The Big Yak

9 June 2018 | London

The unconference for in-house communicators | #thebigyak


Here’s everything you need to know about The Big Yak, the unconference for communicators on Saturday 9 June 2018.

It’s being hosted by The IC Crowd. Do Tweet us @theICcrowd if you’ve got a query we’ve not covered.

What’s The IC Crowd?
The IC Crowd is a community and a place for people to connect and communicate. It’s the brainchild of Comms professionals Rachel MillerJenni Field and Dana Leeson.

We launched the crowd in September 2012 and you can find out more about us on the team page of our website and @theICcrowd on Twitter.

What is The Big Yak?
The Big Yak unconference from The IC Crowd connects in-house and independent communicators face-to-face so they can learn and network. To yak is a colloquial way of saying to talk.

It has been designed by and for professional communicators. This is the fourth time The Big Yak has taken place, as we gathered comms pros in 2013, 2014 and 2016.


We’re proud to be a different type of event and offer in-house practitioners the chance to shape the agenda on the day (which is what an unconference means) and get help and advice from their peers.

Trust us, you’ll love it!

Feedback from delegates over the years means we know what works and what doesn’t, so we’ve made a few changes for 2018.

Who can attend?
In-house internal communicators and independent practitioners are welcome to come to The Big Yak.

This is an event to share learning and experience with other like-minded professionals. Based on feedback, only agencies who are sponsoring are able to attend. As ever, we request a no pitching, selling of services or products to other attendees as this is what makes The Big Yak unique and we’d like to keep it that way.

We will be closely monitoring the attendee list. Our lead sponsors are AB, SocialOptic and Workplace. See the sponsors page to discover our partners for this year.

Where is The Big Yak?
We know how much you loved our venue in 2016, so not only is the yak back, we’re returning to the same venue.

Etc venue in Marble Arch, London, is our home for the day and we have it exclusively, which means we can network, learn, eat and socialise in the same place.

Grab a ticket
This year we will be charging a nominal amount for tickets, which is set at £9.99. Tickets will be released at the end of March 2018. We’ll keep this page updated and also Tweet from @theICcrowd once they are available. You will be able to book via Eventbrite to save your place.


Want to know what will be discussed at The Big Yak on Saturday 9 June 2018?

So do we! As it’s an unconference, the content is decided by you, the attendees, on the day.

We’re expecting 150 in-house professional communicators to come together, shape the agenda and enjoy being together.

Our facilitator Benjamin Ellis will be guiding us through our fun-filled day. If you’ve never attended an unconference before, don’t worry, he’ll be on hand to make sure things go smoothly.

Here’s the agenda from our 2016 event – as you can see, it was set on the day:

The Big Yak agenda

Doors open at 9.30am on Saturday 9 June 2018. Breakfast will be served until 10.15am. The Big Yak will start at 10.15am and finish at 5pm. Drinks will end just before 7pm.

Thank you to our drinks sponsor Workplace for enabling us to have drinks at the end, so we can keep on yakking in the venue for a few more hours.

More information about timings can be found on the agenda page.

All food is included on the day including breakfast before The Big Yak starts. A hot lunch will be served just after midday and we’ll have a mid-afternoon break too.

If you have any dietary requirements (besides gluten-free and veggie options) please let us know.


Dress code
We want you to feel comfortable, so do come in jeans and trainers or whatever you prefer. It is a Saturday after all.

Our swag bags are back by popular demand. Look out for yours when you arrive as they include goodies from our fantastic sponsors, so you can find out more about them.

Make some noise
Do Tweet on the day using #thebigyak and @theICcrowd.

The venue will have free wifi and there are plenty of plug points – don’t forget your chargers. See the reviews page of this website to discover what it’s like to attend The Big Yak. We’d love you to join us.

The Big Yak Tweet


Comms Clinic with AB

Book your consultancy session with one of our lead sponsors, AB.

ABPick the brains of two experienced consultants for free. Katie Macaulay and Mario Theodorou, from the communications agency AB, are offering 15-minute sessions during The Big Yak to address any burning communications issue, from the strategic to the tactical. Book your slot anytime between 10am to 4pm. Passionate, award-wining communicators, Mario and Katie, will bring the tea and cake – you bring the problem!   

Katie Macaulay has spent a 27-year career in employee communication. Today, Katie is managing director of AB, the UK’s longest established employee communications agencies, founded in 1964. Her book, From Cascade to Conversation, explores the future of internal communication and was the subject of a popular presentation at IABC’s World Conference in Washington last year.

Mario Theodorou is an experienced digital director and evangelist. As Head of Digital at News International – one of the UK’s oldest and biggest newspaper Groups – Mario was instrumental in helping this traditional media organisation embrace the web. Mario recently joined AB as Head of Digital to help organisations explore the benefits of digital, social and mobile technology.  

How can I book?
Look out for a link to choose your 15-minute Comms Clinic when you book your The Big Yak ticket.

Post-Yak drinks
We will be hosting networking drinks following the event and would love you to join us. They are being sponsored by Workplace. Thank you Facebook.

