Data storage company EMC knows a thing or two about producing killer b-to-b events. The brand in May executed its 16th annual user conference, EMC World, operating under a “modernize” theme and drawing a combined total of 53,000 live and virtual attendees to Las Vegas. Although the b-to-b event is revitalized every year, its festival vibe, use of cutting edge technology and strong storytelling remain a staple of the conference, keeping attendees engaged and coming back for more. To find out how the brand continues to deliver first-rate experiences, we tapped Mary Bracoloni, vp-experiential marketing at EMC. Following are her tips for elevating b-to-b events.
1. Start Fresh.
While EMC stays true to its values at each conference, the event itself is refreshed annually. By starting anew, the brand is able to evolve its b-to-b events along with its attendees while offering innovative experiences year after year.
“We treat every year like a complete and total blank slate,” says Bracoloni. “The conference shouldn’t be the same twice because our customers are changing, their personas are changing and that means our conference has to evolve as well… Every year we say ‘OK, what do we have to do to shake it up and make sure that EMC comes shining through?’ It really is an exciting place to be because we have complete and total freedom.”
2. Shake Up the Learning Format.
At EMC World 2016, the brand gave attendees a chance to take in keynotes, “super” sessions and key messaging outside of the ballroom. Equipped with a slew of beanbag chairs and a massive, four-sided screen, the space offered attendees an unconventional way to absorb content.
“We really get excited when people sit there and watch keynotes because then we know they’re totally tuned in,” says Bracoloni. “All eyes are straight ahead on the cube and they’re consuming [content] in a way that makes them very comfortable… What it comes down to is people learn in different formats.”
3. Make the Attendee the Hero.
In addition to ensuring EMC World attendees are constantly engaged, the brand strives to empower them by communicating what they’re capable of achieving as a result of participating in the conference.
“This [experience] is showing them potential for their own companies,” Bracoloni says. “We want them to feel that, ‘This isn’t about transforming your business. This isn’t about transforming your department. This is about transforming yourself. You can take this knowledge back with you. You can be a hero back at your work.’” Agency: Opus Agency, Beaverton, OR.