Specsavers Optical Group Ltd was established in 1984, operates globally and has the largest market share in the UK optical retail market. A world super brand, Specsavers was voted the most trusted brand of opticians for five consecutive years and is one of the most recognisable with its humorous advertising campaign and a strapline (‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’) that has become a popular everyday phrase.

We were invited to work with Specsavers for the second year on its annual National Partner Seminar held for its 1200 strong retail network in November 2016.  As previously, this year’s event was held at the ICC in Birmingham. The purpose of the event was to review achievements in the past year, to brief delegates on strategy and showcase new developments and planned highlights for 2017.


The assembled delegates own and run Specsavers branches across the UK and in Ireland
. We were briefed by the in-house events team to devise an event that would motivate and energise Specsavers’ retailers by keeping the annual event fresh and evolving.

Specsavers wanted to push the boundaries of what was expected by those attending the event to encourage greater engagement on the day and ownership of the event from participants. 


In previous years the event has been held as a traditional conference but Specsavers wanted to increase interactivity from delegates this year.  The solution was a multi-track conference programme with complementary extensive shell scheme exhibition area.  This latter area enabled internal departments to better communicate the support services they offer to delegates. 

Working closely with the Specsavers in-house creative team, we developed an involved layout comprising some 31 stands with 177 bespoke graphic clad wall panels of 443 square metres -  equating to an area bigger than 2.25 tennis courts.

There was also a requirement to create a peoples zone of stands to help focus the delegate’s attention on the full range of products, whilst allowing a third of the hall to be available for catering.  

Finally, there were two new product launches for Specsavers, a JCB range of work-wear safety frames and lenses together with a new designer label
Kylie Minogue/together with the Airstream caravan.  In order to better build intrigue on the day, the Kylie stand was blanked off for the first hour of the event and the cladding only removed during the first conference session when the initiative was announced to delegates.

The break-down of the event also presented a challenge. The exhibition finished at 2.00pm and the whole event had to be dismantled, packed and reloaded with a two hour window as the hall had to laid up for a dinner for the 1200 delegates the same evening.  We completed the task and left the hall with a spare five minutes.


At the close of the event Specsavers surveyed participants and all agreed that the objectives had been successfully achieved.  Specsavers will repeat the exhibition in future years and there is a Manager’s Seminar planned for March 2017.

Paul Marshall, Specsavers Managing Director for UK/ROI commented: “Following this weekend, which was the very best Specsavers seminar ever, I want to say a really big thank you for your efforts and contributions.

“We all really appreciate everything you achieved, all the stops you pulled out and the work you put in. It really makes a difference to our stores and ultimately our patients and customers.”

Kevin Lewington, Business Events Producer, UK Retail, our principle contact on this project added: “The is the second year we have worked with Joe Manby Limited on our National Partner Seminar.  It is our annual opportunity to get all our partner stores together and to enthuse them about our planned programme for the coming year so it is important that everything runs like clockwork.  Our in-house creative team found Joe Manby Limited to be very easy to work with, highly efficient and solution-focussed.  They’ve become a key extension of our team, so much so that they will be helping to deliver our Managers Conference next month.”