The outtathegate case study from IABC’s 2009 World Conference in San Francisco
The IABC NSW (Sydney) chapter offered a scholarship to help a lucky chapter member defray the costs of attending the IABC World Conference 2009 in San Francisco. I was lucky enough to receive the award this year. So, a huge “THANK YOU” goes out to the IABC NSW chapter. To show my gratitude, I wanted to share the wealth.
As was part of the scholarship agreement, I was happy to provide a conference report upon my return. But, I wanted to do more. So, I decided to use the power of social media to share the conference highlights with the NSW chapter, conference attendees and anyone else who was interested. With that thought, outtathegate was born. I created an integrated social media campaign consisting of blog posts, podcasts, tweets, flickr photos, delicious links, audio Boos, gmail conversations and video.
My hope in developing it was that it would become a crowd sourced project where other conference delegates will provide content by sharing their comments, highlights, ideas and feedback. I felt that together we could create a vibrant citizen community that participated in meaningful conversations that continued on long after the conference ended.
1. To connect the NSW IABC chapter members with highlights from the World Conference as they happen
2. To test the power, the possibilities, the parameters and the overall success of an integrated social media campaign focused on a specific purpose
3. To promote the conference conversations before, during and after the event
4. To create deeper connections with both the local Sydney IABC community and my international communications peers
5. To increase my own understanding of the power of social media in communications
Campaign Components The campaign integrated the following components to create the conference conversation blog, @outtathegate, the conference hashtag – #iabc09, a dedicated email address – firstname.lastname@example.org, a flickr photo feed, skype- outtathegate, YouTube, Ning, the delicious tag – outtathegate, business cards, word of mouth, IABC issued emails and I even wore a couple of outtathegate t-shirts!
Campaign Tools It’s a good thing I carry a large bag because, while I ”parked” the Dell Inspiron 17” laptop and the Logitech ClearChat Comfort USB Headphones, I still toted an ipod, Belkin TuneTalk Stereo Microphones, the handy little Flip video camera, my Nikon D80 and a bright smile and an outgoing personality around with me.
The Contributors A campaign like this is successful because of the contributions of many. To all of you who shared your greetings, ideas, insights, tips, suggestions, observations and inspiration, “thank you”. I am grateful that you shared your unique voices and participated in the outtathegate conversation.
The Conference Highlights The highlights were many and varied; including: grumpy old men, silly string, meeting heroes, golden gate bridge and gold quill photos, generational communications, measurement tips, dispelling CEO fears around social media, saving the planet, second life, tweetups and greetings from the incoming chair, I hope you’ll visit the outtathegate blog and the outtathegate Ning to experience them for yourself.
Overall, the top eight themes I observed from this year’s conference are:
1. Awesome people
2. Ideas, innovation and bold creativity
3. Technology , web 2.0 and social media
6. Humour and fun in the workplace
For the details around how I saw these themes play out, please read the full post.
The Top 10 Lessons Learned from the outtathegate campaign
- Traditional best practices like creating clear strategy/objectives, developing strong branding, integrating various media and encouraging interactivity remain relevant
- Lots of preparation and planning allow you the freedom to be spontaneous
- You must determine your campaign priorities – you just can’t do it all
- People want to help and contribute, so let them
- You can guide a social media campaign, but you can’t control it (but that’s half the fun)
- Tagging is a brilliant invention and the only way to process/share vast amounts of data
- Some people are very comfortable with Social Media, but the masses, sadly, just aren’t there yet
- The conversation is infinitely enhanced by more voices
- Technology is a means to an end
- This all would have been so much easier with an iPhone!
The project succeeded in capturing and sharing a great deal of the fabulous content, people, events and ideas that came outtathegate. It achieved its overall aim to provide a snapshot of the various components that worked together to create a meaningful and memorable conference experience.
That said, there really is nothing like being there – I’m grateful I had this chance and hopefully I’ll see you all in Toronto!