Sunday, August 9, 2015

CEMA aka Days 30-34

Day 30 - 34
Flights from Barcelona to Toronto to San Diego for the CEMA Summit 

For those of you who have been following along this was an epic 34 day journey with holidays (days 25 - 30 not documented here), a soccer tournament for the teens, and this being the 5th conference in a month. 

Wellness rating: 4.7/5 Overall this event offers great choices for the meals which are mainly buffets with salads and fruits and whole grains easily available. Being San Diego most of these are served outside, and the natural light, sunshine and fresh air are highly conducive to friendly conversations - you have to smile! Walks and yoga are offered each morning and an instructor led stretch break on the final afternoon home stretch all keep attendees blood flowing. Points lost as some of the breaks did not offer a non-sweet or non-white alternative.  But the bacon popcorn was delicious!

CEMA is the Corporate Event Marketers Association and for those who play in this space, it is an association that specifically focuses on the needs of this niche group, with this annual Summit being the culmination of their education efforts which include nearly monthly events through the year. It is specifically designated a non-selling environment, so while we attend as a supplier partner (and provide the app including gamification to support networking) it is truly about relationship building, making this a deeply enjoyable event to attend.
As you can see above the room set with furniture that had charging stations built into the arms was pretty awesome, with rounds and tables with stools at the back for the more traditional note-takers.  Jeff Hurt and Sarah Michel were our conference weavers, and they did a great job of tying the ideas together. This is a role whose importance cannot be overstated but is often overlooked. From an audience perspective this helps us tie together all we have learned, and the final facilitation they led really helped solidify our learnings in a variety of ways good for the learners as well as the organizers as they plan for next year with a clearly seen response laid out visually by the participants.
Check out this giant iPad - this was fun for everyone to play with - mobile on a grand scale!  This is now how we find our information, and understanding how to design the most useful app experience for all your stakeholders is now a variable planners can use to their advantage. For me - so much better than a booth!

The sessions were great as always, and a few highlights for me included Mike Robbins opening with positive psychology, David Shing of AOL wowing us with where technology is leading us, Lee Fine of Juice Marketing taking us through how to truly use merchandise giveaways to build not only brand but relationships with your brand, Mark Komine on the Humanness of connections, a teambuilding filled with great stories from a Navy Seal team and others. These all made us think, or provide actionable takeaways.
Leonora Valvo featured this tweet from the day before in her session on using data today.
If you are involved in creating experiential, brand-friendly events - check out CEMA - you will be pleased with the resources and connections you find here.