When I heard that the IABC International Conference would be in New York this year, I registered immediately, because I never pass up a reason to visit my home town. I really do like living in the Toronto area, but I’ll always love New York (as this sculpture on Sixth Avenue says).
Over four days, I met hundreds of people, attended some great sessions, spent time with friends outside the conference, and walked miles around Manhattan. Yes, I felt like a tourist gaping at the Empire State Building, meandering through the cool greenness of Central Park and wearing out my MasterCard at Bloomingdale’s.
Here are some of my impressions:
- Two years ago, at the IABC International Conference in Vancouver, social media was seen as a sort of odd duck. Blogs and podcasts were new and different, and communicators weren’t quite sure what to make of them. Now, presenters would mention an employee blog or podcast as an integral part of a relaunched intranet without blinking an eye. We’ve come a long way, baby.
- If Bill Marriott can find the time to blog, so can your CEO. In his speech accepting the IABC’s EXCEL Award for Excellence in Communication Leadership, Marriott said that he dictates his blog content into a recorder, and someone on his communications team actually writes it up. Visiting 300 hotel properties per year, he’s a busy guy, yet he invests the time to tell stories using this medium. That’s because he values storytelling as a way to engage employees and reach out to the public. He also acknowledged that his blog has generated millions of dollars in hotel bookings via a link on the home page.
- Seth Godin never disappoints. His high-energy closing keynote was sure to fire up some of the savvy communicators in the room and frighten the pants off those who don’t appreciate the way marketing has changed in the last few years. If you can’t be remarkable, then get out of the way.
- The conference parties will be hard to top at future IABC events. Kudos to Deloitte for the gorgeous food and drink at the opening reception at the Rainbow Room, and to CNW Group for the fantastic Canadian party at the Pegasus Suite.
And on a more personal note:
- Do Tokyo department stores not have nice washrooms? I ran into a gaggle of giggling Japanese girls photographing the ladies’ lounge at Bloomies. I guess I should have taken their picture.
- Speaking of stores, the level of service in New York is extraordinary – from the waiters in restaurants, clerks in retail establishments, even the woman selling subway tickets (who let me purchase a single ride, even though it’s against the rules).
Were you at the IABC conference? What did you think?