What is a Virtual Event? Is it, like, a tweetup, or a meetup, a mashup or a web conference, or what? Can it be helpful to my business or just another distraction from my core business?
One Day - December 7, 2010 for Live Cast
15 key brands supporting from OIA Eco-Index and Polartec to Bluesign Technologies and AAPN
90 days online and available in archive form
The OR Virtual Design Center focuses on education and latest material developments behind the branded products that are the focus of Outdoor Retailer shows. This is a fast-moving and changing landscape (seen the price of cotton today?), and staying on top of the myriad technological, logistical and societal developments will help brands cement their leadership status, grow awareness and profits and 'do the right thing' to lessen environmental impact all at the same time.
The VDC is anchored by a cluster of webinars (see finalized topics HERE) that last one hour each and are spaced out throughout a day. The topics, panels and experts who are speaking on the issues are leaders in our industry and are full-time focused on creating sustainable options for designs of the future... OIA, AAPN, prAna, Zero-Waste-Alliance, Bluesign Technologies, Textile Exchange, Promostyl, etc... are all, in their own way, pushing the envelope on green design. There are interactive brand displays ('booths') that feature sponsoring brand presentations with live interaction (on the Live day) and downloadable or viewable collateral available for interested attendees. There are several ways for a supporting brand to configure their 'booth', including private room sessions, special timed events, and interactive engagement of visiting attendees.
This interactive education event requires ZERO travel, ZERO housing, ZERO shipping or drayage and ZERO wasted time for both supporting suppliers/sponsors and for attending designer/developers. Ideally, this online interactive environment will help tee up important business meetings at the OR Shows, and fuel even more value from our live, face-to-face events.
Who is Attending? This VDC version will focus on sustainability in the supply chain, and the target audience is the product design/development professional working for brands in outdoor, cycling, health & fitness, action sports and general sporting goods. Through the reach of Nielsen (who owns over 40 pubs and shows that attract design professionals), this event will be able to draw thousands of working pros from other materials-intensive industries like hospitality, military, industrial, fixturing, general merchandise, etc... so the message of suppliers (and programs like eco-index, bluesign) can reach far beyond the wide world of sports.
How Much $$? The technology is expensive, but the platform is very reasonable for sponsors, and free to attendees. For $2500 (about one 10'x 10' booth space at OR) a supplier/sponsor can easily upload collateral to an interactive brand display, which will then be visited by invited, interested attendees of both the live and archived event (3-month flight). This interactive environment is flexible and can accomodate image galleries, video spots, quick time movies, pdf downloads, white paper research and messaging (instant and email style). Higher level sponsors can get extra value from the event too... of course.
How Do I Get Involved? - If you are a designer or product developer, save the date, register online when the time comes (about 3 wks out from live date), and plan to attend the same way you'd attend a webinar, or several in one day. If you can't make Dec. 7, then visit the archived show online. If you are a brand leader, consider supporting and showing off your latest fabric or solution in a cutting edge, dynamic two-way experience online. Register here for FREE if you are interested.
How Much Work? For sponsors, The Virtual Design Center is easy to use, much like uploading photos to flickr or having a facebook site for your brand... since design/developer types will be looking for sustainability options in their material choices, best to focus options there. For attendees it's as easy as registering to attend a Webinar, except you'll get 4 and access to tons of relevant information around sustainability in the supply chain. This information is helpful not just to designers but to retailers, media, marketers as well as consuming public who want to stay on top of latest trends in product development and sustainable business models.
What will the attendee walk away with? Lots of new concepts, tips, ideas, ways to measure, fabrics and solutions to incorporate in designs immediately. Materials to tee up business and future design componentry. Also a sense of who they need to know better come showtime in January.
Like many live events, attendees have a virtual brief case or show bag that they can drop materials into for review later... paperless of course. If I were an attending designer, I might take away a link to a keynote presentation, a few intro papers from new suppliers I didn't know about, some special programs from suppliers I did know about, and a coupon for taking advantage of a special offer on business services for my firm. Oh, and a serious bump in my knowledge about cutting edge 'green' technologies and materials available for products of the future that I will have a hand in designing.
Virtual events can set up and enhance live face to face business, and empower your future customers with information relevant to their work in building more sustainable products that consumers want and that will be the hallmark of the active outdoor industry. Doing events online in itself advances business without the cost of travel, or the environmental impact.
What do you think?