Cisco Consumer Electronics Show (John Chambers) 2014

Cisco CES 2014 - John Chambers

For this high-profile electronics and technology trade show, Cisco needed to create a compelling presentation for CEO John Chambers that made Cisco stand out as a non-consumer electronics company. Cisco needed a team that understood its culture in order to excite a different audience than usual. The presentation also needed to deliver a relevant and engaging message to a large collection of these consumer electronics professionals.

Know Your Audience
Cisco, as a non-traditional consumer electronics company, needed to make a major splash. CES was their opportunity to get in front of a highly discerning audience: major companies, industry professionals and the press. We knew that both the message and the delivery method were critical, and went straight to work.

Set Objectives
After many years of working with Cisco, we feel like an extension of their team. Cisco and IVC, as well as IVC’s sister company CXG (Collective Experience Group), came together to devise a highly effective approach.

We collaborated with Cisco at every stage: presentation strategy, messaging, creative development, content development and creative direction. The result: an outstanding and highly informative and entertaining presentation that was the talk of CES.

Design with Purpose
We devised a robust communications strategy in order to make the idea of “The Internet of Everything” (IOE) understandable and relevant to the common man. We created a visual presentation that used humor, storytelling and walk-ons to tell the story of how “The Internet of Everything Changes Everything for Everyone.”

Live walk-ons included actress and comedienne Sarah Silverman, author/photographer Rick Smolan, Vice Mayor of Barcelona Antoni Vives and ATT Mobility President Ralph de la Vega to convey and reinforce the message.

We also developed an opening video that showed off “IOE” and how it will affect the average person in the future. The video starred Sarah Silverman as her future and current selves.

The stakes were high and the messages were big. The presentation addressed Cisco’s leadership and innovation, capitalizing on future growth, strengthening partnerships and more.

Measuring for Success
From an external standpoint, the presentation was clearly the hit of CES, garnering tremendous positive press for both Chambers and Cisco. Internally the halo effect of success was equally strong. The Cisco Communications and Strategy team won the John Chamber’s Chairman’s Award for what we collectively contributed to CES.

“Among the 2014 keynote speakers, one stood out as offering valuable lessons for anyone who wants to improve their very next presentation or to become a better public speakers: Cisco CEO John Chambers.”  −

If This, Then That – Say What?


Have you heard of IFTTT? No, we didn’t fall asleep on our keyboard… it’s an app that connects two apps or services into a personalized recipe of delight.

For example, let’s say you want to remind yourself to take out the trash on Thursday night. An average Joe would just put a reminder in his phone with a two-chime alert. But extraordinary Joe takes his app and programs it so that if it’s Thursday at 7PM, the lightbulbs in his house will start flashing red in every room to remind him that it’s time to take the garbage out. Now granted, extraordinary Joe has WiFi programmable lightbulbs, but this example goes to show just how extensive the app can get with what you want it to do.

And if you need help coming up with your own recipes, IFTTT has a list for you to use and become inspired by its capabilities


The “Selfie” Phenomena Exposed

Photo by Lisa RosePhoto by Lisa Rose (courtesy of Biz Bash site)

I’m the first to admit that I did not understand the “selfie” craze. I found it narcissistic, attention-seeking and silly… but then I realized, hey! This is PERFECT for brand marketing. Why? Because it’s all connected… socially, of course.

Go through your Facebook and find a selfie of a friend. Don’t worry, I know you’ll find one – I found 6 in the first 10 seconds of going through my feed. Now imagine if that person used hashtags for the reasons why they’re taking a selfie – i.e. maybe they’re standing in line at Starbucks, or maybe they just got a new hairdo at the hippest place in town, Hip Hair. For our sake, let’s use the latter – #justgotmyhairdone #HipHair. This same person has posted it on Instagram too, using the same hashtags. This innocent selfie has reached out to everyone on her Facebook and Instagram feed. Additionally, people (even those who aren’t following her) are likely re-pinning her photo on Instagram. Those inspired by her haircut may even decide to go to Hip Hair next time they need a haircut. Your friend has just unknowingly promoted Hip Hair to hundreds of people without Hip Hair lifting a single finger.

So how does this relate to your programs?

Let’s face it, people are likely going to take selfies at your event since that is the “in” thing to do, so let’s take control of the situation by providing selfie stations for them. Set up heavily branded booths throughout the venue or in the registration area that encourage attendees to take selfies with your brand and post them on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with appropriate hashtags so that you can track and measure its success.

Make It a Game or Competition
Games and competition are always a great way to motivate people to participate. Infuse competitive elements like seeing whose selfie can get the most comments or likes.

