The 2022 CEIR Predict Conference challenged us to look at what has changed in the past year – our industry, our clients, our audiences – and ask ourselves if we are destined to repeat the past. We explored the economic, geo-political and social issues that hold significant influence over public and private businesses and individuals. We looked toward the future and what we can create together.
As we look ahead to 2023, here are some highlights from topics discussed at the 2022 CEIR Predict program that you can apply to your strategic plan moving forward.
The End of Digital Complacency
Dr. Tricia Wang, Co-founder of Sudden Compass and CRADL, noted that every company is figuring out how to successfully leverage technology in its operations. She explained the disruption of mental models in terms of how we navigate physical and virtual spaces, known as “spatial collapse.” During the pandemic, the lines between our work, home and public spaces were blurred so much that we now spend more time in the digital space than the physical space.
What has also changed is our relationship with data. We all want to make better decisions with data and we’re investing in it, but using it is hard.
Big data, Tricia explained, comes from the past, and we must look beyond dashboards, statistics and quantitative metrics. On the other hand, thick data is past and current. It captures the full context of human emotions and stories.
Tricia then shared how we as an industry can leverage data to create customer-centric experiences:
- Prioritize insight-driven decision making. Stop treating data-driven decision making as the end goal. Big/thick data insights lead to better decisions.
- Data 1.0 is collecting; Data 2.0 is pattern matching; Data 3.0 is generating insights
- Invest in collaboration and communication.
- Seek out those who have the behavioral thick data
- Spend time with your customers
- Insist that all numbers about people are shared with thick data stories about people (tell a story around the numbers)
The Geopolitical Economic Landscape
Dane Chamorro, Partner at Control Risks, a global risk consultancy, shared “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” of the geopolitical economic landscape.
Digital disruption, climate change, political violence and other forces of disruption have introduced unprecedented levels of volatility for businesses to navigate. Geopolitical tensions have increased as the pandemic waned. What have we learned?
According to Dane, “the good” included resiliency and growth in the United States, as well as in China and Asia broadly. He also noted Vietnam as an emerging market and that the 21st century will be “a contest” for the Pacific. In terms of growth projections by region, he noted that the mood in Europe is somber and that lockdowns in China are prohibiting growth there. India, however, will soon be the world’s largest economy (by 2035) and there is strong potential with data centers and the power markets in Asia Pacific.
Specifically with Vietnam, Dane noted tremendous GDP growth, increased manufacturing growth as well as growth in consumer spending/income.
“The bad” includes the energy war with Russia, the U.S. technology war with China and shipping wars. Specific to Europe, he noted that the situation with Russia would wipe out potential growth through rising energy prices. In Latin America, the political landscape would negatively impact growth potential.
For “the ugly,” Dane shared to expect the unexpected with accelerated transformation, disruption, new national, corporate and technology players as well as new business models.
Joey Graziano, J.D., Senior Vice President of Business Operations and Global Events for the National Basketball Association (NBA) posed the question, how do you intentionally engage an audience to interact with them and turn them from passive spectators to active participants? He then shared how experiential exclusivity is the future of live events – and how the NBA is engaging its game audience.
If you consider how COVID permanently altered human behavior to make it a completely irrational decision to ever leave the couch, you then have to acknowledge that we are in the irrational decision industry.
While pent-up demand led to a rapid return to travel and major events, though, Joey warns that rolling out pre-pandemic versions of our events keeps us from jumping into the new opportunities before us. A significant shift in consumer behavior offers outsized opportunity: traditional events are down but special events are up. Many in our industry benefited as most fall into the special category of once-per-year events.
So, Joey asked, “How do we make our events special?” His guidance is that consumers want to do less but will do more with intensity. Intensity is where the opportunity lies. He then offered how we can capitalize on the intensity, and not the volume, by evolving in five ways:
- Extend to scale
- Push price elasticity
- Cultivate exclusivity
- Personalize and customize
- Redefine digital
Joey shared a case study from the NBA All-Star Weekend, where he used the guidance above.
Here are some examples of the experiential exclusivity they utilized while extending the scale of the typical four-day event into a six-month special event; adding All-Star Awards rewards (duration six months), and Ice Buckets (duration three months).
- Pushed price elasticity by driving affinity and maximizing the value of premium fans: thinking beyond just increasing pricing to include an NBA All-Star VIP pass.
- Launched a premium experiential line to create an exclusive NBA ecosystem – BTS Access, rehearsal stand-ins and experiences lounge
- Enabled each fan to customize their package with personalized offerings and scarcity driven add-ons – live concerts, hall of legends panels, limited edition merchandise and creator studios.
- Employed livestreams and immersive digital to redefine total addressable market – livestreamed panels, used flow code to feature a QR code on the broadcast that directed fans to their auction site.
Joey shared that the lessons learned included offering the experiences that people are looking for and the attendance will follow. And, if you have multiple great options, they will select what is most important to them and they may try others if they have a great experience. No two fan experiences are the same!
The revamped All-Star weekend generated significant fan engagement and economic value for the host city, increased media reach and media value. The event had 1.2 billion views on TikTok and the value driven to host city Cleveland was tremendous.