshops with their UK and international store managers, in a unique setting. The requirement was to have a British themed day, with discussions and activities designed to identify how best to strengthen their core brand messages of Britishness, Originality and Somerset origins.
3 separate identical sessions were held on different days each with a different group of store managers and marketing teams from around the UK and abroad. The sessions took place in the Coach House on consecutive days during one week, allowing everything to be set up a designed on the day before the first session and left each evening ‘as is’, ready for each new group to arrive the next day.
The design and look of the event was to create a sense of Britishness: a warm, inviting family welcome, a homely experience, heritage, traditional with a modern twist, unconventional and authentically Somerset – relaxed with haybale seating, ploughmans lunches and cups of tea. All designed to enable delegates to discuss how to promote these characteristics in the Clarks brand.
Each day had a similar running schedule:
- 8:30am arrival: tea, coffee and pastries
- The morning comprised brainstorming ideas in the upstairs of the Coach house, around a large banquet table with flip charts, led sceen and microphone set up.
- Mid-morning break: tea, coffee & British biscuits
- Light lunch: British themed ‘ploughmans lunch, buffet style on the terrace of Pennard House, or in the dining room. Delegates had the opportunity to break out and walk in the gardens.
- Afternoon – Retail sessions in the downstairs area, with different ‘shop windows’ set up in the Coach House stalls, each window representing a different style and approach to selling. Delegates were invited to discuss, criticise and look to improve.
- Afternoon tea: tea, coffee and scones
- Each day finished the day with a truly Somerset activity – a talk on cider by a local cider maker and the opportunity to taste a number of ciders – farmhouse, sparkling and even cider brandy.
The days proved hugely inspirational and successful, particularly for overseas and national store managers to be able to come to Somerset, where Clarks headquarters is located, and experience true British hospitality and food in a historic setting. The ‘blank canvas’ opportunity of the Coach House meant that those running the sessions were able to fully transform and decorate the space to suit their needs.