Symantec 'Tweets' its way to a successful conference

Symantec wanted more seamless communication for its Vision 2008 conference, which had about 4,000 attendees. The conference includes an exhibit hall consisting of about 40 vendors.

Symantec wanted more seamless communication for its Vision 2008 conference, which had about 4,000 attendees. The conference includes an exhibit hall consisting of about 40 vendors.

In years past, simple audio announcements were used to alert attendees to activities in the exhibit hall. This year, the company switched to Twitter.

Strategy
The challenge was to drive traffic to its partner exhibit hall, while retaining a “traditional” tradeshow experience.

Symantec worked with Bite to develop a visual “mash-up” called the Symantec Broadcast Board. “The Broadcast Board was designed to address what I call the ‘conference conundrum,'” says Cory Edwards, senior manager of corporate communications at Symantec. “You go to a typical trade show and there's so much going on... that you really have no idea where to go or what to do.”

Tactics
The Broadcast Board enabled Vision 2008 exhibitors to send Twitter messages alerting attendees to items of potential interest, like educational seminars. The messages were displayed in real time on plasma monitors that were strategically placed throughout the conference.

Bite developed the software to run the Board, which had an exhibit floor map and scrolling message board for Tweets. Each Tweet popped up over the relevant exhibitor booth and remained there for 10 to 30 seconds.

Results
In about 10 hours of exhibit hall time there were roughly 150 Tweets issued by Vision 2008 exhibitors. David Hargreaves, GM of Bite North America, says the effort's success was attributed to its linking online and offline worlds. “[This] was one of the first truly useful communications business applications using Twitter,” he notes.

Future
Symantec will consider using Twitter for future conferences and work with Bite on a project-by-project basis.

PR team: Symantec (Cupertino, CA) and Bite Communications (San Francisco)

Campaign: Symantec Broadcast Board at the Vision conference

Duration: June 2008

Budget: $8,000-$12,000

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