Make It Part of the Décor
All posted selfie shots are gathered and displayed as digital eye candy for a walk-in loop, candids video or awards evening. People like to see their 15 seconds of fame on a large screen.

Get People to Interact With Your Product
Have fun props and/or actual products attendees can hold and pose with for their selfie.

Give them something in return and perhaps reward the first 100 people who take a selfie with your brand.

Are you a self-iever? Was that too far? Hey, it can catch on… Belieber did.

Amanda Retter, Marketing, InVision Communications 

Times They are A-Changin’

Recently, Facebook has had to make some interesting choices – notably, to limit unpaid brand presence on their ever-more popular newsfeed. It makes sense. According to a study by Ogilvy, organic reach has dropped for branded Facebook pages by nearly 50%. The newsfeed is prime real estate; on some level, it’s a simple question of supply and demand, providing people with what they want (and will respond to).

So what does this mean for corporations in the social world? Immediately, it translates to dollars: companies that want to keep a first-row seat on Facebook will need to shift their use of the social platform to a paid presence.

But step back for a moment. The implication of this shift is not entirely unique to Facebook – lots of social media outlets are becoming multipurpose channels and searching for ways to boost revenue. So the questions that marketers face are fundamental and should help define any social media strategy:

Where do you need to be to reach your audience?
As Facebook, Instagram and Twitter offer more and more services, they become similar; but new kids on the block like Snapchat may be best for your target if you’re trying to create viral buzz for a video-savvy audience. As many of the bigger sites move toward a Pinterest-like page design, take a look at sites with a fresher look – or at least different – look. Take a look at Google+, or check out the MySpace makeover… it may be time to revisit it. But the hard line remains: pick the channel best suited to your audience and put your dollars there. 

How important is the creative in that equation?
Formerly, social media sites had distinct functions. Chatting. Photography. Video. So on and so on. And the creative approach was designed to suit the site. Now, though, the homogeny of capabilities brings these sites closer together, and it’s easy to apply the same creative across the board – or even skimp on it, in the face of rising costs. So ask yourself: do you simply need to show up at this party, or do you need to wear an unforgettable dress? Establish these priorities before you begin, to get the most out of your marketing budget.

How the Cookie Crumbles

3D printing has been around for years, and, as with all technologies, it’s improving as we speak. At SXSW, though, Oreo teamed up with Mondelez International to demonstrate a curious new frontier for the next gen printing technology: edible delights. The experience tracked topics that were trending online and interpreted them into filling flavors, so that visitors could witness a marvel of technology – and eat it too. Pursuits and skeptics may scoff at the idea of a custom-printed cookie, but on-the-ground reports said that the taste was almost identical to a bonafide, garden-variety Oreo. The only real difference was in texture – the original snack is a bit sturdier than its 3D-generated counterpart, which tended to crumble.

With this level of advancement, 3D printing could start to play bigger role in our lives. Could 3D printing form a part of your next event, as a unique experience and a peep hole into the future of innovation? 

What All the Fuss Is Really About

A few weeks ago, I was shopping for gifts in the Union Square, San Francisco. This area is always filled with exciting events, but this weekend was unusually busy. With a female-dominant crowd throughout, I asked what all of the commotion was about? These teenage girls flying around as if they were kids seeing a candy shop for the first time. Only it wasn’t a candy shop…hundreds of girls were waiting for a teenage actor/model to arrive. Shocking, right?

I had never seen so much energy take place in one area. But interestingly enough, after a few minutes passed and the teenage pop star arrived, the energy dissipated. Now, he was known, present, and there were no surprises anymore. Why? Because now they knew what to expect. They knew what he was wearing, where he was, and all that was left was his presence.

Think about this in the event industry. This is what we want! The surprises, the unknown and being one step ahead of the consumer or customer, so they always stay on their toes and are blown away by the overall experience. How can you translate this to your next event? How can you take the event one step further whether it is in scenic, creative, or the post-event experience?

Nicole Martin, Marketing 

It’s All in the Presentation

Top Chef is a ritual in my household. It’s far more than just beautiful food – it has everything. Drama. Suspense. Creative improvisation. Champions and come-back-kids. Live polling. And viewer-based voting in the parallel web series Last Chance Kitchen.

What can a reality show about cooking possibly have to do with events, you ask?  Answer: just about everything.

It’s episodic: Crack the Da Vinci code for events and tell a story that makes people want to know what happens next. Deliver information in chunks, make it human and leave them hanging. Give them a reason to tune back in. 

The audience matters: People get to vote to determine outcomes. Don’t just poll.  Create scenarios where the audience actually gets to decide what happens.

There’s a winner: Competition – and fandom – are two essential parts of human nature. Gamification is fun. The ability to win a prize is much better. 

