Henry V Events

Experiential live event experts
Written by: 
Erica Berry
Produced by: 
Sean Barr

Portland, Oregon-based Henry V Events (Henry V) is a full service communications agency that specializes in experiential marketing and live events. The company uses innovative approaches to create brand advocacy with consumers, customers, employees and business audiences through meaningful face-to-face, digital and social experiences.

The company, which was founded in 1978, was initially established as a presentation development and coaching company to support top executives at Nike; however, now encompasses all facets of live events – from conception to execution.

“Our roots are in coaching leaders on giving presentations, speeches and tailoring messages to resonate with audiences at live events,” explains Katja Asaro, managing director. “However, we began to realize that just offering great speeches wasn’t good enough; we needed to create unique environments and marketing strategies that engaged audiences on all levels. We have developed new skills, taken on extremely creative professionals and now produce fully integrated campaigns; one-off and continuous projects that accentuate each individual brand and fit with its audience.”

Henry V is the Northwest's largest and oldest full service event agency. The company employs 74 team members, as well as a host of freelancers and partners throughout the country.

A world of audiences

The company began servicing primarily business-to-business (B2B) clients, but over the years has extended its reach to include business-to-consumer (B2C) clients, as well. Henry V now serves a gamut of industries and has executed event experiences for some of the world's best-known brands, such as Adidas, Microsoft, Daimler Trucks North America and Tillamook.

“Our core is rooted in messaging, taking the message and putting it into a presentation that is persuasive and drives action,” says Katja. “Clients come to us with a communications challenge and we work together to form a strategy. We think about the message first, develop a solution and then select what medium that takes in the live and experiential realm.”

The agency collaborates with clients across the nation and has also crafted events in Asia and Europe. Each year, Henry V completes over 1,000 one-off events and develops an average of 400 unique, multi-faceted campaigns.

“Our clients are the best in breed in their respective industries,” Katja says. “From trucking and automotive, to the outdoor apparel and equipment industry, to technology, to food and beverage, we span the spectrum and help great leaders deliver their message effectively. We’ve also adopted social media tactics to help create online conversation and spark interest before, during and after events.”

Unique project portfolio

Henry V’s dedication to developing highly creative and personalized experiences is exemplified in all of its work, but one recent outstanding project example was its contribution to TedxPortland 2014.

“The theme of the conference was perfect, so we conceptualized, designed and constructed a stage using nature’s perfect shape – the hexagon,” explains Katja. “We did projection mapping on the hexagon pieces and added the ability for them to float over the 3,000 person audience. It was beautiful.”

Another example of Henry V’s brand evangelism is an outdoor presentation experience it created for Keen Footwear. “Keen tasked us with organizing an outdoor daytime presentation at Lake Tahoe, which means we were competing with the sun and projectors were not going to work,” says Katja. “Instead of working against nature, we created custom view masters, which, along with a picnic blanket, were given to each attendee. When the presentation started everyone laid down on their blankets and advanced the slides themselves as they listened in. We were able to bring the brand to life and showing exactly who they are. “

The company has also delved into the food and beverage sector, creating a pop up farmer’s market in San Francisco and developing a six-yearlong, nationwide experimental tasting tour for Tillamook, an award-winning farmer-owned dairy cooperative from Tillamook, Oregon.

Flowing with the economy

The economic downturn of 2009 hit Henry V hard. “At the time of the recession 80 percent of our clients were B2B and when companies go into distress they look to cut budgets,” explains Katja. “Internal communications environments are typically the first to go, so we were faced with reinventing who we were to follow the marketing dollars. That spurred our aggressive growth in the B2C sector. Now that the economy has come back, our outlets have leveled out and we have an even balance of B2B and B2C audiences.”

As the company adapted its services to meet new corporation goals, it added a social media element and became focused on moving products for consumer facing businesses. “We create events and experiences that disrupt, excite and engage consumers,” says Katja.

When it comes to reporting and measuring success, Henry V faces the industry-wide challenge of conveying live event value to its clients. “Although face-to-face interaction is proven to be more effective than any other marketing medium in taking the consumer through the purchase funnel, illustrating that value is difficult, because there is no easy way of capturing the numerical return on investment,” Katja explains. “We are researching how to effectively report back to our clients and making data a key focus.”

Henry V Events is looking to expand into different divisions and remains dedicated to helping businesses, both big and small, educate and entertain audiences everywhere. 

Strategic Partnership(s): 
GIDI Promotions
Greenlight Creative LLC
Meyer Projection Systems