Blog FPO

Disney-Inspired Conference Experiences

Mickey Mouse and Minnie MouseHave you ever wondered what attracts nearly 17 million guests a year to “The Happiest Place on Earth”? Surprisingly, it’s not magic. As our members, exhibitors, sponsors and attendees struggle to allocate limited resources, including time and money, they’re making tough decisions about whether or not to participate in our events. Regardless of attendance, revenue and other key performance indicators, there’s always room for improvement.

During a recent ORGPRO breakout session for the Michigan Society of Association Executives, I helped association professionals and industry partners apply Disney’s secret sauce of innovation, quality, community, storytelling, optimism and decency to their own conference experiences to foster loyalty, to grow repeat attendance and to generate buzz.

According to Disney’s culture statement, following are the core values of Disney’s approach to guest experiences:

  • Innovation – We are committed to a tradition of innovation and technology.
  • Quality – We strive to set a high standard of excellence. We maintain high-quality standards across all product categories.
  • Community – We create positive and inclusive ideas about families. We provide entertainment experiences for all generations to share.
  • Storytelling – Timeless and engaging stories delight and inspire.
  • Optimism – At The Walt Disney Company, entertainment is about hope, aspiration and positive outcomes.
  • Decency – We honor and respect the trust people place in us. Our fun is about laughing at our experiences and ourselves.

If we dive a bit more deeply into this aspirational culture statement it’s easy to see how the values that make The Walt Disney Company an extraordinary place to work are the same values that are capable of transforming association events into member-centric conference experiences.

Member Centric Data Model

Consider, for a moment, your organization’s events, particularly its major annual meeting. How do you and your team:

  • Infuse innovation and technology into the design, development and implementation phases?
  • Demonstrate a high standard of excellence?
  • Create positive and inclusive experiences for attendees of all generations?
  • Identify, capture and share member stories and testimonials?
  • Foster positive learning and networking outcomes?
  • Honor and respect your key stakeholders (e.g., board of directors, volunteers, exhibitors, sponsors and attendees)?

While I had a number of ideas for how associations might translate these core values into member-centric conference experiences, the session participants simply blew me away with the robust list they developed. In the meantime, what ideas might you add to this list? What have you learned from your most memorable customer service experience (good, bad or ugly)?

Closing the technology gap

A recent Community Brands study found associations are struggling to meet members’ expectations for technology.

Read More >

Who’s responsible for the skills gap?

Last week, the American Staffing Association released its most recent edition of American Staffing Association Workforce Monitor. The survey of 2,000 adults found most Americans believe schools, employers and the government share responsibility for the workplace skills gap. But respondents also think individual accountability is a contributing factor.

Read More >

Engaging Learners: A Guide To Successfully Designing Engaging Learning

Whether you’re ready to initiate this conversation prior to, during or after the holiday season, please accept this newly launched eBook as our holiday gift to you. Born out of our own frustrations, we hope this comprehensive, but approachable resource will help you and your speakers better engage learners in 2018.

Read More >

The science of convening

There’s a science to convening, and it stems from the theory that collective brain power is a powerful tool. So what’s a convening? According to Monitor Institute by Deliotte, a convening is a gathering of people who participate in a collective effort and share a common purpose.

Read More >

Bright Idea: Not just what, but where

Hoping to draw more attendees to face-to-face meetings, several associations, including ASAE, recently launched a new campaign to encourage more people to travel for conferences and events.

Read More >

5 steps to developing a lifelong habit of learning

The simple truth is: Most successful people are dedicated to constantly learning. They recognize they always need to be growing, always need to be deepening their knowledge, always need to have a more thorough understanding of themselves and the world. Here are five steps to get you started on the path to become a lifelong learner.

Read More >