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ECEF 2020 delivering hard truths and brilliant ideas

Practical solutions and creative strategies dominated the sessions at the Exhibition and Convention Executives Forum (ECEF 2020), broadcast as an online-only event this year, 18 November.

It was a lively day of learning, connecting, and exchanging and conference producer Lippman Connects’ Sam Lippman’s fourth annual ‘5 Key Data Points in 5 Minutes’ kicked off the agenda with a dive into the latest iteration of Freeman’s groundbreaking research on attendees. Noting the high level of trust attendees place in organisers, Lippman urged organisers to be “transparent and honest” and communicate often.

Lippman was at pains to describe the Forum ‘a real event, held in a virtual format’.

Opening keynoter Shelly Palmer, CEO, The Palmer Group set a whirlwind pace and challenged organisers to concentrate on raising the ROI to customers as the key to prospering. “Shelly gave us real-world examples of Covid-era successes we could model, adapt, or just use for inspiration,” Lippman said. “Most importantly, he reminded us that 2019 is the past and will not be coming back in 2021, 2022, or ever.”

Keynote Julie Cottineau, founder and CEO of BrandTwist, offered so many examples of brand experience innovations that her presentation was broken into Parts I and II. “In addition to providing a fire hose of takeaways, Julie proved that approaching disruption creatively is more than a necessity, it is an opportunity,” commented Lippman.

Cottineau had urged delegates to look at brands outside their own sector for inspiration, giving examples of Walmart selling more tops during Covid times and, as a result, focusing marketing on that rather than clothing bottoms – largely unseen on Zoom calls!

Other examples of ‘twisting’ the brand to cope with the temporary situation, included exercise and life coaches offering micro coaching and photographers moving from covering live events to mentoring and consulting on style and presentation. 

From Europe, UFI’s managing director and CEO Kai Hattendorf was joined from Hong Kong by UFI’s regional manager for Asia/Pacific, Mark Cochrane, to discuss the state of industry in those parts of the world. “Kai and Mark drove home how government responses to the pandemic are key to the return of the exhibition business,” Lippman added.

ECEF 2020 clients also had access to the TechDemo, which continues to be online through to 20 November. The general sessions were punctuated with two rounds of breakout sessions facilitated by industry luminaries, as well as Brown Bag Lunch hours hosted by destinations and venues.

General session videos will be complimentary to the entire industry as of 25 November at www.lippmanconnects.com/resources/executive-management.