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Category: Event Sponsorship

02 Jun

How to get behind the scenes of TED conference design

Unless you’ve just returned from a 5-year sabbatical in a remote section of the Amazon jungle, you’re likely familiar with TED talks. And you may have a few favorites. Indeed, TED—with all its innovation and captivation—has taken the world by storm. I attended my first TED event—TEDxRainier in Seattle—6 years ago. Since then, I’ve been to nearly a dozen different TED-branded events, helped organize 5, and will gleefully attend TEDSummit next month in Banff. When with fellow TEDsters, I am at my most alive. Surrounded by fresh ideas, other people committed to giving those ideas the light of day, and the means to turn these ideas into new realities that make the world better. I can think of few more meaningful and engaging ways to spend time. That’s in great part why I developed and deliver a live workshop to help meeting professionals get behind the scenes of TED events to integrate TED-style elements to make their gatherings more captivating and unmissable. It’s called 5 Actionable Conference Design Insights from TED Events, and it’s an interactive, experiential workshop. Through the end of next year, I’m available in most regions of the US, Canada and Mexico to present this content at…

16 May

5 Fresh Ways to Build Buzz & Engagement in your Next Meeting

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster Magical thinking, as illustrated here, is just that. But wouldn’t you rather aim for practical thinking over magical thinking?! After all, a fresh idea that’s well executed can transform attendees’ and the hosts’ experiences. And it can further position your meeting as cutting edge and unmissable. To that end, here are 5 new ways to inject innovation and impact for your participants—and even generate more revenue for your organization. 1-Help Shiny Objects Shine Brighter Handheld electronic devices in the hands of many meeting goers often distract others who are trying to focus on the meeting experience. When some audience members just HAVE to be consistently online during a conference, reserve them a special spot in the meeting room where their screens and efforts won’t bother colleagues. At TEDxSeattle, we place self-identified attendee bloggers, for example, in box seats in our theatre. A roped off area at the back works just as well. Bottom line? Be service driven and intentional, and everyone’s happy. 2-Meet Beyond the Ballroom When you’re hungry for a change of scenery and looking for an unusual, affordable venue, check out www.PeerSpace.com. You might think of it as an Airbnb for meeting…

30 Dec

Why Event Sponsorships Should Never be about Sponsors

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster Budgets are top of mind this time of year, so let’s focus on how to make yours go further. The TED brand and its range of live and virtual events have taken the world by storm. As a TED-head who’s a student and practitioner of TED-branded events, I’ll focus here on what my TED experiences teach us about designing sponsor experiences through a decidedly different lens. I’m deeply involved with audience experience design, speaker curation and sponsor (AKA partner) acquisition for a large TEDx Event, TEDxSeattle (previously TEDxRainier). And I attended TEDActive (the event that happens concurrently with TED) in British Columbia. This collective experience has opened my eyes to the power of turning the tables on how sponsors are courted and integrated into an event’s design. Just as the most successful meetings are much less about speakers on stage and much more about participants in the audience, effectively curated and nurtured sponsorships should be ever-so-much-less about the sponsors and oh-so-much-more about the potential customers they want to engage. So if your events or tradeshows rely on sponsors, you can drastically improve both how meeting goers engage with sponsors and improve the results the…

11 Sep

Behind the Scenes at TED & TEDActive 2014 in BC

by Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, Copyright 2014 Photo by Trib via Flickr Reflect on a time when you felt truly understood, part of a meaningful community, with “your people.” Maybe a happy hour with close friends. A family reunion. A college fraternity experience. Such deep group affiliation isn’t common. So a few months ago, I went on an intentional search for it. And found a rarified, powerful level of connection that lasted five. Days. Straight. This is a behind-the-scenes look at that experience to help us design more intentional, game-changing meetings. When I learned that TED and TEDActive would be held respectively in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia this last spring, just a few hours north of my home-base of Seattle, I yearned to see what all the fuss was about. What happens at TED events that has the world in general, and the meetings industry in particular, abuzz? Why are people across cultures and professions drawn to a long, not-inexpensive, industry-agnostic event—one that is, in part, available for free online, and that may have no direct career dividend? You’re likely familiar with TED. Perhaps you’ve integrated some TED-ness into meetings. Maybe favorite some online TED Talks. Or attended…