Do Tweet us @theICcrowd if you’ve got a query we’ve not covered on this site.




etc venue Marble Arch

The Big Yak unconference is taking place at etc. venues Marble Arch, London, on Saturday 9 June 2018.

etc venuesHow to find it
etc.venues Marble Arch is located at
Garfield House, 86-88 Edgware Road, London, W2 2EA

Travel options
Keep an eye on the TfL website to check the latest travel status.

By Underground, Central line to Marble Arch Station
When you exit Marble Arch Station station, turn right on to Oxford Street and then second right on to Edgware Road walking past the Odeon Cinema. etc.venues Marble Arch is in Garfield House, on the right hand side next to Tesco.

By train
Paddington Station is approximately 20 minutes walk. Use the Praed Street exit and turn left on to Praed Street and continue until you walk on to Edgware Road. Turn right onto Edgware Road and continue towards Marble Arch.

etc.venues Marble Arch is at the other end of Edgware Road on the left. Alternatively bus routes 36 or 436 go from outside Paddington Station on Praed Street and on to Edgware Road, and take approximately 10 minutes to Marble Arch.

Plan your journey

By bus
etc.venues Marble Arch sits on many bus routes including 7, 10, 73, 98, 137, 390, 6, 23, 94, 159, 30, 94, 113, 159, 274, 2, 16, 36, 74, 82, 148, 414, 436.

There is a NCP car park situated within close proximity to Marble Arch – visit for more details.

Sat nav: 51.51542, -0.163319

By London Cycle Scheme
The nearest “Boris Bike” docking station is on Edgware Road / Marble Arch.

Download travel directions.

Maps to help you find us



etc venue Marble Arch map

etc venue Marble Arch


The Big Yak wouldn’t be possible without our fantastic sponsors. But these organisations aren’t just sponsors, they are our partners.

Each of these organisations understand the benefit of networking and professional development. We can’t say enough about our sponsors, other than without them The Big Yak wouldn’t be possible.

Please look out for them on 9 June 2018 and stop them to say hello as they are supporting the crowd and making the day possible.

Meet The Sponsors-32


Our thanks to…

Lead sponsors: AB, SocialOptic and Workplace. 

See our Twitter list to follow all our sponsors.


ABAB helps organisations reach their full potential by creating informed, engaged and connected employees.

We believe in the power of participation and involvement. When people join forces to pursue a common goal, amazing things happen.

Founded in 1964, AB brings more than five decades of award-winning experience to every communication challenge.

Look out for Katie Macaulay and Mario Theodorou at The Big Yak.

See or @abthinks.

Social Optic

Social OpticSocialOptic harnesses the power of human data to boost productivity, reduce risk and deliver cultural change. From compliance and security, to employee engagement and digital transformation,

SocialOptic delivers tools and expertise to help you to make the right decisions to succeed.

Look out for Caalie Ellis and Benjamin Ellis at The Big Yak.

See or @socialoptic


Workplace_by_Facebook_Lock-up_Black_PNGWorkplace by Facebook is a collaboration platform designed to connect entire organisations. It offers familiar tools like groups, messaging and video calling.

Workplace helps anyone develop team projects, run meetings, share news and even collaborate securely with other companies.

Look out for Kelly Kriegshauser and Leticia Bevilaqua at The Big Yak.

See or @workplacebyfb.

Thank you to The Big Yak sponsors…

106 Comms

106-commsOur mission is to help brands and organisations be the most engaging versions of themselves.

We support companies in the UK and in Europe, with energising their people around purpose, change, sustainability, wellbeing, innovation, digital transformation and much more.

Take a look at and chat to us @106comms

Look out for Henry Davies at The Big Yak.

Alive With Ideas

AliveWithIdeas_webWe are an ideas-fuelled comms agency.

We make the mundane, marvellous – defining messages, telling stories and shaping behaviours.

We work with organisations like GWR, Sainsbury’s, B&Q, University of Manchester, KP Snacks, National Trust and numerous NHS and public-sector organisations on everything from day-to-day comms to large scale creative campaigns.

See and @alivewithideas.

CIPR Inside

CIPR_INSIDE_logo_CYMKCIPR Inside is the specialist group of the Chartered Institute for Public Relations. The group is for internal communication and employee engagement professionals.

As part of the only chartered organisation for communications professionals we benefit from the knowledge, support and training that the organisation provides. It connects internal and external communication, in line with the belief that communication should be integrated and joined up.

Raising professional standards and sharing best practice is a core aim of the group and institute. When joining the CIPR you can select to join the CIPR Inside group. As a member you get special rates for events, training and workshops, to help you continue your professional development throughout your career. Our members have access to the knowledge, support and training that being part of a chartered organisation brings.

We believe that professionalism and current knowledge are critical to delivering excellent and strategic communications.

See or @ciprinside.

EE Awards

Logo_design_finalsThe Employee Engagement Awards (EE Awards) is the first, and only global, dedicated Employee Engagement Awards & conference business. We believe in inspiring and educating people to remake the way organisations think about, and engage, people to achieve their purpose.

That’s why we created, and continue to develop, the Employee Engagement Awards; to provide a platform to recognise excellence in engagement that inspires action and drives the industry and the employee experience forward.