How can competitive reality TV boost excitement and engagement at your next event? 

IVC News – March 2014

We’d like to welcome Stacey Gromlich to InVision as Account Manager in New York!

Want to work here? We are currently looking to hire a WCAccount Executive, WC Client Services Coordinator, a CHI Account Executive and NY Receptionist/Facilities Coordinator. Check out our Careers page to apply!

Williams Sonoma GMC 2013

Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

Attendees: 1,000

Location: Scottsdale, AZ


In all of our work together, it’s the longevity of our partnership with Williams-Sonoma, Inc. that we cherish most. We’ve built an incredible level of trust in that time. Some members of our team pitched to their executives 22 years ago; those members are still an integral part of the team today, and have cultivated that relationship to encompass the ever-growing Williams-Sonoma, Inc. family. Every year, we grow together, as we celebrate the company’s past successes, challenges and future ambitions. This year has been one of Williams-Sonoma, Inc.’s strongest, with their highest stock price to date – so there was great cause for celebration.


The meeting’s mission is to motivate, educate and recognize. Year after year, it retains an element of consistency; while Williams-Sonoma, Inc. stays fresh in retail, they need a reliable, stable show as an anchor – and that’s one of the ways our long relationship comes into play. Our challenge is to take that tried-and-true format and infuse it with new life, adding a unique “little something” to reinvent it each time. InVision has built a strong and trusting relationship with the executive teams because we do just that: we understand their essential template, and can layer in elements of surprise and delight to keep it new. As for the audience: retail is detail. Like leadership, they are precise, sophisticated and exacting, so it’s all about perfecting the details – and about embracing the unparalleled, playful energy they bring into the room time and time again.


The client provided this year’s theme, “Bring It Home,” to unite their entire franchise, from West Elm to Pottery Barn Kids – and they trusted InVision to bring that theme to life. Each of their 5 brands focuses on key parts of the home, and at the heart of them all, a simple mission: “improving customers’ lives at home.” That needs to be intimate, it needs to have personality, it needs to have charm, from the staging for general session presentations, to parties, to an elegant evening award gala. With a staging update complementing this year’s logo design, and a challenge for each brand to develop a personalized aesthetic for home style, we created an environment and an experience that helped the attendees learn about the brands, the products, connect with each other and – most importantly – have fun!


A successful show is a flawless one. Last-minute presentation support, high energy perfect timing and true partnership – each of these made ours a home run. An on-stage DJ welcomed the attendees to the general session, to drive enthusiasm and open the event. Video interstitials provided transitions and reinforced the overall theme. Large screens featured the videos and oversize graphics drew in the audience, from the opening message to the closing session, and gave the entire show a star-studded feel. Best of all? It didn’t stop there. All of the meeting content was repurposed into DVDs so that the message (and the celebration) can continue on…  into the field.

“I think it’s always about the people with whom you work. I have always felt that InVision is an amazing group of people who I consider to be an extension of our team rather than a vendor. The passion you all show for every detail and commitment to presenting the very best show with the very best content makes me feel like there’s nothing we can’t do.”

-Ruth Kennedy

Vice President, Store Operations, Williams-Sonoma Inc.

Getting to “Why”

This month, Angie Smith, Director of Client Solutions and Marketing, and I headed to Event Tech in Las Vegas to deliver a presentation on “Developing a Successful Event Playbook.”

Our presentation really wasn’t about the tactics and platforms used in designing an actual digital event playbook. Our focus was on the way InVision develops digital campaigns around live events.

Our approach isn’t new or revolutionary, nor is it one we can claim as our own. Developing a successful digital event playbook requires that, first and foremost, you start with an understanding of the “why.”

Many of you may be familiar with Simon Sinek’s TED talk. For those of you who aren’t, Sinek is known for a concept he developed called the “golden circle,” an approach used to successfully inspire audiences to action. He believes that most companies start with the “what” (the tactics), and that many know “how” they go about defining their tactics, but very few companies know their “why.”

We all know any successful digital campaign requires a well thought-out strategy. Clearly outlined goals and objectives that are measureable. But at InVision, that’s not where we start… we start with an understanding of why.

And by “why,” we don’t mean to increase revenue, drive attendance, or even increase app downloads – those are outcomes. By “why,” we mean defining things such as:

  • What emotion are you trying to evoke?
  • What belief are you trying to ignite?
  • What are you trying to inspire?

And ultimately… why should your audience even care?

For those of you who may have missed our session at EventTech this year, we’d like to invite you learn more about how some of the best brands in the world achieve success by starting with the “why” in designing their digital event strategies.

Nicole Bojic, Senior Digital Strategist, InVision Communications