Making a client event extraordinary

How does an accounting practice attract creative clients? By being creative itself.

NWN Blue Squared used client events for marketing

When Nick Lawrence, CEO of NWN Blue Squared, isn’t working with creative clients or managing NWN’s marketing team, he can usually be found relaxing with an assortment of musicians, bands and rock managers or DJing a set in clubs around the world. Not necessarily what you would expect of an accounting practice CEO, but that’s what attracts creative clients to NWN – the unexpected. And UnXpected just happens to be the theme of the NWN Blue Squared/Xero client event held recently in London.

But let’s start at the beginning…

We introduced you to NWN Blue Squared in Growing your practice through marketing – a global perspective as one of our Xero partners who is using the Xero Co-operative Advertising fund to help implement their marketing campaign aimed at growing their client base.

Over the last few months Nick, with help from Nina Michell, UK Marketing Manager for Xero, has been working to develop an out-of-the-ordinary client event “promoting both the NWN and Xero brands and proving that not all accountants are dull and boring”. Nick took time out of his event preparations to talk to us about their process.

Technology is changing the face of accountancy and NWN needs to connect effectively with clients and other business partners. “We want to raise the profile of the NWN brand as specialists in accountancy and business advice for the creative industries,” says Nick. “And we want to show our human side, which is why our objectives fit so well with those of Xero.”

Creatives form a significant part of NWN’s customer base and is a big part of their strategy for growth. NWN organises their customers’ business lives while they get on playing music, writing books, making films and generally being creative. So an ordinary client event like a seminar or round of golf probably wouldn’t create buzz in this sector, but a music gig would! Enter UnXpected.

“We had a number of ideas, some of them really ambitious. We decided we’d keep it relatively simple but make sure there was plenty of fun. We have some pretty powerful contacts in the creative industries, so it made sense to use them,” explained Nick.

And use them they did. All the performers are NWN clients and Xero users and they agreed to perform without hesitation. The venue was chosen to reflect both the event and the NWN brand. And another client, Cass Productions made the video below and filmed the gig.

To get buzz about the event, their comms specialist, Peter Brill from Net.Mentor, put together a media strategy to include both social and traditional media. He worked closely with Xero’s PR agency Whiteoaks to line up media interviews ahead of the event and develop a press release to attract further media interest.

An exclusive event meant an exclusive guest list who were invited with both physical and digital ‘gig’ tickets, followed up by the promo video. Nick boasts, “I have to say that the response has been phenomenal from both guests and media.”

The actual gig isn’t the end. NWN plan to use the film Cass Productions took during the event to take advantage of post-event publicity. The film will also form the basis of a series of videos discussing creatives, accountancy and how they use technology.

So how do you measure the success of an event like UnXpected? Easy things to measure would be guests and media attending the event as well as social media engagement before, during and after. “Ultimately, we would hope to strengthen existing client relationships and acquire new clients as well as strengthen our partnership with Xero. These outcomes will be a slower-burn and take a little longer to measure, but we’re confident of success,” explains Nick.

In the next post we’ll take you to the event itself, so stay tuned for more of the UnXpected.


Gayle Buchanan
October 4, 2013 at 8:31 am


Wayne Schmidt
October 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Great article.

After an awesome four years working at Xero Australia, I also saw the opportunity to help accounting practices run beautiful client events.

My new business manages and delivers client events, end to end, for a fixed fee.

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