Entering and hopefully winning, The EE Awards provides the industry acknowledgement and competitive advantage needed to attract the best talent.

The Employee Engagement Awards has awards programs running in North America, Australasia, South Africa and the UK and Europe.

See or @ee_awards.

Gallagher Communication

GalllagherWe exist to ‘inspire the people behind the world’s leading businesses’.

Powered by 65 internal communication professionals across the world, our strategic approach, complimented by world-class creativity and imagination, places us at the forefront of employee communication and empowers us to shape the future of workplace engagement.

Look out for Ben Reynolds at The Big Yak.



H&H_articleH&H offers consultancy, training and creative support on strategic IC and EE projects of all shapes and sizes.

A team of 23 highly talented specialists – from psychologists, strategists, IC practitioners and researchers to an in-house creative team of animators, illustrators, designers and copywriters, we’ve touched the lives of millions of employees worldwide and delivered hundreds of programmes with tangible and sustainable outcomes.

Look out for Hannah Thoresby and James Sutherland at The Big Yak.

See or @handhagency.


HarknessKennettDriving employee engagement through inspiring internal communications.

Our global consultancy support covers all aspects of internal communication and engagement, from developing leaders and measure to delivering campaigns.

If you need support for a project or to cover a role, through our network of experienced communication professionals, we will find the people you need.

Look out for James Harkness and Lisa Betteridge at The Big Yak.

See or @HarknessKennett.


Honey logo and straplineHoney create compelling customer and employee brand experiences.

Many businesses say that employees are their biggest asset, but how many actually live up to that claim?

Employee engagement depends on employees understanding, believing and acting on the brand – which means putting them at the heart of the thinking from the start.

By combining strategic and creative thinking, we develop employee experiences that create engaged workforces – building your reputation from the inside out. Only when your staff are your biggest fans, will they be your greatest assets.

Look out for Joanna Jenkins and Lee Smith at The Big Yak.


Institute of Internal Communication 

ioicThe Institute of Internal Communication is the only independent professional body solely dedicated to promoting a deeper understanding of internal communication and helping our members to be the best they can be – today, and in the future.

We represent more than 1,200 professionals, helping them build credibility, skills and knowledge to advance their careers.

Look out for Jennifer Sproul and Suzanne Peck at The Big Yak.

See or @ioicnews.

Intranet Now

IntranetnowThe conference for comms and intranet people.

Each autumn, we put a score of practitioners on stage for laser-focused lightning talks.

Intranet Now is about inspiration, conversation, and how intranets are used now.

Simply run by Wedge and Brian for the community.

See or @intranetnow for more information.


Mk_articlemk is an internal brand consultancy.

Our job is to bring your brand to life – with stories and imagery, films and creative ideas.

So your people will feel more connected to your business.

And so your customers will feel like you really care.

Look out for Matt Hampshire and Kevin Davies at The Big Yak.

See and @mkbranduk.

PR Academy


PR Academy is the largest centre for CIPR qualifications and runs both the CIPR Specialist Diploma and Certificate in Internal Communication.

You will learn the theory, how to apply it in practice and meet lots of other lovely practitioners. Classes are held in central London or you can study online.

Look out for Kevin Ruck and Ann Pilkington at The Big Yak.

See or @pracademy.



Sequel helps clients create better employee experiences that transform business performance.

We’re a team of 28 talented writers, designers, strategists, digital developers and filmmakers who work together blending skills, experience and fresh thinking to create brilliant, award-winning work for clients.

From shaping strategies to creating communications campaigns, content and channels, our work connects, inspires and helps organisations to be productive places where people really want to work.

See or @sequel_group.


SocialChorusSocialChorus is the leading employee engagement company by providing a workforce communications platform that transforms how workers and organisations connect every day. Designed for every worker from head office to the front line, our solution enables a more informed, connected and supported workforce.

Organisations that depend on SocialChorus are able to connect and align their teams, power enterprise initiatives and measure the business outcomes. SocialChorus have offices in London, New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Look out for Anne Warner and Cyrus Gilbert-Rolfe at The Big Yak.

See or @socialchorus.

Top Banana

topbananaTop Banana was born with the aim of helping businesses communicate better through truly remarkable events and communications.

We create memorable experiences that excite, immerse and engage people emotionally with business strategy. We build true partnerships with our clients, which include the likes of Bentley, Bacardi, Virgin Media Business and Costa Coffee.

Look out for Marc Hazeldon (Account Director) and Richard Bridge (CEO) at The Big Yak.



Yapster_articleYapster is the mobile chat app for work teams.

Colleagues can send 1-1 and group messages, initiate flash polls, and share updates on the social feed straight from their smartphones.

By focusing on delivering a slick, simple user experience, Yapster can be up to 80% less expensive than alternative solutions.

Yapster. Talk more. Pay less.

Look out for Rob Liddiard and Aimen Chouchane at The Big Yak.


See our Twitter list to follow all our sponsors.

Meet The Sponsors-32




Want to know what it’s like to attend The Big Yak?

Here’s a taster of what the crowd has shared from our previous unconferences:

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