Three years ago we decided to try our luck at event marketing by creating a branded event to show our appreciation to our customers. Our goals were simple, the event needed to be different than others of it’s kind, it needed to be fun and it needed to be memorable. We started by discussing an appropriate time of year to host the event. We immediately ruled out winter and summer due to holidays, weather issues and vacation schedules. That left spring and fall. Since springtime in the A/E/C industry is loaded with golf outings, we determined fall would be the best time of year for our event. When we thought of fall we started thinking of harvest time and leaves, which led to thinking of pumpkins and fall beers, and then, naturally led to us thinking about an Oktoberfest-type event. From there, Flowtoberfest was born!
Although we kept the same goals and theme in mind when planning Flowtoberfest 2016, it was much different than the 50-person (including Flow Tech employees) customer appreciation event of 2014. It is still very much an event to show our appreciation for our customers, but it has become much more than that. Now, it’s an event for our customers to meet with some of the representatives from our manufacturers, as well as our business associates and colleagues to meet one another and put faces to the names behind emails. This year it also created a great venue for networking and meeting new people within the industry, and we’re happy to report that the attendee count grew by 100% since it’s birth! So, thank you to each and every one of our guests – we appreciate your support!
Flowtoberfest 2016 was held on Thursday October 20th (always the 3rd Thursday of October), and like past years, we hosted the event at the Thomas Hooker Brewery. They are based out of Bloomfield, CT and are terrific to work with. Although Flowtoberfest went from 4:30 PM to 8:30 PM, a couple eager guests arrived while we were still setting up, but as soon as we were ready we signed them in and the fun began. Soon the brewery was filled with A/E/C professionals ready to sample some beer and mingle. The crowd spanned over Hooker Brewery’s 2 event spaces and outside patio area.
The Republic Gastro Pub out of Bloomfield, CT (and now out of Hartford, CT too) has been the Flowtoberfest caterer since the beginning. They prepared a delicious spread for guests to enjoy throughout the evening. From Truffle Parmesan Popcorn and Philly Cheese-steak Eggrolls to Gorgonzola Pear Flatbread and two types of Wings the Republic successfully revamped classic bar favorites into unique hors d’ oeuvres. Don’t worry we made sure some classic Oktoberfest items made it on the menu. They also prepared a variety of sausages and wursts with all the fixings, as well as mini pretzels with beer cheese for us. The food was a huge hit, so much so that we didn’t have any leftovers for the next day at work!
Aside from sampling the 12 types of beers the brewery had on tap and networking, there were other activities to entertain everyone. Brewery tours were available upon request and we had several guests take a tour. New to the entertainment portion this year was a Stein-holding competition. All interested participants made their way to the patio to compete against each other to see who could hold a full 20 oz. stein the longest. Enough people were interested in the event to have a men’s category and a women’s category, and each category had 2 regular rounds and one championship round.
Eric Andersen of Action Air Systems and Theo Brewton of UConn made it to the men’s championship round and Flow Tech’s very own Nichole Petersen and Cheryl McIntosh made it to the women’s championship. After a long and strenuous battle Cheryl McIntosh won the women’s division and Eric Andersen won the men’s division and was named the overall 2016 Stein-holding Champion with a record of 7 minutes! Congratulations Eric! You’ll have to come back next year to defend your title. A big thank you to all those who participated in this friendly battle – keep training for next year.
Another element of fun and excitement was our raffle prizes. This year we were happy to offer 5 raffle prizes, plus one special drawing prize (for all guests who RSVPed before 10/1/16).
In lieu of a traditional favor, this year we decided to put out a swag bar. Guests could take home any item(s) they wanted from a variety of options. We included thermal vests and polo shirts donated by some of our other manufacturers, Air Enterprises and TOXAlert, as well as a bunch of ABB promotional items. Guests could also take Flow Tech golf accessories, Flowtoberfest pint glasses, car chargers etc. Needless to say the swag bar was a huge hit and guests left very happy.
Since Flowtoberfest is held during October and October is breast cancer awareness month, we’ve used this event to help promote breast cancer awareness while gaining social media followers and raising money towards the cause. For the last 3 years we’ve run our #TweetForACure campaign simultaneously while promoting Flowtoberfest. The campaign is very simple, “For every social media follower (Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube) we gain during the month of October we donate $10 to the Susan G. Komen Cause for a Cure campaign. If you’re already following us on social media, but still want to help raise money for the cause, for every social media mention containing #Flowtoberfest, we’ll donate another $10.” We’re happy to report that this year we were able to donate $400 to the foundation due to our #TweetForACure campaign. We hope to raise more and more money every year!
Flowtoberfest truly keeps getting better every year thanks to all our guests, manufacturers and vendors. We’d like to take a moment to thank Artisan Ink for the awesome Flowtoberfest t-shirts the Flow Tech team was wearing during the event. We’d also like to thank April Smith of April A. Photography for her hard work during and after the event to produce fabulous pictures. Stay tuned in the next couple weeks for a video slideshow of all the event pictures!
For more information about our event marketing, or Flowoberfest feel free to contact our Director of Marketing, Nichole Petersen. You can also visit our website, or follow us on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube!
Nichole joined Flow Tech in 2013 as Director of Marketing. She leads our marketing communication initiatives including content marketing development, coordinating events and training, maintaining our digital presence and recruiting, as well as, some business development and office support. Nichole resides in Vernon with her husband Brian and two sons. She enjoys hosting parties, cooking and lounging on the beach.