What Mega Events Tell Us About the Power of Getting Together

Major corporate and trade events may be the new mission statement.

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Summit took place February 13 and 14 in Washington, D.C.
The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Summit took place February 13 and 14 in Washington, D.C.
Photo: Courtesy of Goldman Sachs

David Adler (@DavidAdler) is the C.E.O. and founder of BizBash.

As it gets harder to control marketing environments, the strategy of deploying events is becoming popular with brands and companies. The race is on to build up what I call “convening power.” Flexing those event-organizing muscles has become the new way to build loyalty and purpose as well as better control of a messaging ecosystem. Convening power and purpose are turning these gathering into movements that actually engage stakeholders.

This week’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Summit—celebrated with a full-page ad in the Washington Post—is just one example. Events like Salesforce’s Dreamforce in San Francisco, with more than 180,000 participants, and the world-famous C.E.S. in Las Vegas are other examples.

So I see a new trend in the event industry to put power behind an event so it becomes a way to market a company’s ethos. Advertisements and press coverage are pushing the convening power of an organization to broader audiences.

It’s not just about attendee marketing anymore. Big statement events by large companies are influencer strategies in themselves, defining a company for new audiences.

The powerful connection between face-to-face and social media technology has put the event industry on steroids through amplification of messages and the FOMO it creates for the next event. When people meet in person and actually talk to each other in an atmosphere of exploration, we get the phenomenon of “personal disruption” that creates an explosion of creativity. Minds open and collaborative ideas spread.

These events are proof that the biggest players in the world recognize that people gathering together is their real strength.

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