Here's an interesting report on a recently attended conference held in late February, from an IIEM student in the Czech Republic. She attended this conference on behalf of the conference’s largest corporate sponsor. This event gathers senior-level representatives from the region’s leading power producers, power plants developers, regulators, traders, financiers and market analysts for discussions and debates about the future of the region's energy mix. Her company strategically attended this event for brand equity purposes, as well as to also assess the impact of the changing regulatory landscape, to identify key market drivers that are influencing growth and investment in the market, and to take advantage of networking opportunities. The theme of the event was “maintaining energy security cleanly in a stalled market place.” Considered a smaller industry conference, roughly 30 speakers presented and 200 people were in attendance. This provided an opportunity for people to network and also to plan ahead to have dinners and meetings with people they might otherwise not have the opportunity to meet with. She personally negotiated the contract for this conference and her sponsor was a one-day breakfast host for this event at a cost of roughly $10,000 for the sponsorship and $10,000 for the exhibition products and services. As part of the sponsorship package, there was company signage indicating that who was hosting the event. The breakfast was held in the exhibition hall at tall tables so that people could see the exhibition. The logo and company write-up were featured on the company web site, program and conference signage. Also as part of the contract, two senior-level European leaders from the company were invited to speak at the conference. They spoke about the company’s new offerings and the current and future state of the marketplace. To prepare for the event, the social media lead asked the conference coordinator to fill out a form that asks questions related to the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” of the event. Once the information was gathered, we discussed what we should post on social media. Usually at an industry event, there are at least 50 exhibitions. There were only three at this conference. We learned that in the past that there were more, but that a new company was planning this event this year and they did not receive the same level of support. Given the location and the target market/attendees, we think this was a huge misstep for the conference coordinators that ended up in the sponsor’s favor because they had more visibility with less competition. Since they shipped a branded counter and related items, it looked very attractive. The other sponsors had the table and chairs that come complimentary with exhibition since there materials were stuck in customs. This made it appear to be the company's show and also revealed the flawless execution of the company’ shipping logistics. The other companies should have planned better by shipping the booths ahead of schedule. They both said they shipped too close to deadline. For this conference, as many others, it was her responsibility to oversee all facets of this global event. Her job required her to project manage several regional and product lines specific showcases for various products and services, which required me to also coordinate and lead many pre-job briefs to prepare for the event. The signage is the “décor” so this was an important misstep. She sent the correct logo to the conference organizer prior to the show, along with the contract. However, this person worked with them in the past and did not notice the subtle change in the logo. He assumed it was the same and disregarded the attachment. At the show, she had to resend it to the coordinator because they had misplaced the email. Despite the missteps and last minute issues, the overall conference proved to be a successful investment for the sponsor, primarily due to the foresight and planning by the company's event manager.