It’s All in the Wrist

Apple Watch

Photo Credit: (Reuters/Stephen Lam)

All everyone has been talking about lately is Apple’s new interactive Watch coming out early 2015. And, of course, they didn’t just make one watch. That would’ve been too simple. Instead, they made three watches: Apple Watch, Apple Sport and Apple Watch Edition. For the person who doesn’t mind wearing something on their wrist, the Apple Watch might be perfect for you.

The 38mm – 44 mm watch with retina display does almost anything imaginable. In addition to it being able to answer calls, check emails, listen to music, see photos and give directions; it also has quite a few attractive highlights.

Some Highlights

  • Sending texts with words is not the only option. You can sketch your message and your friend on the other end can watch it animate.
  • With Passbook, you can store your credit and debit cards, boarding passes and tickets – and even use your Apple Watch to pay at participating stores.
  • Apple found a way to give technology “a more human touch.” Whenever you receive an alert or notification, you will feel a tactile (but subtle) sensation.
  • You can visually see your heartbeat and actually send it to someone to show them how you feel.
  • For fitness fanatics, tracking steps, calories and your heart rate is just the start; a “Stand ring” tracks how often you’ve stood and  reminds you to move around a bit.
  • Using additional app software, you can control the temperature in your home and turn your lights on and off.

So how can we leverage the technology Apple has created into our live events? Once app developers get their hands on this, it’s only a matter of time until new apps will be created to enhance the Apple Watch experience even more: networking, gamification, data gathering and even gesture technology.

How will you use it?

Build It and They Will Come





Visionary Walt Disney was a smart man and a master of both observation and action. One of the most powerful lessons he taught was, “You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.”

I recently read an article from the Disney Institute based on this very lesson called, Leadership Lessons from Walt Disney: Perfecting the Customer Experience.

What struck me in this article was this particular paragraph: “OK, so how can we truly know what the people want? The simple answer is to treat them as though they are guests in our own homes, and ask them face-to-face… not by a survey or on-line chat. Think about it. We would never welcome guests into our own home for a dinner party and then ‘manage the event’ from across the street, or even across the hallway. No, we would join in the mix and ask our guests what they would like to drink, or eat, or watch on television.”

In today’s technology-driven world, we rely heavily on providing feedback behind a facade, which we all call online. One could argue that people are more honest in anonymous feedback or the protection of their computer; however, face-to-face interaction makes an experience more personal and genuine. It also gives you a well-rounded, in-depth understanding of what your attendees actually want. With the right kind of people asking the questions – ones who  are unbiased and friendly – human connections can encourage people to want to talk about their feelings and perspectives. Even if you don’t have someone asking attendees questions, you can have these scouts milling around an event to hear what people are saying and observing their behavior. Being among the crowd will provide you with better actionable insight than an online survey or feedback forum ever could. It also gives you the chance to be the attendee. Only then can you experience exactly what your attendees are experiencing.

So how do you know what your attendees want? In Walt’s words: “Get out there, be willing to listen, and then institutionalize learning and continuous improvement on behalf of your customers [read: attendees].”

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!

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