09 Jun

Game-Changers: Behind the Scenes of the TED-Vancouver, BC Partnership

Copyright 2014  Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster & TEDActive attendee British Columbia, Canada—home to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games—was looking to outdo itself. After all, once you’ve hosted one of the world’s largest events, what do you do for an encore? Raising the bar on BC’s Olympian feat required the finesse and timing of Canadian hockey great Wayne Gretzky. Winning demanded that hospitality, tourism, convention, incentive and governmental teams across all of Canada join forces. That they collaborate to re-imagine their region, their brand and their ability to elevate how ideas are communicated at live events. Success, in short, required being the right place at the right time. And win they did: from March 17-21, BC will host what could well be called the “Olympics of Thought:” The meeting game-changer that is TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) in Vancouver, and the related TEDActive event, in Whistler. TEDsters, hand-selected to join the community, are some of the most well-known thought leaders in the world. Previous attendees include Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall and Hollywood illuminati. How TED2014 ended up in Vancouver is a compelling story of vision and partnership. Of aligning to a common cause. Of helping everyone win—cities and…

05 Dec

2 More Strategies to Fund Event Games via Sponsorship

(Part 2 of 2. Click here for Part I) With all the buzz about integrating games into events, you may thinking YES! Let’s get a meeting app with a game to engage our attendees. And in the same breath: um, how do we pay for it? 1.     From cost- to profit-center Allowing current event sponsors—and/or new ones—to get in the game by sponsoring your digital or non-digital game is a smart way to help fund the experience. Moreover, with the right strategy, a game can go from a cost- to a profit-center. How? By approaching the right sponsors with the right opportunity at the right time, you ensure attendees play an engaging, business-objective-based game that also achieves brand awareness for sponsors. Most clients of CrowdCompass make many times more in sponsorship revenue than they invest in the cost of the app, and these apps consistently cost less than printing event programs, according to their director of marketing, Matthew Donegan-Ryan. Mountain Travel Symposium, with support from QuickMobile, integrated sponsorship into their game, which included a gallery tool. To share personal experiences at the conference, participants took photos and earned points to exchange for gamer-only discounts at sponsored stores and restaurants near…

03 Dec

3 Effective Strategies to Fund Event Games via Sponsorship

Start small, win big By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster With all the buzz about integrating games into events, you may thinking YES! Let’s get a meeting app with a game to engage our attendees. And in the same breath: um, how do we pay for it? Know this: when you play your cards right, your game-ful app can become a popular engagement tool; a printing-, paper- and money-saving conference program; and, indeed, even a profit center. But to win at this game, note these five important rules to heed first. 1.     Start with the end in mind You set yourself up for success with your game when you make thoughtful decisions based first on your audience—not on what you and/or your sponsors think is best, warns Trevor Roald, mobile technology evangelist with Vancouver, BC-based QuickMobile. As a planning tool, Roald and his team use the Forrester-recommended POST (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology) strategy. Originally created for marketing and biz-dev professionals, POST is now being used in mobile application development. POST ensures you put the people (not the tech) first, and build your objectives and strategies around them. What incents your attendee: Competition? Collaboration? Sustainability? The answer will inspire the game’s…

11 Sep

5 ways to book a speaker at no cost—or at a greatly reduced fee

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster As the economy grows, the supply of top-tier speakers can exceed demand. When your budget doesn’t quite cover the cost of your best-fit expert, consider this: by making some investments in research and strategic partnership, you can reap big dividends, secure top speaking talent and generate the impact you need without breaking the bank. Here’s how: 1.     Share the Wealth—and Raise YOUR Stature If your organization has multiple layers or departments, you’re likely sitting in the midst of a missed opportunity. Let’s say you work in customer service, hold an annual conference for your employees or your customers, and plan to invite a “name” keynote speaker. You can save money and spread the learning across the enterprise by teaming up with your cohort in, say, sales or HR. Offer this other department the chance to share the speaking talent you’ve invited by joining you at the event OR scheduling their own program on the same day. Cost splits could work in a number of ways: Offer to split expenses 50-50 Alternate years or quarters: for the first event, your departmental budget is tapped; then next quarter, or next year, your partnering department covers the…

12 Sep

When to Hire Speakers Solely Based on Fees

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings Recession or not, I’ve always been committed to helping you save money and effort when you plan important meetings and events. Outside speakers are often the element most instrumental in your event’s success. They help seal participants’ memories of your meeting, educate the audience and heighten perceptions of your organization. That’s why thinking and “spending small” can ultimately cost you more in lost results and reputation than the cost of your initial speaker investment. With a smarter, big-picture approach, we can stretch your budget while still reaching your most important goals. But if you view speakers’ fees as more a cost than an investment, you may limit your thinking and lessen your outcomes. So, when SHOULD you hire speakers based just on fees? 1. When you don’t need event buzz or higher registration Like many products and services, speakers’ fees are based on and vary with supply and demand. Most meeting planners seek to create event buzz and increase registration for their events. With few exceptions, more well-known, buzz-worthy speakers will command higher fees, AND be more likely to generate higher registration and stronger buzz. So while an initial investment is…