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Listen, Inspire and Celebrate: Cisco’s Global Sales Experience (GSX) 2012, Part One

November 5, 2012
at 8:49 am PST

One of the challenges of a globally distributed event such as GSX is tapping into audience emotion and engaging attendees regardless of how they are experiencing the event.

To level set, the GSX format is a unique hybrid experience.  Some of the key format challenges of the event are:

  • Distributed over four days with three waves (one wave per region)
  • In 88 locations and 400+ Cisco conference rooms
  • 75% of the audience attending via remote viewing locations (i.e. watching a projection of the live broadcast)
  • 20% of the audience attending virtually (i.e. via their desktop)
  • 5% of the audience in main broadcast locations (i.e. watching live speakers on stages in one of the four broadcast hubs)

As mentioned, every year we just scratch the surface on the possibilities of the GSX format, and each year we work to fine tune the experience. This year, a variety of tactics were deployed to tackle the opportunities our audience was looking for. They wanted peer networking, the ability to recognize team contributions, inspirational content, and insight into the larger, global audience conversation and activities.

In this post I will talk about the specific tactics deployed during GSX FY13 (calendar 2012) to listen to the audience and leverage the vast amounts of data coming in from the event to showcase real time what the audience was talking about and doing. Let’s dive into the examples…

Trending Topics

This effort focused on leveraging the live conversations taking place digitally during sessions. Our goal was to enable the attendee voice to be honored and recognized real- time and to raise the audience awareness of their peers distributed throughout the globe.

This effort was achieved by:

  • Engaging in a real time Audience Listening effort. This was deployed by the GSX team in partnership with George P Johnson’s (GPJ) Social Listening experts, who monitored the audience conversations and executed the program.
  • Enabling a back end administration tool for:
    • Words/phrases as identified by a real time heuristic engine to be reviewed and edited/unpublished as needed as well as ability for insertion of word/phrase as identified by live human monitoring of session chat and Q&A (that the heuristic engine did not pick up).
    • Comments to be reviewed, curated and approved for live insertion into the live broadcast feed and the virtual event site Trending Topics digital engagement.
    • Leveraging input from Cisco Jabber based live session Q&A and peer chat to dynamically populate the back end administration tool real time.This was available on desktop and mobile devices to address audience needs/types.

Global Achievements and the Achievements Gamification Program

Building on our successful gamification program last year, we wanted to address the audiences’ request to see how their achievement status was stacking up when compared with other attendees. However, we wanted to avoid the traditional leaderboard model and saw an opportunity to expose achievement status in a visual way, showing how globally dispersed the GSX audience is and spur friendly competition, which in turn, resulted in more achievements being awarded.

We also added new tactics to our Achievements program including incremental achievements (badges that gained rank the more an attendee performed an action), achievements driving peer networking in person and virtually, and achievements for engaging in the various visualization engagements. Our Achievements program worked very well because it truly fulfilled the basic game mechanic loop:

  • Player performs an action.
  • The action causes an effect within the simulation.
  • The player receives feedback.
  • With new tools and information in hand, the player performs another action.

Trending Topics and the Global Achievements page, were amongst the most highly recommended pages, and scored very high in satisfaction amongst the digital engagements we offered during GSX.

The various data visualization approaches also proved to offer a scalable model with a fairly simple design that could be adapted to many delivery modes. This is ideal when thinking about planning year over year. It’s always better not to reinvent the wheel, but rather fine tune and maximize monetary and resource time investments.

Every year the GSX team goes after several key objectives and in my next post I will explore the digital tactics deployed during GSX FY13 to address enablement of peer networking and team appreciation.

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