Home' micenet eMag : micenet December 2018 Contents EVENT CONTENT | PETA MOORE
ometimes “sameness” can leave
conference attendees feeling like
they are visiting an annual
conference or conference out of
loyalty or obligation, rather than actually
looking forward to going and enjoying it.
I don’t think that’s a great starting point for
anyone involved. Worse still, a lack of
anticipation and excitement may mean many
delegates are not coming back or exhibitors
and sponsors are looking elsewhere.
So how can we keep repeat annual
conferences fresh? Throwing more money at
a conference is not usually a solution, or even
an option for most of us. According to
American Express’ Global Meetings and
Conferences Forecast 2018, half of survey
respondents said their budget will remain the
same this year as the year before.
Most often the annual conferences that I
see become stale is down to organisers
sticking to what they know and feel
comfortable with. Keeping things fresh is not
always easy, and today trends and
expectations move at a rapid pace, so I have
a few tips to share that will help provide a
basis for creating new ideas, re-energising
any repeat conference and most importantly,
providing great value to the people attending.
1. Rethink the logistics
It’s time to rethink how we approach creating
amazing conferences. Too often as meeting
planners we tend to think of conferences in
behind the scene segments, or as the
It’s all too easy for repeat annual conferences to become
a routine, says Peta Moore.
logistical tasks that sit underneath any big event. But what I think we really should be
concentrating on is how these logistical components translate into brilliant attendee
experiences. The best way to keep any annual conference fresh is to be always thinking of
those attending, and put them at the start and centre of your planning, and build from there.
What can you add that’s new? What surprises can you add to shock or wow delegates that
come back every year? Word of mouth is still one of the best marketing tools available, and
keeping a happy customer is much easier and cheaper than finding a new one. Creating an
amazing, fresh experience is a great way to achieve both of these goals.
2. Choose a new theme, design or conference narrative
An obvious way to freshen up annual conferences is to reinvent a theme or narrative that the
conference hangs on each year. Although this is fairly simple to do, I think it is very effective in
drawing a line underneath the previous year’s conference and setting expectations that this year
is something new and exciting. Another option is to give your conference a completely new
identity. Rename it, create a new logo, or add a themed title under the main brand name.
3. Engage all the senses
If past conferences have taken the form of a presentation and dinner, or another kind of
repeated routine, explore how you can engage more of the senses. You may have covered sight
and taste, but what about the other three senses? I think smell and touch are often overlooked
and can have a big impact on attendee engagement. Can you use a fragrance that fits your
theme to engage smell? Can you use fabrics or interactive materials that introduce touch to
your conference? What audio and music can you use at different points in the conference to
elevate the experience?
4. Personalise the conference experience with technology
Technology has made personalising conferences a reality. The end result of personalisation
should be a better experience for attendees that makes them feel more connected and
engaged with your conference. I have highlighted in previous articles the possibilities of AR, AI
social media, apps and video. These technologies should be an obvious way for you to add
different if not completely new experiences to your annual conference each year.
5. Build a community
By delivering fresh content or facilitating discussions and community engagement, you get
insights and genuine feedback on what your audience enjoyed at previous conferences and
what they want to see in the future. Extend the life of your conference by making and sharing
great content for your audience in the form of videos, articles, white papers and podcasts. m
Learn more about Peta Moore and Nectar Creative Communications at www.nectarcc.com.au
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