A Madness to the Method: Experiential Takeaways from C2 Montréal

How C2 brought some of today’s top experiential trends to life, with a creative twist

Jessica Peterson

Jessica Peterson, GPJ Strategist
Jessica is an event strategist at GPJ with a keen eye on all things experiential.

 

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C2 Montréal is known for being an eclectic experience. Designed as a ‘business focused’ gathering, the event encourages unconventional thinking and creative expression, delivered in an inventive fashion.  As an attendee, it’s easy to be consumed by the whimsical design, unpredictable entertainment and moments of experimentation.

But is there a method to the madness? If you blinked, you just may have missed it.

GPJ spent three days on-site experiencing it all from goat yoga to blindfolded workshops. Here, we’ll share our perspective, making sense of some of the seemingly ambiguous activities we experienced at C2.

Sensory Deprivation Labs

Year after year, C2 hosts a variety of ‘experimental’ labs. These labs are fully immersive ‘pop-up’ experiences that can incorporate sensory deprivation, role playing or physical movement. In particular, this year’s ‘In the Dark’ lab required attendees to navigate a space, meet a group of new people and solve a puzzle as a team…all while wearing a blindfold.

Sensory  

Why this works: Triggering attendee vulnerabilities can encourage deeper 1:1 connections

As human-beings we all know what it’s like to feel vulnerable. These vulnerabilities are often amplified when we engage in new and different experiences. In the event world, group experiences that generate collective feelings of discomfort, uncertainty or drama can allow attendees to connect on a more human level.  

Much like the experience year after year at Cisco GSX, companies that know how to embody core human emotion  and tendencies see greater brand retention and loyalty.

 

BMW i8 Speed Coaching

Incorporated into the agenda was the opportunity to sign up for a 1:1 coaching session while sitting in a parked BMW i8, right on the conference floor. In this 30 minute private session, attendees were coached through introspection in order to solve pressing personal or business challenges.

Why this works: Personalization makes event objectives more digestible and action-oriented for attendees

Behind every event or experience is a mission. In the case of C2, the mission was to encourage attendees to act on some of today’s biggest global challenges from climate change to the future of AI. While a big mission can inspire audiences, it’s often difficult for attendees to understand how they can contribute at an individual level. Event programming that balances inspiration with personalized touch points can make taking action feel more relevant and attainable.

Events like Cisco Live! and GSX are designed with the bigger picture in mind.  A mindful, end-to-end strategy ensures that every attendee comes and goes with a journey tailored to their own business challenges and helps them to product relevant results.

 

‘Braindating’ and ‘Kliking’ to connect

C2 partnered with Braindates by e180 and Klik by pixmob to support networking and introduce attendee curated topics into the agenda. Each attendee wore a Klik ‘smart badge’ which allowed for an easy exchange of contact information with the ‘klik’ of a button. To encourage small group discussions and 1:1 meetings, Braindates provided a platform were discussion topics were collected and meetings could be scheduled.

Klik  

Why this works: Event technology is empowering attendees to become active contributors to event content

As the brand to consumer relationship has evolved to be more conversational, events have to transition from treating attendees as passive listeners to active contributors. By providing tools designed to spark discussion, build connections and curate topics (that matter most) attendees will be empowered to share their voice and influence the event narrative.

There are countless examples of how brands leverage data, technology and digital content to showcase capabilities while delivering it in a way that enriches overall engagement.

 

Aerobatics, Actors and Acoustics

C2 delivered a blend of unexpected live entertainment throughout the three day conference.  In-between sessions, attendees stopped to admire acrobats dangling from the ceiling, engage with comedic acts and listen to live music.

Acrobat

Why this works: Environmental tonality is a powerful way to influence the attendee mindset

Environmental design can make or break the ultimate mission or message of an event. At a surface level, entertainment provides enjoyment, but when strategically designed, entertaining elements can influence the tonality of a space. In the case of C2, the environment was a physical manifestation of the event’s mission, making it more natural for attendees to feel creatively inspired.

Whether it’s transforming a city block into a national park or leveling up an experience with drag racing, audiences crave unique experiences.  Using environmental design to fully immerse audiences, creates lasting value long after the event has concluded.

 

Goat Yoga

In the Facebook Community Garden attendees were encouraged to find their inner zen among the company of baby goats. Facebook took advantage of this current wellness trend by sponsoring this as a time-off activity for 2019.

Why this works: Making room for recharge moments keeps attendees refreshed and engaged

Goat yoga was in good company among a variety of time-off activities at C2 this year including BMW test drives, and Stradigi AI’s AI Powered Yoga Demo. For some, attending an event can be an escape from the day-to-day. Making room for time-off activities encourages personal reflection, moments to recharge and flexibility when it comes to agenda building.

Giving your attendees the opportunity to step away from the event programming and environment can reclaim bandwidth, allowing positive brand engagements to take shape.

 

The Wrap

C2’s twist on today’s top trends embodies a philosophy that with risk comes reward when delivering memorable value-driven experiences.

Despite the changing face of experiential, we are certain of the value it can deliver; entertaining, delighting and connecting audiences at scale.

Hold tight, because this is just the beginning. If the goats and acrobats have anything to say about it, we’re only scratching the surface.