Best International Event at ICEAWARDS18

ICETEAM
Case Studies
14.08.2018 13:14

IFS Global Events team produce a truly global IFS World Conference to its Customers, Prospects, Partners, Journalists and Analysts every 18 months. The Conference is designed and scheduled to be the launchpad for new products and strategic company initiatives.

category
best International event

sponsor 
The NEC

winner
IFS

event
IFS World Conference 2018

The Objectives In 2018, IFS World Conference held in Atlanta Georgia, US was required to showcase three product launches and unveil the vision of the newly appointed CEO. A high attendance rate from all delegate categories was essential to make this a success.

The directive from the Senior Management team at IFS was looking for the event to support the company’s strategic objectives but also launch three new products and increase customer sales or upgrades to the latest IFS solutions.  

As well as positioning IFS as a global, future-oriented and leading-edge technology company, the conference objective was to help the IFS Regions attract and build relationships with prospect customers and progress the sales cycle, impress and build relationships with journalists, bloggers and analysts, to raise awareness of the IFS brand, increase media coverage and demonstrate a global partner ecosystem through selling exhibition sponsorship and speaking sessions to Partners. 

To measure these objectives, IFS needed to achieve:

Category

Target

Number of Delegates

1200

Number of Media Coverage Pieces

140

Attendee Satisfaction Score

97%

Increase of prospect customers

15%

Increase of Journalists/Analysts

10%

The Event The Global Events team including an Events Director and two Project Managers were responsible for the delivery of the event. This team was supported by 20+ IFS Sub Project Managers from across the globe and an external Event Management Agency. The Sub Project Managers were provided with clear directives explaining their areas of responsibility, deliverables, timescales and escalation points. The project was managed through regular progress calls with the Sub Project Managers, the Project Team and the Steering Committee.

To meet with the objectives set by the directive the team developed a thought-provoking and value-adding concept called ‘Connect to What’s Next’ which communicated the event messages through copy and an eye-catching graphical concept.

Within the Exhibition Area, excitement was created with four bespoke ‘Industry zones’ showcasing ‘what’s next’ within a customer’s world as well as producing an ‘Innovation Area’ which demonstrated the latest in AI, VR and Digital Twin technology with an interactive purpose built autonomous truck road network.

To ensure IFS increased global media reach, IFS ran live interviews in a media newsroom as well as providing the media and analysts with a tailored session track, 1-to-1 interviews with IFS spokespeople and evening activities suited to networking and building relationships.

The tone of the conference was relaxed but professional and a lot of focus afforded to the delegate experience and ensuring the attendance objectives were met. 

On the Pre-Conference day there was a sightseeing tour and Partners attended a dedicated Partner Network Summit and Partner of the Year awards ceremony. In the evening there was a Welcome reception in the Exhibition Hall. 

Day 1 opened with a well-known dance act called ‘Tell-A-Vision’ with screen content curated to IFS messages. All 3 days opened with a main plenary session and there were 10 tracks of break-out sessions, including 2 hands-on training tracks, as well as a dedicated track for the journalists and analysts, which totalled over 100 break-out sessions. Each break-out room required a level of production similar to a 100pax general delegate session. 

The evenings consisted of ‘Country Dinners’ on Day 1 where delegates, split by Country, could build relationships with peers and local IFS contacts, in total there are 8 dinners ranging from 30 to 600 attendees. 

On Day 2, they introduced a new format for the ‘IFS Customer Appreciation Night’ which was held at a Live Nation venue. The delegates enjoyed a luxury buffet and partied to Belinda Carlisle, Rick Astley and the RPJ band instead of a standard sit-down 3-course meal.

Challenges A key challenge for IFS was managing a team with personnel based in several different locations including US, Europe and Asia. Conference calls needed to be productive and time efficient with call documentation and recordings shared immediately afterwards so that those unable to make a call could quickly get up to speed. 

IFS also faced technical challenges when planning the high-tech ‘Innovation Area’ and four ‘Industry Zones’ which all had interactive features such as autonomous vehicles, flight simulators, a Microsoft defence vehicle and presentation areas.

It was imperative that clear and frequent communication was key to overcoming the challenges they faced and providing the foundation upon which they were able to successfully transform a unique vision into an awe-inspiring reality. 

The ‘Industry Zones’ were a late addition to the event portfolio that were introduced after the overall event budget had been agreed. IFS strove for financial efficiencies that did not impact quality across the event and leveraged relationships with Customers and Partners for props and assets to bring the zones to life. 

The results The results against the objectives demonstrated the success of the conference from an KPI perspective. However, there were also numerous positive comments submitted through the evaluation survey, emails, external blogs and social media posts.

The Company’s new direction was well received though a Q&A session with the CEO on the morning of Day 1 and the delegates appreciated being able to engage with the CEO directly by posting questions in the Conference App which he then responded to in the closing session. 

Category

Target

Actual

Total no. of delegates

1200

1406

No. of media coverage

140

180

Attendee satisfaction score:

97%

97%

Increase of prospect customers

15%

18%

Increase of journalists / analysts

10%

15%

IFS achieved the highest networking score and 2nd highest content score of the last five IFS World Conferences. What’s more, they also secured the highest number of Sponsors of any conference to date which is a great indication of the value of the event to their Partners and their confidence in the high attendance.

IFS met and exceeded on all objectives with limited resources and budget whilst still introducing many new elements to the conference. Content was king in many different forms which resulted in great feedback scores and when faced with challenges there was a fantastic ‘one team’ approach to find a solution. 

The Judges Comments This was a very closely fought sector with arguably the two leading contenders deserving of an award. The judges felt the winner ran a very big, very technical, very well-resourced event but what stood out was the ambition and planning built on a real structure to get more out of every aspect of their delegate experience and add value at every touchpoint.

The ambition and strategic detail of the planning made the process of delivery very inclusive. Everyone understood what the event looked like, where the event was going and what, why and for whom they were doing it. This approach gave them a clear set of objectives with which to metricize and measure the outcomes and analyze and improve every aspect of event experience.

This delivered impressive numbers and even took a weakness – their exhibition – and re-formatted and re-imagined it into a strength. They delivered and documented increases in delegate and media attendance, super high attendee satisfaction scores, 2nd highest content score of the last five world conferences and attracted the highest number of sponsors as a testament to their value-added approach.

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