Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre
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Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre

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Tuesday 3 November | BMA | Halifax Convention Centre

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  • Introduction:
    Good afternoon, my name is Scott Ferguson

    I’m here from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada representing our new Halifax Convention Centre. We’re located on Canada’s East Coast. Just a few kilometres from here.

    It’s been a long and exciting journey, and I thought I’d take you through it as I share with you our unique marketing campaign
  • So, this is where we were in 2012
    A vacant lot… soon to become a gigantic hole in the middle of our city
  • We had just broken ground and had not completed our design

    We needed to stand out and build our international reputation, literally from the ground up, in a crowded and competitive marketplace

    Locally, we had all 3 levels of government on board
    We had published our sales and marketing strategy, and 10 year projections
    We had a well organized group against the project
    We were faced with selling our new facility, with no final floor plans or renderings yet in place
    Even more, we had to find a way to make our facility real for event planners
  • We weren’t just selling our facility, we were selling our city
    Luckily, we have a great destination
  • In fact, we had to position ourselves as destination marketers with our customers, because Halifax has much to offer
    Easy air access – only 5 hours from the UK
    A hub of academic excellence (23 universities/colleges)
    Amazing food, arts and culture

    We had a budget of $500,000, but we had to accomplish a lot with that
    Build a brand
    Develop a marketing strategy
    Build our international reputation
    Take on destination marketing
    And pay salaries

    Most importantly, we had a vision for a facility that could change our city
    We wanted to bring all of these elements together, connecting directly with our clients
  • We had made a big promise, and had a high level of community engagement
    We set high expectations about our sales projections
    Now we had to deliver
    But how do you build anticipation, excitement and instil confidence with event planners, so they choose us
    How do you get them to book a new facility under construction to be their venue of choice for 2017 and beyond?
    We had to find a way to stand out among the competition and do something unique
  • So we built a brand as versatile as our space
    We’re not just a logo – we live and breath our brand every day
    Bold. Simple. Fun. That’s who we are. That’s who the Halifax Convention Centre is.
    Like the O of our logo, our space is unique
    We had the brand in place. Now we had to find a way to connect it with event planners.
  • Imagine you’re an event planner. We took a step back and asked ourselves what do they care about most?
    The answer? The details.
    We know it's the little things that count for our event planners. So that's where we started.
    Our brand gives us the flexibility to help event planners imagine their event in a space that they can’t see, visit or touch just yet
    What would the carpet feel like?
    What do the forks look like?
    What does the hand soap in the bathroom smell like?

    We had to bring our facility to life for our clients and make it real
    And we wanted to engage them in shaping our facility, from the ground up – to connect with their thirst for detail
    So the imagine campaign was born
  • We started by sending our top prospects an air freshener, shaped like our facility
    We told them it was our new convention centre smell
    We also invited them to become one of our special Insiders, to receive regular updates on our progress
  • The Insider’s Club was a way to engage our clients and invite them to be a part of an exclusive experience to shape our new facility – their new facility
    Each client was hand-picked by our sales team
    We started bringing this exclusive group into everything we did, giving them a voice and asking them for input
    These individuals were no longer clients, prospects or hot leads – they were Insiders, a part of the decision making process, a part of our team
    And for us, a way to indirectly show them that we’re making progress – That we would certainly be ready to host them
  • We followed-up with a series of direct mail pieces and invited them to make choices about their new Centre
    Like rating their favourite convention centre carpet sample
  • We were able to measure exactly how many took the time to vote
    And most importantly, it gave us the opportunity to keep the conversation going
  • We also asked them to test drive our forks, and go to our Website to tell us what they think
    4 different forks were sent to our Insiders
    Each fork had its own unique personality – This one was Gary
    Then we asked them to rate our forks, Gary, Zelda, Wendell & Excalibur
  • We reinforced our campaign creative with strong social media outreach
    And we were pleasantly surprised to see our planners engage with us
    This one planner in particular grew a strong attachment to Gary the fork and Tweeted a picture of she and Gary enjoying pizza
    Our campaign began to resonate with clients, as they embraced the experience
    What a great example of keeping the conversation going and leaving a lasting impression
  • Most recently, we asked our Insiders to test out and vote on which soap is the freshest
    Another client Tweeted separately on her favourite from the 3 samples we sent
    From here, we were able to take the conversation offline, and chat with them about bringing their event to Halifax
  • We’re making sure we integrate our bold, simple, fun voice into everything we do
    For example, this picture is of us in Ottawa, Canada last January at an industry trade show
    We didn’t just set up a trade show booth
    We bundled up and headed out in the freezing cold (it was nearly -30 degrees Celsius) to hand out hot chocolate and cookies to connect with the right people and make a lasting first impression
  • Our efforts over the past 2 years are making a difference
    We’re showcasing all that we have to offer and placing our city and new facility on the map
    And it’s working
    Clients are recognizing the benefits of bringing their event to our new Halifax Convention Centre
  • Video testimonial from David Goncalves, President of STEM States
    Coming to Halifax in 2018
  • Video testimonial from Jan Delvecchio of Harmony Inc.
    Coming to Halifax in October 2017
  • We’ve had our brand in action now for 2 years
    We’ve engaged a local group of champions from all sectors of our community who are helping to raise awareness of our facility and bring it to life
    We’ve seen engagement rates on campaigns of up to 87%
    This tells us that our clients care about what we’re sending, and that our efforts are resonating with them
    Our Insider’s Club e-newsletter click rate is more than double the industry average
    Our clients want to stay in touch with us
  • We’ve changed the way we identify with clients
    We connected with our prospects, and converted them to 194 highly engaged and very targeted Insiders
    We invited them to be a part of shaping our facility and we continue to stay in touch with them throughout the entire process

    We also grew our champions list to 488 key community leaders, partners, businesses and others who have a vested interest in our new facility and chose to sign up to get regular updates

    On the social media front, we continue to see great online conversations with clients and the community
    We went from 0 to over 1,400 Twitter followers in less than 2 years
    Since March 2014, we’ve been averaging 99 new Twitter followers a month
  • Perhaps most importantly, we have booked business well into 2017 and beyond
    To date, we’ve secured 33 events, with 26,450 delegates and over 30 million in direct expenditures
    These 33 events may not have ever come to our city without our new Centre
  • The excitement continues to grow
    With our community rallying behind us, and big steps toward achieving our sales projection goals, we’re holding true to our promise
    We’ve come a long way since our hole in the ground vision from a few years ago, but now we’re seeing this vision come to life
  • Now, we have an award-winning brand
    Our customers are engaged and actively booking our facility
    Our community is excited
    And our government investors are satisfied

    Thanks for being a part of our journey as we prepare to host the world in 2017
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