For its 4th annual channel partner forum, Accelerate 2014, Lenovo’s main objective was to host a multi-day event that would engage its attendees and transplant them into an immersive experience, beyond the typical corporate event or show. Lenovo wanted its attendees to feel a sense of community within the event space and host activities that struck a balance between education and awareness and fun activities that provided unique opportunities to engage with one another.
From a corporate perspective, Lenovo sought to educate its resellers on the latest features, functionalities and benefits of its suite of products, as well as work with them on strategies to position and sell more effectively. From a culture perspective, Lenovo wanted its partners to “feel the love.” The client wanted its attendees to leave the event with not only new ideas and inspiration for selling its products, but also the satisfaction that they are valued and appreciated members of the Lenovo family.
To achieve the marketing objectives set forth, ESG and Lenovo partnered to develop an event that was innovative in its direction and format.
With the theme “Do More in 2014,” and held in a 150,000 square foot space at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Hotel in Orlando, Florida, ESG proposed that the event be divided into two sections – one room for each day’s General Session and another room encompassing the rest of the event activities.
Because the latter space needed to host a variety of activities, but needed to remain in line with the objective of encouraging attendee engagement, ESG designed a unique floor plan that divided the event space up into four separate layers, starting from the perimeter and moving inward to the centermost space. This design created a truly immersive environment where attendees were able to learn, network, eat, experiment with products, and truly engage with one another in a single space, where everything was at their fingertips.
Created using a proprietary wall panel system that ESG designed, engineered and manufactured, the perimeter encompassed 10 breakout rooms. These areas hosted up to 100 guests for 30-minute breakout sessions throughout the days. Moving inwards, the third area contained food and beverage stations, available to all attendees.
The second-to-center layer contained a Product Showcase featuring Lenovo partners including Intel and Microsoft. Finally, the center of the space held a Feature Display – an annual showcase of new and innovative ways to utilize Lenovo products. 2014’s theme was “Gaming.”
Accelerate 2014 featured one nighttime activity to show its attendees a good time and allow them to decompress from the day’s activities in a casual and fun environment. Given the location, there seemed no better place to do this than Universal Studios. The Lenovo team shut down a portion of the park to host the event. The outdoor party began with a live action stunt car show, followed by admission to a portion of the park that included open bars, food stations, a DJ, live band and a dance floor. For the thrill seekers, open access to the complete amusement park and its rides, was also granted.
Ultimately, the main challenge with executing such a large-scale event is making it successful in terms of corporate goals, but also an event that attendees will look forward to attending year after year. This balance was achieved at Accelerate 2014 by merging the education and awareness components with good, old-fashioned fun.
Comparing Accelerate 2014 to the previous year, the program performed exceptionally. Below are some supporting statistics:
- Attendance increased by 31%
- Registration revenue increased by $85k
- Sponsorship revenue increase by $77k
Accelerate 2014 successfully showcased Lenovo’s product offering. As a result product unit uptake totaled 595.
Media coverage and awareness-building also proved hugely successful resulting in:
- 23 media articles: 1,340,258 impressions
- 43 articles covering new products
- Industry trade coverage included: CRN, ChannelPro, ITBusinessEdge, Computer Dealer News, The VAR Guy, Channelnomics
A post-event survey of partners, managers and reps boasted the following feedback:
- 87% of attendees agreed that the General Session was of value.
- 90% of attendees agreed that the breakout sessions were of value.
- 90% of attendees agreed that the Product Showcase was of value.
- 95% of partners plan to attend next year
- 95% of partners plan to do more business with Lenovo as a result of attending
- 88% of reps agree that expectations were clearly communicated.
- The evening event at Universal Studios received a 4.85 rating out of 5 for overall success.
Most importantly, Lenovo has tapped ESG for the fifth year in a row to plan and execute its Accelerate 2015 event, in April.