Industry Innovator: Building a Better Show
PE: What were the challenges in building this initiative from scratch?
SV: The challenge is to get organized. When you have a new brand—and we've launched many new brands before—the first thing you really have to think about is what the brand is and what the market need is. How do you fill that need and what product and service do you offer? You go about it in classic product management and brand management style. That was the first step.
The next question was, how do we resource this? A small group of people at UBM with learnings from colleagues around the globe at Brazil, Mumbai and the U.K. helped shepherd [the effort in the U.S]. Volunteers were asked for. A team of people stepped up and said they would be on the planning committee … then we started to recruit [additional] volunteers.
There was a very methodical process, all the way down to the logo: What's the brand? What's the value proposition? We also had to rally our partners. The Freeman company, a major events company, donated their services and structure to help the nonprofits [exhibit and network].
PE: What was the timeline for your May event?
SV: Planning started 18 months [before the show]. In April 2012 we hit our stride; that's when the committee turned to recruiting people to create the show.
PE: What are your goals going forward?
SV: We think of this as a movement. One of the things UBM is centered on is the idea that you need to build a community around an event. Once you leave the event, how do you build that out, how do you build the movement?
Now that there is a brand going, we can continue that community in the digital world [in between shows] with content, blogs and different types of discussion. … It's increasingly being connected globally. We'll see how far that goes, and what I mean by that is you want it to grow naturally, but there is an umbrella that connects that social innovation, that community engagement that we are focused on.