Kongres Magazine talked to Ziya Artun, General Manager of Atölye Group, who was recently named among the Most Influential Representatives of Creative and Live Marketing Agencies 2021. Ziya shared his greatest achievements in the meetings industry so far and expressed his opinion on the future of events.

Q1: Being selected as the top influencer of the regional industry, what does the title represent to you?

We have achieved great projects in the last 15 years and won many awards with these projects. We have always been a part of such competitions, yet this is the first time we were invited by a community. That is why it is so meaningful. You did your research for the candidates, found the right names and brought together these successful names of the industry. Being an important part of this community is very significant and a big honour for our team.

Q2: You have been in the meetings industry for a very long time. What inspires you?

The stories – creating stories of events. Technology and feelings inspire me. I put myself in each participant’s shoes and start to dream about the event. I ask myself, what excites me? What motivates me? What do I want to see at the event? You can feel it when you find the right formula. It will be the perfect match for the clients and the team.

Q3: You have contributed a lot to the development of the meetings industry. What would you say was your greatest achievement so far?

I can proudly say that we have many achievements:

• We realised the Cross-Continental Golf Shot with Tiger Woods to contribute to Turkey’s golf tourism. The event was broadcast live in 55 counties and followed by 550 million people. We won the Best Public Event 1st prize in European Best Events Awards Ceremony. We had 15 days for preparations, but the event took only 19 minutes.
Find out more at: https://vimeo.com/82284629

Samsung Galaxy S3 Turkey Launch – the clients gave us one guideline regarding the event: “The day after the event, the whole country should talk about us”, and I designed most of the event. We realised two big celebration concerts with two of the world’s most famous DJs (Avicii and Bob Sinclar). Avicii was on the Asian side, whereas Bob Sinclar was on the European side. We designed experience zones for the concert areas. More than +30K peoples attended the parties. The event was live-streamed on one of Turkey’s most famous tv shows. We reached millions of viewers. At the same time, we held Europe’s largest mapping show on Rumeli Hisarı Fortress. VIP and press members watched the show from the Savarona Yacht in the middle of the Bosphorus. We won the DSE Apex Awards/Best Public Spaces category in Las Vegas.
Find out more at: https://vimeo.com/73457352

Vodafone Trade Marketing Summit – we designed the event just before the pandemic in 2019. The summit is one of the biggest meetings held once a year in Turkey. We designed a 360 degrees stage with a 760m2 screen and used high tech assets for the event. We invited all participants by sending Augmented Reality invitations via a mobile application. We designed entrance shows for each speaker. We also designed and produced 16 Vodafone Partners stands. 2500 participants were present on the stage at the same time. The number of total attendees was 3500. Designs, content, all transfers, accommodations etc., were all provided by us.
Find out more at: https://vimeo.com/380705616

Alive Virtual Event Platform – I am the co-founder of the platform. We designed the platform during the pandemic using only our company’s resources. Design, coding and content were all made by Atölye. We realised more than 250 online meetings on the platform and hosted two big summits: Global Excel Summit 2021 and International Investment Summit 2020. We hosted thousands of participants, hundreds of CEOs and ministers at our online events.
Find out more at: https://vimeo.com/675913330

“Although we have created wise solutions during the pandemic, we are still social creatures.”

Q4: What changes would you like to see in the meetings industry in 2022?

2020-2021 were tough years for the industry because it is our job to appeal to emotions and live communication. Although we have created wise solutions during the pandemic, we are still social creatures. We gained lots of new experience in the use of technology during the pandemic. We should combine these experiences with our events after the pandemic. Hence, I wish healthy events with satisfying budgets to all industries.

Q5: What is your prediction for the future of meetings?

Simplicity. Saving time with the new technologies, less stressful and target-focused. I believe Gen Z will handle it. Meetings will remain important in the future because we love to interact with others, and it is in our nature. We have always given unusual experiences to people. Our industry is always one step ahead.

Q6: The greatest idea you have ever had?

I managed most of the award-winning projects in our company. As I mentioned in the 3rd question, each of them is very valuable. For the Samsung Galaxy S3 Turkey Launch Event and Alive Virtual Event Platform, I can say that I came up with the main ideas and developed all steps. I can say that for the others too.

“If you have a common cause with the team, suppliers and clients, that is priceless.”

Q7: Do you have any regrets in life or your career?

I was a talented basketball player, but I lived in an unfortunate situation. I was young and did not give the effort I needed to. If it were now, I would work twice or four times harder. I have no regrets in my career because the industry makes me tougher, stronger, and more open-minded. But my basketball discipline is reflected in my professional career. I think this is the perfect match for me.

Q8: How important is friendship and connectivity in the meetings industry?

Sometimes, a good idea is not enough. Sometimes clients only want to work with you because of who you are. If you think and speak in the same way as the client, that is valuable. If you have a common cause with the team, suppliers and the clients, that is priceless. Our key point is relationship management.

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