The pioneers of the meetings and events industry have been proclaimed by BizBash… and it’s easy to see why they are at the top of their game. The list includes the 15 Most Innovative Meetings of 2013, each with an exemplary idea that is sure to inspire your next event.
First and foremost, congrats to ACTIVE Network Business Solutions’ customers that made the top 10:
- Cisco Live (#3) was named for their social media engagement – not surprising after they received 46,000 mentions on social networks during their event! Also, during the event, attendees could ask questions via Twitter and onsite staff would respond so any issues could be resolved quickly.
- Oracle OpenWorld (#7) was highlighted for their awe-inspiring efforts for creating an environmentally-friendly event. Consulting company, MeetGreen, ranks OpenWorld at 94 out of 100 on its calculator, the highest score of any event it evaluates.
Now let’s take a look at these companies/events that are moving the industry forward to see how you can apply their ideas to your own meetings…
FIVE BEST PRACTICES from the innovators:
Events must be unique – it is essential that attendees see value and get excited about what they stand to gain during their time with you. Events like the TED Conference, Dad 2.0 Summit, and the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Convention & Expo offer free activities like massages, manicures, whiskey tastings and oxygen bars to keep their attendees entertained and relaxed. Other events – such as SAP’s Sapphire Now and the Pack Expo – focused on the onsite flow of the event with industry forums or market-specific pavilions, which cater content to specific parts of their audience so they are zoned into their expertise. A new concept is visual note-taking. Further with Ford and PS Engage both offered artists onsite that created a visual representation of the sessions either displayed at the event or shared via social media.
SOCIAL MEDIA INTEGRATION
Several companies are continuing the lead in making social media an integral form of communication inside and outside of their event. As mentioned above, Cisco Live was at the forefront this year, including a social media hub that displayed the volume of tweets over time, a leaderboard of the most active people tweeting with the event hashtags, photos shared on Twitter and Instagram, and a word cloud of trending topics.
Forging a new path for affordable events is the hybrid alternative (more on hybrid events below). The H.I.M.S.S. Conference dropped the registration price for online attendees and simply provided different access, such as on-demand access to the keynote rather than live streaming. Attendees still received a tremendous value and the event was able to capture a larger audience that otherwise might not have been able to join.
Events with a conscience are growing in popularity and every event can take part. For example, the McDonald’s Worldwide Convention as well as Hello Etsy decided to compost and/or donate leftover food to avoid waste. Hello Etsy also did their entire registration process online, used the conference program as a name badge, and provided water-filling stations in which attendees had to bring their own refillable water bottles to the event. And the Hallmark Gold Crown Retail Summit went completely paperless, giving every attendee an iPad with ALL session materials pre-loaded.
Technology and various forms of online attendee engagement are helping hybrid events gain popularity. SAP AG is one of the leaders in the creation of hybrid events and uses an online platform for year-round engagement. Also on the list was the Educause Annual Conference, which offered one-on-one training for speakers leading an online session so they knew how best to engage the streaming audience. They also encouraged groups of people from the same company to gather to experience the online conference together using just one purchased log-in.
How is your company being innovative with its events? Share your ideas and success stories below!