New technology, proven marketing, and touching moments give event professionals something to talk about
Winter may be in full freeze, but things are already warming up in the Canadian brand experience category. The Tête-à-Tête Tradeshow sizzled Ottawa on February 2. It was a full day of groundbreaking tech, rewarding networking, and insightful information that set the tone and raised the bar for the rest of 2017.
Hosted by the Canadian Society of Association Executives (CSAE), Tête-à-Tête brought together premier suppliers, association executives, government procurers, and meeting industry professionals. Here’s what had the 1500 delegates, sponsors, and attendees bussing.
Virtual reality is a reality
Without a doubt, the big splash at the event was the official release of the Freeman virtual reality offerings to Canada’s event industry. Attendees eagerly waited for their turn to immerse themselves in the in-booth VR experience. When applied to brand experiences, marketers can employ the technology to show how their product or service works in the home or workplace — as well as create remarkable experiences on a show floor. What’s more, it can be used for planning, allowing planners to explore how various design approaches look in a specific space or take simulated tours of a site.
Speaking of success
Beyond the engaging tech and bustling networking, Tête-à-Tête provided two keynote speakers who focused on inspiration, following dreams, and achieving goals — as well as the importance of persistence and self-efficiency. The first keynote was The Amazing Race Canada host and Olympic gold medalist Jon Monty, who talked about the importance of taking risks. At one point he said, “The more often we take those first steps toward the things in life that scare us, the easier it is,” adding later, “The only way you build confidence is you earn it through repetition.”
Afterward, disability rights activist Rick Hansen also inspired the audience. He explained that success breeds success and that focus was the main key to success. Showing a picture of himself in his wheelchair on top of the Great Wall of China, he further said, “There are no walls too big in life that can’t be climbed.”
The picture was taken after Hansen had toured around the world in his wheelchair, revealing that perhaps for marketers to climb their campaign walls they need to go on a journey of discovery first.
Social events for measured results
It certainly wasn’t all work and no play at this tradeshow. Canadian Destinations hosted Reveal Social at the Craft Beer House the night before Tête-à-Tête began, while PCMA Canada East Social held a reception at Daly’s in the Westin after the event.
The social climax for Tête-à-Tête would have to be the MPI Charity Dinner & Auction, held after the PCMA Canada East Social. More than 700 association executives, government procurers, meeting planners, third-party planners, and corporate planners met not only to network, but to also raise money for two charities, The Ottawa Network for Learning and Hopewell, an eating disorder support center, proving that social responsibility and brand experience go hand-in-hand.
The main stage of the Charity Dinner & Auction was adorned with three large screens, the middle one a circle with truss around it, all continually broadcasting useful content to the audience. The lighting of the mains stage corresponded to the brand color of the sponsor when he or she was speaking. Physical stencils (Gobo’s) were placed in many of the light sources to create a breathtaking starry field across the room.
Many professionals claim that Tête-à-Tête sets the pace for the year in terms of leads acquired for planners and feedback to perfect later events. Considering it’s a one-day event, it seems time well-spent and time well-invested for attendees early in a busy year of so many brand experiences.