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by Laura Bickie
Your conference may have gone (temporarily) virtual, but that doesn’t mean conference swag is no more. Case in point: The awesome conference box delivered to the registrants of the CanSPEP’s week-long Connext Event in late May.
We talked to Malak Sidky, president, Health Care Event Planning and vice-president, partnerships, CanSPEP, about how the concept became reality.
Why was it important to have a conference package?
Since this was CanSPEP's first virtual conference, we wanted to ensure that our delegates were engaged and excited to participate. It is so much fun to get a package in the mail!
How did you handle it logistically?
I approached Angela Koshman from pcnametag to see if we could have name tags designed for CanSPEP Connext which could be mailed to delegates. She loved the idea and decided to expand the concept further. If we were mailing name tags, why not mail delegates a package? pcnametag is under the umbrella of Avery and they are in the shipping business. So this was an ideal partnership!
Then we discussed the theme and content of the conference and tailored it to the delegates and the program. We brainstormed and asked the following questions:
• What would help with engagement?
• What things in the package would be fun to receive?
• Would wearing a name tag create community on a Zoom call?
CanSPEP provided the delegate and speaker home addresses to pcnametag. The contents of the box were somewhat supplied by CanSPEP (e.g. vodka) while others were supplied by pcnametag (magnetic name tag, granola bar, tea).
We also asked sponsors to participate. Tourism Saskatoon supplied a fan. This was perfect as some of us were experiencing a heat wave!
How were the contents used to leverage conference content?
For our Thursday session, special information provided by the speaker, Dr. Nick Bontis, was placed in an envelope with the sticker labelled Top Secret: Do not open until told to do so on Thursday, March 28.
What did you learn from this experience? What will you do next time?
It is important to talk with your partners and see how they can assist in delivering an innovative experience. I had no idea that pcnametag had shipping capabilities! And they have told us they will use the concept to elevate the experience to other customers hosting virtual events.
What feedback did you get?
Delegates were very impressed with the whole concept! They loved the box of goodies. It's sort of like a swag bag but even better as some items were only used on certain days. For example, the vodka was for Friday's mixology session.
For multi-day events, it's great to have content for the next day and generates excitement.
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