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Norms and rules are essential today in a globally thinking and acting world. As much as we sometimes curse certain standards because they make us more work, they are still necessary. Only then can uniform processes and results become possible. Our interviewer today is an expert in such rules. Richard Stokes is continuously engaged in asset valuation standards. Thanks to the International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC), it is possible to compare assets around the world as their values are determined using standardized calculation models.
Richard is responsible for communication and PR at the IVSC, and he is also responsible for the IVSC Annual General Meeting (IVSC AGM). In this interview, he will tell you more about why the IVSC wanted to use an event app, what advantages the app brings, and how the delegates reacted to the introduction of the app. Have fun while reading. 😊
LineUpr: Hello Richard. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Please introduce yourself and the IVSC. What are your goals and what roles do events play in achieving them?
Richard: I’m Richard Stokes, and I lead communications, PR, and external affairs for the International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC), based in London. The IVSC is a UN-recognised body responsible for setting and administering the International Valuation Standards – mostly, the standards applied by professionals in more than 100 countries in the preparation of valuations for just about any and every asset in existence, from real estate, arts and antiques and infrastructure, to businesses, brands, and financial instruments.
Our aim is to lead the professionalization of the valuation sector across international markets. Our stakeholders are broad, ranging from regulators and government authorities to the major accounting and valuation firms, through to end users like institutional investors, corporates, and banks. Events play an important role in facilitating dialogue and collaboration around professionalism and standard-setting. We host events throughout the world, ranging from small roundtable meetings, through to large-scale conferences.
LineUpr: Who is the typical target group of your events, and how do you reach them? Which channels and tools do you use for marketing and presentation?
Richard: We target anyone who has a vested interest in valuation and, more broadly, on the professionalization of financial markets. Most of our participants are leaders and decision-makers within their organizations, including ministerial-level government representatives, CEOs, and company owners. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the breadth and spread of our audiences, we utilize the full range of communications channels. Digital and social channels have helped us achieve maximum reach, and we have strong and organic marketing lists which connect us with business, finance, and regulatory leaders in 127 countries. We are starting to look more at video as a key tool in our marketing and have seen third party users of this content – the IVSC is not-for-profit – achieve significant commercial return. App-based technologies are helping us to generate a richer level of engagement, too. We are using some new and evolving platforms to support our consultation work. In short, as an organization, we are always looking for new ways to connect and foster engagement with our audiences.
LineUpr: Do you also use printed products for marketing the events or for distributing information on site? If so, which and why?
Richard: We strive to limit the number of printed outputs we create. Save for our annual report and a few bespoke marketing collaterals we endeavor to stick to digital. Our main product, the standards, are also published electronically. Of course, this is driven by a desire to be more sustainable, but this goes beyond the environmental and societal imperatives. We need our communications and marketing outputs to be timely, responsive, and relevant. Translations can slow things down, and digital publications are so much more versatile.
LineUpr: You have used LineUpr for the first time for the IVSC AGM 2018. How did you learn about LineUpr and what was the decisive argument for you to use an event app?
Richard: We have been working hard over the last two years to evolve our AGM – our flagship conference which brings together our key stakeholders from more than 40 countries – including through the use of app-based tools to support delegates. Last year we became aware of LineUpr and chose to investigate the platform further. When weighing up the option to use LineUpr, we considered the cost (this is always an important consideration, especially for a not-for-profit organization), the likelihood of delegates in different countries engaging with it, and the functionality. It was important that it could do the job of clearly and intuitively setting out the conference program, but it was also important that additional tools like surveys were integrated – as it transpired, we made use of this very function through an extended license. In the end, we determined that the package was in line with what we could afford, and it was likely to save on the typical resource costs associated with updating and disseminating event materials in the weeks and months leading up to the event.
LineUpr: Have you already used event apps? If so, what are your experiences, and why did you choose LineUpr for this event? If not, what has been against it so far?
Richard: The organization has not, until last year, used event apps. On a personal level, I have used them before and found them to be very useful …when they are intuitive to use! At major industry events, they have helped me to identify, prioritize, and make bespoke my program. On other occasions, I have found them very helpful in facilitating discussions, both as an observer and also as a panelist.
LineUpr was the obvious choice for our organization based on the competitive price point and the usability of the platform.
Quote: Without exception, the response from delegates was positive. Users commented on the ease of use and the timely nature of the updates.
LineUpr: How did you use the app before, during, and after the IVSC AGM 2018?
Richard: The first thing that became apparent was the ease with which we were able to build and update the full conference program; to include contextual information like registration details and logistical considerations; to acknowledge and promote our sponsors and co-organisers. The team was able to work collaboratively using LineUpr to make real-time updates to the conference schedule. It was intuitive and easy! Shortly before the AGM we decided to extend our license to include the audience survey tools. This was another great feature which allowed us to bring the audience closer to the themes by asking pertinent questions throughout the three-day event. It also allowed for quick and informative feedback.
LineUpr: How did your guests respond to the app? (What kind of feedback did you get from your guests? Did you actively ask for feedback?)
Richard: Without exception, the response from delegates was positive. Users commented on the ease of use and the timely nature of the updates. They were also pleased that it could be used without a network connection, as many attendees used their travel time to plan their participation. We sought feedback on the conference in general, including the planning and communications aspects. Respondents were pleased with the App and a number seemed motivated to apply a similar approach to internal and external events at their organizations.
LineUpr: What are the top three tips for using LineUpr that you would like to share with other promoters?
Richard: 1. Branding the app can really enhance the product. We chose to take a license that enabled us to do this. It really helps to professionalize the event and to give the feel of a fully bespoke tool which delegates will be grateful for.
2. Use the survey function. Wisely! We uploaded surveys during the sessions they applied to instead of as a mass upload ahead of the conference. This made it feel more ‚real time‘ and allowed us to insert questions which were more organic and relevant. It also meant the audience was not fatigued by survey questions before the sessions began. We put up live results (in the form of polls) to add audience sentiment to the proceedings. This worked really well.
3. See the tool as a key element of sponsor activation. We profiled our sponsors on the event and shared links to their websites. This was a really beneficial aspect of sponsorship – being one click away from all the delegates.
LineUpr: Thanks for the great interview, Richard. We could gain a good insight into your thoughts on using an event app. A lot of organizers are currently gaining experience with the live surveys.
We are already looking forward to the next events with you and your partners.