After more than a decade of construction, the time has come: the Nant de Drance pumped storage power plant officially opens. A great occasion for the main shareholder Alpiq to invite all its employees from all over Europe to the site. In the end, the opening became much more than just a festive employee event. With Alpiq Expedition One, we created a story that sent all employees on a joint expedition over a period of three months.
Nant de Drance is not just any construction project. The pumped storage power plant in the Valais is a project of superlatives. It has such an extensive project dimension that most Alpiq employees only experience it once in their entire work life. For the internal opening event, all 1,200 employees from seven different countries were invited to visit the completed power station and celebrate the successful commissioning.
A bottleneck known as the Alps
The conditions for the 1.5-day event are complex. About 700 participants from different countries travel to the Valais and are guided through various logistical bottlenecks in the mountains. After all, the power plant is located 600m below ground, but almost 2,000m above sea level. Parallel programmes for ten groups of 70 people each, separate venues, staggered arrivals and departures, interrupting transit moments and, last but not least, those at home who are also supposed to be a part of it all. With such asynchronous agendas, how can you still create an overarching sense of “we” and let each individual become part of a big story?
An expedition with an interactive logbook
The idea: an interactive logbook which, as a website, can be accessed from anywhere and via QR codes provides travellers with individual audio and video content, as well as tasks and challenges. The starting point for the development of the content is Alpiq’s recently reformulated values, which we adapted into the thoughts of a very special protagonist.
A protagonist with a distinctive voice
The first chapters begin as early as six weeks before the event, setting teasers and introducing the protagonist who will guide the employees through the expedition: Dora, a nature spirit from the Valais. She has followed the development of Nant de Drance from the very beginning – eagerly, sceptically, curiously, inquisitively. She literally gives Alpiq’s slogan (“Creating sustainable values”) a voice and leads the employees in sixteen chapters from the teaser to the travel preparations and the event itself to the follow-up communication and the big “farewell” in the highlight film of the eventful trip. Her episodes are varied, sometimes loud, sometimes gentle, sometimes serious and critical, sometimes playful and humorous.
Dora as a purposefully multidimensional character
With the three Ps “people, planet, profit”, Alpiq defines sustainability as a three-dimensional approach that relates equally to the economy, the environment and social issues. This dynamic tension is reflected in the multi-faceted protagonist: as a natural spirit from the Valais, Dora is skeptical about human intervention in her home. At the same time, she is curious about the living creature that is man. She closely observed the construction of Nant de Drance and was wildly terrified when the first explosions shook the mountain. At the same time, she is fascinated by the fact that so many people are coming together on the construction site to create something that she could not even have imagined. Over the many years of the project, people continue to surprise Dora in unexpected ways. An emotional highlight for Dora is when a thought-to-be-lost animal friend returns to her home because of the extensive compensatory measures. For Dora, this is a miracle that makes her believe in a future in which humans and nature work together in balance to achieve great things.
An activating expedition
Each of Dora’s episodes is linked to an activity. To start the expedition, for example, Dora asks expedition members to strengthen their relationships with each other and take part in a coffee date lottery. At another touchpoint, everyone is invited to vote on which climate projects should be supported as part of the offsetting of the event. On the day of the event itself, teams competed against each other in various challenges: They proved their knowledge about the Valais and Nant de Drance, faced a scavenger hunt on the dam or staged creative team photos. All interactions during the entire period were tracked on- and offline, translated into points and culminated in the presentation of the Expedition Awards. But the logbook journey was not over with the conclusion of the event. Four subsequent episodes brought together employees who had travelled to the event and those who had stayed at home, rounding off the first Alpiq Expedition.
Scope of content and motion production:
- Development of an expedition mentor figure that communicates with participants via text, audio and video (conception, content, planning, production and support before/after/during the event)
- Event website with 17 staggered chapters (texts, audio, video, illustrations, voting, mini-games)
- Radio play with a total running time of 22 minutes
- Event logo and design including 13 web illustrations and a photobox interaction
- Cut of existing footage for invitation film
- Two online quizzes and a scavenger hunt
- Two event videos including drone footage (edited and broadcast on site)