We are half way through Exchange 2013 and with our new creative identity launched and product announcements made, it feels like a good time to share a few thoughts on how it's going so far.
Putting on an event like this is never a simple task and when you consider we're combining it with a product launch and the brand launch the pressure on us to get it right has been enormous. This is a crucial moment in our company history; and in hosting hundreds of people including partners, customers, employees, press and analysts we're putting ourselves under the microscope, but we are also in a perfect position to shine. This event is our greatest opportunity to make an impact this year so we have gone all out to make the most of it.
But a big impact doesn't come from only doing big things. People expect the big stuff, they see it as business as usual. But the little things count just as much. I want to engage their emotions, spark their imagination, start a conversation.
So yes, we got pillars covered, the signs went up in the lobby (eventually!), and with a little help from a guy flying all the way to Connecticut, the lanyards arrived on time. But to make sure we were at the front of people's minds we arranged gifts in their hotel rooms, put Progress cushions in the seating areas, invested in creative talent and had every orange food known to man. So whether people were taking a break, grabbing a coffee or checking their mail, we were right there with them.
And what happened? Well, people said 'wow' when they entered the building, and then they had a fantastic first night welcome party where they tweeted pictures of our branded cushions and cupcakes (yes, really!) and enjoyed putting up electronic graffiti celebrating their home town's innovations. The buzz was incredible and this was before the event had started in earnest. The enormous digital sign outside the conference centre backed up by hundreds of little branded touches made it feel like something was about to happen.
Then yesterday morning the incredible Le Ombré dancers provoked spontaneous applause, everyone's lanyards lit up on cue (thanks again to that man), and there were jokes from our CEO about orange food. Some might see this as being unrelated to our business but within an hour our hashtag #PRGS13 was trending on twitter and this is before we'd even made an announcement.
The timing for the launch of our brand and the emphasis on this event is intentional. With three consecutive quarters of growth behind us, the launch of Progress Pacific, and a sneak preview of new offering Easyl, it was the right time to give ourselves, and deliver to our partner and customer community a high-impact, high energy, bold brand that encompassed all the things that make us great. This creative identity gives us a vehicle to take these messages to the market in an extremely positive and confident manner. That people are having fun with the brand (even to the point of spelling out 'Progress' in carrot sticks and tweeting it!) makes it all the more powerful. We're having a lot of fun, but make no mistake, I’m absolutely serious about our success.
So how about the rest of the conference? Well, you can expect more fantastic 'big stuff', plenty more spark, and a few more surprises. But before all of that, I'm off for a 'sparktini'!
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