How do the People Activation Agency activate their own people?
By: Anna Callaghan-Leonard

One thing that we are genuinely excited about sharing, is our Summer Gathering!
After a few months of non-stop delivery for our clients, it was time to turn the gaze inwards and spend some “us time”. We wanted to get everyone together to live our team code and celebrate success by sharing our great achievements, including promotions, recent work and Rapport’s vision and ambition for the next 5 years!

Rather than revealing the ambition in the office, we surprised everyone by giving them a mini People Activation day! We took everyone to a great creative, collaborative space: Hatch. It is Manchester’s new pop-up retail, food and drink destination on Oxford Road. As well as celebrating success, we invited guest speakers to give short talks all based on the simple theme of People Activation. We hoped that getting a range of perspectives to explore People Activation would excite and inspire our team, and it worked! Below are just a few examples of the amazing speakers that joined us, and some of the inspiration they shared with us!

Antony Armstrong - Primary School Teacher
How do you activate young minds?

We were lucky enough to be joined by Mr Armstrong who is a Primary School Teacher. He shared with us the techniques he uses to engage with the next generation of activators. Thinking very carefully about the words you use, the tone, relating your own personal challenges and how you approach them to connect to the children and help them understand. Below are just a couple of the brilliant tips that he shared in his talk. One thing to remember is if you’ve never failed, you’ve never learned something new.


Angela Davenport - Life Coach
What is an Emotional connection?

In 15 minutes Angela helped us to scratch the tip of a big powerful (and slightly intimidating) iceberg – Emotional Connection! We weren't generally taught how to feel, acknowledge and express our emotions in healthy, connecting ways. So, we need to re-learn (or maybe unlearn!) how to do it. Most of us are resistant to "big emotions" and deem them negative and often apologise for expressing them. We fear that expressing these emotions will define us as “An angry person” or “a sad person”. When we’re kids we’re taught “don’t cry”, “don’t be silly”, “calm down”, “be quiet”, and we end up learning how to supress our emotions at quite a young age. However, acknowledging and processing these emotions can open us up to a world of positive possibilities. Angela guided us through a session where we had to be honest with ourselves, and process this emotion with a partner, enabling us to truly open up to emotional connection and see how much it can transform our team relationships and work life. Ultimately emotional connection happens when we acknowledge something as true, and don’t try to hide away from it.


Dr Simon A. Morrison - Music Journalist / Academic
The Dancefloors: International Culture Engine

Dr Simon Morrison has an amazing history within the music industry as a journalist and academic. He has a PhD in nightclub culture and has travelled the world to research the night club scene. He shared a fascinating story with us that showed the power of people and their passion for music, culture and community. How ideas are shared around the world via the medium of music. The journey from how we got from Studio 54 in New York, to the Hacienda Manchester music scene to current day Ibiza… all on a magical music flying carpet! It is important for us within our industry how important music is and how much it can evoke emotion and connection.


Jack Tibbs – Graduate Landscape Architect
Designing spaces to activate

Jack showed us how you can manipulate people’s feelings and experiences through the use of space. One of the most exciting pieces that Jack shared with us, was the Supertree Grove at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. These structures are steel frames with lots of plants growing up them. They have a multitude of uses, including turning carbon dioxide into oxygen. There are a lot of sensory plants to play with smell, and lights within the structures to create different moods and feelings. They are huge sculptural pieces that stop you and make you appreciate where you are. All of these together create an overall encompassing experience.


Another really interesting space Jack showed us is Tempelhof Park in Berlin. It used to be an airfield and they have kept the runways completely open. Being there creates a really exiting feeling because it is a non-human space. The huge open space was designed for massive planes, so you feel like you’re not supposed to be there which incites excitement and adrenaline. The same can be done with restricting space, using structures or plants to make the space feel small so you feel like you don’t fit and this can make you feel uneasy and uncomfortable. Some of these ideas can certainly translate into the space planning for our Activations and we’re grateful to Jack for sharing his insights.

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Marilyn Gilchrist - W&G Comms
What’s it really like on the front line of comms?

We have supported W&G on a long journey from RBS and back again. It is easy to get excited about new visions and exciting futures, but some of our most challenging activations come when the message is a little less clear. We supported W&G on the “Pass it On” roadshows during which it was announced that W&G would be re-incorporated into RBS. When we’re up against it in the agency world, it is hard to remember that our communications collaborators are the first line of defence and it is more often than not a “shoot the messenger” mentality. We worked tirelessly to make sure that all attendees were given as much information and support as possible, and this campaign went on to win Best Crisis Campaign at the IoIC 2017.


Kal Parmer - Digital Producer
A song of Creative and Production (Game of Thrones Tapestry)

Kal worked with the Tourism Ireland and HBO to produce the amazing Game of Thrones (GOT) Tapestry in Belfast. A lot of filming for GOT was done in Northern Ireland, so it has become a hot spot for tourism. The tapestry project was spawned from this link and also the rich heritage of tapestry making in Northern Ireland. As a Producer, Kal’s role in this project is one that most of the team at Rapport can relate to. So, hearing about time, budget, supplier, venue and logistical challenges on a project like this really connected us to how the project ran… and then ultimately the sense of pride and achievement when the piece was completed. It also opened up an interesting thought on how you can drive a positive change in an audience by tapping into their existing passions.


Elicia and Zoe - REIGN
REIGN is a RECLAIM project of young survivors of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE). They are dedicated to raising awareness, changing attitudes, and improving CSE services. Through training and consultancy services, they offer innovative, direct insights and strategies to organisations, groups and individuals concerned about CSE. Their personal experiences underpin theur expertise. They aim to empower themselves and other survivors to speak out, calling for power not pity. They do this to fix the flaws in the systems that failed them.
We supported them to create an alternative version of the Queens Speech in 2017, helping to raise the subjects that need to be heard.
Check them out below...


Our Summer Gathering was just the start of our plans to excite the world in People Activation! In 2019 we plan to host our very own People Activation Day!

Make sure you sign up to our ‘Take 5’ Inspiration Newsletter to stay in the loop with our plans to bring it to life!

For now, that’s it.

Signing off from
Team Rapport

Categories: Culture, Inspiration