When Inner Circle Labs hired Kennedy Events Circle to manage its first social discovery conference, Glimpse 2012, the event management company faced the daunting task of taking a standard hotel conference room and infusing it with a vibrant spirit to match that of its entrepreneurial and forward-thinking audience.
"The audience was a ‘who's who' of the media and technology communities," says Kennedy Events' partner Paige Buck. Companies and products in the social discovery space seek to connect people with new places, people and products based on their social interactions and interests.
"The Glimpse stage is meant to bring to life conversations that would happen over drinks – casual, unique, unrehearsed and valuable," according to the Glimpse conference website. Glimpse 2012 covered a wide array of subjects, including social discovery in lifestyle and entertainment, dating, and building of new social discovery products.
The conference brought together company founders, executives and industry experts at the forefront of creating new technologies for social networking and mobile apps. The speakers and panel discussions revolved around "anything and everything online," says Buck. "Speeches and panel discussions were insightful, making for an engaging conference."
The result was a one-day event that generated a huge social media buzz. "Glimpse trended nationally on Twitter, among top national headlines," says Buck.
Despite the digital focus, many of the companies that presented turned to promotional products to help convey or reinforce their brand message to the approximately 250 people who attended. Attendees received a conference cross-body bag which contained the Glimpse logo on one side, and the San Francisco cityscape silkscreened in red on the other. "The bag was just a simple, canvas tote, gender-neutral and useful," says Buck, adding, "I use it all the time." One conference attendee said people came up to him on the street to ask where he got the bag and what the event was, notes Buck.
Other top sponsors at the conference offered clever giveaways. "Sometimes it wasn't just the items themselves, but their placement," says Buck. MeetMe, a social platform, collaborated with the conference venue to have branded MeetMe coffee mugs stacked by the coffee machine all day, and to wash and return the clean mugs to attendees' place settings so they could reuse them and take them home. The stacks of mugs repeated the MeetMe logo over and over, reinforcing the brand name.
TripIt, a social and mobile app for keeping travel plans together and accessible, gave branded passport holders to conference guests who visited their booth. And Waze, a traffic and navigation app, gave attendees a branded iPhone stand that mounts to the car window a safe, visible distance from the driver, so the phone can function as a GPS device. Schemer, a Google spinoff that helps users share and discover things to do (like exploring a new city), offered cookies glazed with the Schemer logo at the dessert table.
Attendees were encouraged to pose in front of a "step and repeat" backdrop bearing the conference and sponsors' logos. "At the end of the day, after cocktails, people grouped together and took fun photos, which resulted in great images of people connected with the brand, and great publicity for the conference," says Buck.
As people posted their photos to their own networking sites, the images showed people who hadn't been there what they missed. "Also, creating inexpensive vinyl wall decals with the client's logo is a great way to make your mark on an event space without busting the budget," Buck adds.
Promotional products added to the buzz and energy of the conference, says Buck, adding, "The sponsors at this conference hit the nail on the head in their selection of promotional items."
KPMG, an audit, tax and advisory services firm, worked with their ad specialty distributor to develop a brand-boosting marketing campaign. Together, they created a tagline – “The Right Team” – and recognized that it was a natural segue to a sports marketing effort.
They decided to link it with golf to create impact and brand awareness through the game. Through the collaboration, they produced a navy blue imprinted cap and established a website at www.golf-kpmg.com. A charitable aspect with a link to their Family for Literacy program (KFFL) was also added. They connected the marketing effort with both KFFL and First Book, a nonprofit that supports childhood literacy through book donations, and named it Blue for Books.
As the program developed, pro golfer Phil Mickelson lent his support to the effort and began to wear the hat, which was dubbed "Phil's Blue Hat" at tournaments and media events. It quickly became a popular item among fans.
Now, for every piece sold, Blue for Books donates three brand-new books to kids in need. In the past two years, they've sold over 10,000 hats and donated 30,000 books. KPMG has also signed golfer Stacy Lewis, who wears her own cap style that's now for sale on the website.
To ensure that Hispanic filmmakers have a platform to network and promote their work, Jose Marquez, CEO of Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association (LIST), and Lance Robertson, CMO of the Black Latino Council, created the Georgia Latino Film Festival during Hispanic Heritage Month in 2012.
“In just one year our footprint has expanded exponentially,” says Robertson. “We have film submissions from Los Angeles, New York City, Mexico, Columbia, Puerto Rico, and we see attendees from all over.”
To kick off the festival, Hispanicize HX, the regional Latino events platform of the annual Hispanicize event, held a special edition red carpet event, gathering the city’s top Latino influencers in journalism, blogging, marketing, technology and entertainment with “TED Talks”-type presentations, networking and a musical performance.
With the help of sponsors such as Coca Cola, Hispanicize Wire, OVN Latino, Being Latino and Sofrito for Your Soul, the festival provides an opportunity for corporations to target the fastest growing movie-going audience and promote their products and services. Companies and organizations were equipped with branded signage and banners, giveaways such as T-shirts, stickers and other marketing items to help consumers keep their brand front of mind.
Other sponsors for this year’s Georgia Latino Film Festival were PMPublicidad, Georgia Pacific, AeroMexico, Mundo Hispanico, SBC, Mi Amiga Magazine, InTouch Financials, Pase La Voz and Verizon. “We make 15, 30 and 60 second PSA audio, video and script in English and Spanish and provide local main stream, urban and Latino Media with content they can use,” says Robertson. “Plus we form media partnerships so the event will have great coverage and continue to grow.”
This year, several television channels, radio stations and newspapers picked up the story, including CBS News, Telemundo, OVNLatino, La Mega and Univision. GaLFF also set up a blogger lounge and promoted sponsors through social media channels Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and more. “Our HX events will bring greater media, social media and marketing recognition to talented presenters and Latino music artists that deserve to be better known,” said Manny Ruiz, founder of the Hispanicize platforms, in a press release. “Through the HX events and our Hispanicize Wire press release distribution platform we will change the game for influential thought leaders and Latin music artists.”