In conversation with... The Good Guyz
The Good Guyz have been producing OnBrand since 2017, and each year they’re given the unenviable task of transforming the iconic SugarCity from a barren industrial setting into a space fit for Europe’s leading branding conference—all within two days. We sat down with Guido and Lotus from The Good Guyz to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they work, and what it takes to bring the OnBrand experience to life.
So guys, can you introduce yourselves and explain what The Good Guyz is all about?
Guido: Sure, I’m Guido van den Berk, Director and Co-Owner at The Good Guyz. We’re a creative event production company out of Amsterdam, producing events that range from small brand activations to big-scale blockbuster music festivals for 40k+ visitors.
Lotus: I’m Lotus Beutick, Producer at The Good Guyz, so I typically help transform a creative concept into a unique, executable technical plan at any given location.
How did you guys get into the events business?
Guido: As a kid, I used to build concerts in my bedroom for my parents with Playmobil toys, so I guess I always had an interest in putting on a good show! Especially the technical side of it. But really I kinda just rolled into over the years: I studied music management and took internships in event production, but I did a lot of learning on-the-job!
So how is organizing a branding conference different to organizing a musical festival—is the process different?
Guido: There are similarities in that you have the same basic components: visual design, stages, sound and light etc. But with events like OnBrand, I think you really need to focus on the details and create an experience that’s built around a concept, idea, or brand, which is a little more abstract than a typical music event. Ultimately, you want attendees to be left with a lasting impression that is unique to that event.
I think that’s key for a branding conference: leaving attendees with a lasting impression not just from the content itself, but the overall event experience. How do you try and achieve this with OnBrand, and how is it different to other events?
Lotus: I think it starts with the SugarCity venue: it’s clearly a unique space with its history as an old sugar factory. It has a very raw, tough, and industrial vibe to it. But the challenge is trying to take that raw environment and transform it into something that is warm, lively, and uniquely “OnBrand”, which is what helps to build that lasting impression. So we use a lot of vibrant colors, we take inspiration from nature, and generally try to make attendees feel part of a community on the day—there’s a lot of details you need to consider to communicate that overarching “OnBrand” theme.
Guido: I think we really try and give visitors something they’re not used to. And I think it’s definitely been achieved with OnBrand. It’s not just about the talks; there’s things happening all over the SugarCity throughout the day, and we try to create more of a ‘show’ element to the event.
The evolution of technology continues to shake up how we work nowadays across every industry, and the events scene is no different. What’s been the most noticeable change that you’ve witnessed in the past few years?
Guido: Well it’s obviously made our jobs easier in a lot of ways. For instance, payment and ticketing technology makes it much easier for promoters and consumers alike. It’s all about providing convenience for the attendees, and technology really enables that.
Lotus: But of course technology hasn’t been all positive for the event experience. These days, you see a lot of people at events more caught up with their phones, trying to take the perfect picture for their Instagram, or to show their followers that they’re “there”.
Personally, I think it prevents people really experiencing an event “in the moment”. Witnessing a crowd from behind the stage just watching an event through their phones can be quite a surreal thing to witness! But I guess this whole issue of people being glued to their phones is not exactly unique to events; it’s a wider symptom of our times and a by-product of the effects that tech has had on people.
You’ve been producing OnBrand for three years now. Are there any challenges that are unique to the event?
Guido: Well SugarCity is no ordinary venue, so it can be pretty challenging logistically speaking. As the venue is quite literally industrial in some areas, you really have to bring some life to it: from lighting, temperature, and just the general ambiance, you have to transform what is usually quite a ‘cold’ atmosphere into something warm and full of buzz. It’s all in the details!
Lotus: One of the unique challenges for OnBrand is that each year we really try to start with a bang with the opening show. That takes a lot of preparation in collaboration with art directors, sound engineers, and you guys of course!
Any final words?
Guido: Super excited to make the 5 year anniversary of OnBrand bigger and better than ever! It’s always a special event for us because of the styling, concept, and venue. Here’s to another successful year!